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Shifting from PPC to SEO During COVID-19? Marketing Analytics from Phone Calls Can Help

Blair Symes Senior Director of Content Marketing, DialogTech

Are you reducing your paid search spend because of COVID-19? If so, you aren’t alone. Due to self-quarantining and shelter in place orders across the US, many businesses are seeing a reduction in foot traffic and consumer demand during the outbreak. Marketers are responding by cutting back on PPC and other paid channels, shifting their focus instead to driving more business from SEO and content marketing. 

Coronavirus Impact on Advertising Efforts

If you are looking to drive more demand from SEO during COVID-19 (and after), it helps to have the right marketing analytics to guide you. You should be able to see what’s driving conversions (and what’s not) in real time — both from visitors to your website from SEO and those generated directly from SERP via Google My Business — so you can adjust accordingly. It is also helpful to understand how concerns about the virus are impacting consumer behavior and decision-making to help guide your content and CRO strategy.  

Online Data Is Critical, but Don’t Forget About Analytics from Consumer Calls

Website analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics and SEO tools like Moz and BrightEdge are essential to managing organic search. But it’s also important to tap into the marketing analytics and consumer insights available from phone calls driven by SEO to your call centers, locations, and remote staff. 

Phone calls to businesses were a popular conversion from SEO before COVID-19,  especially from local and mobile search. Google has said that mobile searchers are 39% more likely to call a business and 51% more likely to make a purchase. But data from the DialogTech call tracking and analytics platform, which has tracked and analyzed billions of phone calls to businesses, shows that regardless of the device consumers use to search for a business, they often call from SEO rather than PPC.

Percent of Calls to Businesses from Search by Organic vs. Paid
Prior to COVID-19
Industry Calls from SEO Calls from PPC
Auto Repair 60% 40%
Auto Sales 34% 66%
Dental 50% 50%
Financial Services 64% 36%
Hospitals 63% 37%
HVAC 36% 64%
Insurance 55% 45%
Landscaping 69% 31%
Optometrists 37% 63%
Pest Control 53% 47%
Plumbing 42% 58%
Physical Therapy 63% 37%
Self-Storage 67% 33%
Senior Care 53% 47%
Waste Management 67% 33%
Windows Installation 54% 46%

That’s positive news for marketers worried about the loss of leads from reducing PPC spend. Consumers call from SEO. And while their behavior has shifted during COVID-19, the outbreak has not diminished the importance of phone calls to businesses. Many industries used to heavy foot traffic are instead seeing an increase in engagement over the phone. Other industries like healthcare and financial services, where phone calls from consumers are the norm, have seen huge spikes in call volume.  

If you are shifting more focus to SEO during COVID-19, marketing analytics and strategies from calls to your business can help you improve conversion rates. Here are some ideas to consider and some of the ways DialogTech can help. 

Marketing Data and Strategies for Phone Calls Driven by SEO During COVID-19

1. Know How Calls from SEO (and Other Channels) Drive Leads and Conversions 

The first and most basic step is to get accurate data on the phone calls you are driving from SEO, if they are sales leads, and if they converted to opportunities, appointments, or customers. Calls overall are valuable conversions for most businesses, but not every call is a good lead and most don’t convert. Understanding the volume and value of the calls you are driving from SEO helps you benchmark performance and get the foundational data you need to improve. 

DialogTech’s call tracking and analytics platform provides both the quantitative and qualitative data on callers generated by your paid and organic media. You can use it to:

  • Compare how calls from SEO are performing versus other channels
  • View trend data on calls from SEO over time to gauge improvement
  • Compare SEO calls from your website versus calls from Google My Business to see which are most valuable
  • Examine calls driven by your webpages to see which ones are driving the best results

Sample DialogTech report on sales leads and opportunities from calls from webpages

COVID-19 TIP: DialogTech can also isolate phone calls where the caller discusses COVID-19 and related topics and display them in reports for insights and trends. Knowing the volume and value of calls discussing the virus — and how that is changing hour by hour and day by day — can help you better understand the outbreak’s impact on your marketing and conversion rates.

Sample DialogTech report on calls where callers discussed the coronavirus

2. Integrate Data from SEO Calls into Your Website Analytics Tools

If you use tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics to monitor progress and results from SEO, you can activate your call data from DialogTech in those platforms for a holistic view of the customer journey. You can see call volumes and conversions alongside your online data to get a complete understanding of how SEO is performing and make the right adjustments to your content and website strategy to improve.

3. Improve SEO and Conversion Rates Using Call Recordings and Transcriptions 

During COVID-19, many businesses are getting a surge in consumer calls. Those conversations provide powerful insights into the questions and concerns consumers have about the virus and your products or services, the performance of your locations and agents answering calls, and more.

