It’s a common story for performance marketers. You arranged to purchase opt-in leads from a marketing partner on a cost-per-lead basis. You found and vetted the partner. You negotiated the contract and lead pricing. They integrated with your lead management system. Everything looks great, so you go live.

But instead of being the hero that drives tons of revenue for the company, the campaign fails to produce the desired results. What went wrong? Chances are the problem lies in one of the following five areas:

  1. You had no idea what type of lead you were buying.

Do you know how these leads were generated? Did these leads really opt-in for your product or service? Was it an exclusive lead? Was it incentivized? Was it opt in or opt out?

Often buyers don’t take the time to verify what they are buying. Remember, all leads are not created equally and it’s critical to identify the type of leads you are buying for your CPL campaign so that you pay the right price and implement the appropriate follow up process.

  1. You bought all the leads that were sent to you  (in other words, incentives were misaligned)

If you’re buying leads from a 3rd party, your incentives must be aligned with your provider. If you agree to buy everything they sell you, your incentives aren’t totally aligned. They still get paid whether the lead meets your criteria or not. Ideally you align incentives so that you only pay for the leads that meet your criteria. Many lead vendors allow for real-time rejects so that you don’t have to pay for unwanted (bad) leads.

Examples of bad leads include:

  • Leads with fake or incorrect contact information
  • Recent duplicates
  • Leads submitted by bots
  • TCPA disclosure wasn’t present on the form  

You should be able to reject the leads in real time that don’t meet your criteria and you should have a lead return process for bad leads that make it through your real-time screening process. Pay more for the leads you want. Pay nothing for the leads you don’t want. That aligns incentive properly.

  1. You didn’t track performance by source and optimize accordingly.

More than likely, you’re buying leads from multiple sources. Just as every lead is not created equally, the same goes for your 3rd party sources. Even if you are only working with one lead vendor, each vendor typically uses multiple lead sources.

You need to use consistent and reliable source identifiers (such as the site domain where the lead was generated) so that you can track performance.The bottom line here is you should know which sources are sending the best quality leads at any given time so you know which sources are best.

  1. You didn’t follow up immediately.

No matter where someone opts in for your offer, they should get a real-time confirmation email and, if applicable, a phone call or text. Don’t waste money on a CPL campaign by not having a plan to follow-up.

It may be necessary to work with sales and create an SLA (service level agreement) regarding how quickly sales should be following up with the leads from the campaigns you run. This way, both marketing and sales are on the same page. Often times lead buyers blame their vendors when the leads don’t convert, when the real reason was a lack of timely follow up by the buyer.

  1. Your follow-up sales/marketing process to convert the leads was flawed.  

Perhaps your process wasn’t appropriate for the type of leads you were buying. For example, does your sales process match the offer you promised the consumer in the ad? It’s very important to make sure you coordinate your campaign plans with sales. Especially with the regulations like TCPA that dictate clear and concise language that details to what the consumer is agreeing. You don’t want to be in a situation where sales calls are made when there was no agreement to receive a call from the consumer.

There are many things that can go wrong when buying internet leads. The five listed above are pretty common. As a company that processes millions of leads per month for major buyers of Internet leads across many industries, we have a lot of insight into what drives a successful campaign. Please reach out if you would like help driving results from your lead generation efforts. That is what we do at ActiveProspect.

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