Phone call tracking systems track and report all incoming call information and attribute calls to the marketing channels that drove them as well as basic information like the caller’s number, call time, and location. This is useful for marketing, as it helps businesses determine where customers come from to tell you which campaigns are effective.
However, a call tracking service is no substitute for a proper business phone solution with built-in call tracking functionality. For that, we recommend taking a look at RingCentral. The voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) system comes with the ability to track all call activity on its network. It also comes with a virtual receptionist module and business texting functionality. Click the button below to start your 7-day free trial.
What Is Call Tracking & How Does It Work?
Call tracking is a VoIP business phone feature that helps you track phone leads by inserting a unique tracking number into all of your paid ads, emails, landing pages, and website contents in order to gauge which of your marketing efforts are producing the best results. In addition, it also tracks the number of calls you receive, the times of the calls, and more. This information can all be used to better understand your audience and, in turn, make your operations more effective.
In its most basic form, call tracking is comprised of setting up a unique phone number for all of your marketing channels. As an example, you might have one number for your print ads and another one for social media. If you get more calls to the number from the print ads, then you can deduce that those marketing efforts are more effective. This, in summary, is the main benefit of call tracking functionality.
It is worth noting that you run the risk of confusing customers by having many different phone numbers. To avoid this, we recommend keeping one main phone number for all incoming callers. We also suggest keeping no more than three or four different marketing numbers live at any given point. This way, you do not overwhelm customers who may come across several of your marketing channels.
Call tracking software services will create numbers for you to insert into your marketing collateral. If someone calls one of those numbers, the service will automatically forward them to your main business line while also keeping a record of the original number called. You can then view what channels are getting the most calls on your call tracking software dashboard.
The type of call tracking you use will depend on the call tracking solution you have. If you want to track via multiple phone numbers, then you can use any business phone system, like RingCentral, Grasshopper, or even Google Voice to set up these numbers and just put them into your marketing materials as you see fit.
In addition to providing notable marketing insights, call tracking is also useful in the same way that the call log on the average smartphone is. Being able to see when calls were placed, the numbers involved, and caller location helps you keep track of all of your daily business communications. If you need to remember when an important sales call took place last week, you can simply look at phone call tracking software and look up the person’s name or number.
Who Phone Call Tracking is Right For
As a small business, you want to make sure that you are getting the right return on investment (ROI) on all of your marketing strategies. Phone call tracking gives you direct insights into where most of your audience is coming from and thus where you should focus the bulk of your marketing efforts. Additionally, call tracking can help companies make better scheduling decisions and reference earlier calls.
Call tracking is particularly useful for the following:
- Marketing Initiatives: Call tracking makes it possible to determine what content made your audience aware of your organization. These insights can help you understand what campaigns are over or under performing. It also tells you where your audience is located, so you get a better idea of who your demographic is.
- Scheduling Decisions: Call tracking software tells you when people are calling your company. You can use that information to determine your busiest times and shift sales and support schedules around that data.
- Call Reference: It’s hard to keep track of all of your business conversations every day. If you need to remember when a specific call took place for reference purposes, you can easily pull up that information of your phone call tracking service’s call logs page.
All told, phone call tracking is a powerful tool for anyone looking to better understand their marketing efforts. You can use the information to make smarter decisions about where to spend on marketing campaigns. This is accomplished by giving you a full view of all of your incoming calls.
“We implemented call tracking through CallRail about two years ago. It has allowed us to track where our leads and clients are coming from much more efficiently, which in turn has helped us adjust our marketing dollars to put money where we are actually getting good quality leads from. Our marketing budget is now being spent much more effectively.”
—Gabrielle Piloto, Marketing Director, Hancock Injury Attorneys.
Call Tracking Costs
The cost of your call tracking solution will vary based on whether you go with a basic call tracking mechanism or a standalone tracker. Most services are also priced into bundled with certain amounts of phone numbers and advanced features. Prices range from $29 to $149 per month depending on additional features.
Fortunately, both business phone services and call tracking solutions are priced affordably enough for most small business users. Even an entry-level system can make a large difference in understanding your audience better. It also helps you make smarter marketing decisions in the future.
Call Tracking Features
All call tracking systems need to be able to accept incoming phone calls with a unique number, forward that call to a main business line, and tell you what source the call came from. On top of that, many services also offer text tracking and the ability to connect call data with outside business software.
Being able to track call sources is the core function of all solutions. Most systems will provide you with either local or toll-free numbers to use in your marketing materials. Call tracking software will take that information, note what number was called, and then transfer the caller to your main business line.
Phone call tracking services can track phone numbers across all sorts of marketing channels, whether that is an online ad, company website, social media, newspaper, billboard ads, and more. In the majority of cases, you will be able to apply custom labels to each marketing phone number.
