Affiliate Nerd Out

Unlocking Affiliate Sales with Call Leads, Email and SMS Marketing with Dave Pickard & Sevada Markosyan

December 06, 2023 Dustin Howes Season 1 Episode 45
Affiliate Nerd Out
Unlocking Affiliate Sales with Call Leads, Email and SMS Marketing with Dave Pickard & Sevada Markosyan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wish you could peek behind the curtain of successful affiliate marketing companies? We've got a treat for you - a chat with the CEOs of cutting-edge companies, Fanexa and Zero Parallel/Profitize. David Pickard and Sevada Markison, the wizards themselves, share their secrets on improving workflows, tracking and automating processes, and winning the customer acquisition game. They're in the trenches every day, innovating and leading in the competitive world of affiliate marketing. 

Can you fathom that a telephone number might be more powerful than a website? Believe it - in an increasingly mobile world, call leads are reigning supreme in industries like solar, debt relief, and insurance. We spill the beans on why call leads yield higher conversion rates, better contact rates, and lower fraud rates. Discover how this shift can result in bigger payouts for affiliates, and why marketing a phone number could be more cost-effective than pitching a website. 

Finishing off with a deep dive into the finance world, we delve into the substantial influence of call leads in the debt relief industry. We illuminate the importance of regulatory compliance, the effectiveness of lead nurturing campaigns, and the power of click-to-call solutions. We also cover the critical role of phone number validation for effective marketing and shed light on the use of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for consumer convenience. From call leads to web leads, we've got you covered with strategies for effective marketing and consumer engagement.

For more tips on how to scale your affiliate program, check out https://performancemarketingmanager.com

Dustin Howes:

Hey folks, welcome to Affiliate Nerd out. I am your Nerdirator, Dustin Howe. Spread that good word about affiliate marketing. You're gonna find me every Tuesday and Thursday right here on LinkedIn live at 12.15 Pacific time, so mark it on your calendars and smash that subscribe button. My guest today it's a dual guest show. First off into the Nerditorium is gonna be David Pickard, CEO over at Fanexa. Welcome to the Nerditorium, Dave.

Dave Pickard:

Thanks very much. Happy to be here.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome, and joining us today as well is Sevada Markison over CEO over at Profitize and Zero Parallel. Thank you for joining me as well, sir.

Sevada Markosyan:

Thanks for having us.

Dustin Howes:

Dustin, awesome, we're gonna be doing some live Q&A. We are live on LinkedIn. We started a little bit late with some technical difficulties, but we're gonna prevail today. So if you have any questions, please drop them into the chat and let us know what you wanna know about Fanexa and anything else. Today, the question of the day is what tools do you use to improve your workflows? So if you've got some suggestions on things that are working for you, please throw them into that chat room, but without further ado. Dave, who are you?

Dave Pickard:

I am Dave, ceo of Fanexa UK. I am 31 years old or young, depending on what side of age you are. I guess I started in the space nine years ago. I actually worked that out 10 minutes ago. I hadn't realized I was starting in 2012 in the affiliate space. I guess it started as like a side hustle, as the kids these days would call it, which subsequently led me to partner with the founder of a group of companies consisting of an affiliate network, a list management firm, an FCA regulated credit brokerage in the UK. If you haven't noticed by now, I am from the UK and so, yeah, specialized in credit and insurance and financial services predominantly and then partnered with the founder of Fanexa, david, some six years ago, and that's an even longer story, but that's what's drawn me here.

Dustin Howes:

Beautiful Sam. How about you?

Sevada Markosyan:

I don't have as nice of an accent as Dave does, but I'll explain my background a little bit.

Sevada Markosyan:

So I came from a very different industry. Most of my experience was in management and building teams, but I came from the hospitality world about almost four years ago and I joined digital marketing lead generation space and so now I'm the CEO of Zero Parallel and Profitize and we are the largest lead gen network in short-term loans and a few other verticals within the Zero Parallel side. Profitize as a lead gen is also growing substantially with different verticals, but my experience grew pretty quickly while I joined Zero Parallel, mainly because of the leadership that I think was here before me was able to expedite how fast I was able to learn everything within the industry and, after countless conferences and chatting with a lot of buyers and affiliates, I was able to succeed in my role as CEO.

Dustin Howes:

Excellent. We'll get into more about what your companies do here in a second. If you'd like to be a guest over and take that hot seat, go to dustinowsecom slash nerd, drop an application and see what we can nerd out about. Let's start off with Vanessa. What do you guys do and who are you serving here, Dave?

