LinkShare has a long, productive history in the affiliate space, and the latest LinkShare innovation is already turning heads. Pay-per-call gives publishers and affiliates a new way to earn - both online and offline. LinkShare provides custom, individual phone numbers for affiliates to connect consumers with advertisers. The advertiser gets a qualified lead, and the publisher has the opportunity to earn on each call placed to the advertiser.
"This whole new platform with pay-per-call allows our publishers to get commissions in ways they never could before," says Russ Pechman, VP of Linkshare Lead Advantage. "Online or offline, this opens publishers and advertisers to a new world of opportunity."
Once a phone number is established, publishers can promote it on their website, flyers, billboards, banners behind airplanes - just about anywhere. Advertisers can speak directly with their prospects, whether for lead generation or closing a sale on a product.
The program is leading off with lead generation, an area where advertisers can learn a great deal about their prospective audience. More advertisers -- including retailers -- will be signing up over time. Pechman notes that pay-per-call could be an ideal solution for advertisers who rely on human interaction during the sales process. For example, high-cost items, financial services, real-estate, insurance and much more. What's more, certain demographics are more comfortable with a phone call than a click. This solution opens up an important channel perhaps previously unavailable.
There are, of course, controls. Advertisers can set the requirements for a commission, such as length of call, interaction within the call (press '1' for more information) and more. And LinkShare provides terms and conditions, just like online, as well as measures to prevent fraud. "We make sure we're working with the right publishers, just as we would online," says Pechman. Also, the human element of a phone call can give advertisers the ability to detect a genuine lead from an unqualified lead.
This is certainly an exciting development for LinkShare, publishers and advertisers. It's further proof of the online world blending in offline and making e-commerce accessible away from the desktop. Using the vast network available through LinkShare, new lines will be opened. "It's going to be great to see a whole new person emerge who has never had the technical savvy to try something through a website but is good at promoting things in their own way," says Pechman.