posted on: 5/12/2012 12:09:10 PM EST
The Real Truth About Leads

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Our team has been marketing on the Internet for more than 14 years and there is one universal truth about Internet Marketing - You either evolve and adapt or you become extinct. Dinosaurs learned this lesson the hard way. For millions of years, they were the most dominant creatures on the planet.
Today, the only place you can find any trace of the dinosaur era is in history books or museums. If you don't want the same fate to befall you and your Internet business, it's crucial that you stay up with the trends and tools of today's online environment. Some of the reasons mankind outlasted these huge and powerful creatures:

Human beings are able to adapt to changing circumstances.
Mankind is capable of solving complex problems.
Men and women learned how to use tools to their benefit.
This site offers access to tons of great tools »

Over the past 14 years, many things have changed in the online marketplace. The savvy netrepreneurs who kept up with the changes are the success stories of the past decade. And it's not just huge companies that have made their mark on the Internet. One of the major advantages of the World Wide Web is it's tendency to level the playing field. Anybody can compete, as long as they use technology and high tech tools to their advantage.

One of the most prominent tools for Internet success in the past decade has been leads. Many early marketers built their empires on the foundation of purchased leads. Are leads still a viable option in today's Internet landscape?

Leads fall into different categories and in order to answer that burning question, we need to understand the differences. Today, there are 3 main categories of leads:

Pay Per Click (PPC)
Self Generated Opt-In Leads
Purchased Leads (Co-Registration Leads, Real Time Leads, Surveyed Leads, Mailing Lists, Guaranteed Pre-Enrollees, etc.)
First a word of caution about leads. There are 2 main types of leads, incentivized and non-incentivized leads. Some companies offer incentives to get people to enter their information into a "lead capture" forms.

in·cen·tive noun - : something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action.

Not all incentives are necessarily a bad thing; it all depends on what's being offered. Many sites offer free downloads (Think & Grow Rich, eBooks, etc.) and there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving people a bonus that makes sense. On the other hand, you certainly don't want to be contacting people about your home-based Internet business if they're expecting an X-Box, a free cruise/vacation or $5,000 sweepstakes winnings. Leads that are generated with these types of incentives are misleading and, more often than not, they are worthless. We recommend steering clear of Incentivized Leads.

This company has automated sponsoring tools »

Pay Per Click - Pay per click is a great way to advertise to a highly focused or target audience, if you know what you're doing and have a fairly sizable budget. You bid on keywords and your ads show up on search engines and free email accounts. As the name implies, you pay a specific amount for each click through to your site. A word to the wise - You are charged for your PPC ad every time someone clicks on your link and the costs can add up very quickly. If your site doesn't convert visitors into enrollments, PPC advertising can drive your business deep into the red.

Self Generated Opt-In Leads - These are typically the highest quality and most responsive leads, because they have requested information directly from you. Opt-in leads are generated through
"lead capture" pages with forms requesting specific information about your prospect. The most common way to follow-up with opt-in leads is by phone, email, or both.

Purchased Leads - Purchased leads can come in many different forms. In most cases, the vendor you purchase the leads from did not generate them internally; they bought them from a lead supplier. This doesn't always mean they are bad leads, but you should definitely ask some point blank questions:

How were the leads generated? Ask to see a sample of the advertisement and capture page that generated the lead.
How many times does your vendor sell the leads? Do they have an exclusive arrangement with their source to ensure that the leads aren't sold to other lead vendors? The more times the leads are sold, the less value they offer.
How old are the leads? Leads that are over 30 days old decline in response rates and value with each passing day.
Were the prospects enticed into entering their information? As we discussed earlier, incentivized leads are of highly questionable value.
What information do you receive with each lead? Different information is required depending on your preferred marketing method. This brings us to our next topic for discussion...
The next important factor is how you plan to contact your leads. This can make a big difference in the type of leads you choose to use. Most people would select different leads for cold calling as compared to email marketing. Just as there are many different types of leads, there are just as many different ways to contact your leads. The following list represents just a few of the ways to make contact, some low tech and some high tech:

Cold Calling
Direct Mail
Autoresponder Email Marketing
Voice Broadcasting
This site has a whole suite of Internet Marketing tools »

The main thing to remember about leads is there are literally 1,000s of choices. Do your due diligence, ask questions, check out the vendor, and decide on a proven marketing strategy. In the end, leads are only as good as the system you use for creating enrollments in your business. Find a system that works for you and stick with it.

To your success,

BUSINESS OWNER COMMENTS:     leave comment
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Terrie Campbell   1370 day(s) ago
Been hearing a lot about ppc lately, I've just never had a result, maybe I'll check it out again. thanks
Bill Bateman     1370 day(s) ago
Sounds like all "bases" are well covered - and that's important. Leads are always the life blood of business. Thanks for the detailed overview.
Travis Allen   1370 day(s) ago
lead generation - now that's an art. thanks for your blog Charles.
Terri Pattio   1370 day(s) ago
Very informative post Charles about leads. Having a great system to generate highly targeted leads for your business is a must. Buying leads is a scam because if the leads are so good why are they selling them? It just makes sense to learn how to generate your own targeted lead. ~Terri Pattio - MLM Coach/Mentor with a servant's heart
DeeDee Coleman   1371 day(s) ago
Great post, leads can be tough to get and harder to convert.

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