“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology; not the other way around.” – Steve Jobs
Smart marketers are suddenly rediscovering phone calls as a way to drive business.
In 2014, there were 76 billion phone calls to businesses. In 2017, that’s projected to rise to 130 billion calls—a 75% increase—and by 2019, calls to businesses are projected to more than double to 162 billion calls.
If you’re not getting your share of that increase, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the phone as central to your marketing…before your competitors do.
Those emails you’re sending out? They’re getting read on phones and mobile devices as much as 75% of the time. Those opt-in forms you’re asking people to fill out? People are ignoring them: 40% of opt-in form abandons are because people don’t want to fill out forms with thumbs. It’s no wonder that conversion rates on phones are tiny, with just one-quarter the rate of desktop conversions.
Invoca Research found that in a typical month, people were nearly three times as likely to call a business than to opt-in to a web form from any device. Google Think Insights finds that people are more likely to do business with companies that prominently display a phone number than with businesses that either bury their phone numbers or don’t display one at all.
Before Your Phone Was a Computer, It Was a Phone
The goal of marketing is to drive users to a call to action (CTA), and it turns out that the most natural CTA on a phone is to make a phone call.
That’s exactly what Amit Signhal, Google’s VP of Search, learned when he spent a full year using primarily his mobile phone when he wanted to go online. And, in his view, he felt more inclined to take action when he was on his phone than when he was on his desktop…by placing more phone calls.
“I realized that on mobile devices, I wanted to act more. The balance between acting and consuming is more shifted towards acting. Acting as in call a business. Right? That’s the simplest acting.” – Amit Singhal, VP Search, Google
The marketing trends for placing phone calls are unmistakeable. Google now features Click to Call options directly in search results. Mobile advertising accounts for 90% of Facebook’s revenue growth.
Bottom line: if you’re not making the phone a central part of your marketing, you’re missing out on a LOT of business.
Browse With Clicks, Buy With Calls
Of course, people still want to learn about you and your business by browsing your website, reading your blog articles, and watching your videos. And no, I’m not making the claim that “email marketing is dead.”
But when people are ready to make a purchase, more often than not, they want to talk with somebody, first. And the larger the purchase and more complicated the service, the more likely they are to want to speak with a human being. For people who sell high-end coaching and training systems, a phone call is vital.
More and more, marketers are finding that phone calls are the Holy Grail of marketing: calls convert to revenue 10 to 15 times more than web leads.
Phone Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
Most of Instant Teleseminar’s customers are small businesses, so it’s unlikely that you have an inside sales team to field calls. Maybe that’s a goal to work towards, but in all likelihood, you are the only inside sales team for your business. You’re obviously not always available to answer a phone live to handle customer inquiries.
Fortunately, the phone rings two ways. Anything you can do to capture a phone number from prospects can help you grow your business by giving you a list of people you can call back.
Build a List of Phone Prospects with Teleseminars
Teleseminars are a great way to build a list of phone prospects you can call back. Obviously, anyone who calls into a teleseminar event is giving you a strong indication of interest.
Instant Teleseminar automatically captures the caller ID of everyone who dials in to your conference line and, when available, the caller’s name, too. Additional metrics include the call duration, so you can figure out who was most-interested and least-interested in your call.
Collecting phone numbers is so valuable, in fact, we’re beginning to see a “back in time” trend to phone-only teleseminars.
In the next couple of weeks, Instant Teleseminar will be announcing another way to capture phone leads, and in fact building out entire phone-based sales funnels or “phone funnels.” Stay tuned, things are about to get exciting. 🙂
Phones and SMS Text Marketing Versus Email
Sending and receiving texts is the other obvious call-to-action on smart phones, which is another reason to build a phone-based list of prospects.
Obviously, you want to get permission before sending texts to people, just like email marketing. But the benefit to marketers of text over email are stunning: 98% of texts are opened, and 90% are opened within three minutes. Compare that to email open rates of 20%. And even then, you’re lost in a sea of competing messages, stress, and work priorities. The email inbox is not a great place to be marketing.
As a result, I know several smart marketers who are coming back to teleseminars specifically to build their phone lists, calling more prospects and customers directly, and using services like Skipio for their SMS Marketing campaigns.
I’ll have more to say about SMS Text marketing and how to combine them with phone calls in a future post.
The previous title of this post was “Phone Calls Are The Next Big Trend in Marketing,” but that seemed to conjure up nauseous images of old-fashioned telemarketers and new-fashioned robocallers harassing people with spammy phone calls. Driving inbound calls and/or following up with inbound callers is the real message I wanted to get across. – Joel