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Street Fight: 4 Strategies to Increase Pay Per Call ROI for SMBs

This post was originally published on Street Fight on December 18, 2014.

Calls are the new clicks. Particularly within the small business community, where in-store visits and purchases are more important than website traffic, pay-per-call (PPC)campaigns are rising in popularity. Call volume to small businesses is expected to explode in the coming years, rising to 65 billion by 2016. Meanwhile, 66% of small business owners now say phone calls are their “most valued” lead source.

Phone leads are inarguably effective. Nearly one in five incoming calls are what SMBs consider “quality leads,” a figure that beats those leads coming from email, online forms, Facebook, and even in-store visits.

From the consumer’s perspective, 31% say they frequently call businesses when specifically looking to make purchases or transactions, and the lack of a click-to-call button on a mobile ad can negatively influence their perception of a merchant.

"Nearly one in five incoming calls are what SMBs consider ‘quality leads.’"

Less complicated and more effective than competing digital marketing strategies, the results of pay-per-call campaigns are easy for business owners to track. Small business campaigns represent 62% of all pay-per-call ads, and much of this growth is attributed to the small business community’s recent willingness to embrace call tracking as a key performance metric.

Of course, there are always ways for businesses to improve those figures. When given the correct guidance, local merchants are able to generate an even higher return on investment from their PPC campaigns. SMBs can also increase overall call durations, a longstanding indicator of the quality of incoming telephone leads, with appropriate protocols and strategies in place.

1. Geo-Location

Geo-location is playing an increasingly important role in pay-per-call campaigns, as technology finally catches up with potential. Twenty-five percent of search queries now take place on mobile devices, and 50% of those are focused on local results, according to research from BIA/Kelsey. By adding geo-location features to their pay-per-call campaigns, merchants are better positioned to capitalize on a growing segment of the local market.

Location-based mobile search drives high-value calls that are ready to convert, as smartphone users who are nearby a business are significantly more likely to complete a transaction or visit in-person.

"In most cases, merchants can select how close consumers need to be to view their ads."

The concept of geo-location is simpler than it sounds. Merchants who partner with vendors that offer geo-location services are able to target their campaigns to reach consumers who are physically located within a close proximity to their stores. In most cases, merchants can select how close consumers need to be to view their ads. As a result, these businesses are able to find local consumers who are actually interested in purchasing their products or services — putting them one step ahead in the race to gain traction among locals who are realistically in the market to complete same-day purchases. 

2. Calls-to-Action

When designing a pay-per-call campaign that includes location-based elements, businesses should remember to include some type of call-to-action in their ads. (For example, a button that says, “Click here to speak to a salesperson.”) They should also make sure to target the right consumers, based not only on location, but also on relevant demographic factors, like age and personal interests. Merchant performance, bid price, and locality range may also be taken into consideration when maximizing the benefits of a pay-per-call campaign.

3. Dayparting

Consumers tend to be more willing to complete higher value transactions by telephone than online, in part because the interactions they have with businesses are so personal. People like to talking to people, and they feel more comfortable making large purchases with the reassurance of an actual salesperson who has experience with the product or service being discussed.

Surveys have shown that consumers who call a business are more likely to be interested in “high consideration” items, meaning that the average price point of a lead generated through a PPC campaign is higher than competing mediums. Within the auto industry, for example, the average price point at which a consumer would be more likely to call a business for a purchase is $1,195. Within the retail industry, that figure is $119.

Pay-per-call campaigns that have at least one hyperlocal element are much more likely to succeed than those that do not, particularly when it comes to geo-location. Proximity-based campaigns increase relevancy and they generate a higher ROI for merchants, which is the primary reason why business owners are increasingly relying on PPC as a means of customer acquisition.

"Dayparting plays an incredibly important role in the PPC campaign."

4. Personalization

Consumers tend to be more willing to complete higher value transactions by telephone than online, in part because the interactions they have with businesses are so personal. People like to talking to people, and they feel more comfortable making large purchases with the reassurance of an actual salesperson who has experience with the product or service being discussed.

Surveys have shown that consumers who call a business are more likely to be interested in “high consideration” items, meaning that the average price point of a lead generated through a PPC campaign is higher than competing mediums. Within the auto industry, for example, the average price point at which a consumer would be more likely to call a business for a purchase is $1,195. Within the retail industry, that figure is $119.

Pay-per-call campaigns that have at least one hyperlocal element are much more likely to succeed than those that do not, particularly when it comes to geo-location. Proximity-based campaigns increase relevancy and they generate a higher ROI for merchants, which is the primary reason why business owners are increasingly relying on PPC as a means of customer acquisition.