Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing Guide for Affiliates and Advertisers

Oleksandr Rohovnin
11 minutes read
Oleksandr Rohovnin
11 minutes read

Did you know phone calls are equally popular among all age groups? Around 29% of millennials, 31% of Generation Z, and 32% of baby boomers contact companies via phone, a great income source to tap into if you are an affiliate marketer.

Indeed, pay-per-call affiliate marketing – generating and selling calls as an affiliate or buying and converting calls as an advertiser – is a goldmine for those who know how to acquire phone calls at scale while optimizing the journey of every client.

via GIPHY

And I’m going to lead you through this journey, starting with the basics of pay-per-call marketing and expanding into how you can maximise your phone lead acquisition and conversion potential.

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Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing Explained

Pay-per-call marketing – buying or selling phone calls – isn’t different from buying or selling web leads: advertisers run an affiliate program while affiliates generate phone calls within these programs. More often than not, the partnership between affiliates and advertisers is mediated by an affiliate network that creates a market for both sides, connecting the former with the latter.

Likewise, an affiliate network may provide software that attributes the referred clients to their affiliates, collects real-time and strategic insights on the traffic, and helps connect the right caller to the right live operator. Alternatively, you can get this software from a pay-per-call service provider like Phonexa.

Here are some of the best pay-per-call niches:

Statistics on the six call-reliant industries to tap into: insurance, finance, solar, home services, debt & tax, and affiliate marketing

Pay-per-call marketing is omnipresent, covering hundreds of industries and niches. For the mentioned niches, though, selling and buying call traffic is especially profitable.

How Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing Works

With pay-per-call affiliate marketing, you can set up the acquisition process once and reap its benefits for a long time, especially if you partner with an affiliate network or several networks to ensure the traffic you need is always there.

Moreover, in most cases, you can buy phone calls AND web leads within the same affiliate network and route the most profitable callers to your best-performance sales reps while factoring in the caller’s location, language, and other demographic factors.

The same goes for affiliates. You can sell your traffic to relevant advertisers within your affiliate network while ensuring the clients you generate are routed to a matching business.

Now, let’s explore how affiliate marketing works in detail.

Phase 1 – Affiliate Marketers Join an Affiliate Network

Advertisers and affiliates can partner directly, but it’s much easier to join an affiliate network that provides hundreds of potential partners and thousands of leads. For example, Amazon Associates unites over 900,000 affiliates, ShareASale – 700,000, and Awin – 225,000.

Statistics on the five leading affiliate marketing networks worldwide: Amazon Associates, ShareASale, Awin, Rakuten, and ClickBank

Source: Statista

Smaller pay-per-call companies can also win their places under the sun, especially when it comes to pay-per-call local lead generation. They can provide advanced tracking technologies, lower fees, high-quality traffic, high conversion rates, etc.

Phase 2 – Advertisers and Affiliates Set Their Goals

For advertisers, setting goals boils down to writing an affiliate program that lists all the terms & conditions for the traffic they want to get: the payment model – pay per click, pay per sale, pay per lead, etc. – the commission structure, the payment terms, and possible limitations like only accepting calls from specific states.

Affiliates can choose the products they want to promote based on their niche, commission size, and other nuances. Likewise, pay-per-call networks usually provide customisable creative materials – banners, landing pages, call guides, scripts, etc. – and call tracking numbers.

Phase 3 – The Choice of Call Tracking Numbers

There are numerous ways to initiate a call, from click-to-call ads on social media, blogs, and search results to traditional advertising channels like TV, but it’s also important that the generated call is attributed to you. For that, call tracking numbers are used.

➥   Call tracking numbers are unique numbers issued by advertisers in order to attribute incoming traffic to the right affiliate and gain insights into this traffic.

Here are the main types of call tracking numbers:

Local Call Tracking Numbers Local phone numbers are used in pay-per-call local lead generation, with every three out of four customers prioritising local brands.
International Call Tracking Numbers International phone numbers are familiar to global audiences, showing the company’s ability to process calls worldwide.
Vanity Call Tracking Numbers Vanity phone numbers are international numbers that contain the brand’s name (for example, 844-PHONEXA)

Сall tracking numbers can be static and dynamic. Static numbers are the same for every caller, while dynamic numbers change depending on the caller’s location, source, or other details.

The technology used in dynamic call tracking numbers is called dynamic number insertion (DNI), allowing advertisers to segment inbound calls while routing them to the best-fitting agent. On the caller’s side, nothing happens: the same smooth call experience.

