Archive for the ‘Competition. Buying Leads’ Category

Why lead buyers pray for rain

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Ashleigh Horrobin, LeadPoint UK’s Marketing Executive, discusses how bad weather can benefit lead buyers.

If you’re anything like me, each morning when you get the newspaper the first thing you do is flip to the weather section hoping to see an image of a bright sun but invariably you are greeted with the dreaded symbols for rain, dark cloudy skies and chilly winds.

While this puts a gloomy outlook on the week ahead, rest assured that for every cloud there is indeed a silver lining and in this case inclement weather is in fact great for lead generation.

The reason behind this is simple. When it’s hot and sunny people are more focused on soaking up the good weather and getting outdoors rather than staring at a computer screen. Along with tans and barbeques, summer brings us hours of extra daylight which can impact upon daily lead flow by as much as 20% or more in the summer months. Instead of rushing home to get out of the cold and settling in front of their ipads, people are taking over the parks until that last glimpse of the sun goes down and then heading off to the pub leaving little time to go online.
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Speed is of essence when calling leads

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The following article was written by Justin Rees for Mortgage Strategy. To read the original, click here.

Over the last few years I have written a lot of articles about lead generation, many of them containing advice for advisers on how to generate a better return on their spend.

The same things hold true for lead buyers who want to make a success out of lead generation in 2012 as they did when I joined the industry in 2007.

The fundamental issue now for lead buyers is still making contact with consumers. Many buyers don’t speak to enough of their leads to have a realistic chance of making a decent return on their investment.
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20 lead generation tips: part one

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The following article was written by Justin Rees for Econsultancy. To read the original, click here.

In the latest IAB/PwC adspend study, online lead generation registered an impressive 20% growth rate over the year which shows the continuing interest in lead generation.

However, while spend is certainly increasing, there is still a lack of understanding about the industry.

The title of this post could have been 100 lead generation tips, but with the help of a few other lead generation experts I have managed to narrow the list down to the top 20 most important.

At a recent online marketing event, I was lucky enough to be invited to speak on a panel about lead generation which covered everything from the state of the current market, the issues faced by lead buyers and sellers and a sneak peak into what the future holds for the fledgling UK industry.

As part of the panel we were tasked to come up with a series of lead generation tips for the audience and myself, Andy Purbrick from Dennis Publishing and Sean Sewell from Performance Horizon Group put our heads together to come up with a top 20.

1. Validate as many data fields as possible in real-time

The more accurate the lead data, the higher the contact and conversion rates. There are lots of available technologies that allow you to improve the accuracy of data such as checking consumer phone numbers in real-time, validating post codes and verifying email addresses are genuine.

2. Understand the consumer journey

If you know how the consumer “becomes a lead” you can refine your follow up processes to increase return on investment. This is especially relevant for call centre follow ups where agents are paid by the hour.

For example, if the consumer is expecting a free quote for an insurance product then this needs to be factored into the scripting of the call.

3. Test and optimise

Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor are lead generation campaigns. Just like any marketing spend, there is always room for improvement and it takes time to maximise the ROI potential of any campaign.

This means you need to do lots of testing and optimisation.

4. Understand the value of your leads
Every lead has value but depending on the marketing messaging and origination method there can be significant variation between leads for the same campaign. There is a place for leads at different ends of the value scale but you need to know which is which in order to optimise your spend.

5. Have a relevant conversion strategy

It might seem like an obvious point but I am always surprised by how many times companies get this wrong. If you tell the consumer you are going to call them then make sure you call them.

If you don’t, then not only will the campaign not perform well, it can give your brand a bad name.

6. Don’t over-incentivise

There is nothing inherently wrong with an incentive but you need to find the balance between the consumer just wanting the incentive versus wanting to engage with your brand.

For example, if you are running a lead generation campaign to get subscriptions to a magazine, then giving away a free subscription of the magazine is fine but if you offer a free iPad giveaway then you will probably just get people that want to win an iPad.

7. Clear opt-in and privacy policy

This is important not just for regulatory reasons but also for lead quality as well. Ultimately, if the consumer doesn’t know what they are signing up for (or signing up at all) then they won’t be responsive to any further communications which will impact on the performance of the campaign.

 8. Don’t make the consumer jump through too many hoops

Naturally you want to know as much information as possible about each consumer but you get to a point where every extra field of data you capture or information you present to the consumer before they reach the lead form reduces lead volumes and doesn’t improve quality.

The amount of data you want to capture is something to test and optimise over the life of the campaign.

9. Leave your preconceptions at the door

Quite simply, the best lead generation campaigns are the ones that work. If the campaign looks ugly then it doesn’t necessarily mean it will generate poor leads and if the creative execution looks amazing it might not generate any leads at all!

