Lead by example

Mortgage Solutions

Buying leads is easy, but making a decent return on investment from lead generation is much harder, as Justin Rees points out

Whether you are a lead-generation veteran or thinking about buying leads for the first time, the following 10 tips could help you make your lead buying a success.

1. Choose the right lead provider
The most important thing is to choose a lead provider that will work with you to make your lead buying a success. At the very least, choose a UK-based lead provider that offers real-time leads delivered to your email inbox or mobile phone. You should also choose a provider that has a simple platform which means you shouldn’t be spending hours playing around with a computer trying to work out how to get the cheapest leads. Your time is better spent working the leads and making sure you convert as many as possible.

2. Make sure you have a good website
Even though buying leads means that you don’t necessarily need to have a sophisticated online presence, consumers going online looking for financial advice tend to be more online savvy than the average customer that will look you up in the local business directory. When a consumer submits their details online and is matched with your company, they will often search around to try to find you before you have even picked up the phone to call them. If you have a clear and informative website, by the time you speak to the consumer they will already have a good perception of your business and will be much more likely to convert. At the same time, if they don’t like what they will see, consumers will often just click onto another site and fill in another form.

3. Use filters
Although the mortgage market is still tough to say the least, the ability to use filters will give you a better chance of success. For mortgage leads you should be able filter by loan-to-value amount and the credit grade of the consumer which will increase the likelihood you will be able to find a suitable product. Make sure you ask your lead provider how they define a prime consumer as they will all have a different interpretation.

4. Manage your own expectations
Every lead buyer will convert leads at different percentages. In addition, each lead category will have different average conversion rates. For example, industry standard conversion rates for remortgage leads are around 10-15% whereas for life insurance they are around 20-25%. It is important to remember though that advisers converting at the top end of the scale have probably had a lot of experience with online leads. For your first lead-buying campaign you should set your expectations a lot lower than these market conversion rates as you gain more experience with online leads.

5. A minute can make a difference
Reputable lead providers should sell leads in real time which means you should receive the information about a prospective customer within seconds of the consumer submitting their details online. The quicker you make contact the more likely that you will be able to convert the lead. Always try to contact the lead in the first couple of minutes of receiving it. Studies have shown that even delaying your follow up for just one minute can affect contact and conversion rates.

6. Your processes are as important as your leads
For many lead buyers, the processes used to contact and manage the leads are as important as the leads themselves. Any adviser buying more than five leads a day should have some kind of online lead management system to manage the incoming leads. Even with fairly small volumes, assuming it might take a few tries to make contact with each consumer by the end of the first week, it can become unmanageable, unless you have an automated system.

7. Every lead has value
Even if you cannot provide a service to the customer, maybe you know a company who can. There are thousands of pounds to be earned by referring business, and any revenue generated should be attributed back to the lead. Revenue generated from referring business that you cannot fulfil can make the difference between breaking even and making a profit.

8. Commit a decent budget
If you buy 100 leads, you may be able to predict how many you will convert overall, but there is no way of knowing whether these conversions will be from your first 10 leads or your last 10 leads. What this means is that you need to commit a budget that will allow you to receive a large enough volume of leads to make a useful analysis of your lead-buying campaign.

9. Pay what you can afford
Rather than just trying to find the lead provider with the cheapest leads, calculate how much you can afford to pay for a converted customer and using a range of potential conversion rates work backwards to determine what price you can pay for a lead. For example, if you can pay £500 for a converted life insurance customer and you convert 10% of these leads then you can pay up to £50 per lead.

10. Leads today, revenue tomorrow
Make sure you have the process in place to periodically contact leads that do not convert immediately. For every lead that you buy, you will pick up incremental conversions over time if you have a contact programme in place. This will enable you to generate revenue for your business for years to come.

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