Phase 4 – Affiliates Generate Call Traffic

After receiving call tracking numbers, affiliates can promote them to their audience, albeit with possible limitations. Depending on the affiliate program, advertisers may only accept calls from specific traffic sources, demographics, etc.

Pay-per-call networks unite hundreds of advertisers, so affiliates can sell calls of different origins, qualities, and intents. At the same time, traffic with a lower expected conversion rate is usually cheaper than calls likelier to convert.

Phase 5 – Qualified Calls Connect to Advertisers

An important part of pay-per-call affiliate marketing is that all incoming calls are vetted before being delivered to the advertisers. Next, a vetted call goes directly to a live operator or an IVR system for qualification.

Speaking of an IVR system, it can be of tremendous help in the context of call routing, especially if you’ve designed a call distribution tree that takes into account all essential details of your campaigns: caller location, language, gender, etc. as well as the availability, expertise, and performance of your agents.

Phase 6 – Affiliates Receive Their Share of the Profits

Phone calls that match the advertiser’s parameters are sold to the advertiser. However, not all calls that came through count as a conversion; for example, an advertiser may only pay for the calls that lasted 30 or 60 seconds, not counting shorter calls as conversions.

Graphical representation of how pay per call marketing works from start to finish

Is Pay-Per-Call Better Than Pay-Per-Lead and Pay-Per-Click?

Phone calls are not inherently better than web leads or clicks. Phone calls have higher conversion rates, but they are also more difficult to generate and are more expensive. So it’s more about how well you can convert what you buy: calls, leads, or clicks.

 

Comparing between pay per call, pay per lead, and pay per click affiliate marketing models by eight factors: lead price, lead intent, paid action, conversion rate, campaign setup, campaign tracking, level of risk, and focus industries

Buying phone calls is an easier choice when you need high-intent leads. Callers are usually purchase-prone buyers who might only need a final nudge. For the same reason, phone calls show better results in high-value sales.

The Advantages of Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing

Buying phone calls may be more expensive than web leads or clicks, but it’ll surely pay off if you have strong sales agents, call tracking software, and an IVR system that qualifies callers and collects marketable caller insights before the call.

Here are some core advantages of pay-per-call affiliate marketing:

High Payouts Phone calls are the most profitable by far when it comes to the revenue per call. Live calls may cost up to £200 and more in high-ticket niches like insurance or finance.
High Conversion Rates For advertisers, inbound phone calls mean high conversion rates – up to 50%, or 15 times higher than web leads. Phone calls are the best choice if you need conversions here and now without rolling out marketing campaigns.
Tracking and Screening Up-to-date call processing software can ensure optimal call acquisition, distribution, and analytics so you can squeeze the most out of every inbound call.
Scalability You can get any call volume from pay-per-call affiliate networks. Or you can enrol in as many affiliate networks as you need to sell any number of phone calls.

Many pay-per-call affiliate programs provide extra benefits to affiliates: high commissions, tiered affiliate structures, two-way incentives (when the referred clients also get a bonus), customisable creative materials, call tracking software, and more.

The commission size varies from 1% to 50% per sale and more. However, I wouldn’t recommend judging a program by its commission size only – make sure the other conditions allow you to consistently generate and sell high-quality traffic.

Here are some obstacles you might have to overcome to generate pay-per-call traffic:

Geographical Limitations Popular pay-per-call affiliate programs may offer lower commissions than their local analogues, while the latter may only accept calls from local geos.

Accepting calls from different time zones might require around-the-clock availability and multilingual support.

Scaling Limitations Handling an increasing number of calls requires an effective call routing system and likely an IVR that will qualify callers and solve some requests without involving your live operators.
Higher Cost Per Call When it comes to calls, you should make it count, trying to convert every call. It’s no secret that phone calls are much more expensive than web leads, albeit bearing a much higher conversion rate.

The good news is that most disadvantages of generating or buying calls can be mitigated by choosing the right pay-per-call numbers and affiliate software.

Unleashing Your Pay-Per-Call Potential in 3 Steps

1.  Choose a Profitable Niche You’re Strong At

Affiliate marketing spans hundreds of niches, but not all have the same revenue potential. Niches like insurance, finance, home services, and solar are incredible for affiliate marketing – for example, the finance industry is growing by around 11% per year – whereas low-cost retail products might not be a good fit.

If you don’t have any preferences, choose a broader niche with high commercial value and low competition. Besides, make sure you have at least some interest in the niche.

2.  Choose the Right Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Program

I’ve already touched on a few of the factors to consider when choosing your affiliate program:

  • Commissions and expected conversion rates
  • Background, reputation, and trust
  • Features like tiered rewards and two-way incentives
  • Creative materials and call tracking software

One item deserving special attention is software.