The point is that only once the campaign is live can you tell whether it performs or not, so leave your preconceptions at the door and let the data do the talking.

10. Dedupe your leads

Why would you pay for the same lead twice? It is a waste of time and money. Luckily there are a handful of lead platforms that enable you to dedupe your lead supply in real-time so you only ever pay for each lead once. When leads can cost as much as £50 per lead in some verticals, even with a small duplication rate the potential savings are substantial.

Keep a look out for tips 11 -20…

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Lead Supplier vs. Lead Platform – what are the differences?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

This article was written by Emma Smith, Head of Product at LeadPoint UK,  for Netimperative.com. To read the original, click here.

Traditionally, the optimum conditions for trading goods and services have always been considered to be direct relationships between buyers and sellers – the view being that the less people in the supply chain, the better. Occasionally there will be middle men pulling the strings, but people like to go direct as much as they possibly can, removing barriers, providing transparency and ensuring the best prices at both sides of the equation.

Today, however, as the online world expands, as globalisation continues on its upward trajectory,  and  as the sheer volume of suppliers and buyers out there continues to grow, it is increasingly important to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. As a result, platforms that can help vet and compare traders, enable feedback on performance, and do some basic checks on authenticity and quality are gaining more and more traction in the market and becoming ever increasing destinations of choice.

Individuals who were hitherto reluctant to buy from platforms, with their perceptions of higher prices, lower quality and less control, are beginning to see that the reality is actually very different. This is especially true of market-driven platforms, exchanges and aggregators such as eBay, AliBaba or our very own LeadPoint, all of whom ensure quality based pricing, healthy competition and enhanced customer engagement and services. Business models such as these are seeing ever increasing interest and these are a few reasons why:

LeadSupplier Vs. Lead Platform

Direct with Supplier Via Lead Platform
Relationship between buyer and seller Perception: Stronger relationship and more accountability 

 

Reality: Potentially stronger relationship but actually less accountability than via platform

Perception: Middle man = less control and less accountability 

 

Reality: Can still maintain direct, strong relationships depending on the platform. Sellers are more accountable than ever as they are selling to multiple buyers through a platform and, as such, being constantly vetted by the exchange via feedback, validation and other tools.

 

Control and campaign optimisation Perception:  More control and customisation available – Ability to tweak campaigns for buyer specific needs 

Reality: True to a point but they still have other clients to cater to so the reality is that you are still one of many and customisations are rare

 

Perception: Less control over campaigns and no tailored optimisation of campaigns. 

 

Reality: Just as much control as direct – extensive feedback mechanisms and ability to benchmark suppliers against each other.

Transparency Perception: No hidden costs – cheaper prices for the same leads 

 

Reality: Cheaper=yes, but lose out on many additional benefits that add value to the leads. Additionally, no transparency on prices being paid by other buyers for the leads – could mean you are actually paying above the odds.

Perception: Middle man= more expensive prices for the same leads 

 

Reality: Market driven pricing ensures you pay what they are worth, no more, no less. Additional validation services etc actually add value to the leads and don’t clog up call centre with invalid numbers. Longer term this is more valuable to your business. Transparency on pricing within a  platform ensures you can benchmark prices against what other buyers are paying.

 

Account Management of campaigns Perception: Easier, clearer and more transparent dialogue 

 

Reality: True but additional resource and time needed to maintain relations with multiple suppliers

Perception: Adds a layer of communication that is not needed 

 

Reality: One stop shop to manage all campaigns. Speak to one account manager who can take a holistic view of your overall campaign and help maximise ROI/manage all your suppliers for you

 

Payment Perception: Know where the money’s going – simple payment for leads received 

 

Reality: Often lack of process with returns leads to complications, claw backs etc – have to pay multiple suppliers which means additional resource and complicated process.

 

Perception: Loss of control over allocation of payments. Complicated procedure for managing it all. 

 

Reality: Automated transparent processes mean that via one account, one payment, you can allocate funds to different campaigns and lead orders. Impartial and automated returns process within strict timelines ensures you know that every penny is accounted for, every step of the way.

 

Diversity of supply Perception and Reality: Lack of diversity. Going direct with all suppliers necessitates increased resource and time on the buy side to diversify supply and monitor activity across a range of partners. Perception and Reality: Exposure to a vast number of lead suppliers. Greater reach to consumers and ability to compare all suppliers on same metrics. Additionally, piece of mind, in the knowledge that all suppliers undergo extensive checks and vetting procedures before trading on the platform – no need to do research yourselves. 

 

In summary – you may save pennies going direct in the short term, but an exchange will help you scale your business by benchmarking suppliers against each other, ensuring the best leads at the best prices and providing you with multiple tools to manage and maximise your ROI for the longer term benefit of your business.

