Text or HTML : How to Pick the Best Email Format for You

When you send out an email, you are delivering it to people with a number of different computer systems, networks and email browser configurations. You want to ensure that your email piece is selected so it can be viewed properly by your target. This is why formatting your message properly is so important.

Your recipients might see your email message differently on their computers than you do. You can’t rely entirely on the email advertisement looking exactly like it does when you view it. The following formatting tips will not only help to ensure that your email piece looks good to the largest number of people, but it will also help to improve the readability and your response rate.

Text or HTML : Which Works Best?

This is the first question every email marketer must ask himself prior to launching a campaign. I continue to hear conflicting stories about which format works best.

My own personal conclusion is that they can both do very well. The best campaign I’ve ever seen has been a plain text email, well-formatted and sent to a targeted list.

HTML email, because of its additional text formatting capabilities and graphics, puts more creative options at the marketer’s disposal. HTML also has more potential problems and an increased chance that your email might not be viewed properly.

If you are running your first campaign, I’d stick to doing a text based email. You want to get your copy down properly, which text email allows you to do.

The Differences Between Text Email And HTML?

Any time you see colored text, graphics, words that are underlined (besides hyperlinks), bold text, etc. in an email, you are looking at an HTML email message. HTML allows you a variety of ways to format your message text, graphics and color.

Text Messages

Plain text email accounts for the remaining messages that are sent. A plain text message looks like something written in a basic text editor. Notepad, which comes loaded with your PC’s operating system, is a great editor for sending text messages. Most professionals who send text messages use Notepad to edit their copy.

Benefits of Text:

  • Easy to produce
  • Allows you to focus on your copy
  • Everyone will be able to view it properly
  • Users of handheld email devices (a growing number) can read it easily.

Limitations of Text:

  • All hyperlinks must appear in their entirety. For example: http://www.yahoo.com
  • You can’t hyperlink words
  • No graphics
  • No font formatting such as underlining, boldface type, or color
  • You can’t track the open rate

HTML Messages

When you send an HTML email, you can create a wonderful impact with graphics and attractive fonts. However, you are not actually sending the images in your email. Rather, you are sending the instructions in HTML for the email. These instructions point to the location on the Internet where your images that make up the email message are stored. Since HTML email messages point the recipient’s browser to the Internet in order to display the graphics in an email, viewers of HTML email must be online in order for the images to appear properly. If someone downloads your email message to view while offline, they will see broken images or blank boxes where the images should have appeared.

Benefits of HTML:

  • You can track the open rate
  • You can include images like company logos, product photos and other graphical enhancements
  • Formatting options like boldface, underline and coloring can be included
  • You can include forms and other more complex html features
  • Colored text can be used to help words stand out
  • Centering and other alignment can be used

Limitations of HTML:

  • Too many graphics can distract and turn off your audience
  • Not everyone can view HTML ads properly. (Only 50% to 75% have HTML capabilities)
  • Images appear broken when you try to view the message offline
  • Slower to load the messages
  • Can be easily recognized as an “advertisement,” causing it to be tuned out
  • Requires a background in HTML and graphics to do well

The Bottom Line

Both formats can work very well in email marketing. A well-written text message without any graphics can perform very well and deliver results. Text messages are easy to create and closely follow the format of a professional sales letter which many marketers are already familiar with. HTML campaigns can capture their audience with a few well-placed visual focus points.

Well-written copy sells better than weaker copy with fancy graphics. If you’re new to online marketing, my suggestion is to start with text. If you really want to use HTML, you need a good designer. Collect some examples of HTML email advertisements you have responded to and model your campaign after them.

What Happens to Spammer? [ A look inside spamming penalties ]

Here’s a question I wondered about for a long time. Many of us have become familiar with the oodles of spam that makes its way to our inbox on a daily basis. The inconvenience of deleting each and every irrelevant and sometimes crude offer is a major annoyance. It’s enough to make you wonder…

“Do spammers ever get punished?”

I’m happy to report that they do. In fact, I’ve seen it happen to enough companies that I thought I’d list the ramifications for those good-hearted souls who may feel tempted at some point to partake in spamming activities.

