Simply put, a lead is a prospective consumer who is interested in your service and has responded to a direct marketing advertisement. There are a couple of formats in which a lead may be purchased. A “data” lead provides an interested consumer’s contact information. After receiving this information, you need to initiate contact with the consumer. A “voice” lead provides a call from a “live” consumer directly to your phone.
Each lead type has a respective conversion rate. Conversion rates vary depending on the lead type, advertising/media used to generate the lead, and most importantly the processes you have in place to work the leads.
While no lead provides a gift wrapped person ready to sign on the dotted line, a lead does provide an interested consumer who has responded to a response-geared marketing piece of advertising precisely because they are “in the market” for your service.
The key benefit of buying leads is that you are buying the marketing results of companies whose sole specialty is driving consumer response. You reap the benefits of their efforts without having to speculate large sums of money and time in getting these responses yourself. Moreover, you define exactly the profile of the consumer (lead) you want to receive and only pay for consumers as you receive them. Additionally, you are provided real-time reporting tools that enable you to track your marketing spend versus profit-making in real-time which provides you with precision control over your business investment!
Now, Lead Generation is by no means a magic solution. It requires thorough planning in the execution of converting the leads that you purchase. The very fact that the consumer is in the market for your service means that they may very well be evaluating a couple companies. As a business, it is your responsibility to take immediate steps to build a relationship with the consumer, sell them your company and your ability to provide them the service they are seeking better than your competitors.
To make the most from the leads you purchase it is also important that you:
- Continue to work leads for up to 90 days from the date the consumer initiated the lead. While your ideal consumer may be looking to sign up for your service immediately, a number of consumers often need more time to make a decision. Yes, there are operational costs to following up with consumers. However, there is also plenty of money to be made by continuing to work the leads you have already paid good money for!
- Develop a plan covering what leads you want to buy, in what volume and when and how to handle them as they are delivered. The more efficient you are with managing your leads the greater your financial rewards.
- Create a financial budget with a realistic, defined ROI that you can repeatedly measure your campaign against. Understand how much you are prepared to commit to market your company and how much you need to make to be profitable. In creating a ROI target, recognize that buying leads is a numbers games and it will take a full campaign to adequately measure your performance. Giving yourself and your team defined goals enables you to measure and achieve success.
Lead generation is not necessarily a replacement for traditional marketing activities and in many cases best results are achieved when it is used in conjunction with other marketing initiatives.
However, whether you are a small, medium or large business, Managing Directors, CEOs and Board of Directors are looking ever more closely at where marketing budgets are being spent and whether these expenditures are yielding defined profits. As noted above, lead generation offers the greatest control in tracking one’s marketing spend and performance. As such, it is just smart business sense to incorporate it as part of one’s marketing endeavors.