BlairJoining us today for a guest post is Blair Symes, demand generation manager at Ifbyphone, a leader in voice-based marketing automation. Join Kenshoo and Ifbyphone, along with a representative from Sq1 Agency, for a webinar discussing how to use Big Data, particularly data obtained via calls, to optimize PPC and create better converting campaigns. 

Most everyone today has a smartphone. And it’s forcing a paradigm shift in lead generation similar to what marketers experienced the last two decades with the Internet.

The Internet forced marketers to go digital, using new online strategies (email, banners, and PPC ads) in conjunction with traditional offline advertising (TV, radio, direct mail, and print) to drive prospects to a web address to fill out a form or make a purchase. As businesses spent more in pursuit of web conversions, marketers began implementing tools like marketing automation to track the results, manage the leads, and optimize ad spend. We are seeing a similar pattern today thanks to smartphone adoption.

More Smartphones = More Mobile Searches = More Inbound Calls

25% of searches take place on mobile devices now, and that number growing at a rate that it should surpass desktop search this year. It’s important to understand that when these mobile searchers find a business, they aren’t filling out web forms to become leads – they’re calling:

Thanks to mobile click-to-call, Google reports that 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call.

Google also found that mobile searchers are 6% to 8% more likely to click on ads with phone numbers.

And even when smartphone users go from search results to a landing page, 52% still call the advertiser.

Clearly having phone numbers in your mobile search ads and landing pages is critical. But smartphones also are affecting other types of online marketing such as email and display as well as offline advertising efforts.  According to Nielsen, 91% of mobile phone owners have their devices within arm’s reach 24/7, and 84% use their devices while watching TV. It’s now easier than ever for people, even those viewing offline advertising, to make a call.

Thanks to smartphones, phone calls have re-emerged as the most effective channel for generating leads and closing business.

30 billion sales calls were made to businesses in the U.S. last year, and that number is expected to reach 65 billion by 2016.

It’s why businesses are now in a race to adopt solutions to measure and control calls the same way they do web leads. These solutions, called voice-based marketing automation, include capabilities such as:

Call Tracking: See exactly which ads, search keywords, campaigns, web pages, and content drive calls and sales. Call tracking works for any marketing source – mobile, online, or offline – and the data impacts everything from PPC bid strategy to email messaging to media purchasing.

Call Routing: How calls get routed impacts conversion rates. Marketers can control routing based on many factors, such as time of day, what source drove the call, and caller location. This last piece includes technology called geo-location that uses cell triangulation to route mobile callers to the closest store, office, or agent.

Call Management: According to Gartner, 70% of mobile employees will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018. Voice-based marketing automation enables sales managers to facilitate and monitor call activity for their entire salesforce regardless of agent location, device, or phone system.

It’s a Mobile World, and Marketers Must Embrace It

Businesses that optimize marketing based on accurate data have a competitive advantage. Most marketers that embraced marketing automation technology to manage web leads understand this; they are among the ones adopting voice-based marketing automation to do the same for calls. Others should ask themselves what the impact of ignoring their most valuable and fastest growing lead source – inbound calls – will have on their business.

Want to learn more about driving phone leads from PPC? Register here for our upcoming joint webinar.