The following are just a few of the punishments that are being levied against spammers. Please note that I don’t list these punishments to scare you from sending responsible permission-based email. Relevant email communication with a targeted audience that has granted permission to email them is not spam.

The ISP Pulls the Plug

An ISP (Internet Service Provider) can detect when a particular user suddenly starts sending large volumes of email. In some cases, these systems are so sensitive they can even flag your account when your CC: field has too many names in it. If you are using a local ISP to send large amounts of email (over 50 pieces an hour) you can expect to get a letter from them threatening to terminate your service. Most Internet service providers have strict policies against using their system to send large volumes of email for personal or private use.

Website Hosting Company Refuses Service

Many web hosting companies would prefer not to service companies that spam. You’ll find that most hosting services include explicit language in their terms of service about sending unsolicited email. In some cases hosting firms will refuse you service or shut down your account if they receive complaints that you have promoted your company in a list that was collected without permission by another vendor. That’s right: You need to be careful where you promote, or risk getting your site shut down.

Law Suits

Anything I write here about the law is likely to be outdated by the time I press “save.” I will say that for many people and large companies who are fed up with Spam, the filing of lawsuits is becoming increasingly more frequent. You can get sued for not playing by the rules, and you might just find yourself before a judge who’s probably sick of spam, too.

Hate Mail

Spammers receive a lot of nasty messages. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to make thousands of people irritated with me.

Lost Customers

Perhaps one of the greatest costs to a business is the lost customers that come from being associated with unsolicited commercial email. To many customers, saying you promote your company through spam would be like a makeup company saying they do chemical experiments on puppies. It’s socially irresponsible. I’ve yet to see a successful organization, run by upstanding individuals, that promotes via unsolicited email.

Fines

If a prospect receives a message and asks to be removed from the email distribution list, and the sender continues to email them, the sender can be fined by the recipient up to $1,500 for each offense.

Black Listed and Blocked By Major Internet Companies

Repeat spam offenders can make an unofficial “Black List.” These lists are compiled by spam blocking software companies, Internet service providers (ISPs) and responsible email advocacy groups. Once a spammer’s domain gets listed as a spam source, all the major ISPs activate a block on mail coming from that domain. The original email list might only get through to half or less of the original delivery.

AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and a host of other popular online services have waged war on spammers. If you get identified as a spammer, you can forget sending messages to people on those systems. Your email will be blocked.

Spamming Doesn’t Pay

Most businesses that rely on spamming prospects as a marketing practice suffer from weak business plans and poor reputations. Dedicate yourself to helping your business be successful and respecting the rights of prospects and customers. Don’t spam!

Why Email Marketing

The business landscape is littered with failed companies that had strong products and services but never figured out how to market them. Poor marketing or lack of marketing is quoted by many as the single biggest reason why businesses fail.

Your first objective as a business is to determine ways that you can market your products and services in a cost effective manner. This will likely require some trial and error, but it is key. A company with a good product that can market itself is worth much more than a company with an excellent product that can’t (or doesn’t) market itself at all.

Today’s businesses have a variety of media at their disposal with which to promote their products and services. With newspaper, direct mail, TV, radio, magazines and postcards, why should you pursue email?

An Audience Ready for Action

Think about the last time you read your email. Where were you? If you’re like most, you were at your desk. When people are at their desk they can check their calendar, make a note, print the offer or make a call. They are surrounded with resources that enable them to take action. Email allows you to reach the bulk of your audience at a time when they are organized and – most importantly – have the power to act.

Cheaper Than “Going Postal”

Postage rates continue to climb, making email marketing much more attractive to business marketers. In addition to postage, the costs of printing mailers and address labels can add up. Once you learn how to build your own email list, email marketing can be free!

Lightning-Fast Response Time

Most email campaigns yield 90 percent of their response within 48 hours after they are deployed. If you are testing different messages, this allows you to quickly determine if your offer is working. In the time it would take to determine if your direct mail campaign was performing, you could have tested several email campaigns.

