Old Becomes New Again, Again: Click to Call

Ian Lurie

As an internet marketer, I’ve always hated phones. With a passion. Why? Because I can’t tell why someone calls me. Did they find me in the phone book? On a search engine? From that e-mail I sent out? When customers call companies, the company has no way of knowing if they got the phone number from their website, the phone book, or some other source. It’s untraceable, and you can’t figure out how phone calls factor into ROI.

But now I can fall in love again. Meet ‘click to call’ — the relationship therapist for Internet marketers everywhere. It’s already in use at companies such as IBM, Carnival Cruises, and Continental Airlines. These companies like click to call because it helps them maximize call center use and revives this ancient customer service art called human conversation.

Most important, click to call is measurable, without being intrusive.

Here’s how it works. With click to call, customers can fill out a simple form (think name, phone number, question). That generates a message at the company’s call center, and a salesperson calls the customer back. The form creates a landing page — see my previous article on ROI if you don’t know the lingo — so we can track what gets people to this point. Voila:

Trackable, measurable phone leads, using anonymous data.

The fact that there is now a tangible way of telling whether your online advertising is generating customer interest is almost as exciting and mind boggling as the fact that pretty soon, when you go to order Pottery Barn throw rugs, you might talk to an actual person. And I can get back on speaking terms with my telephone.

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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