Lead Generation has for the past 3 years been the fastest growing areas of performance marketing with more and more companies becoming switched onto the potential that lead generation can bring as a highly effective and measurable way of increasing their companies business. Lead generation has always been with us from adverts out in yellow pages, advertising on a billboard, magazine or on TV yet the internet has taken lead generation to a new level.
Fundamentally online lead generation is about capturing the details of a consumer who is interested in a product or service. It is more frequently used in a complex sale scenario where there is an element of advice or sales required before a consumer would normally make a purchase. It is often the case that online lead generation is used as the first step in a sales process whereby consumers can be converted offline for example via a telephone call.
Probably the most mature product area where online lead generation has really taken off is in the mortgage market. Here several factors all combined together in 2005 to make it ripe for the lead gen market to explode.
Firstly buying a mortgage has never been successfully commoditised and despite the best attempts of lenders and other site to allow a full online service for mortgages the reality is that almost all consumers feel the need for advice when taking on what is likely to be the biggest financial decision of their life. Secondly mortgages became a regulated product and cold calling over the phone was banned.
The mortgage market was large and booming and so was the demand for new business. Throughout 2006 thousands of mortgage leads a day were being traded at up to £300 per lead for certain categories of leads. It had to come to an end and it did in late 2007 when the market shrunk overnight. Yet the business model was set and the concept of lead generation for a whole swathe of products borne. Now lead generation is utilised for products such as loans, debt help, life insurance, wills, pensions plus many other non finance based such as laser eye surgery, luxury car test drives, flights, phone contracts and furniture purchase.
The key benefits for lead buyers are that lead generation if done well can be used to target specific groups of consumers can rapidly increase your customer base, be both cost effective and measurable.
The challenge is how and where to acquire leads. There are several methods of generating online leads and this can be done either utilising your companies own skills in email marketing, SEO, PPC or banner advertising or you can engage a 3rd party to generate the leads for you. This could be done either with your own brand in a specific campaign or using a generic brand.
For publishers there are benefits with selling a lead over working on a CPA or even a CPM basis. If the product is right often working on a CPL returns more revenue as an advertiser is willing to pay proportionally more for a consumer who is willing to part with their details yet you do not have the risk of the ability of the sales advisor who picks up the lead which is often outside of your control when working on a CPA basis.
If you’ve not looked into lead generation either as a buyer or a seller I would encourage you to head over to a4uleads.com to find out more information and to get involved with the forum where you will meet many professionals involved in the industry.