Pay-per-call marketing is a great way to boost sales and profitability. Here’s why.

If your business depends on speaking with potential customers about your product or service to generate sales, your team is probably frustrated with the low contact rate associated with outbound dialing. What if inbound call marketing was added to your marketing mix? Then you’d spend more time selling and less time trying to get people on the phone! Pay-per-call marketing increases the efficiency of your call center and can reduce cost per acquisition.

Learn about the mechanisms behind pay-per-call advertising and what you need to be successful at it from a brand perspective.

So, what is pay per call?

Pay per call advertising is a marketing campaign where companies pay for qualified calls inbound to their call center typically on a duration basis. The contracted time, for example, 30-120 seconds, is used by the call buyer to ask relevant questions to ensure the consumer on the phone is a good candidate for their product or service prior to being billable. Sometimes brand call center scripts must be modified to ensure a pleasant greeting and qualifiers are met within the agreed-upon time frame.

Inbound calls can be generated in a variety of ways – both online and offline. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Phone numbers on websites
  • Search ads
  • Call center transfers
  • Lead to Call
  • Telecom Misdials
  • Television
  • Print (Newspapers, Postcards, etc.)

The Benefits of Pay Per Call

Sales representatives are happiest when they are selling. Getting qualified inbound calls that convert are a great motivator as well as a growth strategy for any business that requires speaking with a consumer prior to a sale being made. Besides a more efficient call center, there are three more benefits to this performance marketing strategy.

Benefit #1 – Real, Interested Callers

Taking the initiative to call for more information after seeing an advertisement, means the consumer is generally interested in the offer. Inbound calls are exclusive, meaning only one buyer can take an interested party. Unlike leads, that may be sold multiple times. As a result, overall conversion rates should be in line with or even greater than other methods of lead generation.

If a lot of hard-line qualifiers are required, then an IVR and/or call data appending may be used to further sort or score potential customers so they are addressed in the best way possible by the call center sales agents. For example, if they are an ideal client, route them to an agent quickly. If not, route them accordingly, or do not accept the call entirely.

Calls may be more expensive than leads you are currently producing, but the cost per acquisition may be the same or less. Note that as this campaign method grows in popularity, the marketplace will become more competitive and costs per call will increase given their inherent value to the call buyer. Consider adding pay per call to the marketing mix. Qualified, interested inbound callers are easier to convert thereby keeping sales agents happier and employed longer. The word is getting out!

Benefit #2 – Ability to Continue Marketing

Once a potential customer is on the phone, the agent has the opportunity to collect contact details. These lead details can be used to create an ongoing communication strategy that may lead to sales in the future.

Also, after further validation, if the customer is not a good fit, other products or services can be cross-sold. If the caller isn’t a good fit for your business, they may be perfect for another. Look for opportunities to partner with complementary products so as many incoming calls as possible can be monetized.

Benefit #3 – Optimization is Still a Thing

Because there are so many ways to generate calls, there is an opportunity to evaluate which placements work better than others. Each source can be tracked with a unique number so that based on brand feedback, performance can be optimized. Call buyers should be able to record and track performance and sales at the source level and results should be transparent so that collaboration between call buyers and marketers can be mutually beneficial.

Don’t Forget the Cons – There Are Always Considerations

Con #1 – Pay Per Call is Not For Everyone

Pay-per-call campaigns don’t work for all industries. The best performing to date includes home services, legal, insurance, jobs/business opportunities, free services, consumer products with special promotions, wellness, and travel.

These niches often require consultation and customer consideration before purchase. Sales are not always made on the first contact. A follow-up process is important to have in place to ensure each inbound call value is maximized.

Con #2 – Tracking Can Be Tricky

The duration of the call is usually the premise of the billable lead, however, when does the time start? On transfer, on transfer after IVR, or when the agent picks up the phone? It’s important to qualify this point based on the master tracking system – there could be a discrepancy. A best practice is to test the call flow from the call initiation stage to point of call pick up to ensure timings are aligned. If not, adjust or bad timing to get closer to the agreed-upon master.

Con #3 – Call Center Training, Systems & Scheduling

If agents do not pick up the call quickly and handle the transition smoothly, the campaign will fail. The campaign can generate callers, but if the calls are not addressed quickly, with long holds or inappropriate introductions, the inbound caller may be confused or impatient. It is imperative that staffing and timings are coordinated as well as possible to avoid potential issues. Technology in some cases can address this, but overall management and support are imperative as well.

The timing of inbound calls is not always known. As such it is customary that agents balance inbound and outbound call strategies. This keeps agents from becoming idols but can create a level of confusion and training issues. However, with the right processes in place are relatively easy to overcome.

Is Pay Per Call Right For You?

Adding an inbound call strategy on a performance basis may be an ideal way to keep sales agents active with valuable sales activities. Instead of chasing down potential customers, they are already on the phone ready and willing to hear a brand’s pitch. Even callers that don’t qualify immediately for the main offering, can be monetized in the future with expanded products or services or resold to another buyer that values that customer type.

It can be overwhelming to understand the call sources and technology to create and scale a pay-per-call campaign. This complex strategy is not for unsophisticated businesses. Seek marketing assistance for planning and operations if new to this methodology or call center is small.

A solid budget is required to test because the cost per call may be more expensive than leads currently being acquired but once optimized, the cost per acquisition can be considerably less than traditional marketing campaigns.

Further Reading

Wondering if performance marketing is right for your business? Contact us today for a FREE evaluation of your marketing strategy.