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  1. #1
    Newbie TotalCallGroup's Avatar
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    Question Anyone done any Pay Per Call?
    I am curious if anyone has any experience in this as I have clients very interested in marketing through this technology.

  2. #2
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    Pay-per-call advertising
    I worked on a pay-per-call project from last November through January.

    Pay-per-call definitely has some upsides and some downsides.

    One key obstacle to successful pay-per-call is that the incoming phone call must be handled competently, and that turns out to be surprisingly difficult.

    There are bunch of other obstacles and challenges, and my experience was that folks in the "industry" aren't very open or honest about many of those issues.

    (My decision to end my role in that project didn't come from any "pay-per-call" technical or business issues -- instead, the client refused to adopt so many of my recommendations that I no longer believed the project would succeed, so I "fired my client.")

  3. #3
    Full Member ske9963's Avatar
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    Do a search for Miva or ingenio
    there was a thread recently
    Ma, where the beer? :escape:

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    PPCall
    Pay per call can be profitable - provided you understand the challenges going in and you are willing to commit substantial daily time to managing the sales process. The marketing / sales businesses I was associated with from 1978 - 1999 were all pretty much on a pay per call basis as we relied on print ads back then to generate incomings. It was a huge effort that required being married to the office and 13 in house reps. While it was very profitable it was also a huge time commitment that I would not want to repeat.

    Eventually our experience with pay per call (and live phone reps) is what led us to transition marketing to the internet. If you are considering pay per call, you should definitely consider the time and expense commitment to handling incoming calls, and what your options are for restricting call times to fit. It can be profitable, but it is a major time commitment to do it correctly or on a big scale - so do lots of research and then consider the possibilities.
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  5. #5
    Newbie TotalCallGroup's Avatar
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    Thank you for your reply -- what problems did you encounter with the call handling -- was it a tech issue. We are considering using voicestar to handle the call.

    Did you attempt to use affiliates or publishers to promote the PPCall? and if so how well did it work for them. Rather than earning .05-.25 for an adsense click they can earn $5-$25 a call which is in the same range as some commissions based upon sales.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotalCallGroup
    Thank you for your reply -- what problems did you encounter with the call handling -- was it a tech issue. We are considering using voicestar to handle the call.

    The biggest problem was human resources. Phone reps get burned out easily, so you are constantly replacing reps. If you handle it in house through W 4 employees, your expenses go far past their base and or commissions.

    Did you attempt to use affiliates or publishers to promote the PPCall? and if so how well did it work for them. Rather than earning .05-.25 for an adsense click they can earn $5-$25 a call which is in the same range as some commissions based upon sales.
    Our pay per call efforts were before the internet became the monster it is today so most of our incomings were generated by print media as I mentioned in my first reply. Rents, phone hardware & software, advertising costs, personnel handling and training, benefits, advertising to replace reps, retraining costs etc etc all mount up. If you have a high ticket item with a high closing rate it can be profitable from the money standpoint - but the mental drain is another story.

    I'd recommend that if you use publishers to generate calls that you set up a beta test with a couple first. Then develop your script, presentation and closing, and fine tune the qualifications you want to target. The more specific you are, the fewer calls you will get, but the higher the quality per incoming - which is crucial to your ROI. Explain to a couple select publishers that it is a beta - so the rate per call will likely need to be lower during beta to give you a better handle on what is possible for the long term. Do the beta with publishers whose sites are good content matches. Include price ranges to further eliminate tire kickers and enhance the quality of the incoming calls.

    Once your beta is done, you will know more what is actually involved in handling phone sales while you also keep your costs down on the beta. But be prepared for a real eye opener and mind stretcher. Incoming call reps (if you don't outsource it) are a very challenging proposition and sales will fluctuate from great to dismal depending on the reps length of time on the job. As a rule of thumb the average job life expectancy for a phone rep is 6 - 12 weeks, so maybe install a revolving door at the office!

