Lead Generation from vertical search

The proven business model for directories, or local search as it’s often called in the online world, has for a long time been to list all the applicable businesses for free, and charge for value-added services such as increased visibility. For this, you need loads of people calling every single business owner and convince them to become a paying customer.
Right? Actually, no. What you need is intelligent analysis of your listings and potential customers. Contact only the businesses which already benefit from your traffic – and multiply their success. Web analytics is good for this. But call tracking is much better, as local search is all about the phone calls.
With local search thriving (over 4 million businesses have already confirmed their listing on Google Places), vertical search sites have become very popular, as they have been able to concentrate on a single category – such as restaurants.
Today we are happy to announce partnership with restaurant booking site 5pm.co.uk – and at the same time our first media customer in the United Kingdom. 5pm is a great place to go to, when you want to look for the nearest restaurant, read reviews, find deals and book a table for free.

With Freespee, 5pm.co.uk is able to reach for their most potential customers and help them to fill their restaurants. Simple as that.
You can find more information on our mutual press release.

Freespee reports from Yellow Pages TODAY!

Copenhagen, 2010-11-18
As the revenue from ad sales in the printed editions of the Yellow Pages Directories declines, the challenge to provide new, popular and trusted offerings to the SMEs is more intense than ever before.
Bundling ad products is a popular way of offering the advertiser a suite of exposure in printed- and online Yellow Pages and in New Media; such as Mobile marketing or paid search utilizing sponsored links–areas already subjected to hard competition from other local-level actors. The SME companies are looking for new channels where they can spend their media budgets and the question is now whether the Yellow Pages are the right local-level middle hand for them.

The Sales Force

The Yellow Pages Directories’ most valuable asset is unanimously said to be their powerful sales forces, a fact confirmed during Yellow Pages TODAY! by speakers from both Google and Bing (Microsoft) who themselves do not have this function in-house. However, judging from a review of a recent survey from the berry-company, this sales force is not very highly regarded by the SMEs, the segment that the Yellow Pages has traditionally had good relations with. The lack of skills in new media and little or no understanding of the advertisers’ businesses are the reasons behind this dissatisfaction. A panel debate comprised of top Yellow Pages sales people revealed that the two most important success factors right now involve getting help to understand the needs of the businesses they sell to, and being able to give the advertiser an ROI-feedback based on facts. These are skills and information that they need in order to retain and upgrade existing customers as well as to acquire new ones, who will otherwise look elsewhere to spend their limited media budgets.
Freespee helps the Directories understand their customers’ businesses and enables them to prove to the advertisers the ROI of their Yellow Pages, Internet Yellow Pages, and new media investments.

Strengthen the relationship to the Advertiser

The Directories are able to fully monetize their Internet Yellow Pages Ad networks with Freespee features such as phone number replacement on the Advertiser website, where the Freespee platform swaps out the existing phone number on the advertiser’s Web site with the unique, trackable phone number shown in the Internet Yellow Pages ad. This strengthens the relationship to the Advertiser and ensures that the Internet Yellow Pages get credit for every phone call that is placed through the ad.

Overview shows seasonality

Business knowledge comes through accurate intelligence and overview. With Freespee Analytics, the Directories get an overview of the seasonality of the advertisers’ businesses.

The integrated reporting tool shows a monthly or yearly perspective on the amount of leads that are driven to the advertiser’s telephone number. Now it’s easy to identify just the right point in time to contact the advertiser for subscription renewal.

Real-time proof of performance

Sales arguments are best when backed by facts. With Freespee Analytics, the ROI of the ad product is proven to the advertiser right away.

The dashboard shows the amount of telephone leads that the advertisement has driven to the advertiser, in real-time! Should the lead frequency decline – the sales person can take action to increase ad exposure utilizing New Media ad variants.

Credibility and performance is the future

Given these tools, the sales persons of the Yellow Pages Directories can concentrate on the new media and perhaps even more on the emotional part of selling, which obviously is crucial for building a long-lasting relationship with the SME customer.
Google’s local search engine Google Places recently evolved to be very similar to the Internet Yellow Pages in the way that it presents its search results. We at Freespee have seen a threefold increase in the amount of calls driven to advertisers from Google Places since the new structure has been in place. Customers do not click through to a webpage any longer! They simply place their call after having viewed the organic search result.
With re-won credibility, the only thing still missing for the Yellow Pages Directories will be the model for monetizing the phone calls in a way that is aligned with their customer’s scope; paying for performance. And then they can pursue doing exactly what they have done best for half a century. Driving phone call leads to the SMEs.

Every Day, Companies Make Wrong Decisions About Keywords

From the moment the Internet began to emerge as a powerful marketing channel, it became possible to measure impact in ways that had never before been possible.  Today companies devote serious resources to tracking visitors and measuring the number of actual orders or purchases generated by an Online campaign.
Being able to see the specific Click path that ultimately led your customers to complete an order on your site should be an excellent basis for knowing how to allocate your Online advertising budget. It would mean that you can make greater investments in keywords that have proven to be successful and ditch the words that don’t generate any results.

1. Sounds simple?

Think again: For 9 of 10 companies, a large proportion of the visits to their website do not result in a completed order or purchase because the viewer chooses instead to call the company. It might be to book a hotel room, or make an appointment with the chiropractor, or buy an airline ticket that was difficult to purchase Online, etc. Thus, the ability to be able to track incoming sales calls and relate them to the viewers’ Internet search is absolutely crucial.
If you use a search word that, according to your report, attracts a lot of visitors but leads to no completed orders in your Webshop, you will probably stop putting money into that word. But what if you knew that this specific search word was generating 8 of your 10 incoming sales calls – would you still make the same decision? And imagine you’re a dentist who makes all the appointments over the phone? How do you benefit by knowing how many people visited your Website after an SEM campaign?

2. Doesn’t everyone measure their incoming sales calls, just like they measure the number of visitors to their website?

No, almost no one does that!
Why? Because the analysis industry has been revolutionized by Online marketing. And people in the industry tend to think that it’s really painstaking to have to measure calls. The 25-year olds at Media agency X ask themselves, “Who calls these days?”
Freespee has gathered significant statistics over the course of two years, in which we clearly show the correlation between calls and Online search words, just as companies already relate their search words to a finished deal in the Web shop. As a teaser, when Google changed the look and feel of Google Places on October 28th, 300% more calls are placed directly from Google search results. Prior to October 28th, the user clicked though to the web site and then placed the call. Expect dramatic increase in call volume in 2011.
As there are millions of calls per day, the Media Agency should ask themselves if they monetize this?
In five years, the advertising industry will be entirely different from what I describe above. By then, companies that measure visitor traffic should also be able to clearly see the correlation to their call traffic. Otherwise, Freespee will have failed in its mission.

PS. Next time I will tell you a little bit more about the increased number of Voice leads from Google places…

Freespee attending ICMA in Vienna

This spring, we attended the ICMA conference in Berlin. Since then, we have added several classified search services to our list of customer. They all use the Freespee call tracking and Pay-Per-Call platform for the same purpose, to prove and fully monetize their Ad inventory.
This time, ICMA is in Vienna, and Freespee is there. The typical B2C classified service use the Freespee API to embed our services. In the picture below, you see an example where a local phone number and SMS notification services are ordered and provisioned in real time using the API.

If you find this interesting, go to Vienna and look for Juhani, he will introduce you to how easy it is to start count calls.