How Pay-Per-Call Marketing Kicked Lexington Law’s Affiliate Program Into Overdrive

In affiliate marketing, anything that improves conversion significantly can change the game. For advertisers that generate the bulk of their sales via phone, the advent of pay-per-call tracking was such a game changer. Pay-per-call works through the inclusion of a unique phone number provided to the affiliate, allowing the advertiser to determine who referred the caller. Ring Revenue evolved into the market leader in call performance platforms and now powers tracking for all the major affiliate networks. Recently Ring Revenue released a case study featuring Lexington Law. The case study boasts a 630 percent growth in sales since the program launched in July 2010 with an average month over month growth of 53 percent.

I sat down with Travis Hopkins, Affiliate Manager at Progrexion (Lexington Law’s agency of record) to discuss the impact of pay-per-call.

Over Lexington’s history what percentage of the marketing strategy has been offline versus online?

For the first 10 years, Lexington acquired customers mostly by word of mouth. In 2001 Progrexion and Lexington joined forces (Progrexion became the agency of record for Lexington), and for the last 10 years it has been mostly online. It started with short-form and long-form lead gen, then paid search. Affiliate was launched initially with Commission Junction. Internal affiliates were added later as well as additional networks.

What attracted you to performance marketing?

Personally it just always made sense to me. Why wouldn’t a company want to work with people willing to promote their products and offers in exchange for a percentage of the sale? My first foray into the non-sales, marketing world was in performance marketing as an affiliate manager at Overstock.com. I stayed because I love working with the people, and I formed so many great business relationships that became friendships. I love that in this industry you can change companies, work with many of the same people, and not miss a beat.

In terms of Lexington’s focus, almost all of Lexington’s leads are for consumers who are new to Lexington’s industry. They’re customers seeking services for the first time so the affiliate channel seemed a natural fit.

According to Forrester Research less than 1/3 of consumers purchase financial services products online. Why do you think that is?

I believe it’s the personal nature of finance. It’s one of the things that’s always been that way. You can go to a bank or credit union website and create an account, but most people have always done those things in person.

When managing our credit repair offers, we find that closer to 90 percent sign up over the phone versus online. We would love for them to sign up online, but we know that they are more likely to sign up when speaking with a person.

What attracted you to launching a pay-per-call program?

90 percent of our sales come from inbound or outbound phone calls. I wanted to expand our publisher base to those who were already driving calls for other merchants. Also I wanted to get unique numbers for our existing affiliates to help overall conversion.

How were call prospect quality and the quality of the leads managed?

When we launched the only way to tell if a call made a sale was by actually listening to the call. An average sales call can take over 25 minutes. Early on I did listen to the longer calls, just to get a sense of the traffic that we were getting. But we wanted more visibility and an easy way to see which publisher drove the calls that were closing. This allowed us to monitor quality better and to reward publishers with sales bonuses.

So we added a line item in the reporting via a nightly data feed to Ring Revenue’s API. The line item said if a sale was made the code was “R.” was added. I’m not sure why our IT guys chose “R,” but it’s what we use. So now we can see the number of calls that a publisher drove and the number of sales by a simple report pull or by exporting the numbers to a spreadsheet. This allowed us to gauge the quality of the traffic, see who drove the calls that were converting, and led us to bonus on sales based on call quality.

With the initial success of the pay-per-call program how do you intend to expand it?

We launched in ShareASale and we’re planning to run tests with loyalty publishers, starting first with TrialPay. Once that proves out with our existing loyalty partners, we’re going to test different payment options, like straight call pattern analysis (CPA) verses hybrid CPA, and call length. Additionally we hope to have the program grow as Ring Revenue grows and more publishers sign on to promote call performance marketing campaigns.

About Angel Djambazov

Born in Bulgaria, Angel Djambazov has spent his professional career in the fields of journalism and online marketing. In his journalistic career he worked as an editor on several newspapers and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Wyoming Homes and Living Magazine. Later his career path led to online marketing where while working at OnlineShoes he earned the Affiliate Manager of the Year (2006) award at the Affiliate Summit, and In-house Manager of the Year (2006) award by ABestWeb.

For four years Angel served as OPM for Jones Soda for which he won his second Affiliate Manger of the Year (2009) award at Affiliate Summit.

Currently Angel serves as OPM for KEEN Footwear and MedicalRecords.com. His former clients include: Dell, Real Networks, Jones Soda, Intelius, Graphicly, Chrome Bags, Onlineshoes.com, Vitamin Angels, The Safecig, and Bag Borrow or Steal.

Angel is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher for ReveNews.com and ReveNews.org.

Angel lives north of Seattle, spending his free time reading up on obscure scientific references made by his wife MGX, while keeping up with a horde of cats and a library of books.

You can find Angel on Twitter @djambazov.

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