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New Forrester Study Finds Phone Calls Are the Most Valuable Lead

Christie Huber Senior Content Marketing Manager, DialogTech

According to, analyst firm Forrester has published a new study naming inbound phone calls as the most valuable marketing conversion. The study found that “customers who initiate inbound calls convert to revenue faster, spend more, and have a higher retention rate.”

The Forrester study complements findings from analyst firm BIA/Kelsey, who found that call conversions from digital marketing have skyrocketed thanks to smartphones and click-to-call, exceeding 100 billion calls in the US alone last year. It also echoes what we hear from our customers, who use DialogTech to measure, analyze, and optimize phone calls from their marketing.  

Let’s dig into the findings and recommendations from the new Forrester study to see why calls are so valuable.

Compared to digital consumers, phone customers convert faster.

According to the study, the majority (60%) of marketers agree that those who place an inbound phone call convert to a customer 30% faster than those who did not. Many business leaders, especially those who run businesses looking to drive sales of considered purchases, agree. A considered purchase — one that requires significant time and financial or emotional investment — is often made after a phone conversation.

Business lender and DialogTech customer SnapCap sees the same results from their marketing. Their goal is to get businesses in need of capital to either fill out an online application or give SnapCap a call – though the marketing team does prefer one type of conversion over the other. “For us, the phone call is the most valuable conversion,” said Mack Johnston, VP of Data & Analytics at SnapCap. “Every application requires a phone conversation anyway, so having that talk begin right away by getting the merchant to call us speeds things up and provides a great experience for our customers. That’s why we make calling us such a prominent call to action in our search ads and on our website.”

Knowing that phone calls are the fast track to conversions, marketers must make calls — and generating more of them — a top-tier priority. By optimizing your display ads for calls, for example, you can not only generate more calls from your online and mobile ads, but drive more of the right callers that convert to customers. A DialogTech customer, Comfort Keepers, was able to use insights from callers to build lookalike audiences in display that drove 4x the calls.

New caller-modeling audience drove 4x the callers for Comfort Keepers.

Those who pick up the phone spend more.

Your phone customers spend an average of 28% more, according to the majority of marketers (60%) who participated in the Forrester study. DialogTech customer Central Restaurant Products also experiences the same thing: “Most of our orders come from phone calls, and this is especially true for higher-priced products that people might not feel comfortable buying online.” Since this is the case, how do you ensure that those who call have the right caller experience to convert to a customer?  

By using a call routing solution, you can use contextual signals (marketing source that drove the call, who the caller is, time of day) to automatically route each caller to the best location or agent right away. You can also prioritize them in special queues based on their history and purchase intent to ensure your best callers are never kept waiting. You can even go a step further by equipping your agents with real-time information on callers before they answer the phone. Call attribution data will help equip your sales agents with unique details about their callers so they are able to know how to craft personalized and meaningful conversations. If customers are thinking, “Can they read my mind?” then you’re doing something right!

“DialogTech allows us to provide callers a personalized experience and helps us support our locations by sending them qualified callers.”

-Melissa Zaino, Marketing Director at Bath Fitter

Callers churn less.

Forrester finds that over half of marketers (54%) report that customers that initiate a phone call have a higher retention rate (28%). Churn is an increasing problem for many companies, since it’s an estimated 6x-7x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current one.

Therefore, according to the study, retention is a top priority for 77% of marketers, and making it easy for customers to re-engage by calling is one way to combat churn. As marketers, we can take advantage of this by using call-based calls to action in online and offline ads, as well as on our websites. Ads that prompt customers to call see a higher engagement rate.

Ask for what you want! If want web forms, direct viewers to “explore” or “get a free quote.” But if you want calls, ask and you will receive.

Digital Ads For Phone Calls

Why we must prioritize and measure callers.

As the customer journey continues to increase in complexity, it is more important than ever for marketers to be able to identity the actions that influence a sale. And that means phone calls. According to the study conducted by Forrester, marketers say that customers that initiate inbound phone calls at some point during the customer journey contribute to over a quarter (27%) of all sales. It is clear that calls are valuable, so are you giving them the attention they deserve?

Sylvan Learning understands just how important measuring phone leads was to their ROI. They generate web forms and phone calls from their online marketing, but most their leads are calls. “When I can’t account for over 75% of my calls and what keywords or categories they were coming from, it’s a serious problem,” said Seth Lueck, senior online and SEM manager at Sylvan. They turned to DialogTech for their call tracking, and the results have been impressive. The ability to track phone calls back to specific search keywords allows Sylvan to optimize its advertising based on what drives the most people to pick up the phone. “This year with DialogTech, Sylvan has increased leads by over 33% from search marketing – all while keeping cost per lead flat. We are extremely pleased with how much we’ve been able to scale,” said Lueck.

To learn more about how marketers can attribute calls to their digital advertising download our latest guide, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.

Call conversion attribution is now a necessary step to proving and improving digital marketing ROI. Start today by downloading The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.

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