Lead Gen 2.0: The New Opportunity

Much like the "Web 2.0" movement, we're seeing a Lead Gen 2.0 that is more transparent than the lead generation of the past, ultimately giving buyers and sellers more control over their businesses and profits. Where in the past we've seen large, single-vertical aggregators that take the majority of the profits from a lead transfer, we are now seeing the emergence of smaller, more efficient lead marketplaces that serve multiple verticals. These marketplaces bring more transparency into the transaction process, allowing for dynamic, market-driven pricing and higher-quality leads. Sellers see exactly what their leads are worth, and buyers pay only what they are willing for the leads they want.

I recently spoke at the Affiliate Summit, where I met with many sellers looking for best practices around generating leads. With the emergence of the Lead Gen 2.0 provider in mind, my first thought was to choose the right partner. The right partner puts the power back in the seller's hands, giving them more opportunities to grow their profits. Below are a few points to consider when deciding on the right partner:



  • Choose an aggregator that provides the tools and reporting that enable you to succeed. Lead generators must be able to measure their ROI to adjust their marketing plans accordingly. To do that, you need real-time, 24/7 reporting tools that give you insight into each and every transaction. In a lead generation marketplace, buyers and sellers can see exactly what they've bought or sold, how much each lead sold for, and, in some cases, get direct feedback on the quality of that lead. Buyers pay more for quality leads, and sellers who generate those leads are compensated more handsomely.

  • Pick a partner that can leverage your strengths across multiple verticals. If you've done well with paid search in mortgage, for example, why not use those same skills in the auto or student loan consolidation verticals? You'll diversify your risks and bring in more profit. While in the past this may have required a seller to go to three different vendors, sign three different contracts and deal with three different account managers, the Lead Gen 2.0 partner does business in multiple verticals, achieving economies of scale that often result in lower transaction costs for buyers and sellers.

  • Look for a partner that helps you leverage your customer. Successful lead generators cross-promote relevant products to customers on their site. For example, if consumers request a quote to refinance their mortgage, they may also need help with credit card debt or student loan consolidation. If you choose a partner that lets you keep your consumer data and doesn't force the consumer to leave your site after hitting "submit," you are able to retain the relationship with that customer and are much more likely to profit from them more than once. These are YOUR customers, and they are an asset. When you own this relationship, you can send someone an email promoting an extended auto warranty three months after they've submitted an auto purchase request. Build and nurture your customer database as much as possible -- it will pay off.

  • Lastly, choose a partner with low transaction costs. You, the seller, are generating almost all of the value. Some aggregators take anywhere from a 40% to a 70% cut of the total lead value. In a world of ever-increasing media costs, that kind of tax makes it tough to be competitive. There are lower cost options out there; look for them and leverage them.

The opportunities are endless for today's lead seller. With the new generation of Lead Gen partners out there, buyers and sellers get better insight into and control over their businesses, opening up more opportunities to make money. So what's left to do but get out there and get started?

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