CallRail, Author at Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 15 Apr 2022 20:35:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why your clients struggle with marketing reporting /why-your-clients-struggle-with-marketing-reporting-383417 Mon, 11 Apr 2022 11:00:14 +0000 /?p=383417 Provide your clients with transparency and actionable reporting.

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28% of small business owners have no visibility into how their marketing agency uses their budgeted spending. The last thing your clients want to do is chase down reporting across multiple tools and channels and try and make sense of it themselves.

The biggest value you can provide to your clients as an agency is transparent and actionable reporting. And in this article, we’ll walk through the top pain points small business owners experience and how you can provide the right reporting to enhance trust and retain more clients. 

Problem #1: Your clients lack insight into their most effective marketing campaigns and find it difficult to budget for the next year. 

Usually, a marketing strategy involves multiple channels, such as digital ads, organic and paid search, marketplace listings, offline outreach and so on. But when you multiply that by the number of campaigns an average business runs in a year, reporting can easily get out of hand.

If you or your client lack the right tools to effectively manage and gather this data in one place, you have to pull from different reports from different platforms to piece together a cohesive data story. Therefore, the lack of insight makes it very difficult to properly plan next year’s campaigns based on the successful campaigns of this year.

The solution: Build a report with a tool like CallRail’s Multi-touch Cost Per Lead Report. It ties all of your lead sources’ data together across every channel where your client markets. The report will tie in your inbound calls, texts, live chats, and form submission data to attribute leads to online and offline marketing efforts. From there, you’ll be able to see which campaigns earned the most revenue for your clients, and those campaigns will help inform future campaigns. 

Problem #2: Your clients aren’t clear on where their inbound phone calls are coming from and can’t tie them back to the right marketing campaigns. 

Remember those days when sales reps would make between 50 to 100 calls a day, without proper reporting in place? And think about how easy information can get lost in the process, especially if your client is relying on their reps to ask “How did you hear about us?” 

To understand marketing campaign effectiveness, you need to know where those inbound leads are coming from, whether it was your client’s Instagram ad, email outreach, bus wrap or any other channel. A full timeline of the lead’s journey can be incredibly helpful for understanding campaign success and improving the lead experience, too — turning more leads into customers.

The solution: Build a report that provides insight into the sources and interactions that drive traffic and generate inbound calls, texts and chats. With something like CallRail’s Call Attribution Report, you’ll be able to share the entire customer journey, which campaigns are most successful when it comes to generating new customers and revenue, and which campaigns could use some work in the new year.

Problem #3: Your clients aren’t able to identify which keywords are successful for their marketing program. 

A clear understanding of ROI is crucial for marketers in any size organization. With call tracking and analytics tools, you can help your clients figure out which marketing campaigns and keywords are converting leads and driving new business.

But, it’s challenging — not only for your clients but for you and other agencies as well. You might not have visibility into your client’s interactions with their customers and might not be able to fully understand the common language of that business or industry. So, you can see how this makes reporting on certain keywords and phrases difficult.

The solution: Build a report that provides a full breakdown of targeted key terms and phrases that are used the most during your client’s business calls, such as a tool like CallRail’s Key Terms Spotted Report. From there, you can provide your client with a list of calls containing those key terms that were marked as qualified leads. 

Quick tips when building reports

  1. Use the right tools and grow with your client and their needs over time. Keep in mind that your reporting will change as your client grows revenue and expands marketing efforts. 
  2. Set the right goals from the beginning and establish a baseline. KPIs will help you and your clients track success and identify areas for improvement. And with a baseline, you can easily show growth and prove your agency’s value. 
  3. Make sure that your client’s data tells a story. Numbers are great, but what’s the meaning behind them? How do they tie into the bigger picture? Be clear on your reporting to your clients and actionable steps they can take from those reports. 

Support your clients and grow your revenue with the CallRail Partner Program

Your clients rely on you to provide reporting that’s clear and transparent, actionable and translates to improved ROI. As a CallRail partner, you’ll help your clients succeed with all of the reports and insights we’ve discussed with the bonus of support from the CallRail team and a dedicated account manager. 
Earn a 20% monthly revenue share, become eligible for quarterly cash bonuses, and grow your business — and your clients’ businesses — by becoming a CallRail Partner today.

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Secrets of marketing agency success /secrets-of-marketing-agency-success-379580 Mon, 07 Feb 2022 12:00:59 +0000 /?p=379580 New CallRail report reveals highlights from 2021 — and 2022.

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CallRail just released its 2022 Outlook for Digital Marketing Agencies. The good news: “2021 was a good year for agencies, and 2022 is looking even brighter,” said Mary Pat Donnellon, chief revenue officer at CallRail. 

The report highlights the areas of success agencies saw last year and reveals what challenges they expect to face in 2022 and beyond. With client acquisition a key concern, agencies are utilizing — or plan to utilize in the near future — the latest marketing trends, like conversational marketing and artificial intelligence, to bring in new clients and keep their momentum going.” 

The study surveyed over 500 individuals employed full-time at U.S.-based marketing agencies to also determine how client expectations are projected to change in 2022 and which marketing trends agencies are currently implementing to bolster client acquisition. 

Key findings from the research include: 

2021 saw extensive growth for marketing agencies 

Marketing agencies made big gains in 2021. Respondents said their agencies experienced an average of 54% revenue growth in 2021, with 95% saying their agency met its 2021 revenue goals. 

Much of this success was due to accelerated client growth: 83% of respondents said their agency surpassed its 2021 goals for client growth. With more clients under their belts than ever before, agencies are feeling optimistic about what 2022 has in store for them. 

2022 will see even more growth – and new challenges

A whopping 99% of respondents said they expect their agency to grow in revenue in 2022, and CallRail’s data shows agencies project to experience an average of 68% revenue growth this year. 

Revenue won’t be the only thing getting a boost, however: 85% of respondents said they expect their agency to grow in size in 2022, with hiring new employees emerging as a top priority to keep up with the influx of new clients. 

But this growth doesn’t come without its challenges. Respondents expect hiring and client retention to be more difficult in 2022 than in 2021, but the biggest emergent challenge will be client acquisition. 82% of respondents said this will be more challenging in 2022 than in 2021. 

