Lead Generation – The Good, The Bad & The Truth

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Lead Generation

Lead Generation, a.k.a. LG or Lead Gen, is the oldest form of affiliate marketing and has been used since people invented the concept of doing business. It is one of the most evergreen vertical.

I see people around me every day frequently complaining about doing affiliate marketing in LG. When I ask why, they simply say because it is not working anymore!

Well, let me tell you something. If there is a business that needs a new customer, there will always be a way to do LG. If there is a SPA looking for new people who enjoy relaxation, guess what? There is a way to do a successful LG.

I do not see lead gen dying any time in the next 10 years unless there is a major unexpected change or breakthrough in online marketing. I just do not see it.

Businesses are actively looking for new customers every single day. You just need to find and connect them to the relevant business!

Before I tell you how big LG really is, I will tell you how important it is in 2019 and why.

You probably heard about Charles Ngo, the most well-known face in affiliate marketing. I was fortunate enough to meet him in Affiliate World in Bangkok in 2017. He is really a nice guy!

He just started a course to teach the best way to teach LG in 2019 onwards. He calls it Affiliate Marketing 2.0.

Here is the link if you want to be added to the course waiting list: https://leadgenengine.net/waitlist/

Many affiliates (myself included) disagree with him in calling it 2.0 as it has been out there for ages, but you get the point. He just wanted to say it is pretty important.

Introduction to Lead Generation in Affiliate Marketing

I am going to assume you do not know much about affiliate marketing, so I will explain things here in detail to benefit as many people as possible.

According to WikiPedia, Lead Generation

is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads.

What is the lead?
The best and simplest definition would be a potential customer.

Let’s say your uncle just started a life coaching company. He has no customers at all. He knows that his niece/nephew (you) read my blog; therefore, you have a good understanding of affiliate marketing.

He approaches you and offers a 20% commission if you find him a customer who signs a contract for at least 1 month and 30% if s/he signs a 3-month contract. Let’s assume a month’s contract is worth $1,000 and 3 months is $3,000.

You study his proposal and determine that it takes about 2 weeks to find a potential customer, provide the customer’s contact details to your uncle, and for him to then call the customer to negotiate the signing of a contract.

They will then, perhaps, arrange a meeting, have back and forth discussion, then some sign a contract and others do not.

You figure that, while the offered commission is attractive, the approach has some aspects you do not like, such as, having a long wait time to receive a commission, not having a way to track contract signers, and above all, not wanting to get heavily involved in his business. You just want your cut as soon as possible.

So, you propose an alternative approach. Instead of taking 30% commission of $3,000 (3-month contract), which is $900, you will take only $30 per lead (potential customer).

In other words, if you provide him with 100 leads per week, he will pay you $3,000 [($30 per lead) x (100 leads)]. Usually, there is 10% success rate, which means 10 leads will sign up. That is 10*$3,000 = $30,000 for your uncle.

With this approach, you do not have to worry about who signs or does not sign the contract. Also, you have full control in overseeing the output and tracking the conversions.

Your uncle will also pay cheaper commission to you too ($3,000 vs. $9,000). For me, it sounds like a win-win deal.

What Is Working In Lead Generation In 2019?

Many people think lead generation is a whitehat vertical. Things like auto insurance, spa memberships, loans, etc. This is only part of the truth.

What if there is an adult app that promises to find you a girl? What about a win-iPhone (not CC) or get-rich-fast offer? I think they all can be identified as a blackhat or at least greyhat.

Such offers usually promise guaranteed results – Get laid tonight or get rich in 30 days! Many people still fall for them though.

I would say anything any business that needs a customer can succeed in the lead generation.

