How Can Publishers Benefit From Pay-Per-Call Marketing?

Pay-per-call advertising is becoming increasingly popular among advertisers and publishers alike, which is not a coincidence. Pay-per-call advertising is a cost per action (CPA) marketing channel, much like pay per click (PPC). However, instead of the action being a website click or a form submission, a prospect makes an inbound call to the advertised business. It is a simple and effective way to earn money through affiliate marketing. Here is the lowdown on pay-per-call affiliate marketing for publishers.

Choose Your Vertical Wisely

All marketers know that choosing the right niche is essential to your business success. Affiliate marketing is no different. With a pay-per-call campaign, there are several niches available. Typically, businesses that spend a lot of time and effort on lead generation benefit most from pay-per-call advertising. Examples include health care, law (personal injury, bankruptcy, debt settlement), insurance, home services (i.e., home warranties), and personal loans. When choosing your niche vertical, try to align it with a standard home service.

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Choose a Pay-Per-Call Provider and Offer

The next step is to find an affiliate network. There are countless options out there, but not all of them perform equally or will provide the same return. You have the option of joining several, testing them out, and finding the best offer. As you compare options and offers, keep the following factors in mind.

Revenue Share and Payout Method

Affiliate networks will use one of two billing models to calculate publisher payout: a revenue share payout or a duration-based payout. The latter is a payout that occurs only after a call exceeds a specific timeframe—90 seconds, for example. A revenue share payout, by contrast, means that your payment occurs when the network payment does. There are pros and cons to each, but a revenue share payout usually yields higher payouts and a more extensive coverage map, which means more possibilities for revenue.

Consistency and Coverage

Some plans may seem to offer a great payout but compare this to the consistency and coverage the campaign provides. For example, there may be offers where the lead buyers pause purchases, which means you, as the publisher, will have to change targets constantly, and this can affect your ability to generate large volumes of calls. Nationwide coverage is ideal, but you should shoot for a coverage area of at least 40,000 zip codes or more.

Network Earnings per Click

As an affiliate marketer, your payout is essential, but don’t forget to look at the earnings-per-click metric. This will give you a better idea of how well an offer will convert.

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Allowed Promotional Methods

Most pay-per-call campaigns will allow for search engine promotion. However, some pay-per-call networks will preclude you from using specific promotional channels like Craigslist. Depending on your promotional plans, this may not be an issue. It is essential, however, to be aware of all the promotional options that might (or might not) be available to you.

Interactive Voice Response

An interactive voice response, or IVR, is a menu that plays before a call. When a caller navigates through the IVR, they get connected to the service provider, and you get your payout. It makes sense that a shorter IVR leads to higher rates of success and more payouts. When a caller gets frustrated with a complicated IVR, you miss out on your payment. To test the IVR, call the number yourself and assess how effective you think it will be.

Payout Versus Volume

When choosing your niche, remember that different niches will have different volumes. As such, a lower payout doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be less profitable. When looking at offers, consider both the average volume and cost per click to determine how good each offer is. For example, a personal injury attorney service may have a higher payout than a divorce lawyer, but it may also have a lower volume and a higher cost per click. Consider all the factors when determining which niche and vertical to use.

Promoting Your Offer

Once you choose an offer, the next step is promoting it. There are several different ways that you can promote your pay-per-call offer. Consider the following pay-per-call traffic sources, and choose which ones work best for you.


Craigslist is an easy way to promote a service affiliate offer. Simply create an account and pay $5 per post in the appropriate service section. To create a good Craigslist ad, keep it simple, make sure it is grammatically correct, and optimize it with appropriate, researched keywords.


SEO admittedly takes longer to build and has a more demanding learning curve compared to other forms of promotion. However, it’s worth the investment because of the higher profit margin. Call generation SEO takes effort, but it is worth it in the end, based on the comparative amount of revenue you will generate.

PPC/Search Engine Marketing

Like promotion on Craigslist, PPC/SEM has a more immediate payout benefit. Like SEO, however, it takes some know-how to get right. If you are new to PPC advertising, take some time to learn the fundamentals before taking the dive.

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Social Media Platforms

Cheaper than PPC ads, social media is a great way to promote pay-per-call offers. Facebook ads, in particular, are cost-effective. It can take some trial and error to find the right vertical and set-up, but the profit margin makes it well worth the effort.

Direct Mail Methods

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to use online methods to promote offers. Direct mail ads are less competitive as more advertisers move directly online, so direct mail can be a great way to get calls (especially for those targeting older generations). Direct mail methods also bundle well with coupons.

Your Local Newspaper

Like direct mail advertisements, your local newspaper can provide a valuable return on investment, because your investment will not be that much. Test it for your niche and pull it if it is not providing a significant return on investment.

Blogs or Content Websites

See if there are any industry blogs or content-generating websites that are relevant to your niche and offer. You might be surprised to find how many will be willing to let you run banner advertising for a relatively low cost.

Other Publishers

Also, consider letting your affiliates or publishers run offers on your behalf. As long as you research and structure deals carefully, there should be little to no risk in posing as a go-between. Create unique phone numbers for each publisher and give them access to calls via a separate platform. Keep in mind, however, that this works best when you have an exclusive payout or offer that other affiliates can’t provide.

Display Ads

Display ads, or banner ads, can be a relatively inexpensive way to increase the visibility of your offer. Banner ads admittedly don’t convert as well as search ads, but they can still lead to calls for a relatively low cost. Using banner ads efficiently comes down to targeting. Re-marketing audiences is an effective way to use banner ads, so make sure you have a remarketing pixel for Google installed on your website.


Last, don’t discount the effectiveness of an excellent old-fashioned directory like the Yellow Pages. Directories, both online and off, are underutilized and can be a good way to get calls for your offer. Test it out and see how it performs.

Though there are several promotional channels available, not all will be effective for your chosen niche and vertical. Test these promotional channels for effectiveness, but don’t spend money on channels you discover are not performing well. Make informed decisions based on your niche and what you know about the target audience.

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Is Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing Effective?

Pay-per-call affiliate marketing can be a simple and effective way to generate revenue. These pay-per-call statistics may help convince you:

  • Eighty-two percent of smartphone users actively search for businesses near them. You, as a publisher, stand to make a profit off consumer behavior that is naturally occurring.
  • Nearly a third of geo-specific searches lead to a purchase.
  • Seventy-six percent of people who search for something nearby will visit that business within a day.

With pay-per-call advertising, businesses can generate leads, increase their visibility, and boost their conversion rate. Publishers similarly can create new revenue streams with relatively small investments in time and money. With a little research and some trial and error, you can turn affiliate marketing via pay per call into a lucrative and consistent form of revenue. Understand your niche, study offers thoroughly, and promote the offer through multiple channels to maximize your success. Done correctly, affiliate marketing through pay per call can be a boon for your business.

Contact us today to see how we can help.