Why is client acquisition keeping agencies up at night, and what can they do to rise to the challenge? 

CallRail’s data reveals that client expectations when choosing an agency are changing. Over the next five years, 98% of respondents believe clients will want to see agencies offer more comprehensive services; 85% said clients will want to see more diverse clientele, and 82% said clients will want to see more specialization. 

To keep up with these new expectations, agencies must evolve with the times. Agencies have been quick to adopt the latest marketing trends and those who haven’t yet plan to do so in the future. Conversational marketing, artificial intelligence (AI), and zero-click searches have emerged as the latest and greatest ways for agencies to bring in new clients. 

The research found that 62% of responding agencies have already implemented conversational marketing. 44% of agencies have already implemented AI, and 39% have implemented zero-click searches. Of those who haven’t yet, 20% plan to utilize conversational marketing, 21% plan to introduce AI, and 30% plan to implement zero-click searches in the next year. 

Choosing not to take advantage of these trends appears to be a detriment to marketing agencies: those that did not meet their 2021 revenue goals were 27% less likely than average to have already implemented AI. Agencies that wish to succeed in 2022 and beyond must adapt and use every tool at their disposal to acquire new clients. 

Client relationships are changing too

Massive growth across the board will also change how agencies handle their client relationships. Right now, reporting is the name of the game. 86% of respondents said reporting is an essential part of client services, with agencies spending an average of 56 hours per week on reporting. 

CallRail’s data suggests reporting may be key to client growth, as those who didn’t meet their 2021 client growth goals were 15% less likely than average to say reporting is an essential part of their client services. 

But agencies that met and surpassed their client growth goals will have to adapt in order to accommodate their new client load. 95% of respondents said they believe how their agency handles client relationships will change in the next five years as they continue to grow. Of those, 89% said less time will be spent on reporting. 

“The marketplace is constantly changing, and so too are client expectations when choosing a marketing agency,” said Donnellon. 

CallRail’s research shows that taking advantage of the latest marketing trends and rethinking how they approach client relationships will set agencies up for success in 2022 and the years to come.” 

To learn more about how CallRail’s platform can help marketing agencies and the clients they serve optimize their marketing spend, click here and try it free.

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What clients need from your marketing agency today /what-clients-need-from-your-marketing-agency-today-374431 Tue, 21 Sep 2021 11:00:41 +0000 /?p=374431 Learn where SMBs want agencies to step in and help – and why they're willing to pay agencies more.

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There’s never been a better time to be an agency. After a rocky 18 months, 80% of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) say they’ve recovered from the impacts of COVID-19 – and nearly half (43%) say they plan to invest more money into developing marketing strategies over the next year.

But that’s not all. A full 94% want to hire external agencies to help improve their marketing efforts as pandemic restrictions get lifted, and 96% of those businesses said they are open to paying their agencies more. Yes, you heard that right – they’re even willing to pay more for certain services.

How do we know?

We recently surveyed 600 U.S.-based business owners (companies employing up to 200 people) across various industries – financial services, home services, healthcare, real estate, legal services, automotive, and advertising agencies.

We learned exactly where businesses are looking for agencies to step up to the plate and help. We also discovered that there’s a goldmine of opportunity for agencies who can position themselves as strategic partners and make businesses’ lives easier.

Help set the long-term strategy

SMBs are big believers in the value of a marketing strategy. In fact, 81% say that a marketing strategy was critical to the success of their business during COVID-19, and 71% say they wouldn’t have survived the last 18 months without a marketing strategy.

Still, many businesses scaled down their marketing efforts to survive the widespread economic uncertainty. However, nearly half (43%) say they plan to invest more money into developing marketing strategies over the next year. Yet only 16% of surveyed businesses have a long-term strategy that covers the next year or more. The majority, 81% of companies, only have short-term, three-to-six-month marketing strategies in place.

Tip: There’s an excellent opportunity for your agency to be a strategic partner by helping clients take a multi-year view and build out long-term strategies that will create growth and deliver a strong return on investment (ROI) for years to come.

Expand digital outreach

We heard loud and clear in our survey that businesses want agencies to do more to help them, especially when it comes to expanding their digital reach. From a tactical perspective, improving or building a website, improving lead generation and expanding outreach were at the top of the list.

Websites are one of the most important ways SMBs can sell their brands and communicate with customers. And since the beginning of COVID-19, the need for every business to have a website has only increased.

However, 51% of businesses are still without a website (we know…that stat blew us away, too!). The good news is that 40% of those businesses are ready to do something about it. If you add in the 60% of companies that want to improve their current website, there is a treasure trove of opportunities for agencies to help.

Tip: Many business owners may not have invested in a website because they question its value or aren’t sure where to start with such a complex and daunting project. To get them on board, make sure your clients understand how important it is to establish a digital presence and how a website can significantly increase visibility and contribute to lead generation.

In addition, give your clients a road map for how you will approach the project together – including milestones for key dates like web copy delivery, wireframe delivery, launch date, and more. This will help them feel more comfortable starting a new web project.

Focus on customer service

When we asked businesses why they love their agencies, the top response was the agency helped them improve their customer service. In fact, 96% of businesses said they’d be willing to pay their agency more for customer service training.

If customer service isn’t one of your core offerings, don’t panic. You don’t need to be a customer service guru; you just need to give your clients the right tools to improve the customer experience.

By using business communications software with integrated analytics, including the ability to analyze call recording transcripts, you can quickly surface customer insights at every stage of the customer journey. You can then take action on those insights to improve your customer service and the overall customer experience.

Tip: Customer service is table stakes for every business in today’s review-centric consumer environment. When you turn customer service into a genuine value driver for your clients, you’ll not only help your clients win their customers’ trust, but you’ll build their trust in you — a win-win.

One way to help clients improve their customer service is by using a tool like CallRail’s Lead Center. It allows your customers to capture the entire customer experience timeline – from the initial phone call to purchase and all contact points in between. Together with your client, this enables you to identify potential lapses in their customer service and highlight individual team members in need of additional training to improve the customer experience.