Dave Pickard:

So we serve pretty much anyone in the customer acquisition space. So, whether that's media buyers, affiliates, brands, anyone looking to grow their book of customers or generate customers for other product providers you heard me mention a second ago we kind of started in the financial services space. That was my background, that was our background, A particularly good space for us to start in because it's a pretty technologically advanced space in general and we found that actually there was an opportunity to take that one step further in terms of marketing attribution and all the kind of nerdy stuff that I guess we can dive deeper into a little bit later. But that was really where we spawned out of. But yeah, really anyone looking to generate customers and track their marketing from an end to end perspective, all the way from first impression, where this customer is first seeing you're advertising, all the way through to final destination of buying your product.

Dustin Howes:

Excellent and, as far as the clientele that you're serving, do you find it more that brands are coming to you or that affiliates are coming to you to employ your services?

Dave Pickard:

Both definitely initially affiliates Like that was where we came from and we did a lot of business from word of mouth, that kind of domino effect in the industries where people are like, hey, what software are you using? Oh, I'm using this, it's working really well. Cool, I'm gonna do it too. Anyone scaling things aggressively tends to work really nicely from a word of mouth domino effect and that was really great for us, certainly early days when I first started working here back in 2017.

Dave Pickard:

But recently brands are suddenly becoming more and more on board, whereas they are becoming more technologically equipped to, like I said a second ago, grow their customer base. They are understanding the importance of tracking and understanding the importance of knowing where I can go and get my customers and having a seamless and effective way of integrating with their introducers, their affiliates, their publishers, whoever it may be, to get those customers to them and then report back to them on the outcome of those customer acquisitions. So, did they actually buy their product? And, when they did buy their product, how to tell them to go and do more of that and do it all automatically. Don't take manual, csv, exports and analysis and pivot charts and all that kind of stuff out of the equation and do it all quickly. Work smart, not hard.

Dustin Howes:

Beautiful, all right, and Sev tell us about Zero, parallel and Profitize.

Sevada Markosyan:

So Zero Parallel is a lead generation that works. So is Profitize. Zero Parallel is the bigger company out of the two. We are the like I mentioned largest lead generation network in short-term loans within the country. We service lenders that are looking for short-term loans and we have probably the biggest buying power between a combination of close to a little above 180 lenders that we work with. We also have affiliate marketers that work with us that generate leads for short-term loans, and there's an equal amount, if not more, affiliates that we work with as well. So our audience is mainly the affiliates that generate leads, as well as the lenders that purchase the leads. We also operate in the call space with call leads as well. Zero Parallel is also in the debt release space and with Profitize we've expanded into solar panel leads, auto insurance, life insurance and we're growing even further, with more verticals coming into next year.

Dustin Howes:

Beautiful, and where does that bring you guys as a relationship? How did you guys hook up and partner up?

Sevada Markosyan:

So Zero Parallel actually uses Fenexa as the software, so does Profitize, and so we're one of the clients for Fenexa and we use Fenexa within our internal software on a day-to-day basis.

Dustin Howes:

Good to go. All right, let's get into the education portion of this. We're here to learn more about what call leads, email and SMS marketing capabilities are. Email has been hot over the last 10 years. Call leads SMS marketing are really ramping up nowadays. Call leads what are they? Can you guys explain this to me? Yeah, I can.

Sevada Markosyan:

I can start off with it. So we have affiliates that generate calls instead of web leads, and I think this has in certain verticals it's probably the only thing that works and in some verticals it's the most popular way to generate a call is served better than generating a web lead. And so call leads would be an affiliate marketing a phone number that, as a network, we would provide them, and they would be able to market it in different fashions either through email marketing, sms marketing, displayed in certain ads, put it on their home pages, and so when a consumer calls that phone number, there's different routes that they can take either through an IVR that's pre-recorded, or call center agent as a warm transfer, or it just goes directly to the buyer. But the reason call leads are becoming more popular, which we'll talk a little bit about, is because most of the buyers are looking to have better contact rates, where call leads at least guarantee them that they're going to be able to speak to the consumer, as opposed to web leads, where a certain portion of their leads they pay for but they never get a chance to speak to anybody and the contact rates become an issue.

