Inbound phone calls are a critical component for merchants in professional services, home improvement and technology, and other in-store sales businesses. In fact, market research firm BIA/Kelsey estimates that $64.6 billion is spent annually across all media on local ads to generate phone calls. Additionally, 66% of small businesses consider a phone call as the most valuable form of incoming leads - more so than web form submissions and even in-person visits.
On Wednesday, January 20, at Contact 2016, Soleo Vice President of Digital Media Johnna McCooey participated in a panel discussion on this topic and offered up a blueprint for businesses starting a pay per call program.
Soleo has more than a decade of experience matching intent-driven users with merchants, handling more than 4 billion calls and searches every year. Based on that experience, McCooey recommends three areas of focus when buying leads to ensure a successful strategy: category data, location data, and hours of operation.
- Category selection is important to clearly identify and ensure calls match your business. For example, if a caller is searching for auto insurance, the most relevant ads played will be for auto insurance, not health, homeowners, or even general insurance. Soleo requires each of its advertisers to provide specific category information, and we scrub the data on a consistent basis to review and identify areas where ads may be mistakenly routed resulting in a lower connection rate.
- Location allows you to be locally relevant to each call. Soleo understands caller behavior in a rural area may need a larger search radius than those in a major metro. As such, we dynamically define the search radius for a given call depending on the geographic location.
- Hours of Operation must be identified so that callers are routed when you are available to take calls. Soleo encourages advertisers to provide detailed information on open hours, which allows us to offer specific day-parting options, another layer of control on ad campaigns.
One last thing to remember is that analytics are a critical tool used to assess, measure, and further define a successful pay per call program. Merchants should track campaign performance to understand how ads are performing. These metrics can assist in deciding whether to increase bid prices, choose more specific categories, or even explore alternative categories that better fit your business.
Overall, the key to a successful pay per call program, whether you’re buying your first leads or you’re already running numerous call campaigns, is staying as relevant as possible to the caller’s specific business need and location. If you keep relevance as your top priority, you’ll find great success in your pay per call program.