Did the idea of paying ONLY for inbound phone calls from consumers sound intriguing? Did you expect to launch your first pay-per-call campaign, sit back, and watch the money pour in? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. This is a story we’ve heard all too often from performance marketers. You arranged to purchase phone calls from a marketing partner on a cost-per-call basis. You negotiated the contract, call pricing, and call duration. You setup a dedicated tracking phone number through your contact center platform (i.e. TalkDesk, Five9, etc.). You’ve built out the scripts and trained your call center to handle the expected “flood” of “qualified” inbound phone calls. Everything looks great. You give the pay per call marketing company the green light. All systems are a go.
But instead of being the hero that took the risk, tried something new, and drove millions in new revenue for the company, the campaign falls flat on its face, leaving you to look like a complete jackass. So what did you do wrong? Chances are the problem lies in one of the following five areas:
You had no idea what type of call you were buying.
Do you know how these calls were generated? Did these consumers really know what service they were calling about? Were these true “inbound” calls through a click to call advertisement or were they call transfers? Did these calls come from search, display, email, or even SMS? Were these calls exclusive? Were they incentivized?
Often buyers don’t ask all of the right questions and take an adequate amount of time to verify what they are buying. Remember, all calls are not created equal and it’s essential that you identify the type of calls you are buying for your pay per call campaign so that you pay the right price and implement the appropriate process for handling these inbound calls.
You bought all the calls that were sent to you
If you’re buying calls from a 3rd party, you must make sure that you ONLY accept calls in the geographic region you service DURING your call center’s hours of operation. After all, the 3rd party still gets paid whether the call meets your criteria or not. The criteria include call duration, geo location, hour of day, day of week, and accepted marketing tactics (search, display, email, sms, etc.). Ideally, you will only pay for unique calls that meet your criteria. If you don’t have a sophisticated call tracking system, you will need to make sure that the 3rd party you’re working with has reliable reporting and routing capabilities to deliver only the calls you can monetize.
Examples of bad calls that you should NOT pay for include:
Calls outside your desired geographic region
Repeat calls that have already been paid out on
Calls outside your hours of operation
Calls generated using unapproved tactics, i.e. SMS
You should be able to reject the calls that don’t meet your criteria. Although most legitimate pay per call marketing companies will define your campaign’s criteria during the campaign setup, the last point regarding calls generated using unapproved tactics, is much more difficult to police. So make sure you work with pay per call marketing companies that buy their own media versus networks that rely on 3rd party call distribution. In the end, pay only for the calls you can monetize even if it costs you a little more per call. Although calls are greater than clicks, quality trumps quantity.
You didn’t track call performance by source leading to ineffective optimization
More than likely, you’re buying calls from multiple traffic sources. Even if you’re working with only one company that is buying the media, that company is more than likely using multiple sources of traffic. i.e. Google Search vs. MSN Search. IMPORTANT: All traffic sources are unique and offer a different quality of phone call.
Your pay per call marketing company should be able to give you a breakdown of performance by Promo Number. For example, if your destination tracking number is 888-888-8888, each source of traffic should also have a unique promo number that when dialed redirects to your final destination tracking number.
You need to ensure that your pay per call marketing partner is monitoring and optimizing performance by promo number. Although you may not know the name of the source, it is important to monitor the quality that each call source is sending to you.
Additionally, to be effective in pay per call marketing, you need a true, transparent partnership with the media buying company. If you pass back sales data, quote rate data, etc. (whichever metric is important to you), you will give your pay per call partner even more ammunition to hit your metrics and scale your performance. All too often we see advertisers “overlook” the importance of sharing its data with its media partners.
With effective source tracking, you will be able to allocate more of your ad dollars to the calls that are generating the highest Return on Investment (ROI).
You didn’t work directly with the company “buying” the media
No matter how good of a relationship you have with a pay per call network, the reality is that oftentimes they do NOT know how your calls are being generated. They don’t know the sources of traffic, the creatives, the keywords, the distribution tactics, etc. Networks typically focus on volume and only police when an advertiser complains. Networks are typically much more reactive in this scenario. Now, I’m not saying that all pay per call networks are this way as there are some good guys out there.