Sevada Markosyan:

Call leads is, I think, more difficult to if you have the right tools in place which we could discuss to have fraud get through as opposed to web leads, which is a little bit more vulnerable in that area, and call leads also. Buyers tend to pay higher for call leads as opposed to web leads too. So for all those reasons, call leads, I think, are really the route to go, and I know we're going to chat about it as I've requested, but I think with the new FCC ruling that's come out as of last week, call leads are probably going to be the forefront of a potential solution for a lot of people that are looking at what options they can go down now that things are going to, the landscape of the industry is going to change going into 2024. Excellent.

Dustin Howes:

So traditionally? When I got into this industry 13 years ago, the pay per call industry was just in its infancy. Is there a big difference between the call leads and what we used to call paper call? Or is that that term dead and nobody wants to talk about it anymore? It's like a whisper now.

Sevada Markosyan:

I think it's just expanded. There's still pay per call, but pay per call obviously, now that people are generating call leads through a lot of other different avenues with their marketing efforts, paper calls just become one avenue how they're doing it. But now, with email marketing and everything else and the different payout structures that buyers are now getting involved in, durations of calls are changing as far as what, how long the call needs to last before a buyer actually pays for it. There's other models where the buyers are also paying for the call only after it converts, and conversions can mean different things based on the buyer. So terminology, I think, has changed, but the solution to it has.

Dave Pickard:

I think that the thing that we've noticed has changed quite a lot as well is the term, I guess the phrase intent. That's kind of the point behind the paper call space. It's the self's point earlier on. You're trying to generate a customer that is further down that sale cycle than potentially just a web lead, that's put their data in on a website and you may or may not contact them. We speak to clients that come to us and say hey, I generate 100,000 web leads and my contact rate is 15%. Cool, you want to speak to these customers, right? They're like yeah, I'm like cool, how about you generate some calls? Then it sounds simple, it sounds like an absolute no brainer where they're like what do you mean? I could just tell these customers to call me. And it's about getting those customers that are already quite far down that sale cycle to actually call you and actually having a metric in place, a tooling system in place to qualify those customers too.

Dave Pickard:

In the UK we had an industry called Hotkeys, which was when I was in the insurance space some 10 years ago. We used to buy Hotkeys and they were essentially a call center, phoning the phone book. Soon, as someone picks up, they hotkey them straight through to you. Hey, these guys want to buy your product. And you speak to the customer at the end of the line and they're like hey, who are you, why did you call me, where did you get my number from? Bringing into play a marketing approach to this whereby you're actually placing these phone numbers on your landing pages and your email creatives and wherever your marketing collateral is around, and qualifying those customers then via a process, whether it be a dynamic IVR system on the phone, to actually find out what the customer is interested in and then sending that customer to the destination that can actually give them that product. I guess the phrasing and the terminology is fairly similar and there's certainly a cross-laid between a lot of them, but really that's the meaning, that's our meaning, of PayPal. Call these days anyway, gotcha.

Dustin Howes:

Is there any particular verticals niches that Calt Leads are really utilized? I can't envision this in like a small consumer e-commerce product, but for things in the solar or the finance industry this might make a lot of sense. What are some of the bigger niches in there?

Sevada Markosyan:

I think the solar, the debt relief and the insurance space are significantly more targeted towards or they're starting to become more targeted towards, calt Leads as opposed to just Web Leads or clicks. So if you're within one of those verticals, going into next year especially, you definitely want to generate Calt Leads, if you're not already doing so. Payouts are also very different too. Buyers will pay sometimes double, if not triple, the value of the lead if they're buying a call lead, where they usually have about a hundred and twenty second duration, where they can speak to the consumer before they actually have to consider it a billable lead as opposed to paying for a click or paying for just a Web Lead, whether it redirects or it doesn't redirect.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome and you bring up a great point with the timing of the calls. Duration of the calls may decipher what commission level you give an affiliate for the quality of calls that they're bringing correct.

Sevada Markosyan:

Yeah, I mean a lot of buyers, I think, regardless of which industry you're in, generally when they're purchasing a call lead, in most cases would rather have at least a hundred and twenty second duration before they would even consider it a call lead that they would pay for. So it's an industry standard where everybody's at least familiar with it. If you're generating calls and I think as you start generating calls, you'll realize that even consumers that maybe don't qualify for that buyer's criteria for the product that they're providing, the call will still most likely last more than a hundred and twenty seconds. The purpose of the hundred and twenty seconds isn't necessarily for them to have their agents vet that consumer to a point where they can really see if it's going to convert or not. It's more intended to make sure that there's an actual consumer on the other end and they're not just paying for robots calling in or some level of fraud coming through the cycle that they have.

