Guide: Twilio Call Forwarding, Whisper Messages and Call Tracking

Discussion in 'Local SEO' started by rivered, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. rivered

    rivered Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2015
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    I wanted to share this as I've found it quite useful for local marketing. It involves using Twilio for call forwarding, whisper messages, and call tracking.

    While there are some sites out there like CallFire and CallRail that are more user friendly, they cost more and use Twilio's API anyway. Some of them require you to subscribe to a plan as well. Basically, you are paying extra to use Twilio's API in a more user-friendly way.

    By using Twilio directly, you can save money. If you have several numbers, this can add up to be a decent amount of money saved each month. Plus you won't get locked into a plan.

    Call forwarding involves forwarding a Twilio number to your client's number. This allows you to use a whisper message, call tracking, and other features.

    After setting it up, you post the Twilio number on your site or client's site. Therefore, you have your own number and can forward the number to a different client if you change clients (if using your own site). You can also use this number when posting citations.

    To get started, first buy a local number from Twilio for $1/month under the section where it says Phone Numbers. Use an area code for the city your site is targeting.

    Twilio has a tutorial on how to do call forwarding. So just follow the steps listed on the page below:

    A whisper message is a short message that is played when the client picks up the phone letting them know the call is from you. It is useful for client retention.

    The message can be something as simple as below:
    "Call from YOUR BUSINESS NAME"

    You can record the message yourself or hire a voiceover or voicemail greeting gig on Fiverr. Have the message recorded in mp3 format.

    Next, upload the message on your site or somewhere else it can be hosted from to play the message. Personally, I use an Amazon S3 bucket for this.

    Follow the steps below to setup a whisper on Twilio:
    1. Go to TwiML Bins as shown in call forwarding.
    2. Add a friendly name to identify it. Since you will be using this for all your numbers, you can just put "whisper".
    3. Add the following lines of code in the TWIML box.
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    4. Replace the http :// with the URL where your whisper mp3 file is stored (remove the space as well).
    5. Click Create to save it and then click on the TwiML Bin you just created to go back to it.
    6. Copy the TwiML Bin URL under Properties.
    7. Now go back to the Call Forwarding TwiML Bin that you created before.
    8. Add the Whisper TwiML Bin URL to the lines of code as shown in the example below (replace 2345678901 with your client's number).
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
             <Number url="">2345678901</Number>

    For call tracking, go to Manage Numbers, click on one of your numbers, and go to Call Logs. Then click on Incoming to view incoming calls. If you are selling calls to your client (pay per call), you can use this data to bill them monthly for calls that met the minimum call duration.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
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  2. Nateolsen

    Nateolsen Junior Member

    Aug 31, 2013
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    Orem Utah
    Thanks! I used to use ACT to accomplish the same thing but this is much more helpful with Twilio updating
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  3. ChadTKimball

    ChadTKimball Regular Member Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2008
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    Just install free openvbx and it makes it much simpler. Openvbx has basic "call center" type routing/functions and then you can add plugins to extend its capabilities a ton.
    • Thanks Thanks x 3