Lead Gen 2014: The year of performance
Matthew Edwards is managing director of efinity Leads
In the backdrop of another lead generation firm getting into trouble, it’s clear to me that margins are getting tighter.
As the industry gets more competitive and becomes increasingly scrutinised by regulators, it’s time to think seriously about what next year holds in store – especially if you buy mortgage leads.
I think there are four key things to think about as we approach 2014.
It was not unheard of mortgage leads trading for £150 and still being in short supply in the run up to the last financial crash.
The demand for specific types of leads was driven by an overinflated housing market and the margins for both sellers and buyers of leads crashed, when the economy collapsed.
Lead margins are now so slim and keywords so competitive, that some of the major financial marketers have abandoned mortgage all together. Lead generators who expect to make money for nothing will go bust and if you’re lead generator has a fancy office in central London and tries to increase lead prices every time the wind changes beware as this could be the symptoms of something a lot more serious.
This time next year we’ll all be talking about click to call and the value of inbound calls generated through search.
Online acquisition is changing and the demand for instant access to information is spreading to financial intermediaries.
Consumers who want that “instant quote” don’t have time to fill in a form and wait for you to call them back – they want to speak to you now!
As the smart phone becomes ubiquitous so too will in-bound voice leads where the consumers clicks to call you.
If you work with lead sellers, you’ll be familiar with the cry for “full” feedback.
A lot of buyers of leads think that some sellers ask for feedback mainly as a way of hiding behind campaign codes and the feeling in the industry is that nothing is ever meaningfully done with the information that’s provided.
For some firms this might be true but speaking as someone who runs multiple online acquisition campaigns, done properly full feedback is essential and helps me genuinely improve the quality of leads I produce. If you don’t trust your supplier enough to trust them with feedback on the leads that you are paying them for, why are you working with them? Before 2014, sit down with your supplier and agree a period of feedback and lead conversion targets.
Financial services lead generation has been the wild west of marketing for far too long and this is changing. The FCA have made it clear they intend to regulate online marketers and as with all regulation, it will happen quickly and without much consultation. Are your lead generation partners ready? Are they authorised? Do they have a compliance plan? I predict that by the end of 2014 all financial services lead generators will need to be authorised by the FCA so it’s time to start planning.
A lead generation industry focused on return and contact rate under the watchful eye of the FCA, is good for the industry and good for the consumer.
Make sure you’re ready for 2014 before you crack out Auld Lang Syne!