Last Month I wrote about one big reason to stop buying leads and start generating your own: driving inbound calls. In this article we will look at two more big reasons that generating online leads internally can enhance your overall marketing strategy. I have sold leads for 14 years, so I am definitively not saying to stop buying all your leads, but here are a couple of advantages you can leverage when generating internally:
- Create more expensive leads. One of the most successful campaigns I ever managed was priced at over $450 CPM and required a contract north of $4,000,000. The lead cost on this was very high, but what it produced was a large volume of the right kind of lead for my client (in this case exclusive, excellent credit, mortgage refinance leads). Those types of leads were simply not available from lead aggregators, on an exclusive basis, with any volume at the time. So, despite the big price tag, the campaign was very successful. At times it was even too successful: the 200+ agents were not able to get to 100+ inbound calls an hour because of the lead and call volume the campaign generated.
Lead generators typically can create high quality leads at a lower cost and provide the ability to scale. But, one disadvantage in selling leads is that very high quality leads may be too expensive to generate at the price point dictated by the lead buyer market. Here are a few ideas that may create more expensive leads, and produce a big return on your investment:
- Build a splash page to educate the consumer. If you have a product or service that does not have a big existing market online, try dropping the consumer on a more informational splash page prior to asking them to submit a lead form. The splash page will filter people out, but the people who read through it and click off should become much more qualified leads.
- Build landing pages to go along with specific keywords. Cost per clicks on the most qualified keywords may be high, but traffic from them usually produces the most qualified prospects. Build pages to match those keywords specifically, and then see how that backs into a cost per new customer.
- Long form leads. Try adding additional qualifying questions to the back of your lead form after the initial submit. Some percentage of your prospects will complete this second set of questions, and those should be very low hanging fruit. This, actually, will not produce a more expensive lead. If it improves overall conversions, though, you then have the ability to raise your cost per lead target to drive more volume.
- Using your brand. First let me be specific here: by “brand” I mean what makes you a better choice for the consumer than your competition. For example, here are some strategies that will help your conversion ratio and are generally not available to 3rd party lead generators:
- Real Testimonials. The FTC has disallowed fake or general testimonials in advertising, which means that only advertisers that work directly with consumers can use them. Consult the guidelines on this, but actual testimonials specific to your company can add credibility and improve conversions considerably.
- Third party verification. This could be your BBB accreditation, any awards you have won, any associations you belong too, etc. Icons and logos from these sources used on the landing page send a signal to the consumer that you are established and trustworthy.
- Information specific to your organization. If you have a big number of clients, or have transacted a large dollar amount, or something similar, this can be powerful information for consumers trying to discern the difference between all the services they are researching at the moment.
- Your phone number (see “1 Big Reason You Should Stop Buying Leads”).
One thing to avoid here is trying to use your lead generation campaign as a way to build your brand. Confusing? Basically, this means the focus of the lead generation needs to be on conversions and not on educating the consumer about your brand. This is not a good platform to tell people about you, this is where we tell people what’s in it for them.
OK, so don’t stop buying all your leads. Buying leads can produce big advantages in cost and the ability to scale (and I sell leads), but there are unique benefits that advertisers can only reap by building their own campaigns alongside their third party generated leads. If you are not set up to generate leads internally because of technical and/or media buying resources, but still want to take advantage of benefits, maybe consult an online direct response agency.