Blog Posts
Calls: The New Clicks

Gone are the days when businesses were thrilled to receive a high volume of clicks, regardless of where those clicks came from and what results they bore. Digital media has matured and with that maturity has come an increased level of scrutiny on the ROI of digital advertising.

According to Telmetrics, pay-per-call ads increased by 348% from early 2011 to early 2012 and this incredible rise is due, in a large part, to SMBs. The dramatic rise in this medium is astounding but certainly underscores the desire of SMBs to get their money's worth from their marketing spends. Like clicks, however, pay-per-call results can vary wildly and SMBs need to be aware of many nuances when choosing a provider.

On average, call conversions exceed click conversions by over 19%. But pay-per-call provider quality - and costs - significantly vary. So how do you know when you are getting your money's worth? These are some - but certainly not all - of the factors you should consider:

1. Your average gross revenue per customer.

How much, on average, do you make from each of YOUR customers? Your cost per call obviously should not exceed or come close to your own gross margin. If you are pizza shop selling pizzas at an average of $10 each, with gross revenue of $6 per pizza, you don't want to pay $5 for each call you receive - no matter how great the conversion rate may be. On the other hand, you may be willing to pay $2 per call if the conversion rate is high enough. Likewise, a lawyer charging clients $250/hr may be willing to pay in excess of $50 per call because for every client gained, the gross revenue received is substantially higher.

2. Metrics the provider uses to gauge quality and charge for calls.

Most pay-per-call providers will tell you that conversion rates are highly variable and this is quite true, particularly when looking across many verticals. However, they should be able to tell you what measures they employ to insure quality and when calls are deemed 'chargeable'. Ask detailed questions about how they monitor calls and what metrics they use to determine whether or not calls are real leads. Some of these metrics should include call length, originating number, and, at times, the actual content and words used in the phone conversation.

3. Sources of calls.

Metrics are not the only key to ensuring quality. The source of calls is also important. Ask prospective pay-per-call providers how they source their calls and how they get exposure to prospects that meet your target criteria. Some providers use tactics that generate calls from sources that may skew metrics to look as though the calls are of high quality, but may not be. For example, a salesperson from an unrelated company who is trying to sell you a product may talk long enough to establish an acceptable call length, but they are not going to convert into paying a customer.

In summary, following the pay-per-call trend will likely be fruitful and improve your digital marketing results but, like all advertising buys, must be done with due diligence. Soleo can help provide you that guidance, tapping into our years of call management and local marketing expertise.

In future blogs, we will explore pay-per-call as well as various other digital media more in-depth.