Easy-To-Track Success

Because email is done over the Internet and through the computer we have many ways of tracking its effectiveness. You can track how many people click your on your offer, how many people open your message what percentage sign up for your offer. The best part is, you can see many of these statistics as they develop in real-time.

It’s Targeted

There are a large number of highly targeted lists available to promote your message via email. Through detailed online forms and magazine response cards there are some very targeted data lists available to business marketers to ensure your message gets in the hands of someone with the power to act.

Email Works!

Email has become incredibly popular to those with a product, service or idea to sell. Above all, email marketing, when done properly, is effective! It’s fast, inexpensive and well worth adding to your marketing arsenal.

Who Should I Say the Email is From?

Addressing your email message is key. In a study by DoubleClick, 60 percent of those interviewed said the “from” line is the most compelling reason to open an email.

It’s true. When an email message is received, one of the first things people look for in determining if it’s worth their attention is where or who it came from. The subject line and who the message is from are really the only two things a recipient can read before opening an email.

What Can the From Line Do?

The from line has great power. As we stated earlier this is one of the main places people look to determine if it should be opened. The from line has the power to:

  • Build familiarity with the recipient
  • Establish credibility
  • Work as an extension of the subject line to convey additional info
  • Spur recognition
  • Reinforce your brand or company name to the recipient
  • Get the recipient to open your email!

With the importance of the from line, you want make sure and maximize it’s impact.

What Can Be Put in the From Line?

As email marketing expands, so does the liberty people take with the from line. To help ensure the message gets read, marketers employ a variety of different uses of the from line. Here are a few:

Using an Individual’s Name: “From John Jones”

This approach can work well. Over time a person’s name can build familiarity and trust. Make sure to use a real name! Also, this approach could back-fire if the person who typically writes the email leaves the company.

Using an individual’s email address as the sender is a powerful way to make the message more personable and increase the chances that it will be read in most cases. People respect personal communication.

Consider, for a moment, your own email habits. If you receive a piece of cold corporate email from a company that you’ve never heard of don’t you treat it differently than if you receive a message from an actual person who’s trying to contact you? People who we may not be familiar with contact us all the time for a variety of work-related issues. Companies we are unfamiliar with, on the other hand, generally contact us for one reason – to sell.

Sending the email from an individual will also give you liberty to be a bit warmer and more personable with the tone. An individual person will have the capacity to understand a business owner’s needs better than a corporation. You can build rapport with the audience quickly if they see the sender as a peer or someone like themselves. It’s difficult to create this tone when only a company name is identified in the sender field.

Another technique that works very well in ad copy is “conversational tone.” We will discuss this later in this course. An individual can pull off this conversational tone a bit more effectively than an email coming from a company.

Finally, addressing an email with a person’s email in the from field takes guts. That confidence in your company’s products, services and image can be respected, as opposed to a marketer hiding behind a large corporate identity. People are less likely to reply in a negative way to a well-designed email coming from an actual human than to one from a cold, unfamiliar corporation.

If your company’s president or CEO is a well-recognized figure and has a favorable image among your audience, consider using him as the spokesperson and/or sender.

If it’s your company, let them get to know you! Don’t be afraid to let your personality show in your correspondence to your audience. Receiving a message from someone who’s not afraid to sound human is something so refreshing to see in the digital world. Your audience will develop relationships with people faster than with a company.

How can you list yourself as the sender without getting your personal inbox swamped with “bounce backs,” “unsubscribes” or responses? There are a couple of things that can help.

For starters, the name that appears in the from field is different than the “reply to” address. You can use one name in the from field for the email message and then use an email address set up specifically for the promotion.

Setting up an email account to handle these mailings keeps the responses from cluttering your personal inbox. For authenticity, the “reply to” address should look like it could be the person’s real email address. For example, if your real email is John Jones and the email address you use for day-to-day business is john.jones@xyzcorp.com, try using jjones@xyzcorp.com or john@xyzcorp.com.

If you are sending your message to a newsletter list as a stand-alone piece, see if you can get the editor of the newsletter, president, or some other well-recognized name to be the sender. This is a tool you might even want to spend extra for.

