Let Your Marketing Tools Work for You on Labor Day

Labor Day, celebrated the first Monday in September, is a tribute to the contribution workers have made to the prosperity of the country and is joyously welcomed by many with the day off! While some may celebrate with rest and relaxation, others may spend their time shopping. 
Man and dog sleeping in
Here are some tips on how to keep your customers from feeling neglected while you're out of the office.

Leave a Message


If you're going to be closed for Labor Day, give your customers a heads up at least 24 hours in advance. You can send out a friendly reminder email or, if you want to use a more personalized approach, you can use automated voicemail broadcast messages to reach your entire customer base.

Voicemail broadcasting tools are not just handy for informing your customers about your holiday hours. You can also use them to remind customers about appointments and maintenance updates or simply to thank them for their business. It's a convenient, noninvasive way to encourage customer engagement with your company (it'll save you a lot of time too!).

Schedule Your Content


When people have a day off, they're likely to browse the web watching videos, reading blogs or listening to podcasts. Take advantage of your consumers' free time and prepare content ahead of time to release on Labor Day.

Before you leave the office for your long weekend, schedule the exact time you want your content to be released. With a click of a button, you've made a smart marketing move that will keep consumers engaged while you're snoozing away.

Forward Your Calls


In today's world, people expect immediate information and service 24/7. So whether it's a holiday or your lunch break, missing calls is a huge downfall for your business. To avoid neglecting your customers when you're out of the office, try call forwarding. This tool allows you to redirect the calls that come through your business to your cell.

When it's not ideal to route calls directly to your cell, consider sending them to a prerecorded message. This message will inform your callers of why you are out of the office and when you'll be able to return their call. You'll receive an email notification when the caller leaves a voicemail, so you can choose to return urgent calls.

Marketing is a fast-paced industry with consumers who demand information when your resources spark their interest. But if planned for properly, you can enjoy your Labor Day weekend while your marketing tools keep working.

Need something to pass the time on your day off? Check out this post on getting the most out of your marketing budget.

Google AdWords or Call Tracking Vendor? The Best Source for Website Call Conversion Data

Kittens fightingEarlier this week, Google announced that AdWords advertisers now have the option to track website call conversions.

Here’s how it works: You put a bit of code on your website that allows Google to insert a unique forwarding number on your website for each person that clicks through one of your pay-per-click (PPC) ads. When the prospect calls you using the unique number they see on your website, you’ll be able to track the conversion back to the PPC ad that generated it.

Sound familiar? That’s because several call tracking providers — like ClickPath — offer a similar technology, called Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI). You might be tempted to jump on the bandwagon and give AdWords website call conversion tracking a go, but before you do, consider these five reasons for sticking with a call tracking vendor for DNI.

Your Business Is in Canada


If your business is in Canada, Google AdWords call conversions feature is a no-go, because the service isn’t offered in your neck of the woods. Thankfully, you can still get DNI services through a call tracking provider.

You Generate Lots of Traffic From Other Search Networks


AdWords is able to track website call conversions from Google, but what about other search networks? Google owns the majority of the search market, but you might see better results from smaller players like Bing Ads. If you’re only tracking website call conversions from Google, you’re losing out on some important call conversion data generated by ads on other search networks. By using DNI services through a call tracking provider, you can get a complete picture of your PPC call conversion data.

You Want to Tie Web Conversions to Specific Customers


When a person becomes a customer, it’s nice to be able to map out their conversion funnel. If their conversion process includes a phone call generated by a PPC ad, you want to know about it, right? The problem with tracking website call conversions through AdWords is that the caller’s phone number is only displayed when the call comes in. If you want to check specific caller data in your call conversion reports, you’ll only see the caller’s area code, which makes attribution tricky.

You Want to Track Specific Demographics


Again, AdWords call conversions will display the area code, but that’s the closest you’ll get to demographic information. If you want to see specifics on city, state and even ZIP code, you’ll need to stick with a call tracking provider. These important demographics will help you segment your prospects and customers so you can create geo-targeted campaigns.

You Want Access to Call Recordings


Sometimes the conversations that occur during a call tell a different story than call data alone. (To see an example of this, check out the first section of our post “How to Pick the Right Dynamic Call Tracking Provider.”)