Dustin Howes:

Gotcha, and so you're almost trying to disqualify leads more than actually qualify them for who they are. Okay, gotcha, and in terms of like the biggest benefits that call leads are bringing to the table, my initial thought is consumers all act a different way. Some don't want to make a phone call. I personally never call any companies. It's just not how my mind works. I want to do my research online, but there are people out there that would be more comfortable just taking a phone call and getting it into it. So what are some of those bigger benefits from call leads?

Dave Pickard:

To my point earlier, bringing those warmer intent customers further down the sales cycle quicker.

Dave Pickard:

So to your point saying you're not someone that is comfortable doing that, but you admitted you're someone that you would carry out your own research.

Dave Pickard:

So what we are seeing now is people are carrying out more of their own research and when they do that, they're also doing that on their mobile devices.

Dave Pickard:

So what that then opens up is the fact that customer search has increased. I think there was a report last year, I think from a forester, a data science company, that callers then convert 30% faster than web leads, they spend 28% more and they have a 28% higher retention rate. So when clients start doing this and when media buyers start doing this and realizing this, it's very difficult to then go backwards. Once you start seeing the effects of these higher conversion rates, it's very difficult to then turn around 63% of. So there's 8.5 billion Google searches per day last year and 63% of those are on a mobile device these days. So as much as people will say yeah, maybe I'm someone that's not comfortable calling I'm personally someone that wouldn't always necessarily call, but the fact of the matter is you're missing out on a huge part of data, part of consumers, part of customers that you can get your services in front of. If you are ignoring them.

Sevada Markosyan:

That's absolutely right and I think the benefits different from, obviously, the affiliate as opposed to the buyer. The buyer's benefits are fairly clear Contact rates are better. They have consumers that have better intent. Somebody getting on a phone call usually has more intent to try to buy a product in most cases than somebody completing a form on a web leak.

Sevada Markosyan:

Fraud is more difficult to do on a call lead.

Sevada Markosyan:

Most fraudsters that we've seen, for example, in the short term loan space there's been spikes of that over the last two years and we've put in a significant amount of fraud tools to try to catch as much of the fraud that we can on the web lead side.

Sevada Markosyan:

We haven't seen that same level of effort from a lot of these fraudsters on the call lead side, mainly because there's easier tools I think you could implement to catch fraud on call leads and most fraudsters that are trying to do something in scale don't really want to go through the process of the call lead where they actually have to be on a phone with an agent Before that's considered maybe a billable lead, whereas a web lead they get to hide behind the screen and put in automated setups to do it.

Sevada Markosyan:

So it becomes an easier process, I think, for them than going through the call lead setup. So, as an affiliate, I think if you're in a space where the buyers are all looking for call leads, it already is incentive enough. Web leads can maybe generate you a certain amount of volume. Even if you're generating less volume with call leads, which is typically the case, you're going to get better payouts for those calls, and there's certain platforms where call marketing a phone number is more preferred or it's easier and maybe more cost effective than marketing a website, where you also have to factor in certain click-through rates that are, I think, less evident on the call side, because the questions on a call are shorter than the questions you might need to fill out on a full form.

Dustin Howes:

Gotcha and you bring up a great point with the fraud prevention aspects. I feel like AI scripts are coming into play very heavily in our industry right now and frotting your traditional web leads rather than a call lead, it would take a lot of work to create something super processed in the AI version to interpret or create a fake phone call. That would be next level stuff. So I love that you guys are protecting from there. Can you give us a few examples maybe in the finance space that would of what call leads would look like and how they're beneficial to a company?

Sevada Markosyan:

Yeah, I know. Specifically in the debt release space, for example, call leads are more beneficial, mainly because the debt product itself is a difficult product to explain through a web lead process. Most consumers that are applying for debt relief sometimes get confused with the fact that they feel like they're going to get a loan and a debt relief program isn't a loan. And a lot of affiliates, when they market debt relief, may market it perfectly, but the consumer may still interpret it as oh, I'm going to get a loan to help me with the step that I've piled up on my credit cards. But that's not really the intent of that particular product. So I think getting the consumers through a call lead, either to speak to a live agent first before you actually process that lead to the debt buyers and have the agent vet them, explain certain processes of the debt program to them, makes it easier than them just looking at the screen and seeing an ad or seeing going through a six or seven page form is more valuable and the debt buyers are paying significantly more for those calls. To give you an example if you have decent quality debt relief web leads, you might get buyers to pay you in the range of $30 to $40 to $50 per lead, and if you have calls that you're generating that are very high quality calls, debt buyers may pay in the ranges of $80 to $100 or more for those calls, and so you're going to get better payouts for them and more intent customers for the debt space.

