• What Are Tracked Phone Lines?

As a small business owner, it can be very difficult to track exactly where you customers are coming from. Did they find you from a Google search? From your Facebook page? A flyer or other offline marketing activity? While Google Analytics, tracked links, and similar tools have certainly made it easier to track your target audience’s online behavior, their offline behavior isn’t as simple to track.

Good old fashioned phone calls—still a popular form of engagement with businesses—is one such behavior. Fortunately, there is a way to track the calls coming into your business from these offline marketing efforts. This post will go over what tracked phone numbers are, how they work, and how they can benefit your business.

What Are Tracked Phone Lines?

What is a Tracked Phone Number?

Marketing plans involve the use of various channels—and activities within each channel—to get your business in front of your target audience and connect with them. If you’re using the same phone number for every activity, you have no way of knowing which activity prompted a caller to contact you. You could ask each caller, but you would have to remember to do so every time. You’d also have to set up some sort of spreadsheet so that you can collect, centralize, and make sense of the data. This takes more time than you have as a business owner. Fortunately, tracked phone numbers can do this work for you.

Tracked phone numbers are phone numbers that are created uniquely, so that they can be associated with specific marketing activities and measured separately from other activities. Phone number tracking programs record how many phone calls a specific number receives, and some even let you record your phone calls. Below is an example of a tracked phone number that has been set up through the ThriveHive Platform.


The “Where should it ring” is the number you want the caller to reach. This could be your general office number, a sales representative or sales line, your cell phone number, etc. “Your tracked phone number” is the phone number you use in your particular activity, such as on a flyer, email newsletter, search ad, etc.

How Do Tracked Phone Numbers Work?

Tracked phone numbers work by assigning a telephone number that rings through to your business or cell phone. With tracked phone numbers, multiple numbers can ring through to a primary line. This allows you to have multiple numbers for your business without having multiple telephone lines. Using your tracked phone line provider’s dashboard, you can report on how many phone calls each number received.

Benefits of Tracked Phone Lines

1. Measure Success

By using a unique number for each of your marketing activities, you can see which activities are encouraging people to call your business the most. This allows you to measure the success of each activity, as well as to optimize successful activities and adjust the poorly performing ones. For example, if you are getting a high call volume from an ad you created on Instagram, you may want to apply certain elements of that ad to other marketing materials. Or, you may find that successful copy on one channel does not work as well on other channels.

2. Call Recording

Another benefit of tracked phone lines is that most providers of this service also offer the option of recording calls. Going back and listening to previously recorded calls can help you gain insights into your target audience, prepare for and improve future conversations, and provide feedback to other team members if necessary.

3. Marketing Reporting

The third benefit of tracked phone lines is that you can get very specific with your reporting. By using a unique number for each channel you use to promote an activity, you can measure not only the success of each activity, but also of each channel within an activity. For example, you may be running the same advertisement in three places: such as Google, Facebook, and your local newspaper. Monitoring and comparing the performance of each of these ads can help you to experiment with different images and ad copy, and fine tune each ad for its particular channel.

When Should I Use Tracked Phone Numbers?

While it is a good idea to have a unique number for every channel, be careful not to take on too much at once. You might try starting with a single tracked phone number and using that for all of your marketing efforts first. It’s more important to know how many calls you’re getting per month overall than it is to get too complicated too fast. Once you have a baseline number of phone calls established, you can then start creating new tracked phone numbers and assigning them to your activities.

For example, if you have a print ad in a local newspaper or are sending out postcards, put different phone numbers on each so you can compare which one generates the most business. You can also choose to use local numbers for your location based advertising and 1800 numbers for your more widespread marketing efforts.

How to Set Up Tracked Phone Numbers

In order to set up and benefit from tracked phone numbers, you need to use a service that does two things: 1- Generates multiple phone numbers that all forward to your main number, and 2-Tracks how many calls each line receives. This is a standard feature available to all ThriveHive clients but is also offered individually by companies such as Callrail and Grasshopper.

Once you have your first tracked phone number set up, place a unique phone number on your website that is found nowhere else. This lets you track conversions from people visiting the site who opt to call you to purchase instead of filling out a form. As you get the hang of things, you can then start assigning unique numbers to other marketing efforts, both online and off.

Tracked Phone Lines and Online Marketing

While tracked phone lines have a lot of value for traditional marketing, they can help with your online marketing efforts as well. Some examples of where tracked phone numbers might be useful are:

  • Directory Listings (Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, etc.)
  • Website Phone Number
  • Paid Advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, etc.)
  • Forums, Groups, Message Boards, etc.
  • Social Profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

By using tracked phone numbers in each of these locations, you can determine which online marketing effort is generating the most business. You might be surprised just how many phone calls you get from your Google My Business directory listing!

Tell us, are you using tracked phone numbers? Why or why not?

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