Prove ROI

Despite a willingness for businesses to pay more for certain services, their budgets are tight. Over half (57%) of businesses said they stopped working with an agency because of budgetary strain due to COVID-19. Another 34% said budgetary pressure unrelated to COVID-19 caused them to halt working with an agency. In fact, budget constraints were by far the most common reason businesses dropped their agencies.

The key to overcoming the budget hurdle is to prove ROI – and quickly. But to do this, you need to have the right data to connect the dots between your efforts and ROI. Partnering with innovative tech providers can help. For instance, by using  business communications software, which collects detailed analytics like cost per lead reporting that includes calls and form submissions, you can show your clients how your marketing campaigns positively impact the bottom line.

Tip: To prove ROI quickly, use data to show clients how you will be allocating their budget so they get the most bang for their buck. Then, review the data monthly or quarterly with clients to ensure that their budget continues to be allocated to those activities that deliver the greatest ROI.

Go beyond the tactical and get strategic

Tactical help, like lead generation, is often why businesses reach out to agencies in the first place. But if you stay at the tactical level and don’t become a strategic business partner, you’re missing a big opportunity.

We heard from 48% of SMBs that they don’t like working with external agencies that don’t provide assistance beyond lead generation. Another 46% said they dislike when agencies turn out not to be a strategic business partner.

On the flip side, we heard that businesses really love when agencies step into a strategic partnership role and help them with things like improving customer service (55%), vetting and recommending new technology to help grow the business (51%), and improving workflows between marketing and sales teams (43%).

As an agency, don’t just work within the limitations of your client’s existing tech stack. Instead, work with them to improve their stack on an ongoing basis. This will ensure they have technology that provides transparency and visibility, which is key to your clients’ seeing the true ROI from all your efforts. What’s more, you can use this technology to help your clients achieve other goals – like better customer service and improved workflows.

Tip: Invest in technology that helps your clients organize lead information, delegate and manage sales tasks, track prospects at various stages in the sales pipeline, and coordinate engagement to close more deals all in one place. Having these tools allows clients to streamline their customer service and improve their sales workflows. This way, they can create a seamless, memorable customer experience for leads and customers alike.

You may also want to look for tech partners that offer revenue sharing, like CallRail’s Agency Partner Program. By creating these types of partnerships, you’ll be able to enhance your service offerings to your clients while also earning additional revenue for every client you bring on.

Add value, remove friction, and give business owners more time to focus on their businesses

Business owners are looking for consultative partners who truly understand their businesses and make data-driven recommendations to improve their operations. They’re also desperate to get more tasks off their plates so that they can focus on their businesses. Three-fourths of business owners told us they’d rather spend time on their business than on marketing, and 59% said they don’t have enough time in the day to complete all their job responsibilities.

The best way to help your clients achieve these goals is by implementing a comprehensive business communications and analytics platform that provides clients with a single place to store and manage all their customer communications.

Want more insights into what SMBs want from digital marketing agencies? Read the full study, Clients tell all: What small businesses need from marketing agencies today.

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3 tips for optimizing your clients’ SEO in 2021 /3-tips-for-optimizing-your-clients-seo-in-2021-349699 Tue, 22 Jun 2021 11:00:58 +0000 /?p=349699 Helping your clients stay on top of their SEO strategy has never been easy. But it’s getting harder.

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Keywords used to be the be-all and end-all of SEO. If your clients’ sites contained enough keywords, you’d consistently drive traffic. Simple. Unfortunately, that led to companies trying to game the system with keyword stuffing.

That’s why Google has spent the last few years placing an increased emphasis on behavioral analytics instead of just keywords. 

This trend has now fully come to a head, meaning it’s crucial that you focus primarily on your clients’ behavioral analytics when seeking to optimize their SEO. Even more so today because of COVID — as online competition increases, clients are turning to SEO as a revenue lever.

So, where do you start? And what should you focus on to build strong SEO strategies for your clients? 

We answer these questions and more in our eBook,Why you need to re-think your SEO approach in 2021.’ Here’s a preview of the insights you can expect.

The rise of behavioral analytics

Over the past decade, Google has been shifting its goals towards understanding search intent and prioritizing personalized SEO. RankBrain, released in 2015, helped Google better understand search intent. 

It analyzes complex, unknown long-tail queries and links them to other search queries that it has previously encountered — tying an unknown search to known phrases (and the topics related to these phrases).

When a searcher clicks on a particular link, RankBrain assesses various metrics like ‘bounce rate’ or ‘time spent on page’ to discern how satisfied they were with the results they interacted with. 

If the user didn’t appear satisfied, the algorithm will take this on board and adjust the results it displays the next time the searcher has this particular query. Over time, sites perceived to be the most valuable rise to the top. 

BERT, unleashed in 2019, took this one step further. For each search, it analyzes both the keywords themselves and the surrounding words that were included. This helps it better understand the context behind these words (the meaning of the entire phase) so it can provide searchers with more accurate, more valuable SERPs. 

Google’s January 2020 update showed its continued commitment to transitioning away from keyword-based SEO. It explained that companies looking to rise to the top of SERPs should follow the E.A.T approach (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) in favor of keywords alone. 

Those that ignored this advice not only fell behind in the eyes of Google’s latest update but, more critically, failed to provide searchers with valuable information  —  and so rapidly fell behind their more SEO-savvy competitors. 

Simple keyword optimization started to deteriorate with the release of Hummingbird and has been in slow decline ever since. If your agency has typically relied on age-old keyword-based SEO tactics, then you’ve probably seen your clients’ traffic steadily decline before your eyes. 

If this sounds familiar, you can still flip the script for your client’s SEO strategies. Here are three tips to get you started while using Google’s push for behavioral analytics to pull it off. 

Tip 1: Focus on ROI, not traffic 

When it comes to modern SEO, traffic is no longer the gold standard.

You might be thinking: “Wait — what? I mean, driving traffic is the whole reason why you invest in SEO in the first place”. Sure, that used to be true. Nowadays, however, analyzing traffic on its own will see you miss valuable insights.  

Think about it. Would your clients rather that a landing page attracted 100 visitors, none of whom ended up converting, or would they rather attract five visitors, with three of them converting?

