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If inbound calls play a significant role in your small business, detailed information about those calls is one critical way to enhance your marketing efforts. Getting clarity around what marketing channels are effectively generating calls is just the start in terms of the benefits you can get from a solid call tracking strategy.

The Benefits of Call Tracking

When I start a new marketing project with a small business, one of the first questions I ask is what they’re tracking as conversions and how they relate to the goals for the small business. While owners are quick to mention lead forms and similar conversions on their website, they often neglect the calls they receive from website visitors.

For example, a law firm I work with receives over 100 calls every month from website traffic. That’s an important action to be aware of since these people visited the website and, after learning about the business, made the decision to call. They’re very engaged and likely to generate a good amount of business for the firm.

If calls make up 10% or more of your business, I highly recommend implementing a call tracking strategy so you can:

  • Get clarity on how many calls your website generates
  • Understand what online channels are generating the calls
  • Find out what percentage of the calls are valuable to your business (more on that one later!)

There are two ways small businesses (and large) typically leverage call tracking. The most common is through a pool of phone numbers that are dynamically swapped on their website:

  • Visitor A comes to the website and sees 212-555-1212.
  • When visitor B arrives, they see 212-555-1313.
  • Any number is funneling into your primary phone. However, based on which number is dialed, we know which visitor called (and all the juicy analytics data to go along with it).

The second option is to use single phone numbers for source-level tracking. For example, you might feature a tracked number as your phone number on your Facebook page so you know what calls came from your Facebook page. You might do the same for email marketing campaigns and other sources. You won’t get a ton of associated data like the above example, but you’re going to know what marketing efforts drove the phone call.

How to Implement Call Tracking for Your Small Business

There are a number of different call tracking platforms that make the process as easy as possible. I’ll briefly discuss the process from start to finish so you get a good idea of how easy it is to get started with call tracking.

Step 1: Select a Call Tracking Provider

There are a number of call tracking providers available. My go-to call tracking provider (and the one I use for my clients) is CallRail, but you should do your own research to find the best fit for you. Here are a few things that I usually look for in call tracking platforms:

  • Cost (this one’s pretty obvious, but there are some nuances I discuss in the next section)
  • Call Recording Option
  • Integration with my marketing platforms
  • Straightforward conversion tracking
  • Reliability and reputation (you really don’t want to get fully set up with a platform just to have to do it all over again! Yes, there is a story there.)

Step 2: Implementation

As with any platform, there’s going to be the typical process of setting up your account. Each platform will help you through this process.

With call tracking platforms, you’ll also have to make some decisions regarding phone numbers. Since you will “own” and pay for your numbers, you want to have enough to cover your needs. Here’s one example:

I have a local business that is using a pool of tracking numbers to understand what sources are driving phone calls from their website. Using the process outlined by the call tracking provider, we analyze our hourly traffic for the last two weeks and see that out highest number of sessions per hour is 36. We divide that by 4 to determine that we need 9 numbers to cover our volume. We choose 9 local phone numbers (since this is what users will actually be calling) to cover our needs.

Most platforms will alert you if you need more numbers. Once you have your numbers set up, you’ll add some code to your website (or use a plugin) to swap numbers for each visitor. As soon as this change is live, your call tracking will get to work.

Step 3: Conversion Tracking

From there, you’ll implement any conversion tracking you need. Call tracking platforms will usually integrate directly with analytics and marketing platforms to help you with this. One tip: all calls from your tracked numbers are not conversions.

I recommend determining an appropriate length of call to consider it a conversion. Something on the lower end like 2 minutes will usually weed out telemarketers and people with quick questions. A longer threshold like 5 minutes is good for companies when there’s a longer discussion with prospective clients.

The Costs of Call Tracking

Your monthly costs for call tracking will likely vary. Here’s a breakdown including some typical ranges:

  • Monthly Fees: Start at $30-60 per month
  • Phone Numbers: $2.50-3 per local number beyond what’s included in your plan (toll-free numbers are usually a bit more)
  • Minutes Used: Usually about $0.05 per minute beyond your plan
  • Others: Call tracking providers often offer SMS messaging, website chat, etc. that usually cost extra

While the overall cost will vary greatly from business to business, I’d plan for $50-$150 per month for most small lead generation-based businesses.

Call Tracking Is Vital to Almost Every Small Business

If you don’t get any leads or sales through phone calls, then call tracking isn’t necessary for your business (thanks for taking the time to read my blog, though!). Otherwise, call tracking provides you with important information that could make a big difference in your marketing efforts. I feel so strongly about this that I offer call tracking to my clients as part of their Google Ads Management.