When setting up your marketing plan there are obviously different channels to advertise on, including one or a variety of online, print, radio, T.V., etc. Many ask how you can actually track the calls made to your company through your advertising efforts.
Call tracking is a great way to do this. Through call tracking, you are able to tie incoming calls to where they are coming from, whether that is a radio or TV spot or even an ad online. Call tracking companies usually charge a monthly fee for each number you use for your campaigns; plus a small fee per minute. The call tracking companies also provide extensive reporting to the advertiser such as unique callers, length of call, leads per day, voicemails, etc. They may also include features so that when a customer calls from one of the lines, the advertiser will be notified before they actually begin speaking with the person on the other end of the line. An advertiser also has the ability to set up a recording feature that starts every time the incoming phone calls are answered.
An advertiser can pick out one number for simplicity or multiple numbers channels where they are advertising. Below are a few scenarios of how you may want to use call tracking when you are running multiple ads in a variety of channels, such as newspapers and magazines, online ads, and radio ads on various stations.
Scenario 1 — Purchase one phone number and use it across all of your marketing channels. This will be a measure of potential customers that have actually seen or heard your paid advertisements
Scenario 2 — Purchase different lines, one for print ads, one for online ads, one for radio, etc. Through reporting you could see how your potential target clients are responding to the marketing channel or advertisement being presented.
Scenario 3 — Purchasing multiple lines for each marketing channel. In print for example, you might have one line for the newspaper and one for magazines, or more than one line if you are advertising in a number of newspapers. The same goes for magazines, sponsored online ads and multiple radio stations.
Call tracking is a very unique service to measure your ROI based on where and when the advertisements are running and receiving a better return on your overall investment.
Remember hearing the story about lemurs? Every year around a certain time they jump off a cliff. However, one would think that at least one lemur would look over the cliff and say, “Hmm, I don’t think I’m going to follow the crowd in jumping off the cliff.” It seems like it would be common sense, yet it happens in the world of online marketing time after time. The rule of thumb to remember when marketing online is that following the crowd isn’t always the best option, especially when it comes to keywords and websites.
If it’s been said once, then it’s probably been said a thousand times, “I saw my competitor doing it.” This seems to be the classic answer that companies use to justify their marketing strategy or what they think is a marketing strategy. Let’s look at an example. Say Company A is a leader in providing offshore outsourcing to software companies and they are bidding on the keyword “offshore.” Company B, who wants to gain in market share and be a leading provider of offshore outsourcing to software companies, see’s that Companies A’s ad is coming up for searches on the keyword, “offshore” and Company B decides they also should be bidding on that keyword. Company B is assuming that Company A is bidding on the right keyword, but they aren’t. The keyword “offshore” covers a myriad of topics like offshore drilling, offshore banking, offshore racing, and offshore boating to name a few. The keyword “offshore” is too broad for the niche service of offshore outsourcing to software companies. Both Company A and Company B will be losing money on the keyword “offshore.” Like a popular proverb says, “If the blind lead the blind they’ll both fall in the ditch.”
Another area where companies blindly follow a competitor is in website design and content. Many times a company will see what a competitor is doing on their website and mimic it as closely as possible without plagiarizing. Here’s the deal. Many times the competitor’s website isn’t good. They don’t have good keyword density, the site isn’t user friendly, and the url’s don’t have a good naming convention. In some cases, the competitor is using black hat tactics that could get them banned by the search engines. Yet, another company will look at a competitor’s site and say, “we want to be like them.”
In some cases, the company that copies ends up losing clients, while the competitor makes adjustments to the site that others are copying.
It’s good to track and watch competitors, but to blindly follow and copy them is not recommended. Many times competitors are bidding on the wrong keywords, wasting money, and are clueless on how to run a successful paid marketing campaign. On top of that, they may think their website is great or they may realize it needs help and they are working with someone to get it changed (while your company is copying their old mistakes). In the world of online marketing it’s better to research and ask questions. Then decide if what your competitor is doing will work for your company. It’s good to be cautious when following a competitor; otherwise you could be following them over a cliff.
As we all know, cell phones are a term from another era. Today it’s all about having a handheld device, a smart phone that can tackle everything from email to the internet to the myriad of apps that somebody wants to have at their fingertips.
One thing that hasn’t changed so much over the years is the fact that people still like to eat in restaurants as well as get delivery or carryout. The future (and the now) however is consumers using their smart phones to help them facilitate their meals.
The user experience differential of viewing a restaurant’s mobile website vs. standard site on a mobile device is dramatic. One helps conduct business and one essentially repels it. The mobile site may not include all of the pictures and aesthetics that a regular site does, but it will incorporate the menu and directions (even to multiple locations), which is in all likelihood what someone wants if they are searching for the restaurant from their phone.
So few restaurants have mobile versions of their sites today that an argument could be made to wait a year or two before embarking on this endeavor. Just like with regular websites, the companies who were early adopters are the ones who have a considerably more advanced and profitable online presence today.