Sevada Markosyan:

So debt relief next year is probably going to be the biggest year in that industry. We've all seen stats of credit card debt in the United States being the highest it's ever been, and so that's not going away anytime soon with the inflation rates that we have and people just piling more and more on credit card debt. So the debt relief space is definitely going to be in their peak, probably another few, two to three years at a very minimum. I know some experts are expecting that to last for at least five years or more. So if you want to be a serious affiliate within the debt relief space, web leads can drive some level of volume and quality for you, but the call leads are really where the debt buyers are going to be most interested.

Dave Pickard:

Also often a regulatory perspective that you're solving some problems. And I'm going to speak to the UK here. Uk is known to being pretty ahead of its time in terms of regulation. I say ahead of its time in terms of enforcing things pretty quickly. So I think we're going to get onto a little bit later. But things like GDPR came into effect in 2018. But the regulations in the UK, particularly in spaces like the debt space, they actually stipulate that you have to speak to these customers before they enter into a debt relief program of any sorts.

Dave Pickard:

So some sort of technology solutions that we've built for our clients in that space is and, by the way, we recommend this to most people when we're talking about calls, we're not sort of saying, hey, guys, you should only do calls. It's a case of hey, you should do anything and everything that converts. That's the point of FNX. So let's track what converts and do more of the stuff that works well, do less of the stuff that doesn't, and you do that every day. You end up in a pretty good place.

Dave Pickard:

So some of the solutions we've helped them with is lead nurturing campaigns. Where they're by a consumer, they're by a web lead, they know that they eventually have to speak to that customer. That customer has gone through some kind of validation process. They've done a form fill to tell you about them. You've then validated their email, their cell phone number and make sure that you can actually contact them.

Dave Pickard:

You may do some other checks to make sure they are who they say they are, and then you may engage in some kind of two-way SMS or WhatsApp conversation with them to actually nurture them around to coming around to the idea of, hey, guess what? This is a product that you may not want to be that excited about talking to us about, but ultimately we need to talk to you and you're kind of nurturing them down this path. And then you're offering and I think we're going to get onto this in a second a click-to-call solution where you're saying hey, you are someone that we can help, we are a provider that can help you. Our agent is ready to go Call this number, but call it when you're ready. Could do it now. If you're ready to go call it 4 PM this evening, if it's better for you to talk, then, with the end result of just being, let's just funnel these customers down this sales cycle as neatly as we can and report on every element of that as we go.

Dustin Howes:

Beautiful. We will get into the SMS marketing and the click-to-call as well, but I want to jump into that FCC rule in that I keep hearing about from you guys what is this? I'm not involved enough in this industry, but what's going on that's so important.

Sevada Markosyan:

So FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, basically came out with a ruling the day before Thanksgiving, which was great for everybody as we got that news, but it's been news. Obviously that's been building up over time and they're looking at there's multiple layers to this, but the most important for anybody in the lead gen space is that they are trying to impose a single seller rule for robo texting and robo calling, which ultimately means if you're a lead generator, you're an affiliate generating leads or sending SMS messages. They want the consumer to basically consent individually to one buyer that you're going to pass that lead to. Now a lot of pushback has come to the FCC from everybody in the lead gen space because the way they're asking for this to be done is very unrealistic in a lot of people's opinions and it's very unreasonable because as a lead gen or as an affiliate, you don't necessarily know the buyer that you're going to pair this consumer with prior to processing that lead or that call, and so it becomes new to impossible to try to get consent for that specific buyer before you pass the the the lead to them. And so there's certain ways to go around it.

Sevada Markosyan:

But the main purpose of this rule is to say if you are sending Robotech messages to consumers, your brand, specifically number one needs to have consent from that consumer to be able to send it.

