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Lead Generation 101: Everything You Need to Know about Effective Lead Acquisition

Raise your hand (metaphorically) if your website or social media campaign could use more traffic. Or if you’ve set a goal to expand your list for your next outbound email campaign in a cost-effective way.

The good news? It’s a sea of raised hands out there, because affordable, qualified leads are the holy grail of marketing. The even better news? Both these objectives can be accomplished with a well-executed lead generation campaign.

Lead gen services in a nutshell

Though the term seems straightforward, “lead generation campaign” is a bit confusing. Consider this: most digital campaigns are designed to drive response, typically in the form of a click or sign up. To generate leads, you might run email or programmatic campaigns, or place targeted campaigns on social platforms. These tactics differ from what is commonly known in the industry as lead gen services in one very significant way: how you’re charged for them.

CPM vs CPL: Breaking down the lead gen process

There are millions of websites and blogs out there looking to generate revenue by selling digital advertising space. So, they join a variety of ad networks to facilitate the process. As the advertiser, you’re charged cost per thousand (CPM) — a flat rate for every thousand times your ad appears, whether someone reacts to it or not.

But digital advertising is like an airline seat — if it’s unsold when the plane departs, it has zero value. That’s where lead gen programs fit in. When a site or blog owner is unable to sell all available advertising inventory through an ad network, they may opt to join a lead gen network to help monetize their unsold inventory.

Both ad and lead gen networks function as middlemen, helping to simplify the media placement process for the advertiser, provide tracking and measurability and protect you from fraud.

Like the aforementioned airline seat, prices for lead gen network inventory are typically lower than an ad network. In fact, the entire model shifts. Instead of being compensated for just showing your ad, the bar is set higher — advertisers are charged only when someone views their ad, clicks on it, and takes action to become a qualified lead such as signing up for promotional offers, entering a contest or sweepstakes, requesting product information or subscribing to a newsletter.

Less control, more advantageous pricing

Another major difference between ad and lead gen networks is where your ads appear. For the former, the advertiser selects the publisher and placement that fit their audience criteria. Lead gen placements, however, are determined by the site or blog owner. This lack of control over the placement process can seem off-putting, but the system works. Because you’re only charged when your lead form is completed, only the sites which know they have your target audience will pick up your campaign. The system places you where your results will be maximized and you benefit from all the free impressions the site delivers to drive traffic to your landing page.

That’s how you know you’re going to get the best possible site placements. Since sites don’t make any money until they generate results for you, site owners look for campaigns they know their audience will respond to.

Generate leads online: Getting started

Think a lead gen campaign might be worth trying? Your first stop should be an experienced lead gen services provider — one that has proven, established relationships with multiple reputable lead gen networks and can demonstrate that they’ve run successful campaigns for a variety of brands.

What happens next? At d3, your offer and website are reviewed by our lead gen experts to determine if your brand will do well in the marketplace. We’ve found that the lead generation process drives the best results for companies with reasonably strong name recognition, broad consumer appeal and a moderate price point. It’s rare that luxury brands or obscure offers find success using lead generation campaigns.

Next, we look at what information you’re looking to collect from the consumer, known as your lead form. This form must be the first thing a user sees when clicking through to your website or social campaign landing page. Most advertisers use an interstitial or pop-over form to accomplish this. The form also contains a pixel to track results.

Budgeting for lead gen services

Lead gen campaign pricing varies based on factors such as:

  • The brand
  • Access to a qualified audience
  • Number of fields collected on the lead form

Keep in mind that you’re only charged for new leads. If someone responds to your offer and they’re already a customer or on your prospect list, you don’t pay for that lead. Additionally, leads that are undeliverable are not billable.

Once you’ve signed off on pricing and your form pixel is placed and tested, you’re ready to launch. Your creative is loaded into the network site, and site owners will start running your ads to generate leads online.

Campaigns generally start out slowly, working within your pre-determined daily budget, and gain momentum once your offer and results have had a week or so to test and solidify. From that point forward, you can count on a steady stream of leads, lots of free branding, and paying only for the results you need.

The d3 lead generation advantage

Lots of digital marketing companies provide lead generation services. But not all can produce quality sales leads that convert into customers. The d3 lead acquisition pros have run countless large-scale campaigns, generating thousands of sign-ups efficiently, effectively and fast. And we’d love to do the same for you. Let’s talk.

Susan Sigal Goldsmith d3
Susan Sigel Goldsmith
Email Expert

Susan Sigel Goldsmith has over 25 years of experience in the marketing field with a diverse background spanning publishing, direct marketing, digital marketing, and email. She has worked with brands large and small, and ran her own marketing agency prior to joining Specialists/d3. She lives on Cape Cod with her son and pug, and enjoys gardening, sailing and horses.

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