"There are myriad marketing channels available to SMBs today. Social media, radio, print, television and online display ads all have a place in the small business marketing universe - but how do you choose one channel over another?"
by Denise Terry
With unique telephone numbers linked to different marketing campaigns, you don't have to. Set up a number - either toll-free or local - for each campaign you run, and you'll be able to easily track the "stickiness" of your marketing efforts across different channels.
How would this work in practice? Imagine that you want to advertise your landscaping business to consumers in your area. You only have a limited budget to work with, so you buy one radio ad, played five times daily on a local station and one print ad, set to run on weekdays in your town's newspaper. You also plan on engaging with your company's followers on Facebook and Twitter.
For each of those four campaigns, you set up a different phone number that interested consumers may call to receive more information or purchase your services. Cloud business phone providers can help you set up a new virtual phone number for just a few dollars per month, making this strategy a low-cost method of A/B testing various marketing channels.
Once your campaigns are in place, simply use call management features to generate reports of the inbound calls your firm receives. You can see at a glance how many consumers are calling each of your unique numbers - and that data can provide unique insights into your customer base and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
You may find, for example, that socialmedia marketing generates calls from the urbanized areas in your region. Alternately, you may discover that rural inhabitants are especially responsive to your radio advertising. Those two outcomes suggest that city dwellers are more likely to engage with brands through Facebook and Twitter, while people who spend more time in their cars tend to react well to radio advertising. Knowing who's responding to your marketing - and having an "ideal" customer profile in mind - can enable you to tailor your marketing message with great precision.
Worried that generating sales over the phone is too old-tech? While much sales and marketing activity has shifted to digital channels in recent years, many customers - or leads - do prefer person-to-person interaction over internet communication.
According to British digital-media consultancy Fishburn Hedges,
65 percent of web-savvy consumers would rather use social media to engage with a company than contact a call center - but that means more than a third of people still prefer calls to wall posts or tweets.
Thus, an integrated marketing strategy that combines the personal touch of the telephone with the speed and ease of social media may be the best solution for the cost-conscious small business owner. And using phone numbers to track inbound calls provides real-time insight into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, enabling you to spend your marketing dollars wisely in the future.
About the Author
Denise Terry is Director of Social Marketing for RingCentral, the leading provider of cloud business phone systems. By combining a hosted, multi-extension business phone system with advanced voice and fax functionality, RingCentral simplifies business communication for modern, flexible business environments.