Sevada Markosyan:

You can no longer share consent with other marketing partners. And when you're driving consumers to a website or if you're sending them to any type of offer page, you have to get consent for the actual end buyer that's providing the product to that consumer before you can have that buyer call that consumer through a Robocall. And so the most important new newest, I guess the the the details here are really what's important. This entire rule is really related to Robocalls and Robotech messaging. So if you're generating leads or calls and you are not happy your buyers are not Robocalling or Robotech thing, this rule shouldn't affect you drastically. If you are providing leads exclusively or calls exclusively to one buyer and you're not doing multiple sales with the same lead, it again shouldn't affect you in a drastic way. The most important part here is this is going to shift a lot of the focus from web leads, in my opinion, to calls going into next year.

Sevada Markosyan:

Because if you're sending an SMS to the consumer because you have consent to send an SMS which I think in general everybody that if you're sending an SMS to consumer you should have consent. And if you're sending an SMS to the consumer instead of driving them down the web lead funnel, where you may have a difficult time getting a single buyer consent before processing that web lead, If you drive them to a call lead, then that consumer gets connected to the caller on the other end. There's no longer a Robocall to be concerned about Because it's an inbound call going to that buyer at this point, and so Robocalls itself have a very vague definition from the FCC. So that becomes a very challenging thing. Even if you have agents from the buyer side clicking a phone number and have an agent waiting to speak to the consumer. In some areas that could still be considered a Robocall because of the platform that they're using and even if they're just clicking on a phone number to call.

Sevada Markosyan:

So it's a big rule that came out. There should be some clear language sometime in January or February from the FCC, but the expectation is December 13 is when the rule is going to go to Congress and it's expected to pass. I think it'd be surprising if it doesn't. More language will be available January or February, and the first implementations of this rule will be in probably any time from June until October of next year. So there is some time. I don't think it's a reason for anybody to panic, but I think that people should be taking it seriously and they should be putting some plans together for different scenarios that should come up. So, as a consumer, I should expect less.

Dustin Howes:

Robocalls is the gist of it. The benefit is yes, there's going to be less Robocalls and Robotexts.

Sevada Markosyan:

The negative overall impact is what it really does, is it takes away options for consumers Consumers that were able to go and get paired with multiple auto insurance companies or different solar companies for them to be able to have options, may not have those options anymore and now they might get paired with only one buyer. That maybe is the buyer willing to pay the most for that call or that leave the company, but it may not be the best buyer for their service that consumer. So not necessarily a positive impact.

Sevada Markosyan:

although the FCC feels, like it is, but if you ask any legion and any affiliate within the space that knows about this rule, I think there's a lot more hurt that comes with it than benefits Interesting. Ok, thank you for the explanation on that.

Dustin Howes:

That's good and bad news for the industry All around. But let's pivot into this. Click to call SMS. What exactly is this that you guys are doing here? Yes, so.

Dave Pickard:

I guess the first.

Dave Pickard:

Thing you want to go Seth, no, you go ahead first. I guess the first thing is to define what it is. Essentially, it is the call to action to allow the customer to call your company and deliver that via an SMS. The ways in which we're seeing it utilized is, again, cross industry brands, advertisers, publishers doing it most successfully, those that are pre-qualifying consumers in some manner to what I spoke about earlier, registering some kind of intent. So they know that the customers who they say they are looking for, the thing that they say they're looking for. Thirdly, they have consent. To Seth's point earlier. If you're going to SMS these people, you make sure that you have consent to do so, and then your goal here is to, like I say, push them down that sales cycle funnel to ultimately get these customers on the phone.

Dave Pickard:

We usually see clients use it in conjunction with all of their other marketing methods to act as a nurturing tool. They can do the same thing via email. So you can do click to call via SMS, click to call by email, lots of different methods and, in particular, use the software that we've built to track where those calls are then coming from, rather than just using one generic phone number. Work out, you know we have a thousand calls coming in. No, okay, it's. Where did these calls come from? Which SMS created? Did it come from? Which email created? Did it come from? Which publisher did it come from, so that you can then go ahead and optimize the performance of those, rather than just treat every single interaction equally? Does that see you up nicely, seth? How are you guys seeing it?

Sevada Markosyan:

It's perfectly, I think, sms, especially going into next year, if you have consent to SMS a consumer, you're sitting on gold, because there's going to be a lot of SMSers that currently are doing this that are going to need to change their model because they don't have direct consent from the consumer. Here's the caveat it has to be direct consent from your brand to the consumer. So if you have direct consent with your brand to the consumer, those SMSes become significantly more valuable with this new ruling than before. And so if you have that and you're SMSing the consumer to get them on a phone call to be able to sell that call, it's a lot more valuable because SMS in general converts a lot better, if higher, click-through rates than doing any type of email marketing.