With CallCap and other solutions, you have the ability to track the source of incoming text messages much like you do with calls. This is especially helpful as many of today’s modern consumers prefer to reach out over text message than email. This is a good feature to look out for if most of your customer base tends to be younger.
Many leading call tracking systems offer the ability to automatically enter all incoming callers into a customer relationship management (CRM) service like Salesforce so that these callers can be turned into trackable prospects in a sales pipeline. Having caller data automatically sent to a CRM’s database can save agents a lot of time so that they can focus more on closing deals.
Call Tracking Providers
There are no shortage of phone call tracking providers on the market. There are service packages for all budgets and business needs. Many systems also offer additional features like reporting as well as other types of tracking such as forms and emails.
Notable call tracking providers include:
CallRail is a call tracking solution that lets you create one or multiple phone numbers which are then forwarded to your main business line. In addition to call tracking, CallRail also comes with a form tracker function that lets you create, deploy, and track forms across a multitude of marketing channels. The service starts at $30 per month, and the company also offers a 14-day free trial.
Invoca, which is priced on an individual basis, is a marketing solution that lets you track and analyze incoming calls. What makes the service standout is the inclusion of the Signal AI assistant. Signal captures details from phone conversations such as person’s name, the topic of conversation, and the overall outcome (“Amy wants an estimate on her living room remodel. Outcome: quote request.”). Click here to learn more.
CallCap starts at $29 per month and comes with features for tracking the source of all incoming calls. The service will even generate demographics dashboards based on the time, location, and source of your incoming call traffic. In addition to calls, CallCap can also apply the same tracking features to text messages. Click here to get started
Pros & Cons of Call Tracking
Call tracking is very useful for marketers and other workers who want to better evaluate the usefulness of their marketing channels. However, the technology isn’t without its problems. Setting up trackers can be overwhelming for non-technical users. Here are some pros and cons of using call tracking technology.
Pros of Call Tracking
- Research: Call tracking technology helps you better understand who your audience is, what their preferences are, and what sort of mediums they look at most.
- Cost Savings: The insights gained from phone call tracking systems help you cut down on unnecessary costs. For example, it could tell you that your expensive newspaper print ad campaign isn’t driving very many people to your business, so you can save yourself the investment in the future.
- Lead Tracking: When people call your business, a call tracking solution can usually forward that data to your CRM or another piece of software. Then, you can start working with this prospect throughout the sales pipeline and hopefully close a deal with them.
Cons of Call Tracking
- Technical Knowledge: Being able to configure a call tracking service, deploy it, and gain insights from call data requires a level of technical knowledge that might be too demanding for some business users.
- Lead Quality: There will always be some percentage of incoming calls that are either from non-serious inquiries or scam lines. These calls can contaminate the usefulness of your call tracking data.
- Affordable Alternatives: For a fraction of the cost of a proper call tracker, you could set up multiple free virtual numbers and track calls that way. Additionally, you could also simply ask callers “where do you hear about us?”
Alternatives to Call Tracking
If you have decided that call tracking is not a good fit for you, do not despair. You can still garner valuable insights about your marketing campaigns and audience characteristics without investing in a traditional call tracker. One thing you can do with the original form of phone call tracking is set up multiple virtual numbers and use them in different contexts. You could also send a survey to all prospective customers, or just ask them how they heard about you.
Call tracking alternatives include:
If you want to track calls for free, you can do so in a roundabout way with the free Google Voice service or any other virtual phone number provider. All you need to do is make multiple Google accounts and choose a unique local phone number for each of them. Simply designate each number to a marketing campaign (one for print ads, one for social media, one for billboards, etc.) and take note of what numbers are getting the most calls. If you are short on cash, this is an effective way of getting similar functionality.
Free tools like SurveyMonkey let you build and deploy surveys of all kinds. If you happen to get the email address of the person calling, you can send the person a follow-up survey asking them some questions about themselves, including “how did you hear about us?” Alternatively, you can simply ask that question over the phone to all incoming callers and take note of their responses. These are very basic ways of gathering this data, but they come at no cost.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What if I don’t receive calls from my tracking numbers 24/7?
Many call tracking services offer the ability to set business hours so that calls after certain times of the day are automatically routed to voicemail.
Can I port existing numbers to my call tracking numbers?
Yes. You can do this in the settings menu of your call tracking solution. Alternatively, you can also contact your provider’s customer service team.
Are spam calls automatically filtered out of my call tracking system?
Some services offer some sort of spam filter by cross-referencing each incoming call with an internal database of known scam lines. However, there will always be some calls that get through this filter.
Call tracking services are an important part of modern marketing. These services help you understand where your customers are finding your business from, when they like to call, and where they are calling from. These insights can be transformative in helping you decide where to invest your marketing dollars.
You need a business phone service in place before you can start taking and tracking calls. For this, we recommend checking out RingCentral. The service comes with a free local or toll-free number, business texting, and a virtual receptionist to greet and route callers. The company even offers a 7-day free trial.