Traffic might make you and your clients feel good — but it can often just be a vanity metric. The end goal is to attract visitors that provide your business with value instead of attracting a ton of non-converting visitors (even if your content does satisfy their search intent). 

The Point? Focus on ROI. And that means focusing on behavioral analytics to ensure you are attracting the ‘right’ kind of traffic. 

To get it right, you have to use behavioral analytics — data that provides insights into online consumer behavior – to reverse-engineer your clients’ SEO. 

Start by examining what high-value visitors are searching for and feeding this back into the content that you produce going forward. By focusing on ROI, you’re able to hone in on high-value SEO strategies. 

Tip 2: Replace keywords research with first-party data 

Look, we’re not saying keywords are useless — far from it. Keywords play an invaluable role in displaying subject matter expertise and building topical authority. 

If one of your clients wants to be known as their area’s preeminent orthodontics practice but fails to mention keywords like “Invisalign” or “retainer,” then searchers might not believe that they truly are experts.

That being said, keywords should not be your primary means of attracting high-quality, valuable traffic. 

This is where first-party data (i.e., data that your clients possess regarding their visitors) comes in. It lifts the lid on visitors, revealing what they’re looking for and how they interacted with your site  —  in other words, whether they found what it was that they were looking for. 

Let’s take the orthodontics example mentioned above.

Perhaps your client receives a huge volume of calls from prospects that want to find out more about retainers: how much they cost, whether you get them before or after braces, how they should care for them, and so on. 

By analyzing this first-party call data, you identify a massive gap in your client’s current content strategy —  so you work with them to create an all-encompassing retainers FAQ page. 

The results? They attract more traffic, rise up the SERPs, and win more clients.

Of course, you might think that manually pouring over your clients’ call transcripts is too time-consuming. You’re not wrong. Fortunately, call tracking tools (such as CallRail) allow you to automatically analyze call transcripts in just a few clicks.

Conversation Intelligence leverages AI to transcribe calls while Call Highlights reveals key terms the caller mentioned that might be valuable to your business. 

Tip 3: Prioritize retention 

It’s been said that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one. That’s why it’s so important that your clients invest in creating post-acquisition content. 

Not only will they power up their SEO game, but it will also drastically boost their retention rates.

But how do you know where to start? Neither you nor your clients can simply push a button and miraculously redesign their site to prioritize retention. This requires lots of effort and, most importantly, means that your clients have to listen to their clients. 

They need to understand what it is that drove them to their site in the first place. 

They need to find out what customers don’t like about their site as things stand: what they’re struggling with, what frustrates them, and where they struggle to acquire key information that will help them solve their particular pain points  —  even after they’ve converted. 

Just because a customer has bought your clients’ products doesn’t mean they have solved all their problems. Nor does it mean that your clients have done all they can to retain this customer over the long run. 

The most successful companies focus just as much (if not even more so) on retaining existing customers over simply attracting new ones. 

And the best part is, the key to retaining customers at scale lies in one unexpected place: your calls. Tools like CallRail can instantly record and analyze thousands of calls, leveraging AI-based tools to rapidly unearth critical insights. 

This will show your clients what their customers are struggling with, what they’re looking for, and how they can ultimately retain them over the long run.

The effects will be profound. Your clients will attract more traffic as existing customers return to their site in droves to find answers to their post-acquisition questions. You’ll reduce inbound calls to agents, meaning they’ll be able to dedicate their energy to other customers. 

Most importantly, your clients will transform their retention rates — leading to an improved bottom line. 

The ‘new’ SEO normal 

Google’s recent changes might take some getting used to, but there’s no time to waste. You need to get up to speed with the new rules of the SEO game as soon as possible.

CallRail’s new guide spells out the precise steps that agency marketers can take to safeguard their clients’ SERPs going forward. It provides a roadmap on how to hone in your client’s SEO strategy, ensuring that they not only meet their searchers’ intent but that they retain customers long after they initially converted. 

Most importantly, it will demonstrate how you and your clients can flip the switch: focusing on satisfying your prospects and customers’ search intent rather than merely trying to satisfy Google.
Ready to get started? If so, download Why you need to re-think your SEO approach in 2021 to begin your journey.

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How 5 agencies delivered incredible results for their clients /how-5-agencies-delivered-incredible-results-for-their-clients-348349 Mon, 03 May 2021 11:00:54 +0000 /?p=348349 These success stories prove the ROI of call tracking

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Since 2011, CallRail has helped agencies optimize their marketing spend and prove ROI to their clients. In order to continue to evolve and serve the needs of agencies, we pour a great deal of effort into speaking with real CallRail customers. By connecting with the people who use our service, we’re doing more than just conducting research around UX preferences or market sentiment. With our case studies, we get to learn exactly how our software is making an impact on the bottom line — both for our users and their clients.

Here are some of our favorite agency ROI case studies and explore how they used CallRail to deliver amazing results for their clients.

WebServ helps one client divert 43% in wasted ad spend with call tracking

When it comes to generating qualified leads, the last thing any client wants is to waste money on non-converting search terms that could be better put to use elsewhere. That’s the problem California-based digital marketing agency WebServ faced with one particular client.

Despite the fact that their client’s PPC campaign had a high conversion rate, the calls generated were not translating into new business. So WebServ immediately implemented CallRail to identify the problem.

Through dynamic number insertion, visitor level tracking, and reviewing their client’s call recordings, WebServ was able to parse out which keywords were generating low- and high-quality leads.  

The agency was then able to identify and reallocate 43% of their wasted ad spend to more profitable search terms, thereby improving their PPC campaign’s performance.

“Wasted spend is a huge problem when we bring on a client. By using visitor tracking and effective campaign structure, we’re able to significantly improve ad performance,” WebServe COO Preston Powell remarked.

Call tracking helps SalesX cut client’s CPL by 90%

The folks at SalesX, a Bay-area agency, are some of the best when it comes to digital marketing. 

As an early evangelist of Google Ads (they even hired one of its creators to sit on their board), they’ve developed an impressive track record when it comes to using digital marketing best practices to boost a client’s business.

However, SalesX found that some of their clients were a little more old-school. They don’t rely exclusively on digital channels to drive revenue. For these clients, calls are a mission-critical channel.