But unless you have a freakishly amazing memory and answer every call that comes in to your business, you’re going to need to refer to call recordings for the additional information a conversation provides. And to get call recordings (bet you know what we’re going to say next), you’re going to have to go with a call tracking provider, my friend, because they’re not available in AdWords.

You Want to Access Real-Time Data


Are you the kind of person who obsessively checks conversion data every time you get a new lead to see what source drove the lead? (Don't worry: We've all been there.) If that's you, you're going to have to change your habits if you plan to check website call conversions in AdWords, because new conversion data is only imported on a daily basis. The good news is most call tracking providers do update their data in real time.

Have questions about using a call tracking vendor versus AdWords for website call conversion tracking? Tweet them to us!

Tweet: @whoscalling I have a question about your post on website call conversions via AdWords.


How Long Do Tweets Take to Make?

According to the Huffington Post, 77 percent of Fortune 500 companies are currently active on Twitter. That's probably due to the fact that this social media giant helps businesses engage directly with potential customers and keep their followers up to date on relevant events. To get the most out of your business’s Twitter account, your team will need to invest some time in crafting the perfect tweets.

But how do you know how much time to spend on a single tweet? Take a look at our tweet timeline to see how different types of messages take different amounts of time and bring in varying social engagement.

Who's Calling Tweet Timeline


Planning procedures, depth of content and timeliness will all vary depending on the type of tweet you're crafting. As we break down each tweet on the spectrum, you can better understand how much time to invest in your tweets.

New Campaigns: >1 MonthNew Campaigns


When you’re planning a new Twitter campaign, you can't just spout off the first 140 characters you think of. It'll take some time for you to decide what direction to go, create graphics and choose the perfect wording. From the day you choose the direction of your Twitter campaign to the first day tweets hit your feed, more than a month could pass.

Because of the time you spend on them, these tweets will draw in the most favorites and retweets. Since they're so important, you’ll want to post them at the optimal time (Monday-Thursday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.). If it's taking longer than you thought, don't worry about it! Work on your campaign until it's exactly what you envisioned or better, like this marketing team that took two months to make their perfect tweet.

Regular Social Marketing: ~1 Week Regular Social Marketing


Social media is beginning to dictate what businesses do. Metrics like favorites, retweets and inbound calls (measured by call tracking) help CEOs decide which campaigns are worth the money. So you want to maintain a social presence and give customers a chance to interact with your business on a personal level. The best way to draw in engagement with customers is to consistently update social media.

Three tweets a day is the optimal rate for connecting with audiences, but that adds up to 90 tweets every month, and we don't expect you to come up with all of them at once. Tackle these tweets on a weekly basis so your team isn't overwhelmed. The amount of time spent on the majority of those tweets should be right around a week, including approvals (give or take a few days).

News Updates: <1 Week News Updates


Whenever industry or company news is released, you need to tweet about it. Your followers clearly have an investment in your industry — otherwise they wouldn't be following you. To help them stay informed, share important news stories or industry updates on your Twitter feed.

Because these tweets are all about relevancy, they need to get out pretty quickly. But don't sacrifice quality for speed. You might be the first source of this news for some of your followers, so you have to make sure you get it right. News tweets could take up to a week, but that's okay. It's better to get it right and be slightly late than to rush and tweet something insensitive that upsets your followers.

#RelevantHashtagging: 1 Day #RelevantHashtagging


By tweeting about  current events and pop culture and using popular hashtags, you're able to reach more people and expose your business to new customers. For example, #ThrowbackThursday is a popular hashtag on Twitter. You can use Thursdays to post a throwback picture, such as your old logo or your first day of business, similar to what Wendy's and BMW did.

Using a relevant hashtag will get your brand in front of more faces and therefore increase brand awareness and recognition. These types of tweets are great because they only require about a day or two but still bring in favorites and retweets from people who search for those hashtags.

Conferences and Events: Instantaneous Conferences and Events


If you're attending an industry convention or hosting a forum of industry leaders, you better be tweeting about it. Of course you’ll post tweets leading up to the event to build up excitement, but the best way to keep followers engaged in the event is by live tweeting it.

