Thursday, 22 July 2010

Do you use these secret marketing tools?

Sales and Marketing Activity

If you use the telephone as a tool to take orders and field enquiries from your marketing activity how do you know how successful you are?

It was Viscount Leverhulme who said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don’t know which half.” 

The trouble with traditional marketing is that you know that you have to do it and with an eager air of anticipation and expectation you spend money on using Yellow Pages, weekly free press, monthly gazettes, web sites, email marketing, letters, leaflet drops, radio, TV, street adverts, brochures, 4N, BNI etc. Generally as businesses, we usually only ever have one main telephone number that is used, and if you only publish the one number on all of the above options you will hopefully capture the sale but unless you are rigorous in asking the question – How did you hear of us? you will never know what is the source of your sale and if what you are marketing in is actually working.

What is important is how to capture the hard data and to understand how effective each marketing activity you do is and so help you to justify expanding some areas of advertising and cutting back others therefore increasing the effectiveness of your lead generation.

Yellow pages have for years monitored the usage patterns of its users and have identified that the readers will call telephone numbers in the following order of priority:
  • Freephone (0800, 0808) numbers 
  • Local Geographic Numbers (01392 Exeter, 01904 York etc.) 
  • And the rest 0845, 0870 are avoided because of the perception of the company benefiting from the call 
Therefore it is recommend that you use 0800 and 0808 numbers for a number of reasons
  1. because the research data backs this up, and
  2. that prospects prefer to make a call that they know that they are not paying for. 
    So you need to measure your advertising using evidence based reporting.  The simplest and most effective way to measure the response is by using telephony platforms to collate the call data. This means that once you decide that you need to measure your marketing campaigns you will need to look for a supplier that will provide the right telephone numbers to publish on your individual marketing pieces and then a solution that provides you with the detailed information on inbound calls to maximise your lead generation activity.

    Converting Sales to Leads

    Not only is accurate and live data on your marketing performance necessary, you also ought to record each inbound call so that you can ensure that all staff responsible for making the sale are fully trained and following your sales procedures/scripts to maximise each opportunity. If one person, including yourself is off track then potential orders can be lost.

    Results are what business are all about, so the system you choose to employ needs to allow you to measure how many leads your marketing is generating and how your business is handling these sales calls. You need to obtain all the information you can possibly get to help drive your business forward.

    Accurate and Instant Marketing Data

    You have spent hours getting your creative right, wording, font type and size, the message, the call to action everything else you have learned from the Marketing AIDA, Attention Interest Desire Action.

    1. So what was your response?
    2. How many people bought from you?
    3. How many people contacted you?
    4. How well did you do at converting those who called into those who bought?

     The first step in this process is knowing who reacted to your marketing, this is the measure of your marketing effectiveness. All your individual telephone numbers can provide you with detailed information about who called and when, all you have to provide is the – 'what marketing item each number refers to'.

    Cost Benefit Analysis

    As you have collected so much more data than before you can now begin to collate the financial data for each marketing activity carried out and begin to understand what works and what does not.

    Using the call data you can determine the value of each activity and the most cost effective way to attract customers and clients to your business, ensuring that you get better value out of each pound spent on marketing your business services and products.

    Knowledge is Power

    When you have the information available to make decisions based on fact and you then act on this information you have the power to make a massive impact upon your bottom line.

    What has been outlined here is not rocket science, although it can and does to many look like a dark art, the reality is that by simple use of telephone platforms you now have the ability to capture the data with which to measure your marketing. You can then use it to make significantly more money than you currently are because you are focussing on what works rather than like Viscount Leverhulme all those years ago knowing that half worked but not knowing which half!

    For a full PDF version of this article click here to download it.



    1. Andy, this is an interesting and unique angle on monitoring marketing.
      So are you saying we should use a different telephone number for each marketing piece? Would all those different numbers then just divert to the main business number?
      I'd be interested in stats for responses to marketing. Ie; how do people get in touch. Many of our customers don't call at all; they look at our website and then send an email. So would you suggest just having a telephone number on the marketing info?
      I'd love to explore this further; very thought provoking!

    2. By using different numbers for each type of marketing you gain the ability to track and assess the effectiveness of each type of marketing piece. Give flyers and other hard copy an individual number each so that the responses can be tracked. Give each email campaign an individual number so that those recipients who choose to call can be tracked (you will be already tracking those that use the web response route). Give each individual landing page a unique telephone number because there are many like me who will call for details rather than send an email request.

      You can have the numbers directed to one main number for final handling or directed to many depending on how you want to handle the calls.

      It is the call routing that sits between the individual numbers and the final destination that does the work and produces the stats for analysis and subsequent effectiveness of the marketing piece.

      Giving potential customers the means to contact you by a variety of methods is essential as is the ability to capture the data to support and monitor your marketing activity. Using the calling number data compliments whatever web analytics that you use.

    3. I completely agree with this - in a previous company, they used a specific 0800 number for all Google adwords and then mapped the number over a mobile number which resided in the sales office, commonly known as the bat phone! When a call came in on that number, the chances of it being a qualified prospect were much greater and the sales team would grab it as soon as it rang. Not only that but the Marketing team could monitor the effectiveness of their adwords campaigns and conversion rates. Dead easy to do and very worthwhile!

    4. Nice post Andy, I've been thinking about this since you mentioned it. Is it possible to reserve a range of non-geographical numbers so they aren't all wildly different? Any restrictions on the minimum usage of these numbers?

      I'd also suggest doing the same for email enquiries (@dickie) by creating aliases for each outlet you post your address on, for example, keep your website email address as professional as possible, such as, for 4N something a little more friendly and personal is acceptable 4N.enquiry@ etc. All incoming mails will end up in the same inbox.

    5. Agreed re collecting info on response rates etc, but I think a lot depends on the campaign type i.e brand awareness vs direct response.
      Making a direct appeal (usually with the cost outlined) using advertising, Social Media, etc is a really good way to see what works and what doesn't. It is a little more tricky if brand building is the objective.
      Also, I always ask people where they found me even down to the search terms used if the enquiry came in via email.
      As you say Andy, knowledge is power!

    6. In answer to the question posted about reserving blocks of numbers and minimum usage of allocated numbers the answer is straight forward.

      You can reserve blocks of numbers for use in campaigns, on email marketing, flyers etc. and there is no minimum usage requirements.

    7. This is great stuff and good reminder to may business owners. Personally I am not 100% sold on the whole Freephone / non geographic number issue.
      What is important however is that each and every time that the phone rings, especially when you are running a specific campaign. Is that it get answered and that all the data needed is gathered to be able to test and measure effectively. Many of our clients know this and when they run a campaign so that when Answer-it is taking calls we know to make a not of where the lead has come from.
      If the phone isn't answered you can't get the information!
      Emma Fryer