Thanks to the proliferation of smart phones, “phone calls are hip again,” declared Carlton van Putten, vice president of marketing at ContactPoint, makers of LogMyCalls. Van Putten spoke during a panel titled, “Call Marketing: Keys to Engagement and Conversion,” held Thursday at LeadsCon 2014.
Yet call-based marketing has expanded much beyond simply tracking a phone number and collecting data. Today, companies can analyze the conversation and pull out pertinent keywords, added Travis Fairchild, vice president of media and distribution for Marchex. “Tracking is great,” he said, “but you really need to understand the conversation.”
By analyzing the conversation, a company can find out if the customer is asking for business or expressing a complaint, van Putten said.
Of course, the consumer must be informed the phone call is being recorded. However, Fairchild noted there are methods to monitor a conversation without an actual recording.
Lisa Riolo, vice president of services and customer success at Invoca, says that companies must track not only if a consumer filled out a form online but whether the individual actually clicked to call. Those two actions need to be integrated for optimal results, she said.
The panelists also discussed the merits of measuring the length of a phone call. “Duration is not a good proxy for quality,” Fairchild stated. Likewise, van Putten termed call duration “a pseudo metric.” In other words, longer is not necessary better.
However, call length can provide insight into whether the calls are actually quality leads, said Dan Altman, marketing manager for Empire Today, a flooring company. If Empire Today sees that many of its purchased calls end after 90 seconds or if there is a high rate of canceled appointments, then the company would suspect the calls provided may be fraudulent, according to Altman. Typically, an Empire Today sales call lasts between three to five minutes. “There’s no reason to pay for shorter calls,” he said.
Lead generation via call marketing “doesn’t come cheap,” Fairchild said. He pointed out that a phone-ready consumer is usually a highly qualified lead.
Further, the companies that would purchase call marketing leads play within major, high-ticket industries, such as financial services, insurance, hospitality and travel, home services, auto and tire, noted van Putten. And for enterprises, such as tire companies, “they want the phone ringing in the office,” he said.
Other topics discussed during the panel, moderated by Jay Weintraub, founder of Grow.co, included the difference between click to call and forced click to call; conversion rates (which can be between 20 percent to 30 percent, according to Fairchild); and the importance of providing relevant content.