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How Voice-Based Marketing Automation Can Help Your Small Business

July 31st, 2012 ::


Ever search in vain on a website for a customer support phone number – only to come up empty?  Finding phone numbers of major companies can be literally impossible. The New York Times recently ran an article called “Tech Companies Leave Phone Calls Behind,” in which they discussed how big companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are completely unreachable by telephone.  If you want to contact them, your only options are email or the Web.

Of course, as a small business owner, you want your customers to be able to reach you by phone.  Personally, I love to chat on the phone with potential clients, so it comes as no surprise to me that Ifbyphone found that 65% of businesses consider phone calls to be their highest-quality lead source.

For marketers, though, the phone is tricky from an ROI perspective, as it can be difficult to measure, manage and automate everything. Voice-based marketing automation (VBMA) solves that.  I know – I never heard of it either.  Here’s what I learned about the service during a recent call with Ifbyphone’s CEO Irv Shapiro:

With some transactions, you need to talk to someone

Items that you purchase infrequently – a home, a car, professional services  or anything with a consultative process built in – require a one-on-one conversation. You are not going to buy a home by shopping for it on the Web and dropping it into a shopping cart.

Customer contact equals loyal customers

When people used to tour Zappos’ call center, founder Tony Hsieh used to get asked, “Why do your people spend so long on the phone with customers?”  His answer?  “A great conversation with a customer is worth more to us than a Super Bowl ad.”

Unique phone numbers let you track lead sources

This is where VBMA comes in.  Until its advent, you had no way to measure the lead source of your phone calls – was the lead coming from your website, a print ad, a guest blog post you wrote a month ago?

With VBMA, you can track lead sources by using unique telephone numbers online and offline to help you understand not only where leads are coming from, but what the caller is interested in.  So each product or service on your website can have its own phone number, as can your PPC ads, print ads, radio or TV ads – you name it.

Keywords are marketing gold

Another cool thing that VBMA does is link keywords on your website to phone numbers.  Yes, really.  Based on the keywords a potential customer types in, a unique telephone number is displayed.  When you see that phone call come in, you will know what keywords they used and thus be able to better handle the call.

But wait!  There’s more!

Sorry, as a marketer, this is very exciting – how many of us are actually tethered to a desk all day waiting for the phone to ring?  Exactly.  Here’s what else VBMA can do:

  • Redirect incoming calls based on the above keyword information to the best person in your company who can close the sale.
  • Provide a report that allows you to make better decisions around keywords, Web pages and which salespeople close more sales.
  • Reach out to customers to let them know when a delivery or service is scheduled – and follow up afterwards.

With VBMA, you can measure phone calls the same way you can measure your online marketing efforts.  For a service-based business, this is a great marketing tool.

Have you used VBMA?  How has it worked for you?  Would you use it now that you know about it?  Leave a comment below!

Image courtesy of 365thingsyoucando.com

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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