Lead generation has never been one of my most favorite methods of internet marketing.
Until late 2018.
That’s when I finally decided to build my first lead generation website. You see, I have this private coaching in Bengali language for my native audience and I wanted to show them a step by step guide on how to make money selling leads online.
That was the primary goal of the site.
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Then I started enjoying the process.
Now, one of my websites make $900-$1200/month constantly selling leads. I am building more lead generation sites and my plan is to grow this part of the business to $5000/month by the end of 2019.
Sounds reasonable, right?
How I am doing things? Well, that’s what today’s case study is all about.
Let’s get this going!
What is Lead Generation Business Model?
Before I get into the details of how I did it (and do it even now), let me quickly give you an overview of the business model.
As the name suggest, your job, as a lead generator is to generate business for a company/client. A lead can be an email or a phone call (sometimes, physical visits too but we won’t go into that today). For most of you, you will either be generating phone calls or simply, email queries for a business.
So we simply start by selecting an industry, then creating a website which we will use to generate leads and then follow that up by marketing that website so that we receive links. My favorite marketing methods are SEO and Google Ads when it comes to lead generation.
Once you start getting leads, you will have to find a company who will buy the leads from you. Once that part is sorted, you are basically done.
Now simply keep getting and forwarding leads to the company and invoicing them every Monday. It is a win-win for both parties. Clients will be happy with you as they don’t need to heavily invest in marketing as much and you will be happy too as it becomes ‘passive’ once you have the process in place.
Let’s dig deep.
Selecting Your Target Industry For the Lead Generation Website
When you are trying to create a lead generation business, the first thing to identify is your ‘target industry’.
This is important because wrong target will put the whole effort in a big risk which you don’t want.
When it comes to targeting an industry, we would want to target one that has high value for a lead.
For example, dentistry is a great industry to target because every lead is worth a lot of money (the cost of service is high). On the other hand, a carpet cleaning business might not be worth it because of the service being a low cost one from the beginning.
There are 5 things that you need to keep in mind to find the perfect industry.
Enough Ads on Google
If an industry is spending on Google ads, the chance is very high that they value leads and they are eager to spend money to get quality leads. A simple Google search will tell you that the keyword ‘swimming pool Dublin’ only has one Ad running at this moment where plumber Dublin is rocking 3.
This tells you that the plumbing industry is a better one to go for than the swimming pool market in Dublin.
When you are doing your research, you will find that some keywords don’t have any Ads on Google, despite having search volume. That’s when you realize those keywords have no future for your lead generation business.
High Value Per Customer
The next thing to think about is the value of a customer for a business. We briefly discussed this above but let me explain further.
The value of a carpet cleaning lead and a life insurance lead isn’t the same. Where a life insurance lead in any market will pay thousands, over multiple years, a carpet cleaner gig will only earn $50-$200 on average.
Therefore, the mindset of both these businesses are very different.
Where a life insurance company will love new leads and will be happy to pay $50-$100 for a lead, a carpet cleaner might not.
That’s what you need to keep in mind while researching. If you find out a niche that is very cheap, you will not be able to sell leads with a good margin.
Reachable For Me
This is the third thing I look at whenever I am researching for a potential lead generation website.
Is the company reachable for me? Can I reach them to offer the leads?
This has actually happened with one of my students. He created a website targeting finance industry and no bank responded to his cold emails.
He ended up not being able to sell any leads because the banks didn’t care.
Always make sure that you are targeting an industry that is not too big for you to reach the decision maker. If you are targeting banking, finance, or similar industries, chances are higher that you will never find the owner of a business to offer your lead generation service.
Decent Search Volume
The keyword that I selected for this particular website I am talking about had 590 searches/month in the Dublin market.
I wouldn’t probably recommend going with anything that has below 300. Remember, every traffic that comes to your website will not convert into a lead.
Here’s a quick math to analyze the potential of a traffic:
The keyword I selected had 590 search volume a month. The top 3 position on Google gets 80% of clicks, which simply means that the top 3 positions ranking for this particular keyword will receive around 480 clicks/month.