Using Your Company Name: “From XYZ Corp.”

This is an honest and straightforward approach. It lets the recipient know you’re not trying to hide anything. Sometimes, sending email that sites an individual in the from line is not practical. Using the company name in the from line is one of the most popular ways to send out correspondence and there are times when it is more appropriate.

One of the best times to reference your company as the sender is if you have a powerful brand name that is respected by your target audience. This, in combination with a powerful and relevant subject line, can provide a strong one-two punch that gets the readers to open the message.

A great benefit to using your company’s name in the from section is that your company is not likely to be released or “seek employment elsewhere.” If you have a large audience of customers who are used to receiving correspondence from your marketing director and then one day your marketing director leaves… well, you could have some explaining to do.

A technique that some businesses use to gain the best of both worlds is to send an email from a “Team” at the company. In this case the from line would display “The XYZ Corp. Team.” For many, this inspires visions of an energized group of enthusiastic go-getters who are working hard to make things happen. This can project a warmer image than simply listing your company as the sender.

Sometimes if you do identify your company in the from section the recipients might have a preconceived notion about why your company may be contacting them and this could work against you.

Using a Combination Individual and Company Name: “From John Jones at XYZ Corp.”

This is even better than just the name. It gives two opportunities to spark recognition and build credibility.

Using Company and Newsletter: “From: XYZ Corp. Newsletter”

This is used frequently. It lets the recipient know that where it’s coming from and what it is.

Using Your Product Name: “From: Software Eliminator”

Using a product name in the from line tends to be associated with confirmation messages and spam. Avoid this approach unless it’s a product that the recipient is familiar with and they have opted to receive the information.

Using Product Benefits: “From: Unlimited Minutes”

Many of the body enhancement promotions and other spam offers employ this technique. Rather than build familiarity in the from line, they just try to use it as an extension of the subject line. Avoid this approach.

Using Gibberish: “From: XHYYY44456766”

This is common in spam offers. Most people delete these right away.

Using Nouns: “From: Interactive Tracking Systems”

This is another technique where the sender uses the from line as an extension of the subject line. It says to the recipient, “You’ve never heard of us, so we’re not even going to try and introduce ourselves.”

Identifying with Your Target Audience: “From: Coffee Lovers”

As you scan the list of messages in your inbox or your junk folder you come across an email that addresses you. It doesn’t tell where the message came from or who is sending it. Instead it appeals to something about you. It’s typically a spam approach, but I can appreciate how it works. The sender went on to identify themselves in the subject line. It’s a backward approach, but – since I’m a coffee lover – this message did get me to look at the offer.

Using an Extension of the Message: “From: Compare to Bowflex”

This is yet another of many approaches used by companies that don’t want to reveal who they are. In fact, this company takes a ride on the reputation of a brand that’s been made recognizable by thousands of infomercials and magazine ads.

Publisher of Magazine or Newsletter Name: “From: Tractor Week News”

When renting lists from a company, some mailers allow you to specify what appears in the from line. Other email publishers require that their company be listed in the from section. Both ways have advantages and disadvantages.

If the publisher has strong rapport with the audience and a reputation for sending highly relevant and helpful offers, then using their name in the from field can improve the open rate and benefit your campaign.

A Golden Opportunity

Do you have a newsletter? If you are broadcasting to your newsletter or in-house list, then you want to make sure and take advantage of the FROM line to brand your name or your companies name. Currently I subscribe to a number of company newsletters. One newsletter in particular comes from a consultant who has some outstanding ideas and practical concepts about motivation and management.

It’s a great newsletter, but I can’t figure out why in the FROM line, it just says “Newsletter.” It’s so boring. It does nothing to brand him as an expert consultant or his company. How many of his subscribers delete the newsletter because they can’t tell who it’s from prior to opening it? Over time repeated exposure to your newsletter and seeing the experts name in the FROM line can build the level of familiarity it takes to land sales and bring in new customers. Take advantage of it.

More Creative Examples…

Here are some examples I’ve seen used in various email solicitations. I can’t vouch for how well these work, because the bulk of my work has been in the B2B field, where a company or individual name is used. These examples are clearly targeted to the consumer.