1. Examples of well-known verticals for lead generation

If you want to brainstorm, see below for a list of verticals where you can find good lead generation offers:

  1. Car Insurance
  2. Mortgage
  3. Refinance
  4. Home Security
  5. Travel
  6. Solar
  7. Video Gaming
  8. Air Conditioning and Heating
  9. Credit Cards
  10. Loans
  11. Legal offers (lawyers)
  12. Car Warranty
  13. Education Offers
  14. Credit Checks
  15. Home Insurance
  16. Life Insurance
  17. Finance Lead Gen offers

2. Examples of not well-known verticals for lead generation

  1. TV offers (channels, cables)
  2. Internet providers
  3. Walk-in Bath Tubs
  4. Nursery
  5. Roofing

In other words, the sky’s the limit. If you want to start finding offers right now, you can talk to your affiliate manager at any affiliate network you are dealing with.

Alternatively, you can use a free service like OfferVault. Go to the category section and choose your vertical. You can also search in the top bar for anything you want.

Offer vault lead generation

For example, let’s search for “loans” in category “Lead Gen”.

use offervault to search

You will see a list of offers from many affiliate networks.

how to use offervault to search for offer

If you choose, for instance, the first offer “Overnight Payday”, you will then see the offer details page, which shows you everything you need to know about the offer and its network too.

offervault offers

What Makes a Great Offer?

There are so many speculations and opinions in the industry about this. I bet you every affiliate will give you a different opinion and process they claim to be the best.

I can also write a book about this section (maybe I should :)), and it still would not be enough.

Before I tell you what makes a great offer, you should understand that the offer is the most important thing in the whole funnel. Therefore, you should invest some time in here.

There are 4 criteria to qualify as a great offer (this is one opinion only):

1. Compliant with your traffic source

I cannot stress this enough. There is no point to have a great offer that your traffic source does not accept!

If you buy traffic from Facebook, Snapchat or Native, you need to check with them first that they accept your offer. Every traffic source has their own policy and you must read it!

You can also check with your affiliate manager what traffic source accepts the offer. They usually have a lot of valuable information from many affiliates.

To illustrate further to you, off the top of my head, the following offers will never be accepted at Facebook:

  • Adult
  • Dating
  • Get Rich Fast
  • Gambling
  • Weight-loss pills

That was about the offer.

However, if you are using a landing page (pre-lander), which you should, you must make sure your landing page is also compliant with the traffic source.

Same goes for your creatives and ads.

2. It is already being converted

I like to run offers that have already been proven to convert well. You can know this information in a few ways:

  • Ask your affiliate manager
  • Use Spy tools such as Adplexity to check if someone is already running the same
  • Ask in group forums. Just post the offer links over there and ask for people’s opinions.

I think this will save you tons of testing budget.

Having said that, sometimes when you run a new offer and it turns out to be good, you’re in heaven! You will get all those juicy conversions before anyone else knows about them!

3. A good EPC

EPC stands for Earning Per Click. It means how much the affiliate earns for every click (traffic) they send to the offer.

If EPC = $10, then for every visit to the offer, someone earns $10.

So, if your Cost Per Click (CPC) is lower than EPC, you’re in the green! Otherwise, you are losing money because your traffic costs more than your earning.

Most affiliate networks give this information in the offer page; however, you can always ask your affiliate manager for such information.

But there is a catch! If someone is sending pops or push traffic to an offer, this will drastically lower the EPC. Pops and push are cheap traffic and have a lower conversion rate (generally speaking).

The most accurate information you can get is to know the EPC for your traffic source.

For example, if you are planning to buy traffic from Snapchat, ask your affiliate manager about the EPC for the Snapchat offer.

3. Market Size

I once ran a very hot offer for an auto loan. It converted very well on Facebook for a few days…and then it died!

Why, you ask?

Because at that time, the offer accepted traffic only from one city in the USA! It was a very small market size in my opinion. I could not ever scale it!

Believe me, nothing is more frustrating than knowing that you have an amazing funnel and offer that converts well, yet you cannot get traffic!

Therefore, make sure you understand the market size first and that it is big enough for you.

4. Low competition

Hold on! Did I not just say that you should ensure the offer is not new and already converted by others?

Yes, I did! But imagine there are 100 affiliates running exactly the same offer in the same traffic source! What are your chances of making yours work?

Pretty low!

