Many companies have a love-hate relationship with lead companies. It’s true that in any industry you can think of, you’ll find companies claiming to be able to sell qualified, “hot,” and exclusive leads from people that want your services right now with just a quick Google search. While it may be easy to find these companies, we want to evaluate whether it’s worth implementing Pay Per Lead (PPL) campaigns into your current marketing mix.

Let’s evaluate the pros and cons to consider if a PPL approach is worth trying out:

Pros

Get Leads Right Away

One of the simplest and most enticing factors of PPL is that you will receive leads almost the moment you sign up. People consider Google Ads to be the most surefire way to generate leads, as you can bid on keywords in search results within hours if not minutes; however, you still face the funnel of keyword volume, a conversion-prone landing page, and the contact actually initiating communication. PPL technically cuts several steps out of the most aggressive paid campaigns you can do yourself.

Easy to Measure Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI calculations of PPL campaigns are extremely easy to measure, where SEO may be the most difficult on the opposite side of the spectrum. Your formula will be as simple as it gets:

[Revenue generated from the leads for X time] divided by [the cost of the leads for X time] minus [soft/hard costs you’d like to include to more accurately portray ROI]

There is almost no other tool that you can calculate and analyze for viability as easily.

Consistent Lead Stream

Most lead companies dedicate several channels to generate leads on your behalf; therefore, their ability to get leads to forward to you tends to be steady and consistent.

Reasonably-priced Leads

Most lead companies understand the value of what happens if the client converts their lead into a sale, so the cost of the lead should correlate well. For example, if the average value of a client from one of their leads is $1,000, and the conversion rate averages 10%, then the lead should reasonably hang around less than $100 (because businesses also certainly can’t break even all the time).  Since the lead companies want to have a decent ROI attached to their product, which should be at least 3:1 and ideally in the 6:1-10:1 range, you’d further expect that aforementioned hypothetical lead to cost around $30-$50.

Flexible Lead Deliverability

Now more than ever, it is easier to get the lead forwarded directly as a call through a call transfer along with an email. You could also have leads texted to you shortly after the lead is generated, which is a key benefit. You can also choose between exclusive and non-exclusive leads, meaning you either are the sole owner of the lead generated or it will be shared with 3-5+ other people. Some people don’t mind receiving non-exclusive leads because the costs are reduced, and they have an infrastructure in place that can contact and close the leads faster than their competitors can.

Cons

Reduced Quality of Leads

Leads that are bought and paid for have the lowest conversion rate out of any marketing venture in any industry. The fact of the matter is, lead companies only operate if they can generate MASSIVE quantities of leads. For this to happen, they have to be present in almost every digital marketing channel available and push the definition of aggressive to the extreme. They will reel in people who weren’t sure what they were filling out or what their needs are at the time. Generally, unqualified leads vastly outweigh the few who may bring you business.

Lower Quality Leads Lead to Wasted Time

So, what is the downfall of being inundated with poor quality leads? Not only is your business not the right fit for their needs, but a lower quality lead will cause your team to waste time following up with them, wrapping up personnel in confusing, frustrating, and often lengthy conversations that don’t go anywhere. The only thing worse than wasting money is wasting time.

Sudden Halt on Incoming Leads

Another consequence of working with a lead generation company is the fact they may suddenly go out of business. Lead generation programs tend to offer refund policies for leads that are completely off the mark. As a result, these companies employ entire quality assurance departments and other personnel dedicated to dealing with these types of service issues. When the number of refunds exceeds the number of new clients they get on board with their program, it is often easier for the lead company to simply stop operating, cutting off your steady stream of leads entirely.

Contractual Obligations

Lead generating companies tend to avoid offering a trial period where you can sign up for a few leads to determine their quality before deciding to pursue more lead generation. Unfortunately, most obligations for PPL arrangements will be contractual and either be a fairly large quantity of leads (50-100) and/or an extended period of time (6-12 months). So, if you are unhappy with your leads after a month or two, you’re locked into a contract with the company (unless they go out of business before the end of your contract).

Final Thoughts on Buying Leads in 2019

We firmly stand by SEO and organic being the best long-term lead generation investments for your website; however, we believe you should pursue anything that will give you a positive ROI. If you are considering PPL, add it to your mix for the shortest contractual obligation possible to see if it meets your ROI needs; just be sure to always include multiple sources of leads in your online marketing strategy. If you only rely on PPC, you may suddenly stop receiving them altogether. More often than not, the quality of your leads will also be subpar compared to that of leads generated through other methods.

Market My Market is a boutique digital marketing firm that works closely with business owners looking for just the right clientele.  If you’re ready to up the ante in lead generation this year, contact us for a free online marketing consultation. We’re ready for a challenge.