The Web is awash in tools designed to help automate online marketing tasks and track their results. But what about offline methods like billboards, print media and telephone calls?
What if you could track inbound calls to your business like you track Website visitors? What if you could merge data from all of your Web marketing accounts into one dashboard and pull a single report? What if that same dashboard could tell you how much ROI you're getting from each method?
Now you can do all of that, thanks to an innovative new Web app called MyNextCustomer, which aggregates both online and offline marketing metrics in one intuitive dashboard and tracks the number of leads generated by each one.
Businesses Can Track Leads From Online (and Offline) Marketing
Despite all the magic and buzz of social media and online advertising tools, most small, service-oriented companies still get most of their business via telephone.
"Google AdWords is great, but most SMBs using it only track conversions, not calls." said MyNextCustomer founder George Revutsky.
For each online marketing or social media account entered, MyNextCustomer automatically provisions a unique phone number, which reroutes callers to the business's main number. Offline marketing channels can have unique numbers set up manually.
Using these unique phone numbers, MyNextCustomer is able to track which callers came from which marketing channels. For example, customers who come from an organic Google search will see one number, Bing ads display another number, Twitter users see another, and yet another number might be printed on a billboard or newspaper advertisement.
MyNextCustomer also has built-in caller ID and call recording options. The app stores an audio file of each phone call within the dashboard for easy retrieval, enabling business owners to listen back, see what works, and tweak their operations when necessary.
Calculating Return on Investment
Small businesses know they need to invest in marketing both online and off. But what is less clear is exactly how much return they're going to get on those investments, especially with traditional, offline media that don't come with analytics built-in.
This is another problem that MyNextCustomer attempts to solve. In addition to the data it collects about where leads come from, it can also factor in a few financial facts provided by the user to come up with the estimated cost per lead, as well as an overall ROI percentage for each marketing channel.
For small businesses, this is hugely beneficial. As an example, if MyNextCustomer tells you that Google AdWords and organic Yahoo search are bringing in a ton of leads, but Twitter only yields a few dollars, you're obviously going to take a closer look at how those limited resources are being allocated.
All Your Marketing Results in a Single Report
MyNextCustomer was originally created to help Revutsky's team at a small search marketing agency he runs.
"We were running ROIworks and found reporting, ROI and LTV [lifetime value] calculations, and choosing which medium and channel worked best to be super time consuming," said Revutsky. In response, they built what would eventually become MyNextCustomer for internal purposes. They launched it as a private beta in December 2009.
In addition to calculating ROI and tracking leads from various marketing channels, MyNextCustomer allows users to plug in a variety of accounts - Google AdWords, Twitter, Yahoo, Google Analytics, etc. - and then display results from all of them in one report, an obvious time-saver for SMBs with limited resources.
The application, which was recently recognized as one of the three most promising products at Failcon, is now in public beta. Accounts range from $49 to $199 per month, depending on the number of channels tracked and phone lines included. Agencies and larger companies can sign up for enterprise-level accounts as well.