Tracking Success for Small Businesses (Part Two)

In part one of my Tracking Success for Small Businesses we looked across a broad spectrum, from setting up Google Analytics correctly, the basics of campaign tracking and how you can take this tracking process into offline marketing too. To finish off, this post will look into how a small business could track calls, footfall data and a final thought on keeping tabs on your lead data within the business.

Call Tracking

What: Call tracking is how you can attribute leads to different sources by unique telephone numbers. These can be dynamic (i.e. change depending on where the user has come from) or static – unchanging, but used for specific adverts, for example paid search ads or print advertising.

All good call tracking should provide the following:

  • Integration with Google analytics
  • The ability to use a variety of numbers (local, national, 0800 etc) which makes local businesses still look local
  • Call recording – providing you’re adhering to call recording laws, recording & monitoring calls can be a great customer service development
  • Stats about ringing duration, call duration & lead scoring – good for more sales focused businesses

Importance: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Why?: There are still a significant amount of people who’re looking to pick up the phone to a business rather than send an email or complete a contact form. However, without any type of call tracking it can be very, very difficult to to know where the call has come from.

How?: For the vast majority of businesses the most efficient way to setup call tracking is to use a third party provider which integrates with Google Analytics, there are number available, but the following three are all those which I’ve used in the past:

Whilst setting up call tracking is relatively similar for each of the providers, it can be challenging for non-developers or those who have limited access/ability to make changes on the site.

You’ll usually need to add a snippet of code to every page on the site as well (in some cases) code around each of the telephone numbers on the site itself. What this enables is the software to detect where the traffic has come from (i.e. Google or direct) and serves a unique number to that user. When the user calls this number the call is routed to your main phones (or the number you outline) without any noticing this has happened.

The main barrier for some businesses with call tracking can be the cost in keeping this running – for businesses with large service areas or multiple branches this can soon add up.

If you’re paying for traffic (buying advertising) and you’re not recording leads driven via the calls you’ll be missing a key piece of information may make some decisions that’ll be more costly in the long-term.

Tracking Footfall Via Google Analytics

What: As the name suggests this is measuring the number of people visiting a branch/store through Google Analytics. As simple as it sounds, it’s something that few businesses have implemented because of how technically challenging it can be.

Importance: High (potentially – not mission critical, but a game-changer for some businesses)

Difficulty: Very Hard

Why?: One of the hardest parts of the user journey to track, transitioning from the website to the store might as well be taking place in a black hole as far as we’re concerned. That said, tracking footfall data in a way which can be compared/correlated to online activity may help to fill in some of the blanks.

How?: A great example of a method of getting this working using relatively inexpensive technology is something that Matt Stannard writes about in his blog. Is this ready for businesses to roll out now? No. But if you’re really looking to workout what effect the wider branding activities have on a bricks & mortar premises, this is the next step.

You don’t have to track this in Google Analytics though – that may seem a bit of a luxury – Google are also pioneering some more advanced methods of doing this, although still a way off wider roll-out to businesses.

The most simplistic way of taking this approach is a people counter recording traffic at the entrances. This data can be recorded over time and compared with Google Analytics, and whilst it can be a little cumbersome will be worthwhile if you customers go online to offline.

REaL (Recording Enquiries and Leads)

What: Quite simply, recording any leads manually – and asking where/how they find you.

Importance: High

Difficulty: Easy

Why?: Because talking to your customers and asking how they found you can be really important – it’ll help you understand how visible you are and how people perceive your presence in the market place.

From a quick poll I’ve conducted on twitter less than 50% of business owners/self employed admitted to tracking all leads they received – so a large proportion of people who don’t consistently understand where the business is coming from potentially.

How?: Remember to ask is the key, and in my experience where this falls down on the majority of times. Everyone who is customer facing needs to ask everyone, but remember the following:

  • This gets recorded in the same place – a CRM system is best, but excel spreadsheets can be used if everyone keeps it up-to-date.
  • Don’t grill customers, simply asking where the found you can be enough to gauge it.
  • Remember that this data is prone to being inaccurate at times, if only because some customers won’t know the difference between organic or paid Google.

Over to You

This is a relatively quick – yet detailed – look into what you’ll likely need to track the success of your marketing activities online and (even) offline to a degree. The 3,000+ words in these last posts is only the tip of the iceberg and I’m conscious that some of the details on implementing the forms of tracking and determining insight from are sparse.

What are your experiences in tracking success? Is there anything that I’ve missed or anything you’d want to know more about? Please get in touch via Twitter, Email or drop any questions, comments & feedback below!

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About Chris Green

Chris Green is Head of Search at StrategiQ, a full-service marketing agency based in the East of England.

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