Lead generation is one of the lesser-known and utilized monetization methods, in large part because of the difficulty in capturing and selling leads at scale. While it doesn’t make sense as an approach for most publishers, those in certain verticals may find that lead gen can be extremely profitable.
If you’re thinking about lead gen as a way to make money from your site’s existing traffic base, the tools and resources below will help get you started and figure out if this strategy is right for your audience.
Among Web monetization strategies, lead generation is unique for being non-universal. A site covering just about any topic will be able to serve relevant display ads. The effective CPMs may vary depending on the nature of the subject matter and audience, but a monetization opportunity will exist.
Lead generation is really only a viable monetization opportunity in a handful of niches. Without the presence of deep-pocketed lead buyers, there is little opportunity to make money even if you are able to generate qualified leads.
Testing different designs and layouts is a key component of any monetization strategy, from display advertising to e-commerce. But it’s particularly important for lead generation sites, because small changes to colors, required fields, and calls-to-action can result in a meaningful change in your conversion rate.
The most basic solution here may be Google Experiments, which can be run within Analytics. We also have a couple features highlighting both user-friendly programs for beginners and more customizable testing platforms for more tech-savvy publishers:
One of the most important elements of a lead generation site is the form that actually captures the contact information for the leads that you’ll be selling. If you have ugly or overly-complex forms, you’ll have an uphill battle and will be unlikely to find success in lead generation. If your forms are clean and inviting, however, you’ll see lead capture rates climb.
You’ll be spending a lot of time creating and tweaking lead capture forms, so it is worth investing in a tool that can help with this process.
The monetization of leads is similar to display advertising in the sense that the sale can take various forms. Ideally, you’ll sell leads directly to buyers without a middleman. More likely, you’ll sell your leads to an aggregator such as QuinStreet, who takes a cut of the total revenue generated in return for packaging and selling them to buyers.
Somewhere in between those two are lead marketplaces, which provide an opportunity for lead sellers to auction off their assets to buyers. These marketplaces aren’t nearly as robust as the online ad exchanges, but they may be worth a look for lead generators looking to keep a greater percentage of the total revenue they are generating.
LeadPoint is one marketplace that is worth trying out if you’re interested in maximizing lead gen revenue.
Google Analytics is obviously a key part of any Web monetization strategy, but there are certain tweaks and optimizations that can be made to get the most relevant data possible depending on your exact strategy.
Understanding the behavior of your visitors is critical to lead generation success, as improving your lead capture rate by just a few percentage points can be the difference between failure and wealth. Here are some worthwhile pieces of reading for setting up an optimal analytics account for lead generation:
We’ve highlighted this e-book before, but it’s worth mentioning again here because so many of the tutorials are directly applicable to lead generation. If you’re new to this monetization method, you’ll probably be surprised at the impact that small changes to styling and colors can have on your capture rates.
For example, part of this e-book breaks down the feelings generally associated with various colors. Here’s just a brief snapshot:
You’ll need to enter an email address to get access.
This extended interview with entrepreneur and lead gen veteran Rich McIver cuts through a lot of the generic advice to give specific, actionable ideas for finding lead gen niches and building a lead generation business.
In addition to this Q&A, we have several additional pieces of recommended reading:
Lead generation is one of the toughest monetization nuts to crack; it requires the right combination of niche, design, and scale in order to have a chance at making meaningful money. If you’re taking on the challenge, the resources highlighted above will help get you kicked off and on your way.