If you see it everywhere in the spy tools with tons of landing pages, it means it is overly used and there is high competition.

The best thing, if you are a bit experienced as an affiliate, is to ask your affiliate manager to make the offer exclusive for you or at least for fewer affiliates.

Most of the affiliate networks have private offers that no one can see. Ask your affiliate manager about them. For instance, ask them to see the top 3 private offers in auto insurance.

What Matters in Lead Generation?

Last year, one of my affiliate managers told me about a hot offer that converts really well.

As I trust him, I ran the offer. I did not spend much time in the landing page or creatives, I just put through a very basic funnel to test the offer.

I started the campaign in the evening, which was morning in the USA. By the time I woke up, I saw the offer had converted for $7,500 in one night!

I got excited and decided to refine the creatives and landing pages and scale it!

Then, I received the magic Skype message from my affiliate manager saying, “Stop the traffic now!”

He told me the leads are very poor quality and none converted to the business! As a result, I was paid $0 instead of $7,500!

It hurts and you do not want to be there!

So, it all comes down to one word: Quality, Quality and Quality!

Remember most of the businesses are paying you for leads that potentially will convert to customers.

They are already investing in you. They are paying forward!

If you are not sending them leads that convert, they will ban you from running their offers. Not just that, they also will not pay you for all these crappy leads you sent them.

Now that you understand the importance of being legitimate and sending good leads, I will share a few points to help you achieve that:

1. Do not cheat or lie

I can guarantee that if you lie about your offer, you will get kicked either by the traffic source or the advertiser (the offer’s owner).

If the offers states 1 free dental consultation by phone, do not try to make it sound better by saying stuff like: “Free Dental Service” or “Fix Your Teeth Free Of Charge”.

Do not lie! You will just piss off everyone, including your leads.

2. Use ONLY the allowed traffic source

If the advertiser allows only Facebook traffic, do not use Pops or redirect. Just follow what they say.

Do not try to sneak and send the offer to a spammy email list you bought from Fiverr. It will not work nowadays.

I personally found social traffic as the best for lead generation offers, especially Facebook.

Why?

For obvious reasons, Facebook knows about people more than they know about themselves. Their pixels are installed on millions of websites.

They know what you like, who is your family, your high school, your fantasies and your fears.

Having all this information in Facebook’s hands gives them unbelievable target ability. Therefore, you can target the right people for your offer.

Snapchat is worth a try too in 2019. They are growing so fast and the platform is not yet saturated.

Target, targeting and targeting

This is a key to success in lead gen. You’ve got to target the right people, and yes the allowed people too!

If the advertiser says: male 35+, NY, this means you need to target only men living in NY who are older than 35 years old.

Do not try to be smart a** and target younger people because they are easier to fool. It will not work.

This is why I believe Facebook is an amazing platform for lead gen because you can be very specific and can literally target your roommate if you want.

Also, you need to be smart in your targeting if the offer does not specify demographics.

Let’s say the offer is for nursing school in TX, USA. It would be wise to target females as the nursing profession is predominantly female, and ages 18-22 for potential students.

What if the offer is for mortgage refinancing? Do you think female 18 years old is suitable? Absolutely not! A wise target pool would be: married or co-habitating couples, aged 30+ and living in Texas, perhaps who are interested in loans or finance pages.

I hope you got the idea.

Recommended Affiliate Networks for Lead Gen

There are tons of affiliate networks out there for lead gen. The list below is not exclusive at all. You can do your own research and ask around for the best networks.

However, if you are starting out, the networks below are newbie-friendly and will probably accept you faster than others.

I suggest you read my instructions here about how to get accepted quickly in an affiliate network. It will really help you out.

Do not try to sound too newbie when you are applying. If you have any screenshots from other affiliate networks, your tracker or any experience, tell them.

If you are part of any forum like STM, give them your username.

It may help too to let them know that you are a reader of AffiliateGhost.

Finally, did you learn something from this post? If you like it or hate it, let me know, please. I am so keen to help other affiliates start out the right way.

Do you have any questions?

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