As a local business owner, you live and die by the leads that you come in. Most local businesses don’t have large reserves of cash and therefore need to ensure that they have a consistent cash flow from new clients so that they can continue to grow and pay the owner a salary. But getting new leads on a daily or weekly basis is easier said than done.
There are more methods than you could count which can bring in a huge quantity of qualified leads, but some are far more efficient than others. With the turn of the century came the internet, which makes it easier than ever before for local businesses like yours to find potential clients and turn them into customers. Just one of the many online lead generation tactics that can work for a company like yours is a pay-per-lead service.
What are Pay per Lead Services?
PPL services are companies which generate leads for small businesses and only charge you for each lead that they send you. Companies like Angie’s List and Homeowner have a similar model whereby you can pay them for each call or quote form completion that happens on your website.
These companies can generate a vast quantity of leads on a daily basis because they rank high in search engines like Google, they use paid ads and they have a substantial social media following. By buying leads from them, you can leech off some of this traffic to benefit yourself. Pay per lead services can be controversial, which is why we have five pro’s and five con’s to share with you.
Let’s start with the plus sides.
1. You only pay for generated leads
The biggest benefit of using a pay-per-lead service is that you’re not wasting money on advertising or marketing that might not be effective. This advantage is particularly important for smaller or growing local businesses who can’t afford to waste a single dime. By using a pay-per-lead service, you can only pay out of pocket for qualified leads who get into contact with you, and therefore you have greater control over your spending and your cost per conversion.
Depending on the service you might pay more per lead than you could if you ran the lead generation yourself, but you get the added benefit of security. Rather than worrying about “what if,” you can focus on running your business and let another company handle your lead generation for you.
2. It incentivizes only effective practices
You only pay lead generation services for the leads that you get, not for their attempt and therefore it incentivizes them to be as effective as possible. They know that you have other options if the leads aren’t working for you and therefore this incentivizes them to generate good quality leads for you and in a high quantity.
If you have little to no experience in lead generation, it might make sense to pay-per-lead. Otherwise, you could also consider outsourcing your lead generation to an SEO company like us who can rank your lead generation assets. Either way, efficiency is the key to lead generation because it drives down the cost per lead and allows you to generate more profit per customer.
3. Few agencies offer it – so perhaps it must be good?
The theory of scarcity suggests that because few agencies offer pay-per-lead, it must be inherently valuable. While you could question this logic, it’s true that running a pay-per-lead service is incredibly challenging and therefore those who do offer this service are experienced, technically knowledgeable and capable at lead generation. These are the kinds of people you want to partner with.
4. You don’t spend money on advertising
Spending money on advertising can be tremendously valuable, but it can also be a huge risk, and that’s a side of marketing that nobody wants to talk about. There’s a chance that you could spend thousands on advertising and get nothing in return, whereas with pay-per-lead services you know that for every dollar you put in you’re getting qualified leads coming back.
While you still need to convert those leads into paying customers to make a profit, that’s in your wheelhouse. Whereas with advertising you’re taking a risk on something that you’re not an expert in and therefore you could potentially lose money this way.
5. You don’t need to have a website
Finally, for pay-per-lead, you don’t even need a website. You can simply list your number on their website or directory and have the phone ringing week after week with new qualified leads. This makes your job much simpler, it saves you money, and it allows you to focus on completing your jobs rather than worrying about finding new customers.
And now, the drawbacks.
1. You don’t own the leads generated
Perhaps the biggest downside of using a pay-per-lead service is that you don’t own the leads that are generated by the company. Depending on the way that the service works this can have one of two downsides. Firstly, if they collect leads on their site, it’s up to them who they send each lead to, and therefore you have little control over the quality of the leads.
Secondly, if the leads are tracked by call you don’t have ownership of the leads, and therefore it’s hard to message them back, and you can’t sell them to somebody else if they aren’t the right fit for you.
2. Often they aren’t exclusive
Only in very rare situations will you be the only company in your area who is getting leads from a service. Therefore, you’re getting a small fraction of the total leads available in your local area and are missing out on other customers who are being sent to your competitors instead. Whereas if you create your lead generation assets and have us do your SEO to rank them, you’ll be able to acquire a greater percentage of the total number of leads and at no additional cost per lead.
3. Leads are shared by multiple parties
It’s often the case that the same leads are sent out to multiple parties which dilutes the value of an individual lead. You might not be aware of this but many services will send out one lead to multiple companies, and therefore you’re paying for a lead that might already have decided to work with your competitors. That doesn’t sound fair, does it?
Instead, you should create your lead generation assets and rank them in Google so that you can have complete control over your marketing. Plus, this prevents the leads from being shared and therefore increases their value hugely because they will be far more likely to convert into paying customers.
4. You have no control over the leads you get
When you work with a pay-per-lead service, you have practically no control over the leads that you get sent. Instead, you choose to work with them, and they send you the leads that they get, but you can’t control the area, the wealth of those leads or what services they are specifically looking for. Whereas if you create your lead generation assets, you can market them in a specific manner and create sales copy that will attract a particular type of customer.
5. You don’t own the assets that create the leads
Finally, you can’t ever break away from these pay-per-lead companies because you don’t own any of the lead generation assets and you might not even have a website. You’ll always be dependent on them to run your business, and this is the ultimate sin because it reduces your control as a businessperson.
Instead, you should create lead generation assets that you have complete control over like a website that you do SEO on to rank for lead generating keywords. This gives you greater freedom and control, and it means that you’re not reliant on another business for your company to thrive.