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AdWords phone and verbal conversion tracking

Stop making excuses and start tracking your leads and conversions, even if they happen over the phone or through e-mails.

It’s pretty amazing how features which are available since long, long time ago are still neglected by both advertisers and their customers.

And how customers and advertisers keep throwing money out the window without the faintest idea about the profitability of their “investment”.

I’m not going to insert the famous Wanamaker “half the money …” quote here, because:

  • By now everybody knows it
  • It’s false (in many cases). It’s way more than half.

Here’s a quick way to track conversions which start on the website and end on the phone (or in e-mails).

Instead of hiding behind the “our leads/conversions are happening over the phone, and we cannot ask our customers which ad they clicked and what they searched for” poor excuse, talk to your webdeveloper, the person doing the advertising, and the one answering your phone / e-mail.

Here’s what each has to do:

  • the advertiser has to tag his campaigns (auto-tagging, specific tagging, it doesn’t matter)
  • the web developer has to detect an AdWords visit and
    • switch to the AdWords phone number (show that number for AdWords visitors)
    • switch to the AdWords contact e-mail (send contact e-mails to that address)
  • the person answering phones / e-mails has to log them, together with their source

Piece of cake, for any of them worth their salt. They’re not perfect, but you have an indication. You can tell if on one day you’re doing better or worse. And if you don’t have many campaigns, and you can use more extensions, you can track each campaign. You can even generate a code on the website and have the customer give it to you over the phone, or include it in the e-mail, and then you can track everything down to search term and ad level if you want to.

If you can’t do that, the you can talk to your customer. You, the advertiser, can call him, as often as you can afford, and ask him how things went since your last talk.

You can ask him how many phone calls he received, and how many orders / leads he got. You can ask him what kind of orders they were, and you can deduct which campaigns went well and which nose-dived. If you and your customer work as a team, you can do it.

Not long ago, I convinced a friend of mine, the very first person whose account I managed, to use a different phone number for AdWords calls. And he agreed. Shortly after that, I was walking with him not far from his office, when I heard a phone ringing. He smiled, reached into his pocket and told me “AdWords”. And he went “Yes, that’s us. Sure, how many would you like? Ok, this is the price, you can pick them up anytime”. That was a live conversion, for the campaign related to the product he was talking about.

He gave up carrying three phones (he already had two when we started using the AdWords phone) abouth a month later. By that time advertising costs were insignificant compared to his AdWords-related revenues. And it was him who made that conscious decision, I did not push him.

He now talks to his customers and asks them how they found out about him. And I talk to him, several times a week, sometimes daily. And he tells me what he sold, how many, what the approximate revenue is, how many customers were new and how many were return customers. In my turn, I tell him what his AdWords expenses are, which products spend more, which less, which cities are more active and which less. That’s verbal tracking. And it works. In any case, it works much better than no tracking at all. I learn about his business, he learns about what I do. And together we managed to turn a ¬†secondary product into a main revenue source.

A few days ago he asked me, for the first time “can you see how many people have downloaded my price list?”. I smiled, but he could not see me. I was tracking downloads and hits on the contact page since I set that website up.

“Yes, I can. About X% of your visitors download your offer. That’s about Y a day. Most of them download it from product page A, then C, then B, and you also have some downloads from D and E.” They’re from city A, B, and C. “C, are you kidding me? Are people from C visiting my website and downloading my offer?”. “Yes they are”. “Amazing”.

Amazing, indeed. Yet so simple, so affordable and so effective.

About Calin Sandici

Father of two and husband of one, at the crossroads of Google AdWords, Analytics and E-Commerce.