By Dice Nakamura
National Healthcare Division, ReachLocal, Inc.

If you’re like most hospitals or practices, you view inbound phone calls from new patients as a measure of your marketing success. However, that probably means you have no way of quantifying how many of those calls were generated as a result of your local online marketing. A strategy being used by more and more technology savvy healthcare providers to evaluate the efficiency and results of marketing spend is through call tracking.

This method of measurement ties each marketing campaign source (search advertisements, website, social media, etc.) to a unique phone number. It allows healthcare organizations to match each customer to the source by which they discovered you. For example, a patient that clicks on a search ad is linked to the call that later comes in to book an appointment or ask a question.

By way of this process, healthcare marketers can easily capture leads through click-to-call conversions. Along with the ability to track the advertising source of your leads with call tracking, call recording can provide additional benefits ( to your business.

• Customer Service – Listening to recorded calls can help you understand how your staff is handling phone calls ( and uncover customer service issues such as an improper greeting or failure to completely answer customer questions. For healthcare organizations, it’s very much a consultative sales process when a simple “contact us” form can’t have the same effect.

• Sales Training – Call recording can help you determine whether or not your team is asking the right questions to qualify a lead or close a sale. You can use this opportunity to properly train your staff how to effectively complete these critical tasks while the lead is on the phone.

• Consumer Insight – Recorded calls can also help you gather insight into patient trends, issues, and in-demand services. You can then use this insight to adjust service as well as effectively respond to customer questions or complaints.

One healthcare provider reaping the benefits of using call tracking is a non-profit with services in seven states across the U.S. Using proxy numbers attached to each campaign, the organization is able to identify the people who placed phone calls as a result of their online ads, ensuring each campaign was successful.

After running 18 online marketing campaigns with search and display ads connected to unique phone numbers, this organization generated 13 million impressions, 42,000 visits to their website and 3,000 calls.

So how can you implement call tracking technologies? Digital marketing providers, like ReachLocal, provide a straight forward feature that enables you to track and record each of the incoming calls from your campaigns where you can audit and rate them. You can see more at:

Here is a step by step process about how the service typically works:

• A consumer sees your online ad or comes across your website and calls the number provided – a special tracking phone number.

• The call tracking number forwards your calls in real time to the phone number of your choice.

• The phone calls generated by your campaign are recorded.

• Through a reporting system, you can see all of the call details such as call duration, date, time, and caller ID.

• With call recording enabled, you can play back your calls to audit and rate them from your report.

• All of your recorded audio files are stored so you can see how your call handling is improving over time.

Call tracking technology allows healthcare organizations to track the online buying journey of each patient.

Source: Google & Compete, Treatment Center Study, 2012

About the Author:

Dice Nakamura is currently the Business Development Executive for ReachLocal’s National Healthcare Division. He has been assisting corporations with marketing and business development initiatives since 1999 and has an extensive background in ecommerce, interactive services, digital analytics, website development, Google products, healthcare, financial services, music business, search marketing, SaaS and telecommunications. As a Google AdWords & Google Analytics Certified business development professional, he helps F1000s businesses and large healthcare organizations implement key digital marketing solutions for lead generation initiatives. Prior to ReachLocal, Dice was the Vice President of Business Development for Vertical Nerve, which is one of four agencies in North America that is a Google Analytics Certified Partner, Google AdWords Certified, Google Analytics Premium Authorized Re-Seller, and a Microsoft Preferred Advertising Agency. He led all business development initiatives at Vertical Nerve and was responsible for selling important Vertical Nerve solutions (Conversion Rate Optimization, Search Marketing, Digital Analytics and Interactive Services) to agencies and F1000 clients. As an expert in ecommerce marketing strategies, Dice introduced a new product-specific PLA service to Vertical Nerve and acted as the PLA product manager for Vertical Nerve’s entire search marketing team. Prior to Vertical Nerve, Dice was the Business Development Manager / Comparison Shopping Engine Strategist for MerchantAdvantage – a leading provider of data feed management solutions that helps ecommerce companies and agencies customize, optimize, submit, adjust, monitor, and analyze marketing data feeds to any online marketing channel, including affiliate networks, consumer shopping engines, shopping destination sites, and mobile commerce platforms. He is currently the 2015 President of The Dallas Business Club ( and received MBA from Baylor University in May of 2012. Dice has published articles and white papers on Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads through Search Marketing Expo/SMX. SMX is programmed by the search marketing authorities who publish the industry leading news site Search Engine Land who have years of experience educating search marketers.