The 2010 A4D Meetup was great. The venue was nice, the attendance was good, and the speakers were great. We also had some really nice weather in San Diego that day which seemed to put everyone in a great mood. The recurring theme for this meetup was Lead Generation. I took a bunch of notes and just now got to typing them up. Here ya go….
DK spoke about Facebook advertising. The main tip he gave was about the types of images that get the best CTR. In his testing of the dating niche, he found that ads that look like snapshots of real people do better than ads with pics that look more professional. Slick photos of pretty models do worse than candid photos of regular people. The other tip he gave was always be testing; you never know what will work. Not new advice, but good just the same. Be aggressive in your testing. Test everything: pics, ad copy, landers…. everything.
The rest of DK’s presentation was what interested me most: local lead gen. I remember reading about this on Shoemoney’s blog a long time ago. Why is this so interesting? Easy: even newbies that read this blog know more about online advertising than 95% of small business owners. So, boom, you’re an expert. On top of that, all businesses need leads and most have no clue how to make online advertising really work for them.
Think about it: most businesses first hired a retarded web designer who didn’t know anything about SEO. Then they hired a shady SEO company who promised them top ranking and ended up charging them way too much for tweaking meta tags and some shitty links from Squidoo. The vast majority of these business owners have never really made any decent money from the internet. Why? These people have not met a real marketer.
That’s where you can come in. With little or no competition you can approach them with the idea of performance based advertising. They pay you per lead. What’s that? An honest deal ? Shocking! Compared to the bottom feeder SEO guys you’re going to look like Abraham Lincoln.
When speaking to business owners, DK said distilled his pitch down to this: “Would it be OK if I send you some free customers for a week?” When the guy says “yes”, you can do a test run. Get a handful of leads, and hand them over. Then ask them how much each of those leads is worth to him. If you can sell the leads at a profit, you’re in business.
The beauty again is: local = low competition and steady campaigns. And you will actually be helping people make money while you make some for yourself. The only hitch in my mind is that it may be difficult for some business owners to figure out what a lead is worth. I posed this question to DK and he basically recommended you stick with marketing savvy owners like plastic surgeons, dentists, lawyers, etc. That makes sense but leaves a ton of industries and money on the table. It also means that you will be more likely to run into competitors who are also focusing on these industries. I would love to hear, in detail, how we as marketers could help the average business owners put a price on his leads. That would open up even more customers in low competition industries. (Maybe if DK’s Google Alert fires he can chime in on some comments here.)
In my mind, local lead gen has an awesome potential to generate some money. It’s another way for you bring your marketing skills to bear and really be able to kill it in niches that aren’t full of dickheads driving up bid prices.
More reading on this topic: How to Make Money with Local Affiliate Programs
By far, he had the most entertaining presentation. His power point had jokes throughout and it was pretty funny. He spoke on the advantages and disadvantages of lead gen. Advantages: everyone wants leads, it’s much easier to fill out a form than use a credit card, lifespan of the niche can be very long, advertisers are more reputable, you can work with name brands, and there is less pushback from traffic sources since offers are reputable. The disadvantages: lower payouts, ROI is not like acai, you’re depending on the advertiser to convert, and the barrier to entry for competitors is very low.
His “FTW cheat sheet”:
Experiment with different ad text.
Customize the pitch to the offer & payout.
Low payouts (zip/email submits): Direct link. Pitch and pray.
Medium Payouts (short lead forms): Use a bridge page with a simple, refined message. Use good calls to action, and multiple links to get as little drop-off as possible.
Higher Payouts (Credit cards, Mortages): Use full scale landing page. News page, flog, etc. can work.
He recommended you become an expert on a few ad systems. Advice I have seen echoed time and time again by other successful marketers.
He also recommended leveraging Facebook to find the demographic that responds best to your offer. Then do direct media buys using sites with those demos.
Hagan also found that ads perform differently on every traffic source, but landers seem to work the same across all traffic sources. Interesting…
And finally, he recommended a few books that are good read: