In this, the fourth and final installment of our series on how small retailers can become e-tailers, expert Ken Robbins explains pay-per-call advertising. This is a somewhat new method of directing Internet shoppers to your store by way of a phone call that, essentially, starts on the Worldwide Web and ends up with the phone ringing in your store.
"It has a similar model as the search engine marketing [discussed in the last Retail Strategies post]," says Robbins, president of Response Mine, " but literally the ad is not set up for the person to click; it´s set up for the person to call." And, just as with pay-per-click search engine advertising, advertisers set the amount they´re willing to pay per call.
Robbins returns to the pressure washing example he used in the previous Retail Strategies post: "If I had a pressure washing service, I might tell the pay-per-call company that for the keyword and search term "Atlanta Georgia Pressure Washing´ or "Pressure Washing Service North Georgia´ I might be willing to pay $2 per click."
Robbins´s brother, in fact, owns a pressure washing business, and his average sale is $500. "So if he gets 20 clicks, he´s going to be out $40 for every client he gets, but it´s well worth it."
The thing about pay per call, Robbins says, is that a customer who calls will be a much more qualified buyer than a customer who clicks onto a Web site. The reason: "On the Internet, they may click with two or three or four companies, but with a phone call, they´re ready. They´re closer [to buying what you are selling]."
It works like this: You give the pay-per-call company your business phone number, and when a customer clicks — to call your store — the pay-per-call company receives the call then routes it to your number.
You can control how much you spend on these calls by loading up a certain amount of money in your account — maybe $500, maybe $200. When the money runs out, the service stops.
"The Web," Robbins says, "is a perfect place for a small retailer to start. Between the pay per call, the cheap cost of setting up a search engine ad and the cheap cost of setting up a Web site, an Internet site is invaluable."
Coming up in Retail Strategies: A Neiman-Marcus veteran talks about the future of retail.