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Tracking Calls & Conversions – how is your business doing it?

  • By calcoastwebdesign
  • 5 Tags
  • 01 Oct 2008

Angie’s at it again….I have this new obsession with tracking the calls that come through your website. Why do I care? Because supposedly over half of the people on your website don’t contact you digitally, they come in your doors or call. But they CAME from the website. I know you don’t believe it, which is why I feel the need to prove it 🙂

Today I spent the majority of the day researching this and integrating. I’ve been “in progress” with this for 2 months now, so I will save YOU the time and put all my research / thoughts / strategies here in one place. Check for updates and comments to this post because everything is still in testing!!

There are a ton of tracking options out there, mainly for you pay-per-clickers, but I wanted the cheap and effective ones for organic SEO’s. In this post we’ll be looking at Google & Skype.

Google phone reporting is one option, takes about an hour to set up with my instructions, so go get yer glass of wine and try not to spill with excitement:

  1. Go to and set up your account. You need to do POST pay, NOT prepay. I think you have to pay 5 bucks activation. Its well worth it. NOTE: Prepay doesn’t work for tracking numbers, trust me I figured it out the 10-hours-later-and-it-no-workie-way.
  2. After your postpay account is setup, you need to go to the campaign manager and set up your first campaign. It MUST be either radio or print to get the tracking number!
  3. You’ll need to basically fake creating your print or radio campaign through the wizard, including adding budget (yes its scary…just do it & be brave…damn…maybe SEO isn’t so expensive after all LOL) to about the 3rd or 4th step where you get to the point of defining how you are going to track the account. When you are here, request a call reporting number, and put in the clients’ number that forwards to. So if the number on the website you’re optimizing is 234-567-8910, you put that in as the forwarding for the reporting number, and you’re now on your way to trackable leads!
  4. IMPORTANT! DO NOT COMPLETE ALL STEPS for the campaign, you need to abandon after you request the call reporting!!! This will give us call reporting but no additional fees. If you feel bad about this then finish the wizard and actually DO the campaign or scroll down to the next option, Skype.
  5. Go check your Adwords account the next day for your reporting numbers, then change the number on your websites and blog! Make sure to test the reporting number first, to ensure it forwards to the client or business correctly. You now have tracking on everyone who calls that number!! If you only advertise it online, then you know everyone who calls the number found you on the internet.

Now let’s talk cons. Everyone’s gonna complain they don’t want to put a different number on their website, we know memorization, branding, etc. I agree, that does kind of suck, but I think its the lesser of two evils. In print, I always recommend and personally practice using a different domain name than I do for my SEO. This way I know Cal Coast is doing its job and the print brochures are effective and in the right places. If I get no referrals from the domain name on the brochure I know what to do, and I do something entirely different if I get no referrals from the SEO domain. Shouldn’t I also be applying these principles to the phone? So I can better spend my marketing dollars?

My other paranoia is I don’t exactly understand where these reporting numbers come from so I have to trust Google is not going to redistribute them or something bad. Plus I have to trust the tracking ability in general. I don’t love this, but if I must trust anyone, shouldn’t my faith be in Google? What other company out there really has our best interest at heart?

Aren’t the cons small compared to the potential increase in business we could have by tracking calls back to keywords and campaigns????

I’m sure I haven’t thought of everything, so comment your experiences please!

If you don’t think the Google route is appealing, tracking with Skype may be your better option – because you pay for your Skype number (Googles you are fanagling a free one) so you possibly have more comfort and control. Skype is so cheap and easy, its confusing, LOL 🙂 Another of my 2 month projects.

Steps to start using Skype (takes about an hour and $33 bucks…that’s IT?!)

  1. First, watch the video on Skype offers. This post is just about one thing, tracking that SkypeIn number with your SEO. You may want to integrate it on a larger level, we are 🙂
  2. Download Skype on your computer. Choose a relevant username. When you’re done its seems very similiar to Yahoo IM or AOL, but I’ve found Skype is waaay better for business.
  3. In your new Skype window click contacts – search – and Invite your employees, resellers, and sphere to download and connect. (don’t worry your clients and prospects won’t have to do this…relax)
  4. Next you need to set up your Business Control Panel , THEN Get a skypeIn number. You even get some say in what number you want, and you have local or toll free subscription options. *subscriptions are best*

    The clicks once logged in are “manage online numbers”, and “purchase more online numbers”. BEWARE: don’t just set up a SkypeIn number first with the account you downloaded on your computer unless you are a one man band and want that account to get all the incoming calls!

  5. Now that your number is secured, test it and set up your forwarding / voicemail options.
  6. Using the business center, connect the number with the sales or service employee who answers the calls for this campaign you are tracking. Since numbers are only $30 bucks a year, why not have one for print, radio, TV, organic SEO, and PPC? I bet we’re all wasting more than $150/yr not tracking this stuff and sending dollars in the wrong directions!!
  7. Implement your new Skype number on the website, blog, and your other social networking ventures 🙂

It sounds too good to be true, you can integrate skype into your online campaigns and track those calls! What are the cons, then? One of the big cons of Skype for this purpose is it doesn’t give you the keyword bread crumb trail and the clicks to the call, which the Google tracking will do. It then depends on if you want ultimate control of the number or more complete data…or a more expensive solution I didn’t address here…so many decisions!

No matter what you decide, I hope you make the decision to T R A C K. I know it will make a difference to your business!

My best-

Angie Weeks
Founder & guinea pig 🙂
Cal Coast Web Design