“For us, call tracking was a critical part of our mission because we want to be able to accurately track all sources of contact for our clients,” said SalesX Founder and CEO Joe Khoei. “And we found that for most of our clients, they were tracking form submissions and web sessions and everything else, but not calls.”

In the case of one client, the top-to-bottom application of call tracking helped deliver some seriously eye-popping results: A cost per lead reduction of more than 90%, coupled with a 35% boost to their conversion rate!

With results like that, SalesX’s clients can be confident that they’re earning amazing ROI — both on the money they’re spending on ads and what they’re spending to be a SalesX client.

NYC SEM proves 800% ROI for client thanks to call tracking

NYC SEM is a New York City-based digital marketing agency that specializes in search engine marketing. The agency knew they were delivering impressive ROI for their clients, but they had difficulty proving that new business was directly tied to the campaigns they were running.

By implementing CallRail for one of their clients, they were able to immediately prove that their relatively modest ad spend of around $1,000 was bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for their client. How much? Anywhere between 500 to 800% ROI on their ad spend in a given month.

“I could immediately see that all the sales for these products were happening over the phone, and I would never have been able to measure this through web conversions,” explained NYC SEM Marketing Director Darren Carter.

Wonderist boosts client’s monthly revenue by over 500%

Dentistry — like other medical businesses — is a specialized field where calls are crucial. Prospective patients rightfully want to speak to a real human before they commit to putting their health and welfare in your hands, so phone calls are a primary channel when it comes to earning new leads and drumming up business.

Most dental offices take a piecemeal approach to marketing. They hire one firm for digital ad buys, another for web design, another for direct mailers, and so on. 

Wonderist, a San Diego-based dental marketing agency, understood that they could deliver both real value and cost savings to clients by centralizing all of these operations under a single roof, with call tracking as one of the central pillars of their marketing efforts.

And their results speak for themselves. By putting CallRail to work for one Pittsburgh-based client, they saw a 530% increase in monthly appointments year-over-year, along with a comparable increase in revenue — without requiring a huge increase to their marketing budget.

“Most importantly for us as an agency, the data from CallRail meant we didn’t have to sit on our hands and say, ‘Gee, I sure hope we were part of helping him drive all those new patients,’” explained Wonderist Co-founder Michael Anderson. “We can bring that call tracking data to our client and demonstrate the direct role our advertising had in their success.”

FreeGren proves client ROI and increases leads and conversions by 40%

Client retention is one of the thorniest problems any digital marketing agency will face. At the Bellevue, Washington-based marketing agency FreeGren, they knew they needed a different approach to differentiate their business from the crowd.

So they adopted a forward-thinking strategy. Instead of focusing exclusively on big payouts from enterprise-grade clients, they would instead prioritize relationships with small-to-medium-sized clients — especially those in markets with a high average transaction value.

In one memorable case, they knew that they were delivering great results for the client, but an absence of comprehensive analytics meant that the client wasn’t totally sold on the value of FreeGren’s services. 

But after a top-to-bottom implementation of CallRail into the client’s marketing stack, FreeGren was able to conclusively show how their campaigns for the client had directly resulted in a 40% increase in leads and conversions (all in the space of only three months!).

And by delivering such excellent results and providing total data transparency along the way, FreeGren is boosting their own bottom line — they almost never lose a client to churn.

Driving agency growth with call tracking 

While there may not be a magic bullet, one-size-fits-all solution for proving and improving agency ROI, these examples illustrate how using call tracking and analytics can make a serious difference — both for your agency and your clients. 

Not only can tapping into a call tracking platform help you build and sell more profitable services, it can also help you retain and attract customers more effectively. Here’s a look at how one SEO firm doubled its monthly client intake with call tracking without increasing the budget.

We’re constantly developing innovative new tools to make life easier for agency users, like our Account Center, which makes it even easier for agencies to manage multiple clients at once. 

Interested in joining the group of agencies winning with CallRail? Take a look at our Agency Partner Program. It’s not just free. It pays.

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How agencies use call tracking to become indispensable to clients /how-agencies-use-call-tracking-to-become-indispensable-to-clients-346648 Tue, 09 Mar 2021 12:00:25 +0000 /?p=346648 Call tracking has helped agencies better position themselves as strategic business partners. And as the technology continues to evolve, it will become a point of differentiation for many agencies

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Before call tracking and digital marketing tools were commonplace, businesses relied on customers to track ad effectiveness. When the phone rang, they’d ask, “How did you hear about us?” and hope the customer could remember.

Fast forward to today, digital ads now make up more than half of U.S. advertising expenditures for the first time in history. Digital transformation has not only shifted marketing and advertising more heavily to digital channels, but it has also allowed digital marketing agencies to: 

  • Better monitor and analyze complex customer journeys 
  • Demonstrate campaign results to clients using hard data 
  • More easily educate clients on the customer journey 
  • Help clients ensure they’re properly following up on leads 

But having the right tools and technology are critical to these marketing activities, which is why CallRail brought to market a self-service call tracking solution a decade ago that was simple, powerful, and made in such a way that every business could use it. “Back in 2011, there was no one out there making call analytics available to everyone, and nothing existed that was tailored to the specific needs of small businesses,” says Andy Powell, CallRail’s co-founder, and CEO. 

Now, most digital agencies can’t live without call tracking. In fact, 95% of surveyed marketing agency leaders say call tracking is “very important” or “important” to their business. 

Agencies use call tracking to create strategic business partnerships

By tracking leads more accurately through technology like call tracking, agencies are better positioned to serve as strategic business partners than ever before. Call tracking improves the agency-client relationship by helping marketers: 

  • Worry less about pulling reports and focus more on improving the marketing mix. Automated reporting gives agencies time to look at which channels are reaching customers so they can make needed adjustments.
  • Better educate clients on the customer journey’s complex nature by using web form tracking with call tracking. Call tracking will show the ad or keyword that triggered a call, and form tracking will show what triggered a form submission. This big-picture view helps agencies make more informed decisions. 
  • Use conversation intelligence to help clients improve their buyer personas and understanding of clients’ terminology and industry. Call recordings and transcriptions offer insights into what is really motivating customers, plus additional details into industry trends and news.
  • Show clients where they can improve employee training. Customer insights will help inform clients about the relevance and effectiveness of employee interactions with prospects and customers. 
  • More easily prove their value to clients. Clear and detailed reporting lets clients see how marketing efforts are improving the business. 

