A trackable number for a small business is a bad idea

A user searching the internet for a business

You own a small business, and you’re looking for an online marketing company to increase your website traffic and social media. Your potential new customers are looking online for a business like yours and hey, you want them to find you. You contract with an agency, and the first thing they do is add a trackable phone number to your account.

A trackable phone number is used in advertising and marketing to trace the quantity and quality of calls through planned activities. This number is a port that receives and then transfers the phone call to your business.

Why a trackable number is great for the online agency?

A trackable number allows an agency to “prove” how many phone calls your business received as a result of their efforts. This trackable number is added to your website, to all social media channels, to any linking they do. The number is added to Google. During your monthly meeting, your agency account manager will give you a stat on how many phone calls your business received from online sources in the last 30 days. Sounds cool, you think. Makes sense, you believe. “I’m impressed,” you may utter aloud. Not only that, but you learn the average length and the location of the calls.

Why a trackable number is a bad idea for your small business?

The longer you use a trackable number, the more information is generated online about your business with the trackable phone number. If you decide to leave the agency, for whatever reason, you have to do one of 2 things.

  • Have the trackable phone number transferred to your own account, incurring transfer fees as well as a monthly fee to keep it. Or…
  • Find all the links on the internet that display this trackable phone number and change them.

The longer you worked with that agency, the more links there are to find. The agency may or may not turn over every link they created for you. They may site, “proprietary information.” and that will suck for your small business.

How will it suck?A user searching the internet for a business

Google is a stickler for NAP: The name, address and phone number of your business. If Google finds an inconsistency in this information, it doesn’t know what correct information to return to a user during a search request. Conflicting information means one of two things:

  • Google gives the user misinformation (the trackable phone number you no longer own), and you don’t get the call.
  • Your business information is not included in the search request as Google has devalued your authority on the internet based on this conflicting information.

The internet scrapes information. Your information gets duplicated again and again. If you do get the username and password to links the agency put online, they can’t give you the ones that were scraped. Finding the links, trying to claim them and change the information can be a real headache.

Reporting and finding a way to justify your ROI when your small business spend money online is important. But a trackable phone number on the internet, especially for a small business, may not be the best strategy to use.

At A2 Online Marketing we never use tracking numbers, provide stats by other means and always put what’s best for small business first.