Is it a Good Idea to Buy Business Leads?

Carmen Rane HudsonSmall Business Websites & Blogs


buy-business-leadsFrustrated business owners often decide to buy business leads because they are having trouble generating those leads on their own. This is certainly understandable, but purchasing leads lists isn’t always an avenue worth exploring.

Usually, lead sellers hand you a list of very old leads. Often, those leads aren’t even targeted in any clear, meaningful way.

That means you’re paying hundreds of dollars for a list that could have essentially been lifted from the white pages. If you wanted to prospect like that you could make random calls for free.

That’s not to say every lead generation company is terrible. There are some who really take the time to generate good quality leads.

Oddly, however, many of them are using techniques that you could have run on your very own website. And since you need to market that website anyway, you might as well push all of your efforts in a single direction.

How do you do it?

Well, in a previous post I talked about putting together an e-mail list. An e-mail list is essentially a lead list.

A list of targeted leads. That you didn’t have to buy from anyone else.

You can create this lead list in a number of different ways. For example, many of our contractor clients have us offer loads of information on their site through on-going blog posts.

This information is free to the customer, creating a positive relationship with them. This usually makes them trust our clients enough to ask for a free estimate.

But we don’t demand that they pick up the phone. Instead, we feature a sign-up form on every page of the site. Filling out the form means receiving the free estimate.

That means each of our contractors are getting an instant lead from a customer who wants to be called. Incidentally they also know their online advertising is generating results, which is far more than can be said for most other advertising methods.

We are, of course, careful to avoid creating nosy or intrusive contact forms. See: Your Contract Form Could Be Losing You Sales.

There are numerous ways for any kind of business to follow this example. You don’t have to be the type of business that offers free estimates.

You just have to offer something else, something the customer would be interested in because they were interested enough in your type of business to find their way to your site.

  • A restaurant could offer customers a free lunch in return for signing up.
  • An insurance agent could offer a small gift card to a coffee shop.
  • A retailer could offer a 10% off coupon.
  • A chiropractor could offer a first exam and adjustment for $75.
  • Free e-books, webinars, and white papers are all classics that work for every kind of business.

Not every business will use the lead capture form the same way. The insurance agent, chiropractor, and contractor might all put in a phone call and use the e-mail list primarily to send out blog updates.

The retailer and the restaurant manager might use the e-mail list to promote events and sales, trusting that they will draw in customers each and every time they put out one of those notices.

Of course, to make all of this work you’ll have to drive some traffic to your website. That means using ongoing SEO methods such as local optimization, regular content production, social media and backlink building, among other things.

Getting traffic will also increase the number of people who call you, even if they don’t fill out your online form. Those are leads too.

And all of these leads actually convert, which is more than can be said for the stuff which shows up on most “lead lists.”