The Definitive Guide to Pay Per Call Marketing

By Payperlead on Jan 10, 2021

Pay Per Call marketing is a unique advertising model that helps to connect potential customers with businesses that can service them – in real time.

The major difference between Pay Per Call marketing and traditional marketing is the business (also known as the Advertiser) is only charged for qualified and valid phone calls. In the traditional marketing model, businesses are usually charged a monthly retainer fee and the volume of leads/phone calls generated are not guaranteed. Clearly, this is very powerful as the pay per call model takes the guess work out of marketing, where it is often times a challenge to understand if you’re getting a ROI on your marketing dollars.

The next major benefit to Pay Per Call Marketing is it is 100% phone based. The fact that a live prospect is on the line means leads cannot be shared with other businesses, and more importantly, time is not wasted trying to chase down leads that don’t answer the phone after filling out a form on the web.

The following is a streamlined look at the basic steps taken during a Pay Per Call marketing campaign:

  1. A business interested in increasing phone calls to their business starts a campaign with their chosen Advertising Agency (for example:
  2. launches, optimizes, and monitors advertising campaigns in strategic locations where customers already browsing for related products will see it, potentially calling the phone number to place an order to receive more information on a product.
  3. The call is tracked and recorded so the business knows the details of the phone call lead that was generated.
  4. If all conditions are met, such as total call length, then the phone lead is marked as a “Valid Lead” and the business gets charged for that single phone call generated.

The entire process is very much like a Pay Per Click program, except we are dealing with calls instead of clicks. As any business knows, speaking with an actual customer gives you a much better chance of converting every interaction into a sale.

Advantages of Pay Per Call Marketing

The popularity of Pay Per Call marketing programs has risen dramatically in recent years due to several factors. For one, Pay Per Call marketing is much less susceptible to fraud as compared to traditional marketing methods like Pay Per Click. With Pay Per Click there is no way of knowing if a person browsing a web page meant to click on an advertisement because they were interested in its content, or if they simply clicked on the ad by mistake due to being misled or purposeful tricky placement on the part of the advertiser.

Another distinct advantage of Pay Per Call marketing is that is puts customers in direct contact with a business’s sales reps or customer service employees. Rather than just sending a customer to a sales page online as with Pay Per Click, sales or service reps will have the opportunity to answer a customer’s questions live on the telephone, explain important product details and they even have the opportunity to receive contact information in case the customer would like to receive special offers or product updates. This presents the business with a unique opportunity, as the customer who calls their phone number will already be interested in their products since they made a conscious decision to call the business themselves. There’s no way they would be calling by mistake, like often happens with Pay Per Click campaigns when a person clicks on an advertisement unintentionally.

Once a potential customer is on the phone live with a sales rep they typically will spend a longer amount of time engaged in a conversation about a product than they would spend time browsing a website. This gives the business a better of chance of converting each customer interaction into a sale, translating into a much higher conversion rate than with traditional marketing methods.

A rapid increase in smartphone usage in recent years has contributed to a dramatic increase in the popularity of Pay Per Call marketing. In fact, according to a recent Pew Research survey about 77% of adults in America say they own a smartphone, or over three-quarters of the country’s adult population, which is an increase of 35% since 2011.

Because so many potential customers are using their smartphones to browse the internet, it has created a unique opportunity to utilize not just their web browsing capabilities, but also the ability to make phone calls. When a customer is presented with a Pay Per Call advertisement while browsing a website they can simply click on the ad itself and their smartphone will automatically call the number for them, putting them in touch instantly with a business’s sales rep. This method is much quicker, more efficient and has a better chance of converting into a sale than even a live chat option on websites.

