Tracking marketing expenses is fairly easy, but assigning them based on specific results and determining what works can be quite difficult. Establishing which marketing methods drive sales and effectively penetrate markets can help marketing teams understand what to do in the future and pin-point which efforts aren’t yielding results. However, assigning indirect costs and ascertaining market penetration by particular methods can be elusive, at best.

 

One of the most accurate, effective, and easiest ways to record marketing efforts is through the use of virtual phone numbers.

 

1 – Get A Phone Number

 

Virtual Phone Number

 

While it may not seem like thetypical solution to budgeting questions and understanding market penetration, having a dedicated virtual number assigned to specific projects is a very practical solution. In this scenario, using different virtual numbers for individual projects can track the productivity and traffic generated by those  projects.

 

For instance, if your marketing team uses a three-prong approach of email marketing, direct mail, and pay per click ads, you would want to offer each slick or content piece a different number. Use one number for each individual effort, so that email, direct mail, and pay per click ads are all using a separate number – preferably a new number that has not been associated with any other efforts previously.

 

2 – Compartmentalize

 

Virtual Phone Number

 

Once the number has been established, tracking theROI is a much easier process – begin by recording the number of calls to each phone number. Because each marketing content piece has its own number, in this case it acts like a counter for each ad or sales touch. Essentially, this compartmentalizes efforts and tracks specific reach in various areas, allowing marketing specialists to determine what is working and what isn’t.

 

Sending out multiple numbers to multiple sources also helps establish long term trends, not just contacts within an initial 30 day period.

 

3 – Track

 

Virtual Phone Number

 

By tracking long term trends, especially calls made to the given number, marketing teams can further analyze which methods take a little longer to become effective.

 

This is the best metric for determining how to split costs associated with different projects, especially if your accounting team considers accounting anindirect cost. Using a specific number can track not only phone calls, but sales via phone calls. The number of calls from a marketing effort is a very good number to know, but measuring the conversion of those calls into sales over a longer period of time is a more effective and accurate means of providing information. More specifically, “click bait” ads are not ultimately beneficial to a company if they don’t convert calls into sales. The same applies to mailers or Emails – and being able to comprehensively understand which wording works better than another, or which generates interest but not enthusiasm, etc. is helpful in demonstrating productivity.

 

4 – Collect Data

 

Virtual Phone Number

 

Finally, marketing teams who useIntegrated Marketing Communications techniques particularly benefit from using a virtual phone number, as it will show them which aspects generate the greatest call to action. Because integrated marketing communications uses multiple avenues tospread the same message, it is capable of maximizing the impact – and still determining which parts were most effective in leading potential customers to the phones.

 

Tracking calls requires unique software, and employs analytics tools can demonstrate to users exactly how many calls were made to which number over a specific period of time. For email blitzes, this helps ascertain how many clients or potential customers are calling in within a specified period – generally, the 3 day period after the blitz. Similarly, mailers can track the specific number as well from a 5-7 day period after sending them – or any other period.

 

All of the phone numbers can be configured to forward into a main contact center, or have specific teams for different products. A company with multiple products, for instance, can either choose to staff one sales team for a specific product line, or have a unified contact center, where every representative is versed on the entire suite of products.

 

International Sales

 

One of the main benefits in this circumstance is the flexibility of phone numbers. Call forwarding features enable a business to use either a local number with a local area code for one market segmentation, or a 1-800 number for geographically targeted prospects. Moreover, these are numbers that can be changed for one purpose or another to test different approaches.

 

International numbers are also viable options for call tracking, and are ideal for businesses that serve overseas clients. Call forwarding allows a business to set up a local number in a different country and forward to a US number, which can still record and analyze inbound calls. In effect, this is no different than the localized version of having a different number for each marketing method, except the numbers are international.

 

In addition to partitioning the inbound results, having a call forwarding solution for your marketing team can significantly boost efforts. Call forwarding allows a multitude of features, regardless of the marketing approach. For example, having an international number forwarded alone creates a demand for international sales. Locals in other countries will not be required to pay for the toll charges, making your business a more attractive option.

 

Call Forwarding

 

Furthermore, call forwarding can route numbers from a business phone to a cell phone, so a smaller business can still answer calls and be agile.Find me and follow me options can forward a call either to a pre-determined sequence, or multiple phones at once. This enables callers to reach the right person faster, and enables leadership to be mobile – even when a large contact center is involved. Moreover, time of day and day of the week settings allow additional call routing features to maximize contact.

 

Conclusion

 

When it comes to marketing metrics, tracking marketing can be difficult to do. Conventional wisdom previously thought that having a single number from multiple sources was the ideal solution, but this makes determining which methods of marketing are really the most likely to penetrate difficult. In an age where CEOs are slashing marketing and advertising budgets, being able to demonstrate the direct costs and benefits lends a significant amount of support to your cause.

 

One of the surest methods to ascertain precisely which methods are working, (and which aren’t!) is by compartmentalizing the inbound calls to different virtual numbers. They’re inexpensive, flexible, can be easily changed or re-routed, and easily allow marketing analysts partition off the cost and benefits of individual efforts.

 

The only question is: Why isn’t your marketing team using one?