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The Underestimated Value of Phone Calls That Marketers Miss Without valuing phone calls and properly attributing them, you could be missing out on revenue and opportunities.

By Sergio Alvarez

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you associate the sound of a ringing phone solely with Baby Boomer complaints or the occasional after-sales inquiry, you are misvaluing phone calls. This will result in your business, more likely than not, missing out on revenue and new customers.

Take a look at these statistics: 60% of smartphone users will contact your business directly using search links, including "click to call" functions. When asked to rank their favorite forms of business communication, all respondents aged 40 and older voted telephone calls in their top two methods, and 22% of the 18-39 group said they too would rather speak to a human on the phone.

Why are phone calls overlooked in marketing?

Many businesses are not just overlooking the importance of having a telephone line available to their customers. Even when the option is available, it is often not well-integrated into the marketing plan or conversion measurement.

Even in industries that ordinarily rely heavily on telephone communication, like hospitality, education and travel, conversion measurement rarely considers the caller's complete journey prior to the point of making the call.

Phone calls are a vital part of communication and marketing plans, but in measuring conversion rates, we would be remiss to forget that these calls often originate on digital platforms.

Related: Why Attribution Is All That Should Matter in Digital Marketing

The benefits of phone calls

If businesses are not acknowledging the value of phone calls, then it's likely conversion statistics are also skewed. Attribution of a sale made on a telephone call, for instance, cannot automatically go to the phone call part of the funnel. The caller's journey may well have started on one of your digital platforms.

This misattribution can make you underestimate the performance of your digital platforms. Since conversion data often guides budget decisions, you may end up removing funding from a well-functioning channel, only to apply it to a channel that's actually only doing half the job.

The secret to correct attribution assessment is understanding the role that phone calls can play in the sales funnel.

While traffic may split evenly between phone and digital channels, the sales cycle on a telephone call is far longer and generally has a far higher price point than digital channels.

If I'm searching for information on a hotel room in Miami and my stay is only for a single night, for instance, I might be happy to book online. However, if my stay is going to be longer than that and perhaps I'd like to take advantage of other facilities at the hotel, there's a good chance I will call in to discuss this with the hotel. I may even end up completing my booking while on the phone.

Customers calling into a business are often further along in the sales cycle than those browsing digital channels, so the telephonic interaction will, on the whole, be more valuable to your business.

Related: Executive Cyber Protection Is the Key to Keeping Your Company Safe

Prioritize phone call attribution now

Sometimes, businesses are not properly measuring phone call attribution simply because they don't know it's possible. In reality, though, there are relatively simple software services available that can provide you with a wealth of information related to the phone calls your business receives.

When using this software, your number will appear the same across the board to the customer, but on the back end, each platform — social media, Google and other search engines — will have its own tracking number. This helps you understand exactly which digital platforms are contributing the most toward call generation.

In addition, by using phone call attribution, you can also track which keywords and phrases most commonly attract callers. By combining this data with on- and off-page SEO techniques, you can significantly multiply traffic to this valuable channel.

The number of closed sales generated determines the success of a marketing strategy. Marketers decide where to allocate marketing funds on the merit of attribution data. If that data is incomplete, though, you're planning a holiday without understanding which airports connect to your destination.

Related: How to Keep Your Customers Happy (Even If They're Wrong)

Boost your marketing plan

Telephone communication is still a very important part of your customer reach. If you are receiving calls from customers and not measuring their true origin and overall impact on your bottom line, you're missing out.

Incorrect or ineffective phone call attribution measurement can cause lost revenue and opportunities. It's time to acknowledge the value of the phone call and start harnessing the power of its data.

Sergio Alvarez

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO and Founder of Ai Media Group/Atrilyx

Sergio Alvarez is a performance-marketing expert, digital-attribution leader and CEO and founder of Ai Media Group.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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