The following is a summary of reasons why businesses find Pay Per Call marketing more beneficial than traditional marketing methods:

  • Better conversion rates.
  • Reduced chance of fraudulent leads or clicks.
  • Duration of the call is much long than the average time spent browsing a webpage.
  • Each call can be accounted for and tracked in detail.
  • Opportunity for collecting a customer’s contact information in order to send special offers.
  • Customers have already shown interest in a product and taken action by calling the business’s phone number, making each customer a warm lead.
  • Phone calls can be recorded for training purposes
  • Phone calls are by their nature exclusive so you will not competing with your competition for the same leads
  • Your sales team speaks with a live prospect – no more time wasting on leads that won’t answer their phones
  • You only pay for results. Unlike traditional marketing, you only pay for performance.

For businesses that currently have a customer service or sales department capable of handling inbound calls, or if they are considering adding this feature, Pay Per Call marketing provides an innovative new approach to increasing customer interactions and sales opportunities.

Pay Per Call Offers a Higher Return on Marketing Efforts

One of the reasons that Pay Per Call marketing has become such an attractive option for businesses is because it delivers a high quantity of pre-qualified customers in the form of inbound calls. The customer is voluntarily calling the business because they already have an interest in their products or services, which makes it much easier to convert each call into a sale. Each advertising campaign is specifically designed to cater to the advertiser and supply interested customers to a specified phone number.

In addition, the cost of a Pay Per Call program is much lower than traditional marketing avenues or even online marketing programs like Pay Per Click. As any business manager who has tried Pay Per Click knows, it can have mixed results and very low conversion rate, which can potentially mean a lot of money spent for very little results and a high CPA (cost per action).

Businesses that have used Pay Per Call marketing programs have reported far superior conversion rates and a better CPA (cost per action) as compared to Pay Per Click and other marketing avenues.

Case Study #1: Insurance Company Seeks to Generate High-Converting Calls

An insurance company was looking for a cost-effective marketing option that would supply high-quality leads and market specifically to customers using mobile devices. The company opted to enter a Pay Per Call marketing program in order to drive callers to their phone number who would be looking for affordable insurance options and quotes.

After entering a Pay Per Call program and specifying the rates and stipulations surrounding each call, publishers began marketing the insurance company’s phone number using targeted ads. One advertising method utilized was ads containing a clear call to action phrase. For example, “Call Now for a Free Insurance Quote” and “Call for Cheap Rates on Insurance” were used in some of the ads.

Final Results: The insurance company saw an increase in inbound calls of 32% generated from Pay Per Call advertisements, while paying less for each successful interaction than with alternative marketing efforts such as Pay Per Click. The rate they paid for each call was on average less than what they were paying for interactions based on Pay Per Click and other advertising channels with a 25% lower CPA (cost per action).

By utilizing the potential of Pay Per Call advertising an insurance company was able to generate inbound calls and warm leads that converted into sales at a much higher rate than alternative marketing programs that they had tried, which resulted in a more favorable ROI (return on investment) overall. Customers who contact a company using a Pay Per Call ad are much more likely to convert into sales than with Pay Per Click.

Small Business Return on Investment With Pay Per Call

For the longest time businesses of all sizes were focused on clicks by using various online marketing strategies. In essence, more clicks equaled more business and it was just matter of efficiency, spending the least amount of money per click to ensure a favorable ROI.

Businesses are constantly searching for new, innovative marketing techniques that will improve their ROI and more efficiently generate high-quality leads. For many, they have found such a solution in Pay Per Call marketing. Call volume for businesses has already increased dramatically in the past decade with the introduction of smart phones with advanced web browsing features, as well as more customers having access to 3G and 4G mobile internet speeds. Considering these factors, it should come as no surprise that businesses have embraced Pay Per Call marketing with more than satisfactory results.

In fact, a recent Forbes article detailed a survey of small business owners asking them what they felt is the most valuable source for their sales leads. Of the small businesses that were surveyed 66% responded that phone calls were the most valuable and effective source of leads resulting in sales activity.

There’s no doubt that inbound phone calls represent an effective opportunity to convert customer interactions into sales, with many metrics showing that sales conversions from phone calls exceed those from traditional marketing avenues including e-mail lists, social media referrals, Pay Per Click and even in-person store visits.

