From Google's Mobilegeddon to Facebook's Hello, the tech giants have made one thing clear to brands: If you're not prioritizing mobile, you're falling behind.
Today, there are 2.8 billion Internet users; meanwhile, mobile phone users have reached 5.2 billion—an impressive 73% of the world's population.
As mobile becomes the default mode of communication, the big players, including Google and Facebook, are making it easier to connect directly and seamlessly on smaller, portable screens. This continuing shift poses a huge opportunity for marketers, but not for the reasons you might think.
Yes, responsive websites are important, but the real money is in connecting with—and converting—high-value customers... those who have already considered your product or service and are looking to make a purchase, or to get the last bit of information they need before making their decision.
In other words, the billion-dollar mobile opportunity lies in harnessing the power of inbound calls.
Inbound calls from mobile devices are growing at a rate of more than 42% a year and are expected to reach 162 billion in 2019, according to BIA/Kelsey. And those callers are some of your highest-intent, highest value prospects and customers, which means that optimizing your mobile marketing strategy means optimizing for the most valuable calls.
After analyzing 32 million calls run through Invoca's platform in 2014, we found that mobile marketing drives, on average, about 54% of calls to businesses. Many companies are using mobile to effectively reach their audience and drive high-value interactions. Others, however, are ignoring mobile and missing out on connecting with customers. If you're in the latter camp, it's time to get mobile right.
Here are six steps to get started.
1. Think about smartphones as, well... phones
First you need to adjust your mobile marketing paradigm. Don't just shoehorn a desktop experience onto a smaller device; instead, take advantage of mobile's unique capabilities. Beyond creating responsive websites and landing pages, encourage consumers to contact your business with a friendly and clear call to action (e.g., "Call us now for a quick quote"). A/B-test your pages, ad copy, and click-to-call buttons to determine what drives more calls and quality leads.
2. Optimize paid search for mobile
After you design your links, landing pages, and calls to action to give your mobile audience what they want—relevant, streamlined experiences—make sure they can find you on search. Prominently display your phone number on your paid search ads to encourage people to call. Analyze patterns in call times and days to take advantage of peak traffic. Test call-conversion rates based on the positioning of your ads to determine whether more prominent ads result in higher call volume and quality calls.
3. Make dialing easy and dynamic
Make sure you're getting the most for your mobile paid search investment by making it convenient for people to call. Include phone numbers, ideally with click-to-call capabilities, on your landing pages. Use click-to-call buttons that open up an autodialer. Dynamic numbers—individually assigned to visitors on a session basis—are key here. They link a consumer's digital path (through your cookies and other tracking systems) with their phone call, so you can get insight into their online and offline actions.
4. Track your calls to understand why
Analyze why some customers call: What information are they seeking and what campaigns or channels drove them to dial your business? Integrate your call data with marketing and sales systems to get a full picture of your customers' path to purchase. Get the metrics for inbound calls that you would for clicks: the keywords and ad group that drove the call, which campaign prompted it, and the landing page from which the consumer called. Track demographic data, too: the caller's city or region, the date of the call, whether they're a new or repeat caller, and whether it was a customer-service or a sales call.
5. Close the loop
Tracking calls from search is an important first step, but understanding the outcome of a call is the only way to figure out the true ROI for paid search. Tie online campaigns to actual revenue by tracking the call's outcome. Was an appointment set? Was a quote given? Was a sale made? What is the lifetime value of the customer? Which keywords drove the most valuable calls?
6. Test, adjust, repeat
Use CRM and marketing automation tools to tie opportunity and ROI data back to paid search spend, and sync that data with Google Analytics. Examine which campaigns convert better offline, then optimize landing pages, ads, and messaging to encourage calls. Adjust your cost-per-acquisition target bid strategy to account for inbound calls. For instance, if an expensive keyword keeps driving customer service calls instead of new customers and sales, you may want to reconsider your bidding strategy or drop the keyword altogether, encouraging customers to instead click through via your organic listing.
* * *
Mobile is opening new doors; Google knows it, Facebook knows it, and marketers in many industries know it, too. People who take the trouble to dial the phone to ask questions are typically valuable prospects you don't want to ignore. Their interactions can tell you a great deal about your paid search performance and show you untapped areas for growth. You need to be ready to answer the call.