Pay-Per-Call Marketing: Why it Works for SMBs

By Christine WhitelyOctober 20, 2014

Calls are a robust lead source for businesses of all sizes, large or small, and we know that businesses benefit greatly when their phone is ringing. The majority of small and medium-sized business owners agree—66% of SMBs rated calls a good or excellent lead source, compared with 58% for online-sources (BIA/Kelsey). So, why is this form of marketing particularly beneficial for small businesses?

High Quality Leads

Consumers rely on their mobile phones to find local businesses that fill their needs—Google reports that ads which contain local phone numbers are clicked on 8% more frequently than ads without phone numbers.  This means these consumers are close to, or have an intent to buy something and need to connect with a business.

For example, last month our Call Generation Platform handled over 632,000 calls in the “Automobile-Repairs & Services” category. When a mechanic picked up the phone during a caller’s moment of need, whether they needed emergency service or just wanted to schedule a tune-up, a valuable connection was made and a consumer need was fulfilled. Using a mobile marketing strategy that captures these ready-to-transact customers benefits both businesses and consumers alike.

Unmatched Return on Investment

Typically SMBs have small advertising budgets, so they stick to what’s familiar to them and common across the industry—pay-per-click. Pay-per-click is appealing because it’s quick, easy, and affordable. The downside of investing in pay-per-click is that it only converts 2%-3% of them time, while pay-per-call converts 10%-15% of the time. Additionally, pay-per-call is becoming increasingly available to SMBs due to the emergence of self-service platforms.

For example, the average winning pay-per-call bid in our “Restaurants” category last month was $0.14, while the average cost for the pay-per-click keyword “restaurant” is currently $0.42. So, for a third of the price, a business can talk with a customer directly.

And since, according to Numbeo, the average cost of a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is $45.00, the return on investment for these restaurants is over 221%.

Growing Mobile Market

It’s no secret that smartphone usage continues to grow year over year. BIA/Kelsey estimates that by 2016, mobile search will eclipse other search sources and drive 65 billion calls to businesses annually, making pay-per-call investment an advertising necessity.

Developing the right strategy now, rather than later, is important for SMBs if they want to maximize their ROI and increase lead generation. Pay-per-call works for SMBs because it brings high quality customers to their doors without breaking the bank, a wise use of marketing dollars.

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