Conversions from Pay Per Call are often higher than other types of marketing because customers who call from these ads are:

  • Already searching for products or services related to a business’s ad.
  • Have made the conscious decision to call that business’s phone number upon seeing the ad to ask questions or order a product.

Over 30% of consumers reported that they frequently contact a business by telephone on their mobile devices when seeking to make a purchase or inquire about services. This means that if a business is not utilizing a Pay Per Call marketing in the form of strategically placed ads with a call to action in them, they could potentially be missing out on a large percentage of potential customers.

Increase in Consumer Calls From Search Results

From a consumer perspective, Pay Per Call advertisements are a convenient and effective tool to help them easily get in touch with a business who provides the products or services they are searching for. Despite the fact that businesses have websites that outline many of the details surrounding their products, the majority of customers who have specific questions prefer to have them answered quickly, directly and over the phone.

According to a recent Google survey 70% of searchers using mobile devices call a business directly from the search results that they find using keywords, with 61% responding that having a “click to call” button is an important part of their shopping process and purchase considerations.

These survey results reveal an extraordinary percentage of customers using mobile devices who prefer to quickly get in touch with a live agent over the phone while considering a purchase. For businesses not employing a Pay Per Call marketing channel they risk falling behind their competition and leaving a significant sales potential un-utilized.

The same survey also revealed the primary reasons why a customer prefers to use a “click to call” button to contact a business when making a purchasing decision. The main reasons are as follows:

  • To quickly receive an answer to their question or complete a purchase.
  • A desire to speak with a real person.
  • Requiring more information than is available on a website.
  • Complete an order or select an option that cannot be completed on a website.
  • Get more accurate information.
  • When purchasing an expensive product, some customers prefer to have a conversation with a sales rep first.

Overall, a customer chooses to contact a business via telephone because it is quick, easy and accomplishes their goals. However, this means that a clear method of contacting a business using their smart phones must be available as well. This is where Pay Per Click comes into the picture, as it displays a short message followed by a call to action such as “Call Now For A Free Quote” or “Click Here to Call Now”.

Customers are constantly searching for products using their smart phones and typically they visit the websites of the first results that populate in a search engine such as Google. This behavior also translates into calling one of the first businesses they come across if an easy button is available to make the call instantly on their smart phone.

Geo-Location Pay Per Call Ads

As the technology in smart phones and search engines has progressed so has the opportunity for more efficient, targeted marketing. Specifically, marketing to customers who are within a certain proximity of a business that offers the products they are looking for. This is where geo-location plays an important role in Pay Per Call marketing, as it allows for businesses to target their ads to consumers using their smart phones in the local area to search for relevant products.

Each year more and more consumers are using their smartphones to find local businesses to fulfill their product and service needs. In fact, 50% of search queries taking place on mobile devices are for local businesses and results. That’s half of all consumers using their mobile phones to perform search functions, which translates into a massive number of potential customers.

Given that such a large percentage of mobile searches are focused on local results, it makes good business sense to start a marketing channel that includes geo-targeted ads. These geo-location enabled ads will only appear when a mobile phone user is performing a relevant search and is within a specified distance from the local business. This way the consumer will find a business that provides the services they’re looking for, and the business receives the maximum benefit from their Pay Per Call advertisements. Customers are much more likely to make a purchase from a local business if they can easily speak to a representative over the phone or visit their location in person.

Recently the number of mobile searches including the phrase “near me” has increased by over 146% year-over-year. Examples of searches that include these words may look like, “auto repair shop near me”, “coffee shop near me” or even “cheap insurance near me”. The possibilities are nearly endless and the usage of search terms like these has been growing dramatically since the introduction of smartphones with GPS location technology included in them.

Businesses can utilize a geo-location feature when starting a new Pay Per Call marketing channel. From there they can specify the target area and the distance in a customer should be from their location to view the ad. For example, a business could specify that they only want their ad to appear to mobile phone users performing a search within 25 miles of their physical location. This way the business only focuses on customers who are within a reasonable distance from their location and have a high probability of calling or visiting their store. Geo-location is a great feature of Pay Per Call marketing that allows businesses to target local customers who are already searching for the services that they offer. It makes the searching process easier for the customer and gives the business an advantage when marketing to customers who have already shown interest in their offerings.