Sevada Markosyan:

Everybody knows this. And so now, with limited players, which will be limited players in the space going into next year, if you have the consent for sending SMSes as opposed to emails, you're going to have probably one of the very few campaigns that generate high quality converting calls that buyers are looking for, and if you were getting paid $100 a call, you're probably going to be able to get maybe double that going into next year. So it's almost going to place some level of a monopoly on a handful of people that can do this properly, meet all the requirements for SMS consent and be able to do it at volume. And if you can be one of those players, or even if you can do it on a small scale, having small scale efficient SMS campaigns that generate high value calls, I think is really the focus that people should be looking at.

Dustin Howes:

Great, and with that, the phone number validation is a super important aspect of all of this. Like, who is monitoring this and giving those reports? Is that Fnessa themselves? Is that the brand that has to buy something else? Who is doing this validation?

Dave Pickard:

In Fnessa we've built tooling to be honest, validate everything. I know we're talking about the number validation here, but really we want to allow consumers sorry clients to validate every lead equally, whether that's phone numbers, whether that's emails. It could be third-party database checks as well to make sure the consumer is or isn't part of a certain database, like I do not contact list, for example. These kinds of things that tease back to the FCC ruling again making sure that you have a tooling in place to cross-reference your data, make sure that you're treating it in the way that it should be treated and then, once you are able to treat it in the way you want to treat it, that the customers are who they say they are and ultimately, when a buyer is going to be taking this customer, they can deliver the product that the customer was looking for. So essentially, that's how we built our tooling.

Dave Pickard:

One thing in a way that I guess we built it is we wanted to build ours in a way which gives our clients flexibility over how they utilize that.

Dave Pickard:

So what you may see and I've used third-party tools before for this kind of stuff you can quite often be quite restricted about how you do this. You can only validate customers at a certain time in their journey and when you validate them, you can only do certain things with them. So the ways in which we've utilized it is we can do it in multiple ways. On API, you can do it on form fields. If you do it on a form field, you can deliver another message to a customer and say, hey, your number looks like it's invalid. Go away and do this, basically giving you control over doing it in all or none elements of the journey to make sure that, ultimately, you have built your lead generation campaign to work the way you want it to and deliver leads that want what they say they want, and buyers are not going to be phoning you up saying, hey guys, I bought a thousand leads off you. I've not spoken to anyone. How are you guys implementing its servicing? Similar kind of use case.

Sevada Markosyan:

Yeah, I think obviously hitting the DNC list is critical as you work through anything web leads or call leads but phone number validation tools obviously they cost money, no matter what platform you try to do it on. But I think they're more important for web leads because on the call lead you have a consumer on the call, can pull up their call or ID. You at least know that there's a consumer on the end and there's an actual phone number, and so it becomes less, I think, important, but it still is important. Like on our and some of our journeys will have an IVR process when a consumer calls in and will repeat their phone number back to them, ask them to confirm that it's the best phone number for them. They may be calling with their relatives phone number, they may be calling with a landline. We'll even ask them if it's a cell phone so that we have an idea if this is a consumer's cell phone or it's their home phone, so you can ask certain questions to at least validate what type of phone number they're calling with, if it is the best phone number for them.

Sevada Markosyan:

So when you pass that call over to a buyer and they're speaking to them and the call drops, sometimes they don't get a chance to collect the information right away. You've at least passed data to them in some regard to be able to have the correct phone number for that buyer. But on the web lead side, I think that's where really it's more important to try to validate through a database. I know Fenexa offers that option. We utilize it in many scenarios where we'll ping Fenexa database to try to make sure we validate the phone number. It's a correct phone number, it's an actual phone number that a buyer can reach out to. Before we even process that lead in many instances Gotcha All right.

Dustin Howes:

One topic that is super important to a lot of my audience out there that are affiliate managers is GDR compliance. How do we assure that the affiliates out there are promoting the brands with a called-a-lead SMS marketing? What's some of those best practices they need to be utilizing to navigate GDPR compliance here?

Dave Pickard:

So, do you want to kick this off? You guys deal with sort of publishers, I guess, promoting your authors, and then I can speak to some of the tooling I guess we've worked well.

