Generating leads is a core component of many marketing strategies. In fact, it is often a core component of growth. But as the capacity of online marketing communication grows, so too do the opportunities for online lead generation.
A study from Hinge Marketing found that 77 per cent of professional service providers were generating leads online. But these are not the most compelling results – the more businesses used digital techniques to acquire new leads, the faster they grew. What's more is that they also achieved far better returns.
But online lead generation has hit a stalemate for many organisations.
Are we forgetting the price-quality promise?
Conducting the largest industry report on lead generation ever, MarketingSherpa surveyed almost 2,000 organisations from around the world. The benchmark study found that, on average, all lead generation strategies declined in effectiveness in the early 2010s.
According to marketing professionals during this time, the top priority for lead generation strategies was to increase measurable ROI. But even with a major emphasis on improving the overall quality of leads generated, most organisations still significantly undervalued the price of a qualified lead.
"It's going to take a lot more than simply lowering the cost-per-lead to achieve the goals of today's CMO."
They were attempting to step away from resource-heavy and time-intensive spray and pray methods to focus more on lead generation techniques that were far more likely to procure customers. However, more than a third of professionals were expecting high quality from a price range that can only deliver a limited degree of qualification. It is this misunderstanding which has impeded many organisations' success with online lead generation.
According to the report, marketers should be justifying higher prices per lead to achieve their desire for higher quality, However, the researchers warned that by only focusing on low-cost tactics, "marketers may sacrifice quality for volume without even knowing it."
The dangers of low quality lead generation services
General manager of Yahoo! New Zealand Laura Maxwell-Hansen warned to the Association of New Zealand Advertisers that "Marketers need to be aware that not all online advertising networks are the same."
While there are a lot of options that appeal to an even broader array of price points, it is imperative to understand the implications of securing low-price blind networks.
These are services which can offer competitive prices because they have something to hide. These blind networks often sell a collection content the market has rejected. They are essentially scraping the bottom of the barrel in pulling together a quota of options, suggested Ms Maxwell-Hanson.
Privacy and data security are major concerns for Australian businesses and consumers. Thus not having this source information or assurance of the service provider's methodology poses a risk and limits the delivery of qualified and high quality leads.
"If you can refer to the way your lead has come to you, you have a much stronger lead."
This also presents a risk and missed opportunity for your brand. Without knowing how these customers entered into their journey with you, it's difficult to build on this throughout the nurturing process and develop a stronger relationship, explained founder and director of The Prospect Shop Martine Ruane.
"It's your brand you are putting out there. And if you can refer to the way your lead has come to you, you have a much stronger lead."
Why transparent lead generation providers are better
On the flip side of blind networks are transparent networks, who are completely open to how their information is sourced. Without using a transparent provider, you risk reducing your rates of success and ultimately could be eroding your brand by needlessly contacting disinterested leads.
At The Prospect Shop, our policy is full transparency. To find out more about how you can generate high quality leads online, contact us today.