Wiretap Your Website: Measure Phone Calls Generated By Online Ads

Ian Lurie

You have a phone number on your website, or your landing page. Or maybe in that Adwords ad. But how do you know if it’s the reason you’re getting those calls?

More important, how do you prove it the CEO, who continually harasses you about the money you’re ‘wasting’ on internet marketing. Every time he looks at you, accusingly, you can feel your career prospects dwindling.

The Accusing CEO

But I digress.

You can measure your site’s performance, in terms of its ability to make your phone ring (literally). Four steps, and you’re all set:

  1. Get a separate 800 number for the ad, campaign, or even the keyword you want to measure. It’s not that expensive: $2-5/month will get you a number. Ideally, set yourself up with a virtual PBX service, like VirtualPBX.
  2. Put that number on the landing page, in the ad, or wherever else you’re sending folks from that campaign. Do not point any other campaigns at that phone number!
  3. Keep track of calls that come in to that number in a log. Record the call, the first and last name of the caller, and their number. If they don’t want to give you that information, still record the fact that you received the call.
  4. Then track that lead through to conclusion.

Voila. Call tracking from your web site. You can use this trick to measure the effectiveness of:

  • Radio advertising.
  • Television spots.
  • Print ads.
  • Individual keywords (10 keywords? Set up 10 numbers – point each keyword at a page with that number).
  • Your entire website.
  • You entire internet marketing campaign.

See? It’s easy. So don’t ignore those phone calls. If you do, you’re shortchanging your internet marketing strategy.

Don't ignore the phone calls
Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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