By Ambarish Gupta, Founder & CEO, Knowlarity
How does one conclude if their moolah is being wisely spent on advertising campaigns? Well, this is a question that has been daunting agencies and clients alike for quite some time now. While, the print-only age had its own challenges, the influx of the online revolution in this digital age makes this question ever so unnerving.
Each passing moment presents newer online platforms for advertisement, which poses as a problem as the veiled budget strain becomes even more fragile. Brands are juggling their ad campaign money really thin over the expanding online and offline channels.
Let’s assess the issue. Under offline, there’s print, radio, television, direct mailers, and outdoor advertising such as hoardings, ads on the sides of buses, or bus shelter ads, etc. Online you have mailers, web banners, websites, and website landing pages arrived at from pay-per-click advertisements, mobile click-to-call adverts and most importantly social media ads.
This sums up the problem. We have the problem figured out, now proceed to the solutions and pay attention, this might save a few nightmarish money squandering on ad campaigns.
To put it in the words of the famous marketer, John Wanamaker, an American marketing pioneer, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Yes, that’s about right. How does one allocate ad budgets to channels to drive the best outcome? For sure, dividing it equally amongst all the channels available is a poor strategy we all have done.
Determining the right platform for the right brand and campaign should be a priority and one, which could be easily achieved. Online channels could be easily accessed through available super analytics, it’s easy to figure out how many people visit your website, which pages they peruse, which pay-per-click advertisement they click on to get to your site, how many people clicked on a particular ad, what search terms are used most often, which landing page is generating the most leads and which special offers are prompting customers to fill out an online form, etc., it’s endless.
But, what if customers use the more personal route and call on the number mentioned in advertisements? Now, how does one decide which channel did the customer get the number from, it’s a lost cause! Here’ where Virtual Numbers come to the rescue. Allot different virtual numbers to different channels and let the simple feature termed ’Call Tracking’ do the work for you. It’s affordable, easy to implement and helps identify the channel best suited for the campaign or the brand.
You could additionally use vanity numbers, easy on the eyes and catchy; it increases retention and gives a greater ROI on campaigns, even though they are a little pricier.
Let me explain how it works, let’s say your brand has a campaign running simultaneously on 5 channels, namely, one on a billboard, a web banner, an advertisement in a magazine, a click-to-call mobile advertisement, and a pay-per-click advertisement that leads to a particular landing page on the web.
All you have to do is allot a different virtual number to each channel. These virtual numbers can automatically direct all calls to your pre-determined business number. If you add call-tracking solution to this mix, every single call will be tracked, determining exactly how many customers are calling through which number and you can correspond those numbers to the different channels. This gives you an invaluable insight into which ad campaign, and which channel specifically is generating the most responses.
Thus, you manage to track responses to your offline advertisements and also track phone responses to your online campaigns in one show. Being on cloud, it proves inexpensive as you don’t invest in additional infrastructure.
This is all great, but what if you miss a call, that’s a lead missed, a business lost, especially when there is a flood of calls owing to a new campaign. Implementing a simple IVR solution here let’s you direct customers to pre-recorded information that they need, or allows callers to leave a phone number for you to call back. In short, you’ll never lose a lead.
You can also ensure you never miss a call through intelligent call routing, where you can list a number sales agents, so if one misses the call, it passes on to the other and follows through, until someone answers the call.
You can further integrate call tracking with your online analytics package, or with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Doing this will give you a broader picture of each customer’s purchasing history, and his or her personal preferences. This will help with research and studying customer behavior ad preference for your brand.
Addition of a call recording feature, easily available through a cloud communications provider can help play back mp3 files of customer conversations. This will go a long way in improving customer interactions.
Let’s welcome the online revolution with its pros and cons. The possibilities are endless, so are the problems, but today’s technological solutions can empower businesses to work past the barriers and explore the limitless possibilities. Cloud is closer than you think and it’s time to work smarter than the competitors.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Gulf Marketing Review.