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Back to the Future with Pay-Per-Call Marketing

Traditional forms of marketing often get a bad rap. Viewed by some as outdated or irrelevant, they’re cast aside as has-beens in the great wastebasket of marketing ideas and strategies. Fortunately, the smart ones know that old dogs can learn new tricks, and what was once considered old and stodgy can suddenly become the hot new thing. (See almost every neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.).

Such is the case with digital direct marketing and pay-per-call. On the face of it, these seemingly disparate forms of marketing may have little in common. But scratching the surface reveals a harmonious bond that can help many marketers achieve renewed results with today’s mobile-first consumers.

Welcome to marketing’s Back to the Future moment.

Much like the beloved 1985 movie featuring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the time-traveling sidekick to Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown, direct marketing is the tried-and-true marketing specialty that is getting a new life with pay-per-call marketing.

So what is pay-per-call marketing and how can it benefit direct marketers? Here are three things every marketer should know about this relatively new form of digital advertising.

1. Pay-per-call marketing isn’t just for mobile.

Certainly, mobile is a crucial part of pay-per-call marketing, especially now that the average American consumer spends 34 hours per month browsing the Web on a mobile device—but mobile isn’t the only use for pay-per-call.

Direct marketers can find additional value in pay-per-call marketing by combining traditional offline forms of advertising, such as TV, out-of-home—and, yes, even print— with digital elements like Facebook ads.

It’s all about finding the right media mix that engages consumers at the opportune time of their purchase intent, and then gives that person the opportunity to immediately call in and receive some type of benefit.

Below: Daryl Colwell and colleague Jeff Fisher pose with a DeLorean at the Response Expo in San Diego.

2. Pay-per-call marketing blends traditional lead gen components with mobile capabilities.

In its purest form, pay-per-call marketing allows an advertiser to combine proven lead gen tactics, such as display ads, with an immediate consumer touchpoint, like a call center.

The difference, though, is that with pay-per-call marketing the ad prompts the consumer to call the company (or its call center) to learn more about a product or service or to make a purchase.

The lead or sale is recorded once a consumer takes the immediate action of calling a call center.

Unlike traditional direct-marketing campaigns, which often rely on a consumer filling out a lead gen form and then receiving a call back from an advertiser, consumers receive the immediate satisfaction of having their interest or purchase intent fulfilled right away. While the format can result in unqualified leads—since a consumer may have filled out a form only to receive some tangential benefit, such as a free app download)—the latter ensures the consumer’s interest or purchase intent is immediately met while also giving the advertiser the opportunity to upsell additional products or services based on the consumer’s preferences.

3. Pay-per-call marketing can save your brand money and improve marketing ROI.

Okay, so every marketer claims that some new ad format will improve ROI. But in this case, pay-per-call marketing actually does improve ROI.

Here’s how: First, the calls that come in via pay-per-call are inbound calls. That means no outbound dialing by your sales reps or call center. This will immediately cut down on the overhead and related costs associated with your prospecting. Second, because pay-per-call campaigns typically require a minimum call duration of 30 seconds, the consumers on the other end of the phone are more likely to become customers. Finally, the tracking and analytics needed to monitor pay-per-call campaigns are the same as most standard lead gen campaigns, so there’s no need to purchase additional tracking technology or services.

Marketers need to constantly reevaluate and assess the current capabilities of online media and start questioning why they’re driving consumers to traditional landing pages—only to call the consumer back later—after the lead has gone cold. A better way is to combine the proven methods of traditional lead gen advertising with the mobile capabilities of pay-per-call marketing to allow consumers to connect directly with the brand at the moment of purchase intent.

It’s time marketers went Back to the Future and embrace pay-per-call marketing for more effective and targeted lead gen advertising.

Daryl Colwell is SVP of business development at Matomy Media Group. He can be reached at [email protected].

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