Tweet quotes from speakers, pictures of attendees and use the special event hashtag. Make sure you're consistent with the hashtag so your tweets are searchable. Speaking of searchable, search for the event hashtag and see if there are any tweets you can answer or respond to. This is a fun way to engage potential clients and will show them that you're both knowledgeable and responsive.

How much time do you spend crafting the perfect tweets? Let us know in the comments or tweet at us!

Shark Week's Submarine Documentary: Good or Bad Marketing Strategy?

It's the most wonderful time of the year: Shark Week is here. At Who's Calling, we like to celebrate Shark Week by going on a group scuba dive in shark-infested waters.

Fierce great white shark breaking the surfaceJust kidding. But we can find room in the budget for that next year, right?

Actually, we celebrate Shark Week by watching all the shark attacks, documentaries and myth-busting we can handle.

This year, the Discovery Channel kicked off Shark Week with a documentary about a shark called Submarine (given the name because of its submarine-like size). About 13 seconds into the premiere, it was obvious it was a mockumentary (fake documentary).

There's no doubt that the mockumentary has generated tons of buzz. But it's not all good. Some viewers are outraged that the Discovery Channel would pawn it off as a real documentary by including references to real events. These folks are questioning the channel's credibility and are now boycotting it.

Others believe that Submarine is real and refuse to go in the water — even their pools, which are probably shark free. They blame Discovery Channel for informing them of the creatures beneath the surface.

But amid all the mixed reviews, there are the few, the proud, the entertained. Amused by the sheer irony of the Discovery Channel airing a fake documentary, a handful of people are applauding the humorous introduction to Shark Week.

So what do you think of Discovery Channel's decision to air a mockumentary? Generating buzz is a good way to get a lot of people talking about you, but would you risk tarnishing your reputation just to accomplish it? Tweet your answer to @whoscalling and let us know!

How to Pick the Right Dynamic Call Tracking Provider

A few months ago we wrote about how to find your fairy-tale call tracking match, and we still stand by our tips — you deserve someone who notices the little things, listens intently and sweeps you off your feet.

Businessman kissing computer monitorBut if the Match.com and eHarmony commercials are true, sometimes the best matches start online. Same
goes for online-to-offline call tracking.

When your prospect starts their search online, stumbles across your site and gives you a call, you need to know which ad campaign is your match made in marketing heaven. So how do you find a call tracking provider who can tell you that?

Here are our top three pointers, borrowed from our friend Kevin Adams at Wright IMC, on what to look for in an online-to-offline call tracking provider.

They Communicate Details


It’s no secret that it’s easier to remain anonymous online. That’s why MTV’s TV show “Catfish” is so popular. (In case you’re not a reality TV connoisseur, the word “catfish” was coined by the show’s creator to refer to people who hide behind false identities on the web to deceive someone.)

Catfish on white backgroundIs your online lead data a catfish?

Let us explain. We once had a client that was rocking a pay-per-click ad group — at least that’s what it looked like by the volume of phone calls the ads were bringing in. But it turns out things weren’t what they seemed. After listening to the call recordings that were tied to those ads, the client discovered that the callers 1) had misunderstood the nature of the client’s business and 2) had no interest in or need for the client’s services. Way to put a damper on things.

But imagine if the company had continued pouring money into that ad group without delving into all the phone calls it was bringing in. We have three words for that: Waste. Of. Money. This client is the perfect example of why you need to look for a call tracking provider that can show you granular details about your campaigns. Ask potential call tracking providers if they can provide any of the following details:
  • Keyword, source and medium of each call
  • Call details such as date, time and length
  • Caller information, including name, business name, phone number and address
  • Call recordings
Remember: The more detail, the better.

They Don’t Rush You


When it comes to online-to-offline call tracking, the one element that’s crucial to making a connection between your online ads and site visitors is cookie length (we’re talking about the electronic kind, but baked goods are always a plus!).

The minute a user visits your site for the first time, the call tracking software automatically assigns a tracking cookie to that visitor. Your website will then display a number that’s unique to that visitor. Each time they return to your site, they’ll see the same number until the cookie expires.

