As search goes mobile, marketers need to understand that when smartphone users find your business, they aren't converting by filling out a Web form—they're calling you.

Thanks to click-to-call, Google reports that 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call. What's more, studies show these phone leads are 10 times more likely to convert to revenue than Web leads. They are the conversions search marketers most need to generate to optimize ROI.

Moreover, 25% of searches take place on mobile devices today, and that number is expected to surpass PC search by 2015.

We live in a mobile world, and to compete on search engines like Google and Bing, marketers can't rely solely on the same old PC-based analytics and automation tools that ignore phone calls.

Search has become too competitive, and the stakes are too high. It's why search marketers are now in a race to adopt solutions to measure and control calls the same way they do Web conversions.

Keyword-Level Call Tracking

Success on search engines starts with keywords. You have to optimize your PPC bid strategy for the keywords that really generate not only clicks but calls and revenue. That's why understanding what keywords customers used to find you before calling is so important.

Keyword-level call tracking solutions provide the critical missing piece to your marketing analytics puzzle. Though competitors try to outmaneuver you using inaccurate and incomplete SEO and PPC data, you can use call-attribution data to see what keywords and PPC ad and landing page variations are driving calls, opportunities, and revenue.

You can then drive more revenue by optimizing PPC campaigns and bid strategies for the most lucrative keywords while simultaneously cutting spend on search terms, ads, and landing pages that aren't driving calls and sales.

Call tracking has the added benefit of enabling marketers to finally prove to their execs, board, or clients how their PPC campaigns are generating calls and sales. You may be surprised how much you've been getting shortchanged.

Call Scoring

Though inbound calls remain the most lucrative lead type, remember that not every call is created equal.

Studies show that 19% of inbound calls are high-quality sales leads. The others are often mundane inquiries, such as asking for business hours and store directions. Many calls will also be job requests, misdials, or solicitations.

Paying search engines to drive these calls is bad enough... so you don't want to compound the problem by having your sales staff waste time dealing with them. That's why marketers often send calls to a virtual receptionist first to answer and qualify callers. The virtual receptionist will ask callers the questions you determine work best to qualify them. It can weed out the misdials and solicitors, provide answers to callers inquiring about non-sales related matters, and score the leads to determine if they are really sales-ready. For the ones that are, they can be routed to a sales manager to assist.

Geo-Location Call Routing

Mobile search often means local search. Google states that 50% of all mobile search is local. What's more, studies show these callers have high-purchasing intent, often making purchases or appointments within an hour of running a search.

Routing mobile callers right away to the right place is important to capture that revenue, but it can be tricky. It's not as easy as simply using the caller's area code; you need more precision. After all, a mobile caller can be anywhere.

Call-routing solutions with geo-location technology can help. Geo-location determines a mobile caller's precise location based on cell phone triangulation and automatically routes the call to the closest store, franchise, office, or agent to answer their questions, take their reservation, or process their purchase.

* * *

Search marketers have been optimizing campaigns to drive clicks and Web conversions for years. Doing the same for phone calls is still a new concept for many, but thanks to the rise of mobile search, it's now vital. You simply can't afford to ignore what may be your most lucrative lead source.

New tools exist to help, and the sooner businesses and agencies embrace them, the sooner they will reap their benefits.

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Search Marketers Need to Stop Ignoring Call Conversions

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image of Irv Shapiro

Irv Shapiro is CEO and CTO at DialogTech, a voice-based marketing automation company. He is responsible for overall business strategy and corporate leadership.