Case Study #2: Car Dealership Uses Geo-Targeted Pay Per Call Marketing

A local car dealership sought to drive more business to their physical location by utilizing geo-targeted Pay Per Call marketing. The business used specific location parameters to target mobile phone users within a specific radius who were using a variety of search terms related to car purchases. The Pay Per Call ads featured specific key terms that includes the phrases “near me”.

Several examples of search terms that were targeted include “car dealerships near me”, “new cars for sale near me”, “buy new car near me”, “used cars near me” and “used car dealership near me”. These and other keywords were targeted and any mobile phone users searching using these terms within a specific distance from the car dealership would see an advertisement with a  call to action and phone number to call the dealership.

Final Results: After two months of utilizing Pay Per Call geo-targeted advertising the car dealership saw a 26% increase in calls inquiring about the types of cars they had available and pricing. They also observed an increase in customers stopping by to look at new cars of 31%. Although customer calls and interactions tend to fluctuate depending on the season, the increase in calls indicated a distinct improvement over the car dealership’s average trending inbound calls for the same month in previous years.

When compared to Pay Per Click and other online advertising methods the car dealership had used, the CPA was approximately 20% lower when utilizing Pay Per Call.

Maximize Every Call’s Potential by Building Leads

Remember, even though every call won’t be converted into a sale, as a business you can still maximize the effectiveness of your Pay Per Call ads by building quality leads. When a customer calls to inquire about your products you can also instruct your telephone reps to ask the customer for their e-mail address and start building a database of prospects that you can send special offers to. This also presents an opportunity to cross-sell to customers who have made a purchase and may be interested in companion products. There are more benefits that can be gained from Pay Per Call advertising than a sale. In fact, you may be able to create an entirely new revenue stream off leads generated from the new calls you receive from your Pay Per Call channels.

Rising Popularity of Pay Per Call Marketing & Future Growth

For many years the closest form of marketing to Pay Per Call advertising was found in print, radio and television. Reading an ad in a paper with a phone number, hearing an ad on a radio ad or seeing a television commercial with a sales pitch and toll-free number to call are all commonly employed marketing methods. This form of advertising has been extremely successful for many businesses, but with advances in technology there is a new frontier that is taking online marketing to the next level.

Since Pay Per Call marketing was introduced it has been redefining the world of online marketing and how companies generate new leads and sales from the Internet.

It’s no secret that customers who own smartphones utilize them daily for wide range of shopping and other consumer activities, with 89% of smartphone users stating that they use their phones regularly to search for local businesses. Because consumers often click on the first link that is most relevant to their needs, it’s all the more important for a business to utilize the potential of Pay Per Call advertising to gain an edge over their competitors.

Not only has Pay Per Call marketing presented significant benefits for businesses seeking to advertise online, but it has also created a brand new revenue channel for affiliates, or people who market the ads for the business and earn a commission on each successful call. The Pay Per Click marketplace has become extremely competitive and typically has a low ROI for businesses and a low payout for affiliates. However, the Pay Per Call marketplace is not only less crowded, but it is also more profitable for companies, which are seeing a greater ROI from their Pay Per Call campaigns.

Multi-Action Pay Per Call Ads

There are continual advances being made in Pay Per Call marketing options and capabilities. For instance, advertisers may have the option to create multi-action campaigns that give customers the option of either calling the business right away with one tap of their phone’s screen, or they can be given a brief contact form to fill out and choose to be called by representative at a given time of day. This allows the advertising company to also have the option of generating a lead list of customers who may be searching for products, but are unable to make a phone call at that time. Instead, they can fill out a form and give a time-frame in which a company’s sales agent can contact the customer.