So if the cookie session expires before the visitor is ready to take the next step and make the first contact, you lose the ability to attribute the call to the keyword that initially brought them to your site. But you can’t rush these things.

So the question is, how long should cookie length be? If you have a lightning-fast sales cycle, you might be able to get away with a couple days, but ideally, your dynamic call tracking provider’s cookie length should be at least two to four weeks.

They’re Not Still Involved With Their Ex


Heart wrapped in chainsWhen working with a dynamic call tracking provider, the last thing you want is to end up with a toll-free number (TFN) equivalent to someone who’s not over their ex — that is, a number that’s still receiving calls for the last business it was with. You need a TFN that’s been scrubbed clean of its past to make sure you won’t receive the previous owner’s phone calls.

There are dynamic call tracking providers that don’t bother with scrubbing in order to pass along cost savings to you, but keep in mind that if you use a line that hasn’t been scrubbed, you could be playing secretary for a few other businesses for a while. As a result, your data might not be 100 percent accurate (refer back to our first point to see why this is an issue).

Ask potential call tracking vendors ahead of time if they provide clean numbers and if so, how long they’ve been out of service before being assigned to you.

Remember that a comprehensive marketing strategy involves tracking the relationship between all marketing mediums — including online-to-offline leads. To make sure you’re getting the best results for your money, follow our tips for selecting the right call tracking vendor.

Simplify Your Work Life With Speech Recognition

Is your work life overly complex? Are you putting in too many hours at the office doing tasks that should take minutes? Do you wish there was a way you could just simplify things? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you need to embrace National Simplify Your Life Week.

It happens during the first week of August, and we can’t think of a more opportune time to get rid of all the bulky, overly complex solutions (more like problems) at work that are a waste of time.

To show you just how simple call management can be, we want to tell you a little story about a businessman whose life is overrun with complicated processes. If his story seems all too familiar, then we have another story that will make you breathe a sigh of relief.

Man peering over cubicle wallByron and the Batty Bedlam


As the manager of inside sales for Billson Brothers Bats, Byron really wanted to know what was happening during his sales team’s phone calls. In order to find out, he started leaning against cubicles to eavesdrop on phone calls. He listened to what the sales reps were saying to make sure they were properly upselling the newest bat and being respectful to callers. But his system was flawed because he couldn’t hear the customers. Plus he broke a cubicle wall, so he needed a new method.

Byron had the bright idea to record his teams' calls. So he set up a tape recorder to catch every call his team made. Even though the recordings were pretty garbled and he could hear every water cooler conversation and key clack in the office, he couldn't think of a better solution. He listened closely to the reps’ conversations, trying to see if he could figure out if customers were saying anything bad about the company or mentioning a competitor.

Soon he began spending his entire workday listening to the recorded phone calls from beginning to end. Sometimes he’d play a recording once, then twice, then again for good measure, listening to every nuance in the rep’s voice.

But there were so many recordings he ended up working through the night just to finish them all. Without a way to figure out which recordings were important, he had to comb through every single one himself.

He started spending so much time at work that his family fell apart, he got robbed because his car was parked at the building so late, and he didn’t get any managerial work done for two months because he spent all his time listening to those phone calls. Don’t want to end up like Byron? Take a look at Sally’s story.

Sally and the Simplified Sales Solution


Sally also manages a sales team at Solomon Sisters Slingshots and wants to make sure everyone is saying all the right things on phone calls. She used to take Byron’s approaches, until she found speech-recognition technology to simplify her work life.

Woman reviewing a reportNow that she uses it, she simply selects the keywords that are important to her business ("thank you," "SlingShot Pro 2000," "helpful," "have a great day"). After picking these special words, the technology takes over. It automatically records all inbound and outbound phone calls and scans the recordings for the selected keywords. If a call contains one of the keywords, the recording is flagged so she knows exactly which calls to give more attention.

When Sally wants to check in on her team’s performance, she just look at the report with all the call recordings and listens to the calls that are flagged with keywords. By using this tool, she can better train employees and improve her team’s customer service.

Hopefully you can learn from Byron’s mistakes and Sally’s simple solution of speech-recognition technology. And if you’re looking for more ways to simplify your business, check out our post on how to fix your call handling mistakes.