I don’t own all 3 sites. I only own one of them so let’s assume I will only receive 25% of those 480 clicks. That’s around 120 clicks.
Conversion rates are very high on lead generation websites, however, I will still be careful and assume that I only convert 30% of those clicks into a lead.
That’s 36 leads for me every month.
If I sell each for $20, that’s an additional $720 in my portfolio.
For the website that I am referring to in this article, I actually rank for multiple keywords and I also charge the company in euro, which is why the number is slightly better for me ($900 on average per month).
Competition on Page 1
The last thing that you need to look at is the competition on page 1. There’s no point selecting an industry and jumping into it to create a lead generation website if you can’t rank the site on page 1.
If you are not good at SEO, you shouldn’t start building lead gen websites as you will end up losing money and time.
My recommendation would be looking at the average backlinks, the domain authority, the page authority, the amount of content, the brand value and the age of all 10 URLs that are currently ranked on page 1 for your target industry.
Do you think you can beat them in next 6 months?
If yes, go for it.
If not, try to find an easier industry to target.
Building Your Actual Website
If you have done the steps right, you now have an industry that you want to build the lead generation site for.
It is time to build the actual site.
In my case, I bought the domain around mid 2018 from Namecheap and the hosting from Siteground in June, 2018. I recommend both these companies as they are the cheapest in the current market with great customer service. Both of them have live chat support which I admire the most.
Anyway, I used a regular WordPress theme to design the site. It had a home page, it had a contact us page and It had a booking page, that’s about it.
The domain was an EMD (exact match domain).
I followed my regular checklist of building a website for this one too. Nothing fancy. You have to make sure that you get a good logo from places like Fiverr and spend a few hours writing base content for the page.
If you are not sure what to write or if you are not good at writing content, I would recommend trying this content creation service. An order of 1000 words will be more than enough for you in this case.
Once I had around 2000 words on the site, I manually indexed it on Search Console and kept it like that for the next few months.
The site indexed and came within top 100 positions of Google very quickly (I don’t remember the exact timeline).
I sent some quality backlinks and citations to the site and It ranked on page 1 by November, 2018.
From that day till today, I was always on page 1 for two very important keywords with that lead generation website.
Finding a Client to Sell Leads
Arguably, this is the hardest part of the whole lead generation business. Of course, if you are going the other way around then life would be a lot easier.
Some of my friends find a company first, go into an agreement with them and then start the whole process of building and ranking sites. My approach is the other way so mine involves the pain.
I wrote my first batch of cold emails in December, 2018.
I didn’t see much success. Out of 45 emails I sent, one said it is illegal for me to send them cold emails (thanks to GDPR), a few responded but wasn’t that interested and a few said they will let me know which they never did (of course).
I could lose hope but hey….
Losing hope didn’t make me come this far, did it?
So I found 50 founders of companies that I was targeting and I added all of them on LinkedIn with a private note saying, I can help them with marketing.
That’s where I got my first interest.
Someone agreed for me to send them free leads for 2 weeks.
So I did that.
At this point, I was receiving around 8-10 leads/week on my lead gen website.
Unfortunately, the deal didn’t go well. She kind of got the free leads and was never interested in paying for them.
So I moved on.
Long story short, I finally found a company who were happy to pay 20 euro/lead and I have been sending them leads for over two months now.
I bill them every other Monday and they mostly pay within the same week.
That’s an extra $1000 USD in my portfolio.
Not bad, right?
Lead generation is a fascinating business model. I am pretty sure that I will build more lead generation websites, specially targeting the USA market.
What I found is that, though it is slightly easier to rank websites that are not targeting USA, it is a lot more difficult when it comes to selling those leads.
On the other hand, whenever I had a project targeting US market, I had the best selling options.
That’s just the nature of a matured market.
I will keep you posted on what I do with the coming lead gen sites.
If you have liked this article, if you have any questions or confusions, write a comment and I will reply.