A lead generation service can provide a consistent flow of referrals with measurable outcomes and high return on investment. Is your agency ready for one?
Most of us, whether we realized it or not, have used a lead generation service at some point.
For example, if you’ve ever used Angi, HomeAdvisor, or Thumbtack to find a lawn service or a handyman, you were using a lead generation service or paid lead program; the providers that you were referred to paid to receive your information.
Similarly, when family members are seeking senior living options for their loved ones, they are frequently using sites such as A Place for Mom or Caring.com to help them navigate their options. Once the family completes an online inquiry or speaks to a care advisor, their information is shared with a select number of participating providers who match their needs. For families, this helps narrow their options and can save them time and energy researching providers. For providers, when used effectively, lead generation services provide a consistent flow of referrals with measurable outcomes and high return on investment.
If you are considering using a lead generation service for your business, or you used one in the past but weren’t happy with the results, there are several factors to consider when determining whether a lead generation service is the right fit or producing the best results. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a lead generation service, and how does it work?
It is a form of marketing and advertising that generates targeted referrals for your business.
Lead generation services typically have large advertising budgets that extend the reach of your individual sales and marketing efforts.
They promote your brand and deliver pre-qualified referrals for customers seeking your services.
They provide a consistent and predictable flow of prospects that can produce immediate results, as well as an ongoing pipeline of referrals to nurture long-term.
Most lead generation services operate on a cost-per-lead basis and organizations pay a small fee for each lead they receive.
Where do paid leads come from?
Lead generation services source their leads primarily through strong television and digital media presence with a large advertising reach.
The Internet is a key resource for those seeking senior care recommendations and advice. Online referral services, or lead generating services, are viewed as a trusted expert and advisor to help navigate senior care options.
For senior care, most inquiries (or leads) are from an adult child seeking care for a parent, followed by those seeking care for themselves or their spouse.
Consumers typically complete a brief questionnaire online, which is routed to the referral service which matches the consumer with an appropriate provider.
In some cases, lead generation services have local advisors that work with social workers and discharge planners to help families who are seeking care options.
Should lead generation services be a part of your sales and marketing plan?
Now that you have a bit of background, how can you determine if a lead generation service is the right fit for your company?
Most service-oriented businesses can benefit from using a lead generation service at some time or another. Paid leads are especially beneficial for businesses that don’t have an established word of mouth referral network or have reached a plateau and are not achieving their growth goals. However, for lead generation services to be effective, you need to be sure that you both have the capacity to respond quickly and effectively to the referrals that you receive and have the resources and processes in place to nurture the referrals on an ongoing basis.
Not all paid leads that you receive are going to have an urgent need for your services. Making a solid first impression and remaining in contact with the potential client are essential for success.
How to select a lead generation service
The process for screening and matching consumers with businesses varies greatly from one lead generation referral service to another. First and foremost, make sure you choose a referral service that focuses on senior care. Second, do your research. Ask the right questions before deciding which lead generation service(s) to partner with. Keep in mind that you can use more than one lead generation service at a time—typically, these services have different approaches for obtaining leads, so it is not likely that you will receive duplicate leads if you use more than one lead generation service.
Questions to consider when choosing a lead generation service:
What is their lead volume in your area?
Can lead volume be customized to your needs?
How do they get the leads that they send you?
What is their screening/pre-qualification process?
How and when are leads delivered to you?
What do they charge?
Is there a monthly minimum budget to participate?
Is there a long-term contract?
How many other providers receive the lead?
What is the return/credit policy for leads?
Do they have an online directory that displays your company profile?
What to expect when you start receiving leads
Remember that these are prospects, not guaranteed clients. The prospect is likely unfamiliar with how your service works, how it is paid for, and possibly uncertain about their exact needs. They need your expertise. Keep in mind that they are likely talking to multiple providers, so you need to be responsive and put your best foot forward.
Conversion rates on paid leads tend to be lower than word-of-mouth referrals, so it is important to have realistic expectations so that you don’t feel disappointed or frustrated when a lead doesn’t become a client. If you are just starting out with a lead generation service, be conservative—expect to convert at a rate of 5% to 10%. Your actual conversion rate will depend greatly on a combination of the quality of the leads sent by the lead generation service that you are working with (which is why it is important to do your research) and your own internal processes for responding to and nurturing the leads.
The great thing about paid leads is that they are targeted inquiries from people who need your services and are generally more affordable than other advertising opportunities that have a broader audience. In addition, you can easily track your results. When managed effectively, paid leads can produce a high rate of return!