Nevertheless, if your goal is to ensure that your offer’s messaging is in alignment with what is being marketed, try to work with the company responsible for buying the media. It will make your life a lot easier in the long run despite lower volume.
Working with networks will always be an option. But with the lack of control and dissemination of your message, is this best choice for your company?
“Buying on ad networks is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re going to get.”
Your call center script is flawed
Perhaps your sales script was too consultative. Maybe you weren’t aggressive enough in vetting the callers’ intent. Perhaps you were too aggressive on the phone and drove the caller off the phone. With pay per call campaigns, it is important to create the right script. A good script is a balanced script. Not overly aggressive, not overly consultative.
Remember, most of the time, an inbound call must meet a minimum connect duration before it becomes billable. For example, if a call has a minimum connect duration of 120 seconds, that call will not become billable until it is connected to your call center representative for at least 120 seconds. It is important that you use this time to pre-qualify the consumer, i.e. “Are you looking for a quote?” , “Do you have over $10,000 in debt?”, “Do you own a home?”, etc.. You must be extremely careful NOT to be overly aggressive because if your offer does not work for the pay per call media buyer, you won’t get any calls. Your offer needs to work for you AND your partner. The relationship must be a win-win.
You didn’t pay attention to the consumer experience (A Human IVR is Better!)
Before you turned your pay per call marketing campaign ON, did you even bother to run a test call? Did you make sure that the caller’s path to conversion was free of barriers? You would be surprised at how many well known brands don’t take this seemingly obvious step. Sometimes companies are too focused on what they should be getting vs. what they should be giving. This all boils down to making sure that there is a good consumer experience from the moment that call is generated.
In this day and age, where “Artificial Intelligence” and “Automation” take center stage, more and more companies are choosing to focus on profitability over establishing meaningful “human” conversations. In fact, some experts believe that by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human. However, according to a recent Harris Poll of 2000 adults, more than 52% feel frustrated and 18% feel angry when there is no option to speak with a human.
Taking the consumer down the path of IVR Hell (as we call it), involves prequalifying the consumer only through a robotic IVR with numerous questions. As a consumer, looking for a service, I have gone the extra step of picking up the phone. I’m ready to talk to someone. I’m ready to learn more about your product or service. However, when I get hit with a series of nested robo IVR’s, I get very angry. Does this business not value the worth of having a real conversation with me? Does this business think it’s too good for me and doesn’t want to waste its “real human” resources on little ole me?
If you believe that the consumer experience is vital to help build trust and maintain a positive consumer experience, look to work with a pay per call marketing company that offers a live human IVR. The human IVR is a live person that will prequalify the caller, prior to sending that caller to your call center. Robo IVRs can be very confusing at times, missing out on key social queues that could be resolved by a human.
Important Tip: In CallX’s testing, we have found that adding a human IVR increases conversion rates by as much as 23%.
There are many things that can go wrong when buying calls in the pay per call marketing industry. The six listed above are pretty common. As a company that processes hundreds of thousands of calls per month for major advertisers across multiple industries, we have the knowledge and insight to deliver the most successful pay per call campaigns. Please reach out if you would like help driving real results from your pay per call marketing efforts. That is what we do at CallX.
We buy our own media
We break out all sources of traffic by unique promo numbers for better optimization
We work with all of our advertisers to craft a script that is just right for the objective of the campaign
We use a “human ivr” to answer all inbound calls and prequalify
We are transparent in our distribution tactics
We are 100% fraud free (because we buy our own media 😉
We are fanatical about executing on our mission: “To connect businesses and consumers through meaningful conversations”
Ping either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to learn more about how CallX can accelerate your pay per call performance.
Friendly Note to EVERY offshore call center: We do NOT run pay per call campaigns in the following verticals; Tech Support, Flights/Travel, Adult (i.e. ED). Please do NOT contact us if you are in those verticals.