By Blair Symes
Pay-per-call is a type of performance marketing where businesses (also known as advertisers) pay affiliates for the calls they send to them. Instead of paying for web leads or digital traffic, businesses pay for calls that meet their specific set of qualifying criteria.
In today’s smartphone world, where more consumers engage with businesses by calling, pay-per-call enables brands to generate more customers and revenue at a lower CPA (cost per acquisition). For businesses in industries that value phone calls — such as financial services, insurance, home services, travel and hospitality, education, legal services, healthcare, and more — pay-per-call can be an effective way to generate higher-converting leads and grow revenue.
Pay-per-call, however, can also be complex to manage, and businesses often have dedicated personnel — usually Affiliate Managers or Affiliate Marketing Managers — to run those campaigns.
If you are responsible for buying pay-per-call leads at your business and interested in increasing return, we recently published an eBook called The Pay-Per-Call Handbook for Affiliate Managers. This handbook explains the benefits of pay-per-call and the best practices businesses buying calls should follow to optimize pay-per-call ROI.
Below are a few recommendations from the guide on steps Affiliate Managers can take to ensure pay-per-call success.
When getting started with pay-per-call, Affiliate Managers first create a new offer. Offers are usually comprised of the characteristics of the phone leads you wish to buy, how to route those calls, and the criteria for which affiliates will be compensated for the calls.
Offers will vary from business to business — what’s right for a car insurance company in Illinois might not work for a technical college in Arizona. Affiliate Managers should decide what they want their pay-per-call offers to be based on their budget, marketing goals, business processes, the locations where calls are sent and people answering calls, and other factors specific to their business.
A comprehensive list of elements to consider in your pay-per-call offer is presented on page 9 of The Pay-Per-Call Handbook for Affiliate Managers.
Once you define your pay-per-call offer, you can select and onboard the affiliate, group of affiliates, or affiliate networks you want to send you calls. Affiliates will often specialize in delivering calls for specific industries, so you should choose ones that have the right experience and are a good fit for your business.
After selecting an affiliate or affiliate network, you can send them the specifics of your offer. You should also send each affiliate a trackable phone number (or phone numbers) to send calls to in order for you to properly attribute them. You can obtain trackable phone numbers from a pay-per-call management platform and also use it to provide affiliates with performance reports so they know how to best adjust and optimize bids and strategies to drive more of the right calls.
IVR (interactive voice response) is an automated program that callers interact with via voice or phone keypad. Many businesses buying pay-per-call leads use IVRs to automate lead qualification. They are a fast, cost-effective way to handle callers 24/7, asking them the questions you need to determine if callers are valid leads and how best to route them.
IVRs have cost- and time-saving benefits for businesses, especially those receiving high volumes of inbound calls. They eliminate the need for your call agents to spend time pre-qualifying callers. They can also be an effective barrier for filtering out junk calls, robot dialers, and fraudulent callers.
Before sending pay-per-call leads to your own IVR, however, be sure to find out if your affiliates are already using IVRs to qualify the callers they deliver to you. Passing callers to multiple IVRs can result in higher abandonment rates, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to your business of using a second IVR.
When your pay-per-call campaign begins, you should monitor the performance of each affiliate (or affiliate network) regularly to optimize your return. A pay-per-call management platform can help you do this in real time and provide you with historical performance reports to accurately gauge ROI.
Questions to answer to evaluate the performance and value of the affiliate include:
You can use your answers to these questions to determine how to compensate the affiliate for the qualified calls they delivered. This includes contesting and denying payment on any calls that did not meet the criteria in your offer. You should also use this data to determine if the relationship with the affiliate (and the offer) is worth continuing.
To learn more best practices for optimizing pay-per-call ROI, you can download The Pay-Per-Call Handbook for Affiliate Managers.
Learn the benefits of pay-per-call to your business, the best practices affiliate managers should follow to optimize pay-per-call ROI, and what features to look for in pay-per-call management platform.Get The Handbook →
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