By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
Regardless if you run an orthopedic center, a doggie day care clinic, or a chiropractic office, this is a good time of year to get your 2009 marketing plans on your mind. There’s no doubt that what’s taking place in our US economy is going to effect business incomes during the next several months. It’s an important time of year to remain focused and keep moving forward in attaining your business goals. Too few chiropractors I’ve spoken to have become masters of tracking where their marketing dollar is working best. Again, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, keeping track of what’s working (and what’s not) may help you save essential advertising dollars in the upcoming year.
Consider adding call tracking to your marketing plan in 2009. Businesses that rely on people picking up the phone and making a call have been around as long as we’ve had telephones. Think pizza delivery, plumbers, home termite inspectors, locksmiths, automotive detailing services, pet grooming, and many others. These are businesses that people traditionally had researched in yellowpages books, coupon books, and local newspapers, until the popularity of the continually growing Internet.
While consumers continue to use all these mediums (and more) when finding information about local businesses, the use of the Web (particularly via search engines) continues to show steady growth. While a traditional web site would measure traffic to a page using standard website statistical log software, businesses counting on people to pick up the phone to initiate contact can benefit greatly from adding a phone number that measures how many calls a particular line receives.
The graph of the left shows information related to a call tracking program employed by a chiropractor in the San Fernando Valley area of Southern California. The data is for the year 2007 and the calls coming in were measured for a single phone number. That phone number was made visible on a particular website, where consumers seeking chiropractic services could find it. Notice how many calls were made?
Depending on the type of service business someone is in, 348 answered calls can be a great number, or a figure that tells us a particular marketing plan is not working as expected. In the world of chiropractic, nearly 350 leads to a chiropractic office from a single webpage, is a sign that this particular program is working well, and should be continued.
If this service had been provided by a company that used sales agents, sharing reports like these (when the results are good) can provide significant evidence that a particular strategy is working as well is expected.
Here is another graph also for a chiropractor in the same general area. The offices are about 15 miles apart and this chiropractor ran a near identical campaign to the one shown above. Again, the data is for the year 2007, and this chiropractors log report shows 357 answer calls for that period.
There are more benefits to using call tracking services than just what’s shown here. Total number of calls made in a one year period is great for studying year-end marketing reports, but businesses have access to those numbers on a daily basis. Some of the better call tracking programs provide online interfaces where users can login and view reports of all kinds of details related to calls their business is receiving. Imagine being able to know what time of day was the most common time for a new client to call (and having a one year chart to review that data)? Besides that, imagine the benefit of viewing what day of the week was the most common time that potential new customers called your business. Information like that can really come in handy if your business is closed on Saturdays and you discover there’s a significant amount of potential new clients trying to reach you during early morning Saturday hours.
Who’s answering the phones for your business and how are they doing? Many call tracking services offer ways to record calls for quality-control and training. There is great value in being able to listen to incoming calls to determine if your staff (or even yourself) are doing the best job they can in making sure the needs and inquiries of potential new clients are being addressed.
So whether you are placing ads on billboards and bus benches, yellow page advertisements, newspaper ads, listings on web sites, or distributing fliers in your community, consider the benefits that can be gained by adding a call tracking phone number towards your marketing efforts in 2009. Add that to your list of surefire small-business marketing tips in you’ll be good to go in the coming year.
Attention Chiropractors: the October intensive marketing event includes best practices and strategies related call tracking. Watch for a chiropractors marketing intensive near you in 2009.
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