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Top 10 Things to Look For in a Pay-Per-Call Network

For many local companies, a phone that rings is a business that sings.  The good news… buying calls for your company has never been easier. Pay-per-call is the fastest growing segment of the performance marketing industry because it typically yields a better return on investment than buying clicks to a website.  If you're considering buying call-based leads for your business, here are ten things to consider when evaluating a pay-per-call network.

1. Dynamic campaign management

A pay-per-call campaign should be tailored to the specific needs of your business. This means you control when you want calls, in what business categories, from what locations, and the price you are willing to pay to get those calls. A good campaign management tool should allow you to turn campaigns on and off, pace the number of calls you receive a day, and give you feedback on how well your campaign is designed relative to your competition and the goals you are trying to achieve.

2. Reliable call volume

Not all business categories want calls (for example, fast food restaurants) and some categories are difficult to generate a reasonable amount of qualified traffic. The same goes for challenging locations, like rural towns or hyper-competitive cities. But a good pay-per-call network will have some traffic in most major cities and in all service-related business categories. Look for a pay-per-call network with a predictable inventory of calls across many different categories.

3. Call source transparency

Be mindful of call sources…not all calls are created equal.  High-intent sources, like voice assistant searches, are better than others and some sources need to be eliminated entirely. Fake listings that generate leads do exist. A strong pay-per-call network will weed out bad actors and ensure that all calls are generated using methods that adhere to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Not only will the best networks safeguard against non-compliant sources, they also allow you to choose what type of call sources you want and those that you don’t.

4. Robocall blocking

Over three billion robocalls hit consumers and businesses a month. Fortunately, the FCC recently adopted a policy that allows suspected illegal and unwanted calls to be blocked by default. A high-performing pay-per-call network will introduce technology that will prevent these calls from reaching your business.

5. Interactive dialog management

Some businesses look to greet the caller with an automated system rather than an actual human. These interactive voice response systems are designed to help callers navigate to the right department or to make sure the consumer’s interests are in line with what the business offers.The capability to setup and manage these types of dialog are not provided by all pay-per-call networks and the level of sophistication (the number of questions asked, DTMF detection, speech recognition, etc.) is highly variable. Choose a pay-per-call network that offers the flexibility you need for answering your calls.

6. Competitive pricing

Just as in the pay-per-click world, pay-per-call prices are dynamic and change relative to supply and demand.  The price in some business categories (such as high-end home services) cost much more than those with smaller units of sale (such as florists).  Most calls are typically sold based on specified call duration. Other qualifiers such as business hours, geography, and industry specific filters will also influence pricing. A pay-per-call network takes these factors into consideration when meeting the needs of active campaigns.

7. Inexpensive call tracking

The pay-per-call business model requires that networks maintain a record of when a call was made and how long it lasts. Some business categories also require that the call be recorded (with the caller’s approval) and transcribed. The better pay-per-call networks include these services as part of their program or at the very least charge only a nominal fee for their use.

8. Real-time reporting

The best pay-per-call networks offer an online dashboard that includes real-time call-by-call reporting. Instant access to reporting details can also be offered through APIs with plugins to your existing CRM platforms such as SalesForce.com and SugarCRM and to cloud-based visualization platforms such as Tableau and Power BI. A good dashboard should also allow the business owner to sort these calls based on source and performance, among other considerations.

9. Call analytics

Methods for analyzing calls vary from one network to the next but most of the better platforms use transcription and a concept called keyword spotting. This method looks for specific words in a conversation (such as “buy’) to provide an indicator of the quality of the call, as well as the overall consumer experience. Some networks also grade the consumer sentiment (happy, angry, etc.) with varying degrees of success.

10. Experience

The pay-per-call industry is relatively young compared to its pay-per-click cousin. That said, some networks have been around for ten years or more and have worked through the quality issues that plague other pay-per-call providers. Soleo pioneered the pay-per-call industry and has been a thought leader and innovator throughout its history. We have carefully examined each of the network considerations described above and have responded with solutions that position us as a reliable call partner for many years to come.