Sevada Markosyan:

Obviously, there's a very extensive vetting process with any of our affiliates that we work with some affiliates, depending on the marketing method that they're generating traffic, we may or may not provide them our offers to use and sometimes we'll give them just our forms to use on certain sites, which then will also still be vetting them thoroughly to make sure their sites are compliant. We'll check everything I mean on their sites material disclosures, privacy policies, terms of use. All of that has to go through a compliance check. On our side, we'll make sure that they're marketing in a way that is relevant to the products that we're offering and we'll make sure that we keep track of their traffic as they turn live.

Sevada Markosyan:

You might vet an entire affiliate from Ather's E in the beginning. You turn them live. You see the type of traffic coming in. It doesn't quite look like it's the type of traffic they told you it was going to be, and so it's still really your responsibility as a network to continue going through that process and making sure that all the things that they said it was going to be is still the right way. And I think if you're familiar with the space, when you're looking at lead quality coming in, you can generally get a good gauge whether it's the marketing method they said it was going to be.

Sevada Markosyan:

They're using the right sites to market your product and having an onboarding call with an affiliate to make sure, number one, it's the same person that you're talking to. On the other end, make sure it's a live person that you're talking to. All of that checks off. But that process is pretty strict on our side and we probably approve maybe one out of 10 affiliates that we talk to. We get a lot of requests, so it's not to say that we're rejecting a lot of people, but we do have to make sure everybody goes through the right process.

Dave Pickard:

For sure. I guess we're pretty well versed in it as well, having a UK office. Gdpr was first launched there 25th of May 2018, not that I'm a loser and remember the day very well. It was a fun time preparing for that, and so I guess, from our standpoint as a software provider, we've kind of seen our role in this is just making sure that we can be helpful to our clients to ensure that they have full control over their data processing procedures, giving them full visibility of what happens to consumers in the system.

Dave Pickard:

Like I said earlier, it's an end to end tracking platform. So customer arrives, what happens to them next? Where do they go? What validation qualification processes they need to go through? And then, secondly, some clever, cool, nerdy, if you wanna call it that detection tools to make sure that when an affiliate is saying, hey, I'm generating traffic by these methods, you actually have a way of going away and auditing that. So we have tools whereby, if they're using forms within the system, the forms can detect actually which landing page they came from, which website they came from.

Dave Pickard:

So you can't have the wall pull over your eyes. You know your compliance team can go away and audit this stuff. We have clients. You have way bigger compliance teams than they do commercial teams, because that's just the way the landscape these days, but it's a full-time job. There's enough stuff there for them to go away and audit. We're also SOC2 certified. I will say that that's a fun process that we do. I think it's annually or bi-annually. So from a data protection perspective, clients can be assured that the data's safe at all times.

Dustin Howes:

Excellent, All right, guys. As we wind down here, I wanna be respectful of your time here. What is the last thing we wanna mention is what's an affiliate manager to do if they wanna get started at the SMS call, lead tracking and implement this into their strategy. What's the first thing? I've got a QR code to go see more about the next up here, but what's that first step to do?

Dave Pickard:

Ev, you wanna take that?

Sevada Markosyan:

Yeah, I think if you're generating calls or leads and you wanna work with zero parallel or profitize in any of the verticals, go onto our sites, sign up as an affiliate and you should usually get somebody to reach out to you within the same day. Set up a call, go through the onboarding process. We'll provide you compliance information, guide you through the process. We work with affiliates that are just getting started in the space and don't really have a whole lot of knowledge within the verticals that they're even trying to tap into, and we work with affiliates that are the biggest in their entire space. So, depending on your size big or small we can put you on the right path and guide you through the right process. But first steps that obviously reach out to us and we're pretty well versed in everything that's happening within our markets currently and what's to come into the next year, so we may have some insight into maybe what you should be doing, not what you're doing currently.

Dustin Howes:

Beautiful. All right, thank you both for joining me today. Our next session of Affiliate New Year Out is going to be Thursday at 1.15 Pacific. That's with Johnny Page over at SAS Academy. It's gonna be awesome. Gentlemen, thank you for coming on and educating us all on SMS and call leads. Really appreciate your time.

Sevada Markosyan:

Likewise thanks for listening we enjoyed it.

Dustin Howes:

All right, folks, keep on recruiting and we'll see you out there.

Sevada Markosyan:

Take care guys.

Affiliate Marketing Tools and Lead Generation
Benefits and Utilization of Call Leads
Call Leads Impact in Finance
SMS & Phone Validation for Effective Marketing