As I stated in my payment terms explanation, the most commonly asked question from new lead gen prospects is how much leads cost. You can see our answer to that question in the aforementioned blog post, or our FAQ page here.
The second most commonly asked question is: “how quickly will you start delivering leads after I sign up”? So I’d like to answer that question in depth here. The speed at which any lead provider can start sending leads depends their business model. More specifically, the forms of advertising (each with their own advantages and disadvantages) used to create leads. In general, the better the quality of leads a company produces, the more time it takes for research, preparation, and execution of the advertising campaign that produces those leads.
If you want leads yesterday, you’ll probably have to sacrifice quality by working with a company that uses what I call “cookie cutter” or “off-the-shelf” advertising campaigns. The resultant leads won’t be pre-qualified very well, or the company simply resells leads from other providers. But those leads are usually rehashed, old, dead, and won’t make you any money.
But if you want a higher quality of leads, you’ll need to work with a company that builds custom pay per call campaigns. The tradeoff is that it will take some more time for campaign setup. Now with that being said, I’m speaking in general terms… it’s not set in stone. Let’s qualify this all a bit more below..
As an exclusive lead provider, we have to be much smarter with our advertising than a non-exclusive, or what I like to call “shared” lead providers. Shared lead providers who sell every lead they create to 4 – 5 or more businesses in the same area obviously make 4 – 5 times more per lead than a company that sells exclusive leads (only once)–everything else being equal. That might not be the exact amount–but the point is–they make multiples more per lead. So they can afford to be sloppy with their advertising, and/or pay more for it while still making a hefty (outrageous) profit once the leads are sold. That’s why they can typically have open ended advertising campaigns in most home service markets nationwide without worrying about profit. And it’s also why they can deliver leads relatively quickly once new customers sign up with them.
So you might think quickly delivered leads is an advantage of those companies, but once customers realize how little ROI (if any) they make having to “win” every job over several competitors, many won’t continue buying them. Overall customer turnover is high, and that becomes the business model for these companies. Churn and burn. But I’m getting off track here…
The overall point is, exclusive lead providers have to stretch their advertising dollars much further, make a much smaller profit margin, and consequently they may not be able to deliver leads as quickly as shared lead providers.
But this isn’t always the case. The advertising source used to generate the leads is the most significant determining factor of how long the wait will be. Let me explain below…
Advertising and Traffic Sources
There are advantages and disadvantages to any traffic or advertising source. Generally, the quicker traffic can be developed, the more expensive it is.
A good example is Google Adwords. The drawback of Google Adwords and other PPC platforms is that it’s quite expensive on a per click basis. But the tradeoff is that it offers almost immediate exposure and traffic.
As an exclusive lead provider that only sells each lead we develop once – EVER – we can’t afford to use Google Adwords in many home service markets (usually higher end markets) like window replacement, roofing, remodeling additions, etc. AdWords is very competitive and cost $30 – $100+ per click. If we’re selling leads for $75 – $100 each, we’d lose money.
AdWords does work for us in the more urgent need markets where lead volume is high, such as, emergency plumbing, handyman, water damage, other property damage services, etc.
Organic search traffic (SEO) doesn’t have the disadvantage of of PPC platforms like Adwords because it’s much cheaper to develop the traffic with, but it’s more expensive every year still. The disadvantage of SEO is that it’s very slow to develop exposure and traffic—usually in the 4 – 6 months range. And it’s getting longer and longer to rank a new lead gen site.
Pretty much any other form of traffic or advertising will have the above advantage or disadvantage. So essentially you have to choose between expensive, or slow to develop. The quicker the visibility and exposure, the more expensive it will be. The less expensive it is, the less exposure you’ll get, or the slower it will take to develop (such as with SEO).
Quality of Leads
I’ve written extensively in previous posts about how lead quality is highly dependent on how well prospects are qualified before contacting you, but generally, the more you prequalify prospects, the more expensive the advertising is. Because response is correspondingly lower. This is a significant contributor to speed of delivery as well.
So hopefully the above has explained a little bit about the various reasons why really good leads can sometimes take longer for a company to generate. And generally, the quicker you get leads from a construction lead company, the weaker the lead quality will be.
The very best leads you’ll get are the ones you develop through your own advertising, or by hiring a marketing consultant and services provider to help you with your own in-house marketing. That way you can take advantage of your own company’s brand, reputation, unique selling points (USP), and more.
The next best thing is working with a construction lead company that focuses on quality leads, and as a result, long term client retention.
How Quickly Do We Deliver Leads?
With all the above said, we use as many forms of traffic as possible with established clients, but with new clients we usually start with 2 sources. The first is online classified advertising, which produces immediate exposure and should start developing leads within a few of launch. However, the drawback is that leads from classifieds aren’t as good as those from other traffic source we use.
But after our standard 5 – 10 day setup period, leads should start coming in relatively quickly.
The second traffic source we employ for new client campaigns is Google AdWords as mentioned above, which produces good quality leads. But again, sometimes we can’t bid on the main high intent keywords for the service because of competition. So it might take a little time to find keywords that have a combination of traffic volume and cost per click (CPC). AdWords can take several weeks to start generating leads from. And this optimization stage is costly.
It’s important to realize however, that most of the sources we use gain momentum over time, and more and more traffic and leads start coming in. It’s not like turning a faucet on and off. It’s more of an organic, gradual increase, or snowball effect that needs to be carefully built and nurtured.
Growing a solid lead funnel, just like growing a business itself, takes time.
We do continually reinvest lead fees into our client campaigns to produce more and more traffic, exposure and ultimately calls and leads for clients. This is why we don’t really start seeing revenue for several months from each new client!
Hopefully that demonstrates that our main priority is making money for our clients and developing long term client partnerships.