In a recent survey by CallRail, 67% of agencies said the primary reason clients chose their agency was because they established themselves as a strong strategic partner to clients. Agencies have the opportunity to build trust with clients through their knowledge of marketing principles and tactics and their ability to guide clients in the use of the latest tools that will help them grow more effectively and use their ad spend wisely.

Ryan Amen, director of client success at Nifty Marketing, explains how call tracking’s analytics capabilities have helped them better position their agency as a strategic partner. “Call tracking helps our clients understand where calls are coming from. Seeing how marketing efforts translate directly into phone calls lets them see the value of our efforts. There have been so many times when clients were skeptical, and call tracking gave us proof of attribution.” 

Meeting the challenge of omnichannel marketing through integrated lead tracking

Customers want the consistent experiences delivered by omnichannel marketing, but companies face significant challenges with identity resolution, data consolidation, and multi-touch attribution. According to Salesforce research, more than three-fourths of customers said they choose different channels based on context, and 74% said they’ve used more than one channel to complete a transaction. 

The increasing number of channels customers use makes the customer journey more complex, requiring agencies and their clients to embrace an omnichannel approach to understand the messaging and channels that influence customer purchasing decisions. However, managing an omnichannel customer journey can be particularly challenging for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) since they don’t have the resources, expertise, and budgets of large enterprises. Agencies can be valuable strategic partners for SMBs, helping them navigate the omnichannel landscape as well as the tools needed to do so.  

Businesses can partner with agencies to improve their omnichannel marketing through integrated lead tracking. Agencies can help clients understand how customers are finding and choosing to interact with their business and recommend lead management and communications solutions like CallRail’s Lead Center to streamline and centralize lead communication data. Agencies can also help clients: 

  • Analyze and act on their data 
  • Simplify multi-touch attribution 
  • Shorten customer response times
  • Follow up using customers’ preferred channels  

Call tracking simplifies analytics for agencies

Despite the rise of digital marketing and ad options, 60% of consumers still prefer to pick up the phone — that’s almost four times more compared to those that would choose email. While the phone has remained essential to businesses for decades, what has changed is how sophisticated and accessible call tracking technology has become.

A decade ago, call tracking tools were expensive, cumbersome, and labor-intensive to implement, which meant only major enterprises could afford them. With the rise of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and Google My Business, industry leaders like CallRail saw a need for affordable and self-service options for tracking customer activity and leads. These options improve campaign visibility and transparency for both businesses and their agencies. 

Now, small and medium-sized businesses can use these tools as well to better compete in their markets. Tools that integrate call and form tracking help simplify analytics while offering more precise performance measurements for clearer insights. This is especially helpful for agencies that juggle numerous clients and their channels too.  

Stephanie Delk, Swash Labs director of media and planning, explains the need for a single platform to track all marketing leads. “When you’re dealing with medium-sized businesses, many of them work with lots of different solutions that do different things, but no one else has a solution that ties all the others together. CallRail is where you can go to see your forms, calls, and social platforms — all in a single place.”

How agencies can stand out in the age of analytics 

Many businesses are so inundated with data that they don’t know how to process it in an actionable way. Agencies that can help businesses do this will be the future of marketing.    

“In the next decade, call tracking will continue to expand beyond just calls, to incorporate a truly holistic view of the business and how it appears to its customers,” says Elliot Wood, chief technology officer at CallRail. “It’s going to become increasingly important to understand how to provide an omnichannel communications suite to agencies. But we’ll need to layer in intelligence so that it’s easy to figure out customer intent and identify whether a lead is really the type of lead they are looking for, even when they have a limited number of employees who devote time to marketing attribution.” 

Call tracking has evolved into an advanced, data-driven technology that ensures businesses make marketing investment decisions based on logic. CallRail helps agencies provide a comprehensive solution that their clients love. Call tracking has become so essential to marketing and lead attribution that it’s only going to continue to improve and become more innovative. It’s also going to become more necessary for agency marketers who want to make data-driven decisions and demonstrate clear-cut ROI for their clients. 

“We’re always looking to anticipate the next trend,” says Andy Powell. “The most important thing I work on is trying to figure out where this market is headed. We’re constantly learning from and partnering with our customers to expand on our products. That’s how we’re constantly able to push the status quo while helping agencies to improve their efficiency and productivity.”

The future of marketing is advanced analytics, and the agencies that stay competitive will be those that feature comprehensive tracking solutions in their toolkits. This will allow them to be strategic business partners with their clients. Ryan Amen adds, “It comes back to being able to connect all the dots. Anything that helps us better understand the whole customer journey – and see it in its entirety – is of great value.”
Want to learn more about what call tracking can do for your agency? Try CallRail for free.

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What can 129 million calls tell us about inbound marketing? A lot, it turns out /what-can-129-million-calls-tell-us-about-inbound-marketing-a-lot-it-turns-out-344925 Mon, 21 Dec 2020 12:00:23 +0000 /?p=344925 We analyzed more than 129 million calls across 12 industries to understand inbound marketing’s impact on generating calls from leads

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The marketing landscape has shifted since HubSpot introduced the concept of inbound marketing in 2005. Instead of relying on interruptive tactics like cold calling and commercials, inbound marketing focuses on drawing customers to your business through content and channels such as blogs, social media, and video.

Plenty of factors continue driving the shift to inbound marketing, but two stand out from our perspective. The first is customer preference. Millennials, on pace to outnumber baby boomers by 2030, prefer to self-educate when reaching buying decisions. They often do so on their mobile devices, turning to search engines and reaching out to friends on social media.

Those habits, combined with their demand for personalized experiences, means millennials aren’t afraid to hide their annoyance at outbound marketing tactics when online. In fact, 84% report “leaving a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.”

The second reason lies in the value of inbound marketing. According to Kapost, “Inbound Marketing yields three times more leads per dollar than traditional methods.”