Marketers can use DialogTech to get direct access to call recordings and transcriptions for inbound calls from SEO (and other channels). You can run searches through those calls to:

  • Improve SEO and CRO: See what questions callers are asking and answer them on your site and relevant product/services pages to attract more visitors from SEO and better convert them to customers. 
  • Understand COVID-19 concerns: Learn the questions and concerns your callers are voicing about the coronavirus. You can then arm agents with the information they need to assist callers and add FAQ lists and blog posts about the virus to your website to address concerns directly.
  • Conduct mystery shopping: See if agents, locations, or remote staff are following approved scripts, demonstrating empathy during this difficult time, and saying the right things when consumers call.
  • Improve call coaching: Provide call center and location managers with recordings of phone leads that didn’t convert or calls about the virus where the employee lacked empathy to use as coaching tools to improve performance.

Sample transcription and recording in DialogTech of a call mentioning COVID-19

4. Put Callers from SEO Into the Right Audiences for Retargeting

If you do have budget available for digital advertising, you don’t want to waste it retargeting those website visitors who went on to convert over the phone. But you also don’t want to miss out on new business by failing to target unconverted SEO callers that are good leads. 

With help from DialogTech’s AI, you can use what callers say in their conversations to have them added to the most relevant audience segments. For example, you can:

  • Retarget phone leads with special offers: For unconverted callers whose conversations show they are good leads, retarget them with a special offer for the product/service they called about. Consider paying more to target these leads you know have high purchasing intent, as well as broadening your keyword list to ensure your ads are visible when they search. 
  • Put your converted callers into lookalike campaigns: To get your ads in front of more in-market prospects, consider adding your best callers to lookalike audiences. Lookalike campaigns extend your reach by finding new prospects resembling those contacts in your lists, and putting your most valuable callers into those audiences makes them more effective.  
  • Suppress callers from seeing irrelevant ads: For callers who purchased during the call or whose conversations show they aren’t sales leads, add them to your exclusion lists so you don’t waste budget showing them ads. 

COVID-19 TIP: You can use call data from DialogTech to determine if callers that mention the coronavirus convert differently than other callers. Your data might tell you to bid more for COVID-19 callers in Google Ads, for example — so you should put them in their own audience. Or it might tell you to exclude those callers from your ads altogether or to show them special ad messaging that ensures you’re striking the right tone. 

5. Detect and Correct Call Experience Issues Impacting Conversion Rates

No matter how well your SEO generates phone leads, your ROI suffers if locations, call centers, and remote agents aren’t converting them. As marketers responsible for driving leads and revenue, you should know if the calls you generate are being answered, assisted correctly, and converted.

Marketers can use DialogTech reports to see what percentage of calls to each location or agent are good leads, abandon their call, go to voicemail, convert, and more. Use this data to determine if low conversion rates at locations are the result of your marketing or the call experience. These reports help you detect and correct issues where calls aren’t getting answered or converted. You can also use them to prove to locations and franchisees that your marketing is delivering a steady stream of good phone leads.

Sample DialogTech report showing phone lead quality and performance at locations

6. Take Charge of How Callers Are Assisted and Routed for a Frictionless Customer Journey

Ensuring calls are not just answered, but routed to the right agent or location to assist, improves experiences and conversion rates. Marketers can use DialogTech to help provide callers from SEO and other channels with relevant, seamless experiences: 

  • Use IVRs to automate caller assistance: IVRs are useful tools to answer, assist, qualify, inform, and route callers. Marketers can use DialogTech to build and update your own IVRs in minutes. For COVID-19, your IVR can provide information on how often locations are sanitized, changes in location hours and on-site staff schedules, FAQs, or any other important information for prospects and customers. 
  • Set up rules-based call routing: You can set up rules in DialogTech to route callers based on their data and your business’s needs. Examples include routing callers based on the webpage or ZIP code they called from, routing after hours calls to call center agents or an IVR, and routing a high percentage of calls to your best agents to improve conversation rates. 
  • Route calls to remote workers: If your staff is working from home, you can have calls routed to an employee or group of employees’ phones simultaneously or in a hunt group until someone answers. You don’t even need to change numbers in your ads — instead, you can simply change the routing on the backend in DialogTech to have those numbers direct calls to your remote staff. 

Marketing Analytics on Calls Can Help Drive More Conversions from SEO

We are all adjusting to the new normal with COVID-19. If your paid search budget has been reduced, then SEO becomes even more important for driving demand. Phone calls are an important conversion from SEO, and having the right analytics and experiences for those calls can help you prove the full impact of your marketing and convert more callers to customers. 

This outbreak won’t last, and the data and strategies for calls you can adopt today will help you be ready when PPC budgets come back. If you want to learn more about driving more calls and customers from search, download our ebook, The Online-to-Offline Search Marketing Playbook.

If you want to learn more about driving more calls and customers from search, download our ebook, The Online-to-Offline Search Marketing Playbook.

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