Pay Per Call and SEM

- August 23, 2007

Don’t have a website, but still want to take advantage of internet marketing? Or, do your customers prefer to call you to check product availability and to place orders, rather than do so over the internet? Pay-per-call is a blended mix of Search Engine Marketing and traditional telephone communication that can be very effective for companies that don’t have a website or whose product/service lends itself more to phone communication and ordering.

Why pay-per-call? Currently, close to 14 million small to midsize businesses don’t have a website. Pay-per-call solves the problem for them. It is especially great for local businesses since the ads can be geo-targeted. Pay-per-call is ideal too for those businesses that sell products or services that require a personal touch in order to overcome objections to close a sale.

How does it work? Its very similar to traditional pay-per-click models. A merchant selects keywords and the geographical area where the ads will appear. He/she then submits the ad copy that lists a title, short description and a telephone number to call. The merchant is billed every time the toll-free number is dialed, not every time someone clicks on the ad.

Pay-per-call is not for everyone. The cost for pay-per-call is much higher than pay-per-click. In an article by USAToday, Ingenio’s Chief Marketing Officer, “Barach said Ingenio’s average per-call charge is $7, compared with about 50 cents per-click. Analysts say pay-per-call won’t replace pay-per-click, partly because it is much more expensive, but they say it will find a niche.” The niche is that you have a much higher close ratio in a pay-per-call approach than a pay-per-click. One particular florist noted that he “closes one sale for every 70 clicks but with pay-per-call, it’s one in three,” (as quoted in USAToday’s article).

If cost-per-click Search Engine Marketing isn’t right for your business, pay-per-call may be just the solution that allows you to utilize search effectively, but still keep traditional telephone calls and the personal touch you want to hold on to.

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