If you’re a mortgage broker, independent financial adviser, or an insurance broker, who is struggling to find leads in the current challenging economic climate, it can be tempting to look for a short cut. For many this short cut involves buying leads from an online lead source.
Regardless of how big your company is, it’s usually more effective to set up your own in-house online lead generation plan. By doing this you can avoid some of the problems that are associated with using a third party for leads, while also maintaining control of your lead generation. We spoke to Insite Web, who specialise in helping companies generate their own mortgage leads & IFA leads.
Problems with buying leads for mortgages and financial service providers
Buying leads from an external lead generation company can seem like a quick and easy way to source new customers. The process doesn’t come without problems though. Even before for you get to the hard work of turning those leads into clients, you will need to consider the following:
- Quality may not be consistent – Not only may you be working with an external company you don’t really know, but you may also be working with an external company that is working with several other third parties to get the leads. This can result in leads varying in quality dramatically.
- Too many un-qualified leads – Lead generation companies are a great way to get a high volume of leads. High volume doesn’t equate to high quality though; and the more leads you have to sift through, the harder it can be to identify the best ones.
- Not evergreen – The time it can takes for a lead generation company to source the leads that they pass to you can mean that they are no longer current. You may find if you don’t act quickly you will lose the lead, or worse still they sell the same leads to more than one company!
- Expense – Buying leads adds another cost you can’t really control to your business. Unless the lead generation company allows you to have a trial, or will offer a money-back guarantee, you may also just be throwing that money away.
What else can you do?
If you decide that buying IFA, mortgage and other financial service leads isn’t for you, what are the alternatives? How do you find new customers within an extremely competitive market?
One way that you can replace bought in leads is by generating your own qualified leads online. There are lots of ways of doing this including building a new website or refreshing your existing website content. You can also use your social media profiles, emails, or often the most effective is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
In addition, if you’ve previously used purchased leads because of their ability to provide you with leads from a particular geographical area, or a specific demographic, then these goals can easily be achieved working with a marketing agency to create your own geo targeted lead generation strategy.
Generating your own leads online
Do your research
Before you start looking for qualified leads online make sure you know who you want to target, that’s the only way you can qualify them. Online lead generation is only ever as good as the information and research you put into the process initially, so really think about who you want as clients.
Identify the best channels
Once you know who and what you are looking for, think about where they are likely to see your content. You’ll probably want to use your website in some way but if, for example, you are mainly interested in B2B clients then you may get as much success focussing on a platform like LinkedIn, or having a phone call based strategy.
Understand what they really search for online
Keyword, customer, and market research tells you what real people search for. To be effective this should be focussed on your precise business needs and services. The more generic the keywords you use are, the less sophisticated your results will be.
Update your website
Many websites are designed purely or mainly to showcase a business’s services. While it’s clearly a good idea to let people know what you do, if you aren’t also using your website to generate leads then you are missing an opportunity.
Make sure that your copy is optimised for search engines so that your website appears high up in the search rankings, and includes targeted content that allows you to capture and validate visitors’ details and needs.
Have an email plan
Don’t just send out emails randomly. Plan a strategy for email communications that engage and nurture your contacts, this type of strategy helps turn them into qualified leads.
Use PPC advertising
If your keyword research has been carried out thoroughly, Pay Per Click ads, such as Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, can be targeted very effectively. These ad platforms are supported by data analysis tools which can also let you tweak campaigns, and quickly stop elements that don’t work well. However if you don’t know what you are doing they can be expensive. So, ask an expert to help set this up and manage these for you if you’ve no experience of them.
Save time with automation
Digital and online processes are well suited to automation. Many processes, like form based leads, are repetitive tasks that can quickly be automated. While automation can also make more complex tasks more manageable. The analysis that can be built to sit behind this automation will also help you to avoid continuing with strategies that are ineffective.
Best Strategy for the long term
Moving from a bought in lead strategy to your own lead generation processes can seem a daunting prospect. If in doubt, work with an experienced marketing and lead generation company. They should be able to provide you with a detailed marketing plan, showing you their customer and market research, insights, and conclusions, plus be able to demonstrate expertise and examples of what they’ve achieved for other clients.
Although running an online lead generation strategy can be complicated, and require initial investment, with support and professional guidance you too can generate great qualified leads online that are profitable, repeatable, and scalable over time.