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Pay-Per-Call and the Consumer Journey

12.08.2021
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A positive consumer journey is the first step in building a loyal brand customer. In fact, the most important factor to a consumer becoming a customer in the first place is their initial experience with your brand.

Brands fight to protect their customer’s experience as best they can to limit the number of potential sales they lose and negative reviews they receive. Because of this, brands can be hesitant to work with affiliates that would manage the beginning stages of the consumer journey.

While it is true that when brands work with affiliates, they relinquish some control over the consumer journey, working with the right affiliates can actually improve the consumer’s experience and convert consumers who might not have considered the brand otherwise.

 

The basic affiliate consumer journey

There are many different paths a consumer can take when they go through an affiliate. At its most basic, the consumer journey would look something like this:

  1. Consumer needs a service
  2. Consumer finds affiliate and decides to get in touch
  3. Affiliate directs the consumer to the brand
  4. Consumer interacts with the brand and evaluates the brand’s service

However, the consumer journey will look different based on the particular affiliate’s program and whether they operate on a pay-per-click, pay-per-call, or pay-per-sale model.

Read more: Why Use Affiliate Marketing

 

Common consumer journeys in pay-per-call

Pay-per-call is a performance marketing model known for its high return on ad spend (ROAS). Pay-per-call affiliates get paid for every qualified call that lasts a predetermined duration. Service-based businesses choose pay-per-call when they want high-intent phone calls from consumers who are ready to buy.

Here are three common consumer journeys with pay-per-call affiliates:

 

Inbound Pay-Per-Call consumer Journey

  1. Consumer needs a service
  2. Consumer finds affiliate
  3. Consumers decides to call a tracking number the affiliate promotes
  4. The tracking number connects the consumer directly to the brand’s call center
  5. Consumer talks with the brand’s sales rep and evaluates the brand’s service

 

Transfer Pay-Per-Call consumer journey

  1. Consumer needs a service
  2. Consumer finds affiliate
  3. Consumer decides to call the affiliate’s phone number
  4. The consumer reaches the affiliate’s call center
  5. Consumer talks with the affiliate call center rep and answers their qualifying questions
  6. The rep transfers qualified calls to the appropriate brand’s call center

 

Outbound Pay-Per-Call consumer journey

  1. Consumer needs a service
  2. Consumer finds affiliate
  3. Consumers fills out the affiliate’s form with their contact information
  4. The affiliate uses the consumer’s contact information to reach out, either through SMS, AI chat, or phone call (best practice is to reach out a maximum of three times)
  5. Consumer talks with the affiliate call center rep and answers their qualifying questions
  6. The rep transfers qualified calls to the appropriate brand’s call center

 

Why We Prefer Inbounds

We believe the inbound call model provides the smoothest consumer journey. It connects consumers directly to the service provider they need without too many touchpoints. It also greatly limits the number of times a consumer is bothered by third-party businesses looking to upsell or cross-sell them.

Inbounds provide consumers with all they want for a smooth consumer journey:

  • Less spam – the consumer is in contact with the brand fewer times, making the journey much smoother and limiting the risk that the brand or affiliate will annoy the consumer with repeated contact points.
  • Contact on their own terms – the consumer is the one initiating the phone call, so they get to control their experience.
  • Quick service – with inbound phone calls, the consumer is helped immediately. They don’t have to wait for someone to get back to them.

From the brand’s perspective, inbound calls also greatly limit compliance concerns since consumer-initiated phone calls don’t require written consent (outbound calls are regulated by laws such as the TSR and TCPA).

 

Providing a smooth journey with pay-per-call

Affiliates can add great value to a brand’s lead generation efforts. They can reach consumers brands cannot, target specific consumer segments, and drive additional traffic through their unique sources. And with the right affiliate, consumers have a smooth journey to getting the services they need, and they get one step closer to becoming a loyal brand customer.

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