Call Logic Software for Affiliates and Advertisers

Phonexa’s underlying product for phone calls, Call Logic, includes everything you need to acquire and convert more calls: IVR, call tracking, analytics, predictive modelling, and more.


No less important, Call Logic includes call recording software for pay-per-call campaigns, so you can access every call for reevaluation. Likewise, you can choose what calls or parts you want to record; for example, calls from specific locations or when a keyword is mentioned.

The Call Logic product is only a small part of Phonexa’s bigger affiliate & performance marketing software suite, but it already has enough to take your phone calls to the next level. For more dedicated marketers, you might also need a Cloud PBX phone system.

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Cloud PBX Software for Affiliates and Advertisers

Phonexa’s VoIP-driven virtual Cloud PBX is a fully-fledged private phone system that will help you unroll a cloud call centre at a fraction of the price of installing a traditional landline phone system.

Having set up Cloud PBX once – without additional installation costs – you can process dozens and hundreds of inbound and outbound calls simultaneously while giving your agents a head start in the conversation and synergising call insights with seven other products.

Ping Post Call 2.0 Software for Affiliate Networks

To beat the competition, pay-per-call affiliate networks implement advanced lead distribution technologies like ping tree, which allows advertisers to receive a part of the caller’s information before they buy the call.

Here’s how ping tree marketplaces work:

 

One of the major problems with older systems is that affiliates don’t get much info about advertisers, which significantly reduces their profits. Phonexa’s Ping Post Calls 2.0 solves this problem by unlocking four crucial pieces of information for affiliates: bidding structure, pricing method, the buyer’s phone number, and how long the call should last to count as a sale (call duration to sell).

3.  Make Sure the Most Suitable Live Operator Takes the Call

As the call volume grows, you need an IVR system to pre-qualify callers and independently solve smaller requests like subscription renewal or payment confirmation.

 

In addition to having an IVR system, you also need a call routing system that ensures optimal call distribution for your business. A lot of factors should be taken into account, so you’ll have to configure your call routing tree individually while factoring in all your campaigns.

The pros and cons of the six type call routing: by availability, performance, location & language, value, caller's input, and mixed distribution

Your Best Software Suite for Generating and Converting Phone Calls at Phonexa

Phonexa offers an eight-in-one performance marketing software suite that covers your affiliate and traditional marketing campaigns from top to bottom. Whether you are an affiliate, advertiser, or affiliate network representative, you can grow immensely from eight well-coordinated solutions around web leads and phone calls.

Here’s more about Phonexa:

 

Here are the eight proprietary solutions you will get for your pay-per-call and traditional marketing campaigns, all at a single price starting at £100 per month (price calculator):

LMS Sync Lead tracking & distribution software
Call Logic Call tracking & distribution software
E-Delivery Email & SMS marketing
Cloud PBX Cloud phone system
Lynx Click & link tracking software
Opt-Intel Suppression list management software
HitMetrix User behaviour recording & analytics software
Books360 Automated accounting software

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is pay-per-call marketing?

Pay-per-call marketing is a business model where affiliates (publishers) generate phone calls for advertisers (merchants) in exchange for a commission on the sale made to the referred caller.

What is pay-per-call advertising?

Pay-per-call advertising is promoting the advertiser’s phone number through affiliates or on different platforms – Google pay-per-call advertising, Facebook pay-per-call ads, etc. – so clients can call to buy the product they are looking for. Pay-per-call advertising costs are higher than other types of advertising, but phone calls convert more often.

How do I start a pay-per-call business?

To start a pay-per-call business as an affiliate, you need to find a large niche where you can realistically break through the competition and realise this niche’s commercial potential. As an advertiser, you can partner with advertisers or an affiliate network to buy the calls you want.

How to get a pay-per-call number

You will receive a pay-per-call number from your advertiser. As an advertiser, you can get toll-free and vanity call tracking numbers from Phonexa.

What is the best pay-per-call affiliate software?

The best pay-per-call software is a comprehensive suite that includes lead tracking, distribution, and analytics products. For affiliate networks, the suite should also include ping post software so they can create a balanced marketplace for advertisers and affiliates.

Got Questions?

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Oleksandr Rohovnin avatar
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Oleksandr Rohovnin is a copywriter at Phonexa. His passion is digital marketing, innovative technologies, and – above all – distilling vast amounts of complex information into engrossing narratives anyone can relate to. At Phonexa, Oleksandr stokes passion for marketing automation and lead generation in every story he curates.
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