How often do you perform a mobile phone or Internet search for a business and immediately call that business? I’m betting fairly often. You are not alone – your customers do this all the time!
At Marchex, we specialize in digital advertising solutions for small businesses. Over the years, we have learned a lot about the needs of our small business customers and we’ve spent a significant amount of time monitoring and measuring how changing digital advertising trends and consumer adoption of new devices, like smartphones, impact the way small businesses sell products and services.
Today, the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices provide consumers with immediate access to business information no matter where they are in relation to their needs.
Whether it’s a coffee shop within walking distance or a car repair business several miles away – or anything in between – consumers use their mobile devices to search for relevant business information and easily place a call for more details.
Timeliness of information makes the mobile audience ripe with intent to buy, and small businesses need to learn how to best reach this audience and optimize their advertising spend to drive better return on investment.
Small business customers often search for business listings and then call for directions, hours of operation, product or service availability, reservations, pricing and more. Odds are you don’t know if your callers came in from a search engine, or other online referral source such as local listings or location-based mobile applications.
But, chances are high that you are measuring click through rates or form fill responses from these digital advertising placements. If so, that’s fantastic! But, you might be missing out on a big chunk of your ROI story: Offline conversions that are driven though online campaigns.
To further elaborate on this point, I’d like to share a real-world example from which we can all learn.
A home services business with several local locations needed to understand exactly how much traffic their search campaigns drove in the form of phone calls.
Despite custom SEO and search engine marketing strategies developed by a search consultancy, the home services business received a minimal amount of form fill outs from its website, and needed to determine if search marketing was still a viable and cost-effective lead generation tool.
Although the business was seeing a strong uptick in phone calls, the increase in calls could not be directly attributed to its online campaigns. Since phone calls are critical to this business’s success, there was a desire to know for sure how the calls were being generated.
Tracking offline conversions from search campaigns is more cumbersome than measuring clicks, but it also tells a bigger, more powerful story about the end-to-end impact of search campaigns and helps small businesses better manage their budgets.
By Jeff Braislin, Search Engine Land
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