But how strongly has the shift toward inbound marketing been? Which industries have experienced the highest volume of inbound calls to date? And how effective is inbound marketing at driving leads to call?

To put some data around these questions, we studied 129,393,520 calls made over 10 months in 2020 (January 6 to October 8). We tracked the percentage of calls that came from inbound marketing methods for each industry. The figure “call volume” refers to calls with leads that were tracked through CallRail’s platform. These calls came from CallRail’s customer base of 150,000 small businesses and agencies. This sample represents 12 industries ranging from healthcare and real estate to home services and legal.

The results, soon to be published on the CallRail blog, show inbound marketing has become a strategy small businesses must invest in — but you probably already knew that. What’s more compelling is how the results show that call-tracking software is one of the best tools available for measuring attribution and optimizing the effectiveness of your inbound marketing and phone calls.

The Importance of Call Tracking for Inbound Marketing

Call-tracking software adds unique phone numbers to your marketing campaigns that lets you 1) see caller data and 2) attribute calls by source and channel to understand campaign effectiveness. Here’s a deeper look at how call tracking impacts your inbound marketing.

A homeowner decides it’s time to fix their leaky faucet. They do a Google search, then click on a plumber’s landing page. From there, they visit the plumber’s Facebook page and watch a few videos. After that, they read reviews about other customers’ experiences with that plumber.

The customer may call at any point through this self-education process. When they do, you, as the business owner, want to know what source prompted them to call. That’s where call tracking comes in. 

Through tools such as dynamic number insertion (DNI), call tracking generates and displays unique phone numbers to your potential customers, which forward to your main business line. That builds data on what inbound marketing channels drive your calls, arming you with information to fine-tune your marketing strategies to drive better results. 


Industries that stand to benefit most from call tracking

In 11 out of 12 industries we studied, the data shows that more than 91% of leads came from inbound calls. Companies that handle such call volumes have a wealth of data to work with. Call-tracking software can help them use that data to find what inbound marketing channels effectively attract, convert, and close new customers.

Based on our review of 129 million calls, we found that these industries would especially benefit from investing in call tracking. Read on to find out why.

Advertising and Marketing Agencies

Advertising and marketing generated the most calls among the industries we studied with 45 million (29 million more than healthcare, which generated the second-most calls). That volume includes inbound calls made to the agencies, plus inbound calls agencies handled for their clients. 

This presents a big opportunity for advertising and marketing agencies to become even more valuable as strategic partners. Clients, especially small businesses with limited time and budget, rely on agencies to show them the most cutting-edge and cost-effective marketing tactics. By using call tracking to attribute and optimize their own marketing, agencies can enhance their existing services and offer new ones.

For instance, agencies can use call tracking to deliver more accurate pay-per-click (PPC) data or even run call tracking on behalf of clients. As our 2021 Digital Marketing Agency Outlook Report shows, the agencies who did best in 2020 were those who reevaluated and expanded what services they could offer, including call tracking.

Real Estate and Real Estate Investing

The industries of real estate and real estate investing (that is, individuals or small groups who flip homes for a profit) have long relied on outbound marketing tactics.

But the shift to an increasingly millennial marketplace makes it a prime opportunity for real estate professionals to focus on inbound marketing today. That aligns with our findings, which showed that 87% of real estate calls and 67% of real estate investing calls were inbound.

And it makes sense. Consider that purchased leads are the number one item real estate agents spend $100+ a month on, yet only 16.5% of agents have success with them.  That’s not surprising since most millennials ignore incoming calls.

Cold outreach is inherently risky from a quality perspective, too. Atlanta-based realtor Lee Davenport shared why on Follow Up Boss:

“The pro of purchasing real estate leads is to give you some IMMEDIATE action in your pipeline if you are a new or returning agent, particularly if you are someone without a local sphere of influence, an established marketing plan, or an existing database of clients. Is this activity the best use of time? Not always, depending on the quality of the lead source, which can make this a con if the lead source is not reputable.”

Call tracking can help real estate professionals reduce their reliance on lists (and the ongoing expense that comes with them). By attributing leads to their marketing efforts, real estate professionals figure out what inbound methods will bring high-quality leads with less guesswork.

Say a real estate investor produces a video series on how they remodel homes. With the attribution from call tracking, those videos may deliver enough leads to justify cutting back on list buying.

Industries with Long Sales Cycles

The more complexity involved in buying a product or service, the more inbound marketing efforts such as blog posts, explainer videos, and even chatbots aren’t enough to address all of a customer’s concerns. In those cases, it’s important companies in these industries use call tracking to continually gather data on their leads:

  • Software and technology: 91% inbound call volume 
  • Education: 92% inbound call volume 
  • Financial services: 94% inbound call volume 
  • Automotive dealerships: 94% inbound call volume 

Call tracking shows you who’s calling, lets you route calls to specific people at your company and compiles an archive of all conversations with each customer. So, no matter if a lead came from an inbound or outbound call, you have the context in front of you to continue developing the relationship and help the customer reach a buying decision.


As the above graphic from Gartner shows, complex sales cycles mean businesses have to be ready for multiple conversations with multiple people over a long period of time. Think about the complexity of buying servers, which would likely mean exploring a range of solutions (data tiers, backup service, security configuration) and having conversations with multiple stakeholders.

With a call tracking tool like CallRail, you capture each of those conversations. Now you have a record that helps you anticipate customers’ needs and guide their journey to a solution.

Call Tracking Software Improves Marketing ROI Across the Board

By giving you visibility into which online and offline marketing efforts drive your calls, call tracking helps you incrementally drive improvements across all of your campaigns. You can attribute calls to sources such as your customers’ Google searches to direct mail pieces, giving you an at-a-glance view of what channels to invest more in — and which to pull back on.

You can drive even deeper insights, too, by adding tools such as Conversation Intelligence. With it, you can do things like automatically qualify calls and track lead values by channel.

See for yourself with a free 14-day trial of CallRail.

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2021 outlook for digital marketing agencies: the future is bright /2021-outlook-for-digital-marketing-agencies-the-future-is-bright-344617 Mon, 14 Dec 2020 12:00:55 +0000 /?p=344617 The ability to prove the value they're creating for clients is contributing to agencies' resilience in 2020 and a positive outlook for next year.

