Phone calls don’t get cold.
Phone calls are answered and voice mails are returned. There is no CRM icebox where your contacts can be sent to chill while everyone updates their lead reports.
Even if you have highly sophisticated marketing automation campaigns that move people through the sales funnel, none of them is as efficient and successful as a human being — listening, answering questions, and handling objections.
In our experience, inbound calls are worth between 500% and 1,000% (that’s five to ten times) more in revenue than a completed contact form.
Your business wants more calls. Your sales team wants more calls.
Today, I’m gong to give you a 4-step process for drastically increasing your inbound calls.
Understanding Your Inbound Callers
Before we attempt to increase calls, we must first understand who our callers are.
There are two kinds of people coming to your website who need to talk to someone. They won’t be satisfied by completing a form or reading a report.
We know something about these two kinds of people.
The first kind has a Myers-Briggs type index including NT, iNtuiting and Thinking. Well-known consultants Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg call them Competitives. They are on a mission to find the things that make them better. They expect things to work logically and abhor sloppiness. They are smart and goal-oriented.
The second kind has a Myers-Briggs type index that includes N and F, iNtuiting and Feeling. The Eisenbergs call them Humanists. They don’t do business with companies, they do business with people. They seek relationship and connection. Trust and empathy are the things they look for.
When you say, “Let’s put a phone number on our site because someone might actually call,” you are thinking of these visitors. The problem is, that adding a phone number as an afterthought is exactly what these visitors don’t want. The Competitive sees it as sloppy. The Humanist sees it as stand-offish.
Increasing inbound calls is both about appealing to these users AND making it easier for everyone else to call your business as opposed to contacting you via different channels.
Leverage Your Growing Mobile Traffic
If you are equipped to accept phone calls, you have an advantage over businesses that can’t. Too many businesses are ignoring their mobile traffic because it converts at a quarter to one-half the rate of their desktop traffic.
We have more than one client whose mobile conversion rate is higher than their desktop conversion rate. This is because they accept calls.
Buried deep inside every mobile phone is a phone. That’s why we call them mobile phones. With the right testing program, we can find the right calls to action and proper placements to turn tepid mobile traffic into gold.
Regardless of where the calls are coming from, there are some important steps to take when optimizing for phone calls.
Step #1: Improve Your Website Data Tracking
In order for this to work, dear marketer, you first need to get credit for these calls. Instead of slapping the company sales number on the website, you need to be able to measure calls sent from the site. Inexpensive services will give you a unique number. We use Grasshopper for our 800 number service. Google Voice is a source of local phone numbers. Counting calls will be largely done by hand.
To tie calls back into an analytics package, we’ve worked with a number of services, including IfByPhone and Marketing Optimizer. Others on the market include Mongoose Metrics, LogMyCalls, and RingRevenue. This allows you to calculate a conversion rate with more accuracy.
The ways these packages work are different and beyond the scope of this column. Nonetheless, they let you take credit for real activity in sales.
Step #2: Perfect Your Offer
We too often think that those who would prefer a call will think of calling. It ain’t true. Someone predisposed to call still needs to understand why they should call and what to expect. The only number that doesn’t need a call-to-action is 9-1-1.
Those who bother to write an invitation alongside their phone numbers resort to engaging messages such as, “Call,” “Call us,” “Call us today,” or the daring “Contact us.” None of these offers a why or tells you what to expect. Adding an exclamation point doesn’t help.
There are four things that you can use to make your phone number more enticing to those who would call:
Alignment means that your “call-to-call” mirrors the need of the visitor. Often, it is sufficient to match the invitation in the ad or link what brought them to the page.
Adding Emotion shows that you relate to their real non-logical pain or desire.
In the example above, “Struggling with caring for a parent” would be aligned, but not emotional.
“Feeling guilty about caring for a parent?” definitely carries emotion. If you think that this kind of message is too bold, think again. We had a 43% increase in calls for an invitation that read, “Ready to stop lying to yourself? We can help. Call …”
Emotion is a powerful tool.
The visitor wants Clarity about what will happen if they call. Who will be on the end of the line? Will they be an expert? Will they try to sell me or educate me? Can I call on weekends? Be clear about what will happen on the call.
Finally, you must build the Value of the call. Like all good calls-to-action, the call-to-call must reek of WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”). It has to promise enough to the visitor that they would prefer to call you over any alternative. Lay it out there.
These four components — Alignment, Emotion, Clarity and Value — make for effective calls-to-call, and are great for other calls-to-action as well.
Step #3: Put Things In The Right Place
Just sticking the number in the upper right corner isn’t going to get you those calls that make you powerful. The number should be there, as this is where callers look. But the other two places that make the phones ring are:
- In the headline at the start of content.
About 75% down a page of content.
The following image shows a wireframe of a typical content page with proper placement of calls-to-call. We’ve tested them all over the page.
We tested messages at the top, left, right, bottom and middle. These are the places that worked for us on several sites. Bigger and bolder text can also increase your calls.
Step #4: Make Your Contact Forms Long & Unattractive
You may have noticed an item on the wireframe image above: “Long, ‘Nasty’ Form.”
To maximize the number of calls you get and cast fewer of your visitors into the frigid desert of the CRM, make your forms long, and ask for some personal info. Yes, this is the opposite of what we tell you to do when you want visitors to fill out a form.
This will cook your noodle. When trying to maximize the number of calls we get, a long, nasty form works better than no form at all. That’s right. No form generates fewer calls.
I think this highlights the way our visitors assign a price to their time and attention. On its own, a phone call may seem “expensive.” However, when a long, nasty form is on the page, it makes the cost of taking action by form more “expensive.” The call looks cheap by comparison.
This is a pricing exercise, but the cost isn’t money. It’s time and attention.
The power of a ringing phone gets noticed. If visitors to your site start calling your sales team, it will be noticed. You need to be able to measure the calls and toot your own horn as well. Unlike leads, calls have a power beyond a graph in a PowerPoint presentation. To become an indispensable marketer, make the phone ring.
Bonus: Make Click-to-Call Prominent on Mobile
Maximizing phone calls from the web means maximizing your mobile traffic. There is an entire separate set of strategies for getting more mobile calls.
Visitors on a mobile phone are coming with a completely different mindset from those coming on a desktop computer or tablet. To understand how to engage these visitors, download Designing for the Mobile Web 2.0.
There are three kinds of visitors visiting your website:
- Those that will not call under any circumstances. They hate the human touch.
- Those who are going to call because they trust the human voice explicitly.
- Those who might call if given the right incentives.
When you focus your strategies on getting group 3 to call, you can enjoy significantly higher sales rates, bigger average order values and new customers that are more satisfied with their first buying experience.
Make calls a key part of your focus, and harvest more of those fickle visitors coming on mobile phones.