 

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Day 2 – Leads Con, Las Vegas – March 2nd

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Alain Desmier, Director of Business Development at LeadPoint UK, reports from LeadsCon.

Despite the parties, cocktails and fortunes won and lost on the Vegas casino floor the previous night, day two started as promptly as day one with standing room only for a 9am session about “the many sizes and shapes of M&A”. If the theme of day 1 was a broad look at the world of online advertising, day 2 was focused on Lead Generation exits, the role of social and mobile in lead gen and an examination of “what the buyers want to know”.

Nick Chapman - Managing Director of LeadPoint UK - in front of the LeadPoint stand at LeadsCon, the world's biggest Lead Generation conference in Las Vegas.

Bruce Eatroff of Halyward Capital introduced his panel discussion about acquisitions in the lead generation space and started his presentation with a a bleak warning, “there’s only a few chairs left and the music is about to stop”. His argument, shared by other members of the panel was that the years of double digit growth are over and if lead generation companies are going to be successful, they are going to need to stand out from a space crowded with providers. The lead generation ‘pendulum’ has begun to swing towards content led lead gen sites, the panel argued, with the AOL acquisition of The Huffington Post, evidence of the move. Eatroff argued that “if you can build a relationships with the consumer, as a company you are far more valuable to a possible suitor”.

A theme that ran throughout the previous day and continued to be highlighted by numerous panelists on day 2 is that “leads” have become a dirty word in the wider advertising community because of the connotations of uninterested, misled consumers.  In the “what buyers want to know” session, Lisa Iannuzzelli of Devry Inc told the conference hall that she has banned the word “leads” amongst her team, and only works (and pays) for enquiries. It’s not enough for sellers to provide pieces of data, the most successful sellers in the EDU US lead gen space, she argued, have a relationship with the consumer and are “handing them off to an advertiser with gained permission”.

Introducing the second session Leads Con organiser , Jay Weintraub noted that nearly all of the 16 sessions the previous day had touched on the role of the future of social (and specifically facebook) and mobile advertising and the opportunity this provided lead generators. It was therefore no surprise that “Getting Social and Mobile” was packed to the rafters to hear Dan Martell from Flowtown inc and panel discuss the topic.

The panel came to a consenus early on that marketers needed to understand the difference between “Lead generation vs Like generation” in social media . Martell asked the panel, “How do you define the media spend and ROI from a follower of a fan page, a like or a visit? I don’t think we know yet”. Most lively on the panel was Jesse Pujji of Ampush Media who noted that Facebook have been hiring specifically “adsense” staff from Google, rather than “adwords” specialists. The ambition from Facebook is clearly to build a highly targeted and efficient adnetwork that will allow marketers to target consumers based on their own interests and status updates.

Pujji dismissed the notion that Facebook advertising doesn’t working by using the example of Zeus.com “which grew to be the same size as match.com in just one year predominantly through cracking Facebook advertising”. For social media to work, the panel argued, the adverts, the apps and corresponding landing pages need to be “inherently social”. www.etsy.com have recently launched an application through Facebook Connect which allows users to search a friends activities and likes to recommend a product on Etsy.com, an example the panel held up as a company that “gets it”.

Mobile (disconcertingly pronounced “mobil” in the US) advertising “will work when they have proximity and relevance to a consumers daily life” argued the panel, “right now mobile advertising is too intrusive” Martell highlighted a new application by the US bank Chase Templton that allows businesses to scan cheques via a smart phone rather than deposit them in a branch as a step in the right direction for corporates trying to make mobile applications relevant to small businesses.

Pujji finished the morning session on a hopeful note “In 1998 everyone knew the internet was going to be huge but no-one knew how to define and monetize what was coming. Mobile and social media in 2011 is exactly the same”.

After lunch the sponsored sessions offered little more than a series of pitches and some fairly average presenting with most focused on the free cocktails at 4pm which brought an end to a thoroughly interesting conference.

Lead Generation is at a cross road, that much is clear from the numerous experts, sellers and buyers obsessively focusing their 2011 efforts on innovation rather than just scale.

A speaker estimated that during 98-2001 pre bubble period, $300 million of capital was wasted on projects that stood no hope of ever being successful. In much the same way, lead generation has had its bubble, and in the UK and the US companies without sound business models and a loyal customer base who “need and rely” on them, are being found out and going bust.

The challenge for all companies in the lead generation industry is do more than just arbitrage media against a submit button, do more than just spam email a consumer with another lead gen offer two weeks after they submit their first enquiry and do more to build a connection between the consumers initial interest in a product to the point where a advertiser first picks up the phone.

An industry analyst I spoke to in the bar on the first evening rattled off a list of names of US lead generation companies who will go bust in the next five years because “they essentially don’t get what a buyer or a consumer needs from the lead generation sales funnel process”.

Evolve or face extinction is the message from Vegas…

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