From: Wayne Garland’s Master Formulas (spam)

Descriptive in nature, this came from a doctor selling a diabetic supplement.

From: Interland Web Hosting (legit)

This company included their name and also what they do for me in case I forgot.

From: Dunhill Int’l List Co. News (legit)

Heavily abbreviated, this from line goes beyond telling me the company name by also stating what the company does.

From: Apple Cider (spam)

Interesting. I’m now receiving email from beverages. This was sent by a company selling an apple cider weight loss supplement.

From: Copy DVD Movies (spam)

This from line reads like a subject line.

From: GrowYourBusiness (spam)

This was from a spammer selling a business service.

Most of these examples were received from unfamiliar parties. This leads me to surmise that the creative techniques work for spammers, but aren’t as advantageous when you have a relationship with the recipient.

Whichever You Choose…

Many of the approaches discussed indicate spam. In legitimate email, the sender usually wants to be as truthful and straightforward about where the message is coming from. If you have developed a good reputation in your industry or with the recipients, using your name or your company name can be a tremendous asset.

In either case, recognize that the from field can have an impact on your open rate and your response rate. There are many benefits to sending an email message from a spokesperson and this person’s email address (or a variation of it) can be used in the from field. It all boils down to the tone you wish to project and to your target audience.

The 5 Most Expensive Mistakes Industrials Make Online…

I’d like to start by saying, I love industrials!

Many of my best clients are industrial firms helping to keep America running strong with heavy equipment, generators, air compressors, forklifts, diesel repair teams and skilled technicians that work with their hands and get shit done!

Over the years however, I’ve had to repeatedly witness common mistakes and misconceptions that cause a negative impact on a client’s website.

In this article I’ll outline those issues and roadblocks to increase profits and growth.

1: No Idea What Is Going on With their Website

Anytime I have begun work with the client, the very first thing we do for their website is to check if it’s set up with analytics, so we can see what is going on with their traffic.

Who are their visitors, where are they coming from, what pages are most popular and what pages are responsible for generating new leads.

With so many people using the Internet to find service providers, it is critical that you have a good understanding of what is going on with your website and if your content and website is doing what it needs to do.

Google analytics is free and relatively easy to set up, so there is no excuse to not take advantage of it.

The most important things to check are:

  • Top 10 Pages
  • Unique Visitors Count (trends)
  • Traffic Sources
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on Site/Page
  • Conversions!

2: Assuming Only emails Come From Website

The web only produces email inquiries?  This could not be further from the truth!

However I repeatedly hear this response from new customers when asked if they get any business from their website.

They usually say; no we only get a few emails a month.

And usually I follow up and ask how many phone calls they get via their website and they say not very many at all.

When I ask them how they know, they reply by saying; we have our receptionist ask callers how they found us.

Usually with some coaxing they allow me to put up a trackable phone number on their website.

Typically we find 8 to 10 times the number of calls versus emails.

We also find when we listen to the recordings that nobody is ever asked how they found the company.

Relying on people to ask where a customer found you is very unreliable.

3: Ignoring Local

One of the most exciting advertising developments to evolve over the last 10 years has been Google local and local search marketing.

The yellow pages are dead.

Unless you have an audience over the age of 80.

However most companies do nothing to take advantage of the hundreds if not thousands of searches that occur locally for their offering.

We see websites all the time where the area in which they do business is not even mentioned.

Where the GMB page is not claimed. Where there are no reviews. Where there are no local directory citations.

There is still a tremendous amount of business to be easily had in many markets and only a few businesses are paying attention.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, let there be no mistake about it …

If your Google My Business listing isn’t showing it’s a huge missed opportunity!

 

At the very least request a company to do an audit of your locations.

Knowing if your website has a fighting chance is half the battle.

4: Incorrectly Referring to Their Territory

This next point expands on the last.

You want to reference the areas you serve in the way that customers reference them.

All too often businesses make references to the county or counties that they serve.

However, people typically use the name of their city or the next largest city they live near.

Most companies we see don’t mention their territories at all, but when they do, make sure it is done correctly.