    If you want to PM me I can perhaps shed more light on the topic, but the key at first will be to take it slowly (beta) and then adjust from there.

    Good Luck
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  7. #7
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    I'm afraid this is one of those areas where you probably need to go out and hire a consultant with business experience in this space. (No, I'm not available, and no, I don't know anyone I'd recommend.) Alas, there are very few folks with meaningful experience, and probably fewer still with good judgment. And as in any over-hyped "new opportunity," there are many folks just popping out of the woodwork and claiming skill or expertise that they really lack. (As with the early days of the internet, this is a space where many clients seem to prefer cheerleading over accurate economic analysis or business planning; remember that you can recognize the true pioneers by the arrows in their backs.)

    Do not rely on suggestions from potential partners like VoiceStar or Ingenio or Miva -- while they are mostly great people who do share some of your incentives, you need advice that is completely unbiased.

    The "new" pay-per-call models are different in several key ways from the "TV-infomercial" era pay-per-call model, but I'm sure there are many similarities.

    Some of the same "click fraud" issues (as found in pay-per-click) carry forward to this space, also, so I suspect that the "pay-per-call" model will quickly shift to a "pay-per-validated-call" (really "pay-per-lead").

    Another problem in this space is the expectation of immediate response when you get someone on the telephone -- not just someone who answers the phone, but someone who is completely knowledgeable and able to give the information the caller wants. Unfortunately, many of the businesses that want to do "pay-per-call" use sales models that don't favor openness.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Mark offers a couple solid suggestions Total. The engines offering PPCall may have some limited experience, but of course they also have a monetary interest driving their pitch, so objectivity will not be the motivating factor behind advice they offer.

    If you are serious about doing this model, my earlier suggestions will serve you well, as will hiring an outside call center consultant. Another thing I had not thought of previously: if the pay per call format is based on pass along phone numbers relayed to you by the engine - I highly discourage wasting the time and money. Chasing people down by phone who supposedly requested information is a waste of time and resources unless perhaps you are dealing in large ticket sales.

    The kind of pay per call formats that actually work are direct call formats, where the prospect is calling you direct while their impulse is "warm".

    Good Luck
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  9. #9
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    Pay-Per-Call Issues
    I absolutely agree with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by ALH - AmeritrustRx
    Another thing I had not thought of previously: if the pay per call format is based on pass along phone numbers relayed to you by the engine - I highly discourage wasting the time and money. Chasing people down by phone who supposedly requested information is a waste of time and resources * * * . // The kind of pay per call formats that actually work are direct call formats, where the prospect is calling you direct while their impulse is "warm".
    The compelling benefit of "pay-per-call" is that the buyer is able to connect directly to a knowledgeable seller to get information NOW. Pay-per-call is absolutely NOT an effective way to collect leads for later callback, nor is it likely to be a successful model if any form of "screening" is used (e.g. these calls should not come to a switchboard/receptionist, nor junior-level staff, nor to someone's cell phone -- but directly to someone sitting at a desk who can actually close the deal).

    A couple of key issues: Will calls be recorded, so you can use them to identify bogus calls, evaluate staff phone handling skills, and to help train your staff? Will you be getting the incoming caller's phone number (most vendors pass it along in the Caller ID data, but Google's system blocks it).

    Another issue: If you sell products only to people on the east coast, what do you do about calls coming from an 808 area code (Hawaii)? Don't just say "reject them," because if you sell carpeting you probably want that call from the guy who still uses his old cell phone while moving into his new home in New Jersey.

    One other issue: will you use a "click-to-call" model (in which the consumer types their phone number into an online/web form, and then your system calls you and the consumer to connect the call), or will it be a "pure" consumer-dial system? With "click-to-call" you must deal with "do-not-call" list issues, including the risk that someone might abuse your system to harass someone else (by getting you and a dozen other merchants to call someone who doesn't have any idea what's going on).
    Last edited by markwelch; September 13th, 2006 at 05:02 PM.

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