By examining recent trends in smartphone usage and the year-over-year increase in customers using localized search terms, it can safely be predicted that Pay Per Call marketing is still in its beginning stages of growth and will continue to expand well into the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most common questions that we hear when it comes to Pay Per Call and exactly how it works. While the concept of publishers marketing a company’s products and services for a commission has been around for many years, Pay Per Call has only become more popular since the usage of smartphones has increased dramatically.

What is Pay Per Call Marketing?

Advertisers, or a business wishing to advertise their phone number, use a Pay Per Call network to set up their ads which are then marketed by publishers to help drive callers to the business’s office or call center. The publishers are paid commission on each call they send to the advertiser’s phone number, which is tracked so that the advertiser knows exactly where the caller saw the number and dialed from.

How Does Pay Per Call Benefit an Advertiser?

When a business opts into a Pay Per Call campaign they have the ability to expand their exposure to thousands of potential customers who can easily call their phone numbers when they are interested in a product. Pay Per Call campaigns can dramatically increase inbound call volume with very little effort, and very little cost, on the part of the advertiser. This type of marketing is also much more targeted than more traditional advertising methods such as print or Pay Per Click. In addition, the advertiser has complete control over the campaigns they are running, the types of ads they choose, the terms of their advertising agreement and the commissions they pay to the publishers.

How Do Publishers Benefit?

A publisher who displays Pay Per Call advertisements will receive a commission on each call that they send to the advertiser, as long as the call meets the requirements that the advertiser has stipulated. For instance, an advertiser may stipulate that they will only pay a commission on calls that last more than 90 seconds. This way they know that the customer was interested in their products and it makes the call worthwhile. The more lucrative the offer from the advertiser, the more publishers will be interested in effectively marketing their phone number.

How Can Calls Be Tracked and Analyzed?

When a publisher decides to advertise for a specific business client the publisher will receive a unique phone number that will automatically route to the business’s office or call center, whichever they have chosen. This number is unique and will track every call made back to the specific publisher who is advertising that number. This way the advertiser can track where the calls came from and the publisher can track how many calls they have referred. Another way to track calls is by using a small line of code on a webpage that tracks the referral source and records call instance so that both the publisher and advertiser can track the call’s source. This is useful for both performance and commissions tracking.

What Does a Customer Experience When They Call a Number?

A customer who uses a Pay Per Call ad to contact a business will experience a phone call just like they would when calling any business. If your call center has an IVR or call routing system then the customer will navigate the telephone tree and make the selection that applies to the reason they are calling. It’s just like if they were to call company directly and press the numerical key on their phone that applies to sales and service. They can also be directly connected to customer service or sales reps in a call center with no prompts necessary, the choice is entirely dependent on the advertiser’s setup and preferences. The transition is seamless for the prospect.

How Quickly Can a Business Expect Results?

Once a business has created their Pay Per Call ad channels the next step is for affiliates or publishers to start marketing the ads on behalf of the business for a small commission on each successful call. Remember, affiliates are eager and motivated to market a business’s ads as effectively as possible because when the business succeeds, so does the affiliate. A business can expect to start receiving activity on their Pay Per Call ads as soon as affiliates begin marketing them, which usually is only a matter of days after the ads are placed. If a business wants to maximize their advertisements, they can always offer favorable commission terms on each call that is sent their way by affiliates. The higher commissions that are offered, the more affiliates that will be motivated to market the ads effectively.

Adding Pay Per Call to Your Marketing Plan

One of the most positive aspects of Pay Per Call marketing is that there is very little risk involved and it can carry a potentially high ROI. This is because as a business you can set the terms that must apply before a commission on each call is paid. Typically, these stipulations specify terms such as a call must last at least 90 seconds in order to qualify for a commission payout. This helps ensure that each caller is interested and not just calling by mistake. Being able to stipulate terms like these gives an advertiser significant protection and also motivates affiliates to more effectively market the Pay Per Call ads. In essence, Pay Per Call marketing is rapidly growing market and it’s a fantastic marketing solution to get in on before competition builds up.

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