Simply adding a big list of, separated locations will no longer cut it.

It’s time to take this seriously.

5: Testimonials / Reviews

Prospective customers like to check out reviews, if you have a Google My Business listing, there is a good chance people are leaving a review on it.

The amount and type of reviews can offer some insight into the success of the company and the quality of the product(s) or service(s) being offered.

Reviews are also taken into account by Google as a ranking factor for localized search.

So reviews are a big deal, not kind of a big deal … they are a big deal, period!

When we see a business not paying attention to their reviews, ignoring them completely, or not engaging with customers that leave reviews (Good or Bad) in a timely manner we know that is an area that needs to be looked into.

Make sure you have a system in place to engage with reviewers and obtain reviews, because it plays such an important role for the way people perceive your business and ultimately how it affects your profits.

 

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The #1 Business Performance Metric That Nobody’s Measuring…

Client: “Jason, we want to work to get more leads from our website. We aren’t getting very many email inquiries and we’d like to fix that. What can we do to increase this?”

Me: “Well, what about phone calls? Is your website producing any calls?”

Client: “No. It’s really not and it’s a bit of a shame.”

Me: “How do you know? Do you track the number on your site specifically?”

Client: “Well no. But we’ve told our staff to ask I think. And they’ve all confirmed nothing is coming from the website.”

Usually, at this point, I’ll suspect there may be a glitch in the system. Then, I’ll volunteer to set up a tracking number on their website where we can track all calls that number receives. Since the number is only used on their website, we know any calls here can be credited to their web efforts. Much to the customer’s amazement, we usually have call data by the next day. “Wow, I had no idea we even got that many calls! And I sure as heck had no idea they were all coming from the website!” Despite the web being around for quite some time now, I’ve noticed a flawed assumption… Emails = Website Leads Phone Calls = (Leads from Some Other Mysterious Place) Why are web leads important to your top line revenue and the growth of your company?

1. Serious Prospects Call

That’s right! When a customer needs answers or has a need and is serious about addressing an issue, they often don’t want to fill out an email form, cross their fingers, and hope someone eventually replies. Think about your own behavior. When you want answers, don’t you call? This means that callers represent a disproportionate number of legitimate business opportunities.

2. Calls Typically Out Number Contact Form Submissions More than 6-to-1

You are likely undervaluing the call traffic from your website. I’ve set up many call tracking numbers for clients and frequently see 6 to 10 calls coming in from the website per 1 email from their contact page. Remember, these are calls the customer does not typically credit back to their website! They just assume they are floating in mysteriously.

3. When You Know How Many Calls You Have, You Will Value Them

My customers are shocked when they see how many calls they are receiving from their website. After they see the correlation, they start to pay more attention to this rich source of viable opportunities. Instead of seeing their website as an expense with no return, they begin to see it as a Goose churning out Golden Eggs. Further — business owners begin to ask the questions… “What’s happening to all these phone calls?” “How are these calls being handled?” “Are we fully capitalizing on this rich source of new business opportunities?” These are great questions. These are questions people don’t consider unless they know their call volume.

4. No Calls Is A Red Flag Something Is Wrong

If you are a local service business and you are not receiving a steady and reliable stream of calls from your website, you have a HUGE opportunity to grow. If you aren’t getting calls from your website, this is a fixable issue that has a strong potential to impact your bottom line profits, business growth, and company morale. Even if your calls are relatively non-existent… it’s something you want to know and fix because… you don’t have to live this way![a]

5. You Can Better Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts

When you don’t track calls, you don’t know if your marketing investments produce results that impact your call volume. Businesses that don’t track calls only have a vague idea if something is working or not. Often the anecdotal information received from sales people, receptionists, or other front lines receiving calls leads to inaccurate conclusions.

