Pay-Per-Call and Pay-Per-Sale or Synergistic Affiliate Marketing

A merchant which already has a pay-per-sale affiliate program in place, and is considering tapping into pay-per-call advertising, has emailed me the following question:

QuestionDo you think affiliates are commonly motivated to build affiliate marketing campaigns for the promise of lead-based commissions on phone sales?

We’re slightly dubious of this idea. Why would they choose a pay per call program over a pay per sale one (where they can earn more by referring sales as opposed to calls)?

Very good question.

I think, it’s important to start by saying that the marketing media used by pay-per-call (PPCall) affiliates are sometimes very different from those used by online affiliates. For example, lets take a mobile marketer that uses short text messages (SMS) for their primary marketing approach. There is simply no way to embed an affiliate tracking code (or any HTML, for that matter) into an SMS message (which, by definition, is plain text). There is, however, a way for them to market their own toll free phone number, which is routed through your PPCall platform of choice, and provides for the tracking of the prospects they refer. This illustration helps us visualize the whole process.

So, it’s important to realize that some pay-per-call publishers — such as an SMS marketer, or an affiliate that uses print, radio, TV, etc — cannot use an affiliate tracking URL in their campaigns, but can use the unique phone number your PPCall program allocates to them.

Synergy ballAdditionally, it is also important to understand that we’re not talking of an “either… or…” choice here, but of a “both… and…” situation. You want to offer you affiliates both options — both the online affiliate program where you would pay a percentage of every sale, and a pay-per-call program where the terms will be more lead-based, however you define the qualified lead — and let them choose how to work with these two programs of yours. These two affiliate programs won’t be mutually exclusive, but complimentary; and in situations when one doesn’t work for an affiliate, they’ll have a choice of the other one.

2 thoughts on “Pay-Per-Call and Pay-Per-Sale or Synergistic Affiliate Marketing”

  1. Another great post, Geno! Thank you for your in-depth explanation. Pay-Per-Call does truly compliment existing affiliate programs and your point that it is Calls “and” Clicks, not Calls “or” Clicks is spot-on. It is also important to note that it isn’t just affiliates who want choices in how to promote products, but that consumers want choices in how to purchase products as well. Studies have shown consumers want live help and more human interaction when making big-ticket purchases. Not being able to easily find a merchant’s phone number leads to negative behavior such as shopping cart abandonment. Pay-Per-Call gives the consumers the choice to engage how they want, when they want. Including phone numbers in campaigns also lends credibility to a publisher’s offer and can ultimately improve click-through rate between 5-30%.

  2. Excellent post Geno. It addresses the benefits of utilizing PPcall and pay per sale. Gretchen also makes several good points including having specific questions answered by a knowledgeable sales person and live help for ‘high-touch’ products and services.

    Earl Brown

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