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No one was quite prepared for what 2020 had in store — including digital marketing agencies. When business shutdowns occurred in the spring, 66% of marketing agencies said they experienced a decrease in overall revenue. CallRail’s call data report showed a similar trend, with call volume in the advertising and marketing industry falling by 29% from pre-COVID levels. 

While 2021 still holds some economic uncertainty, digital marketing leaders indicate that their agencies have been remarkably resilient, according to CallRail’s fall survey of 167 global marketing leaders who use its services. The findings show that most agencies will finish 2020 with higher annual revenues than in 2019. 

Overall, agency leaders reported satisfaction across many different business areas, such as their talent and expertise, customer service and positioning. When asked about their ability to attain key growth metrics — like generating new client leads and closing new business — the majority of agencies also exhibited strong confidence that they can.  

While CallRail’s 2021 Outlook Report takes a much deeper dive into agency business practices, this article will highlight some of the most interesting aspects of the research. It also includes agency partners’ perspective on just why and how 2021 is shaping up to be a strong year for digital marketing agencies.

Agencies 2021 financial outlook is strong

In CallRail’s survey, 88% of agencies indicated they are satisfied to extremely satisfied with their agency’s financial health. Only 3% were extremely unsatisfied. In line with these findings, most agencies also anticipate exceeding their 2019 revenue by the end of 2020. 

Due to the shift to digital channels during the pandemic, Kyle Shurtz, vice president of performance at Avalaunch Media, reported an increase in business. “Because we focus strictly on online advertising, we had more business come through as people shifted from offline to online. We anticipate 2021 to be much more of the same. Our goal is to grow by about 20% year-over-year.” 

Even for those agencies who saw a decline in revenue in the spring or whose business models are more mixed between online and offline advertising, there’s still been a silver lining to 2020. Molly Randolph, vice president of client services at The Barbauld Agency, said the pandemic forced them to look at their business and make decisions they wouldn’t have made otherwise. 

“We became more profitable because our overhead shrunk so much. But, we would never have gotten rid of our offices or our subscriptions. We would have let them linger without COVID,” said Randolph.

Dale Powell, managing director of Atomic Marketing, concurs. “We had a lot of time to think about the direction of our business and the types of clients we wanted to work with,” says Powell. “So we made some educated decisions to move pricing up and take a more firm hold to say ‘this is our price,’ which has eliminated the time wasters.” Powell also predicts that his agency’s revenue will exceed last year’s.

Agencies are delivering strategic value to clients

Being seen as a strategic partner is one of the primary ways agencies can increase their value to clients — and, in this department, most agencies thought they were doing quite well. According to 67% of agencies, the primary reason that clients choose their agency is because they’ve established themselves as strong strategic partners.

The longevity most agencies have with clients is another indicator that clients believed agencies are delivering enough value to continue to use their services. Long-term relationships of two years or more were common for 69% of agencies. Only 4% said the client relationship lasted less than one year.

In talking with some agency partners, a key reason agencies felt they were delivering value to their clients and seen as strategic partners was their ability to show real results

“We earn our new business by providing results. We do a lot of competitive research and look for ways to break the molds,” said Powell, whose agency uses call tracking and form tracking as one way to track and report results to clients.

“Without call tracking, we really wouldn’t have the business we have,” says Powell. “Our model is built upon full transparency, and call tracking lets us measure how many phone calls came from a landing page. Ultimately, this is what our clients want to know – how many leads are we generating for them, and we can show them.”

Survey results show other agencies agree. Almost all (95%) agency leaders reported that call tracking and lead form tracking were very important to their business. Call recording analysis was also very important to 85% of agencies.

“Having tracking tools like call tracking and call analysis is the way we keep our clients happy,” says Shurtz. “We show that we’re not an expense, but an investment. Call tracking shows who’s called and what keyword came from where. Call analysis we use often with big law firms to create hotspot keywords, such as ‘appointment’ or ‘claim,’ to qualify leads.” 

Challenges remain, but agencies are confident 

Despite well-established client relationships and a strong financial foundation, challenges remain for agencies. The top two agencies listed were finding new clients (48%) and generating more revenue from existing clients (42%).

While agencies say it’s gotten harder to find new clients (53%), retain current clients (52%), and grow revenue with existing clients (62%), they are also confident they can overcome these challenges. 

A strong majority of agencies (74%) said they are confident they can generate new leads, 75% are confident they can close new clients and 59% are confident they can grow revenue with existing clients.

What’s driving these high levels of confidence despite challenges? It seems to be a mix of employing strategies that help grow the agency’s business and, at the same time, showing clients that they are getting value from the services the agency provides.

For instance, Avalaunch Media felt it could continue to grow its business because it has a robust referral program in place. “We’re definitely confident that we can grow and sustain our business. We have a really strong partnership referral program that gives us good business,” said Shurtz. “We also have a strong employee referral program where they get a lifetime commission on any referrals, so we get a lot of deals from internal employees.”

The Barbauld Agency also talked about how it has helped clients turn their businesses around. For example, it helped clients make strategic advertising decisions that have resulted in some of them going from experiencing some of the worst months of their business to having some of the best months ever.

“Our July client meetings were very difficult and pessimistic, and we were doing all kinds of brainstorming about how to pivot clients’ businesses without the wheels coming off. But by September or October, our clients were saying, ‘Wow, we can’t believe how well it’s going,’ ” said Randolph.

Looking ahead

As agencies look ahead to 2021, there’s every reason to believe they will continue to realize business growth, increased revenue, and overall strong financial health. Generating new clients and growing revenue with existing clients will have to remain a priority to achieve these goals, as will continuing to focus on delivering results. Consequently, call tracking, form tracking, and other reporting and analytic software will remain essential tools.

Uncertainty for 2021 remains due to COVID-19, but the grass truly is looking greener on the other side of 2020. And there seems to be agreement among agencies that even if more lockdowns occur, it likely won’t be a repeat of spring.

“My outlook, overall, is much more positive for 2021 than even four months ago,” says Randolph. “I’m cautiously optimistic.” 

For more insights, download CallRail’s 2021 Outlook Report.

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