6. It’s a Metric Highly Correlated to Sales!

If I was to stand here and offer you (completely hypothetically) the following for $100, which would you choose? 1. 50 New Website Visitors 2. 50 Calls From Prospective Customers If you chose option b, you win! We often obsess over numbers that may or may not correlate to new customer opportunities. Many people believe that website traffic is the key number to watch. Did you know it’s possible, and not even that uncommon, for website traffic to go up and calls to drop? Or the reverse? Traffic drops and calls go up? Often looking at how many unique visitors come to your site, fails to take into account the composition of the traffic. 50% of visitors may come to your page for a new blog post but may be located outside of your territory. This would cause traffic to go up and have little impact on calls.

7. You Can Learn Details That Have Huge Impacts on Long Term Profits

Did you know that something as small as using a phone number with a local area code on your website can increase the calls for that territory? Did you know that in some cases using toll free numbers (800, 877, 888, etc.) have shown to reduce call volume from people looking for a local business to help them? It’s true! We reserve phone numbers at a low cost for our clients as a value-added service to help us track their efforts. If your business covers a territory that has five different area codes, I’d strongly recommend using the localized area code for each location. Even if all the calls are routed to one centralized recipient or phone system. People want to do business locally and they often think a business with their area code will respond faster and provide better service. While larger national companies use 800 numbers, people may feel like they are going to be working with a faceless corporate machine that treats them like just another number. When you track calls, you can determine if are people calling from an area code different than your main number. Then, you can likely increase your call volume by securing a number from that area code and listing it on your website.

8. You Can’t Monitor Hang Ups Without Tracking Calls!

Hang ups cost businesses in a very big way. We spend time and money to drive customers to our websites, and they pick up the phone to call us and somewhere along the way before they speak to a human… they hang up! Do you know what they did after they hung up? They called someone else. One client (details changed to protect the innocent) was offering industrial equipment sales, parts, and repair services. Many of our clients are in this space. We set up a tracking number on their website and noticed an abnormally high number of hang ups. They received 120 calls per month and 49 were hangups! This was concerning. What was going on here? Our tracking technology allows us to click on calls and listen where they hung up. They all seemed to hang up at the same spot of the phone tree greeting and it didn’t take long to see why… This company had a far-reaching territory that covered a few states. However, the greeting said “You have reached XYZ company of [City Name].” Anyone outside the immediate vicinity of that city, would promptly hang up and find someone else who is local. They had no idea this was going on prior to tracking call volume which later led to monitoring different call metrics. 43% of their calls were leading to hang ups–and they had no idea! That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) in lost sales. It’s painful to think about… but most people don’t know because they don’t pay attention to their call volume.

9. Where Are Your Calls Coming From? Where Aren’t They Coming From?

Once you track phone calls, you will notice that callers originate from the same cities and area codes. This should help you guide your marketing efforts and encourage you to further localize content on your site around these areas. You may also discover that a key cities in your territory are failing to show up as an origin city in your call reports. This means action needs to be taken. What we do is run an audit to focus on this location and determine what online exposure opportunities are being missed. What are the competitors doing that we can emulate or improve upon to increase visibility? Running a business with blackout spots in your territory is like racing a car that’s not firing on all cylinders. If you are a distributor or dealer, you likely PAID to be visible in that territory. It’s like securing 40 acres to plant crops, and only using 10 acres. Enough of the metaphors… on to the 10th and final reason you need to track calls.

10. Get a Baseline, Spot Trends, and Predict Seasonality

Quite simply, as you begin to track phone calls you will become better at anticipating demand in your business. As you see investments in your website and marketing positively impact your baseline call volume, you will establish a new expectation for your business. As I stated in the beginning, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Here is what is equally true: when you know and understand the importance of certain key metrics, you will inevitably desire to improve those numbers. When you improve those numbers, you are able to identify opportunities, set goals, and break records. Having reliable data, understanding what that data means, and how it correlates to the bottom line frequently leads to improvements. Get Measuring! The best testimony to call tracking success: our clients. We have seen their businesses transform since we began offering a service to pay attention to this simple overlooked metric. Prior to tracking calls, businesses were flying blind and succeeding but not reaching their full potential. If you fail to measure call volume, you fail to respect each caller as an opportunity which has an adverse effect on sales and cripples growth over time. The Yellow Pages are becoming a distant memory fading into the rearview, but calls are still the preferred communication method by serious customers.]]>