Don’t Sabotage Your Campaign With A Tracking 1-800#

I’ve been seeing more and more local campaigns set up on search engines with no local phone number. The only number on these sites is a 1-800#… I assume this is done for analytics… and it is a bad idea in my opinion. Let me show you why.

Open up your Yellow Pages and flip through it… c’mon, I know you have one… and look for ads that have 800#’s. I’ll bet you find very few.

Do you know why?


yellow page ad
Applying this YP concept to your Website should crank up
conversion, while providing ‘local seo’ benefit. (addt’l locations)

All the studies shows that people prefer calling local numbers and that having only an 800 number in an ad will significantly reduce call volume. If 800#’s worked better, the Yellow Pages would be loaded with them, after all, at one time both products were sold by the same company.

Want to take it one step further; check this out from YP Commando:

Research on over 77,000 Yellow Pages ads using metered telephone lines found that ads with multiple local phone numbers received many more calls than ads with only one local number.

Ads with only a single toll-free number received the fewest calls. Having both local and toll free tends to increase call counts slightly.

So, if you believe that you can apply lessons learned in local advertising from yellow pages to the web… and I firmly do – STOP using 800#’s in your local website for the sake of analytics. Use local numbers instead, and use many.

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5 Responses to Don’t Sabotage Your Campaign With A Tracking 1-800#

  1. Michael Munz says:

    There are good reasons for using 800′s like, a metro area thats growing and bringing in new area codes to compensate for the population growth. And I agree that both 800 and local are the most effective. The stats provided sure don’t seem relevant to the entire www. The online phonebooks account for less that 10% of all search on the web. Anything phonebook is soo 5 minutes ago. Stick to the internet and how people use 800″ vs. Local’s there.

  2. Jim Lin says:

    I just wanted to point out that if it’s tracking you want, you still CAN achieve it with local numbers. There are ways to have your cake and eat it too.

    The company I work for provides local numbers for pretty much every region in the US (and most countries as well), along with your usual toll free/800 numbers. Many of our clients acquire local numbers for their yellow pages ads, billboards or other advertising in multiple cities/states/countries and forward all the calls from those numbers to one central call center. They then simply access their call logs on our online account management interface and monitor the phone traffic generated by each number to collect/evaluate essential tracking metrics.

    One step further, they will often acquire multiple local numbers within the same region and use a different one for different media within that one region to assess the relative success of each media there.

    By using local numbers, you can give customers the assurance of calling someone “in their own backyard” and you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice your ability to track either. Isn’t technology great? You can even try this service 10 days for free. http://www.tollfreeforwarding.com

    Sorry for the plug, but it is 100% relevant to this article…

  3. Michael… I agree that there are good reasons for using 800 numbers. And if you have one… you should use one. I’m just saying that I don’t think you should use one for the sole purpose of tracking. And I see many local campaigns set-up that way.

  4. Lisa Blaine-Newhook says:

    Our company in Boston, Ma that I work for uses a 800# and our phones dont ring anymore! I have been begging them to go back to a local # or at least offer a choice, especially in a field where our customers are very personable and they have all said they won’t answer or they don’t like calling 800#’s! I was hoping someone could email me some “proof” or more statistics of 800#’s vs local #’s so that I can prove to them that its not just me saying it! PLEASE!!!!
    Thank you SO much!!
    Lisa Blaine-Newhook
    617.548.3522 or BLisaLisa@gmail.com

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