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Lead aggregators, paid leads, pay-per-lead—whatever you call them—can add a consistent flow of opportunity to your home improvement company lead funnel. However, like other types of lead sources, they must be well-managed to achieve optimal results.

Ah, yes, it’s hard work. But there are some tricks—read: additional hard work—that can add a few percentage points to every stop along the marketing/sales funnel continuum. Paid leads come in different shapes and sizes. Here are a few of the most common types.

  • Exclusive form-fill: You are the only company receiving the lead, which originated online as a form-fill.
  • Non-exclusive form-fill: You, and most likely up to three other companies like you, are receiving the same form-fill lead at (hopefully) the exact same time.
  • Opt-in: You signed up with a lead provider that matches your company to a specific job, and you can opt-in to accept the project and respond to a homeowner inquiry. This may be an exclusive lead or a shared lead, but often the lead is given to the first company who accepts it.
  • Warm transfer: The lead provider’s call center vets the lead and transfers it to your business—typically to a call center—during pre-determined business hours. This type of lead is more expensive, as there is additional labor involved.
  • Third-party set: Like a warm transfer, but the lead provider sets the homeowner appointment (could be) in your system based on your company’s calendar and sales rep availability.

6 Tips for Paid-Lead Success

Speed to lead: It’s a race. Get there first, or you might as well sit out. You must respond to a paid lead within the first 30 seconds of the lead hitting your system. You know why? Your competitors are responding within 5 seconds.

This primarily applies to non-exclusive leads, but even if you’re buying leads that are exclusive to you, responding quickly is paramount. Reaching that customer while they remember they filled out a form about a project, are still excited about said project, and aren’t calling another company while waiting for your call will exponentially increase your probability of setting the lead.

Zip-code analysis: If you’ve been purchasing leads (or if you are about to begin using current customer data), do an analysis of the zip codes where you have the best and worst results. Closely examine the following when conducting zip-code analysis.

  • The percentage of raw leads to set appointments. Set percentages can range from 4 to 65 percent, but there are many variables that contribute to those results.
  • Percentage of demos is the ratio of full sales presentations to appointments set. This percentage can vary widely, but set-to-demo rates can range from 65 to 85 percent on average.
  • Finance turndowns and cancellations. If you see a larger percentage of either of these in certain zips, get rid of those zips immediately.
  • Invest more in best-performing zips. See if your provider can get you more leads in that area or focus exclusively where the best fishing is for your company.

It’s a partnership. Paranoia is not unique to the home-improvement industry, but it does seem to run rampant here, especially when it comes to sharing data, lead results and—gasp—your customer database.

Relax. If you want your paid leads to perform, you must share a certain amount of information with the lead provider. Look, they aren’t stealing your information. Realistically, they sold it to you in the first place.

But, if you want to help them improve lead performance, share your lead dispositions: Did it run? Did you sell the job? Was the credit declined? Did the customer cancel the contract? Was it a perfect sale from start to finish? Have the lead provider sign a non-disclosure agreement if it makes you feel better. Take a deep breath and share your data. Make it better together.

What’s the original lead source? It’s very important that you understand how these third-party leads are being generated. Is the lead company buying them from other lead companies? Are they generating the leads through Google ads or branded websites? What do their landing pages say or promise? To whom does the consumer think they gave permission for contact? Will they understand why you’re calling when you reach out with your company name?

Every scenario can affect lead performance and create crystal clear or confusing conversations with the homeowner. Knowing how the original lead was generated can change your phone script and approach.

Sift out the stuff you don’t want. Research the companies who specialize in filtering aggregator form-fill leads before they hit your system. This process can eliminate duplicate leads from several providers, known litigators, bots, fake names, wrong numbers, zips that are out of your area, and any services that are beyond your company’s scope of work.

Ensure you’re only paying for the right leads for you. And as a bonus, these companies provide proof of consent that the homeowner had intention to work with you—helping protect you from litigation. (There’s so much more to come on this topic and new TCPA rules. Stay tuned.)

Measure. Tweak. Measure. Marketing is all about measurement and ensuring that results are monitored constantly, so you can quickly course correct. Benchmark results against previous weeks, months, years and current goals. Make changes where they’re needed and use your lead aggregator reps to help you understand which levers to pull to improve results.

Here’s to your company’s success with paid leads! QR

Amy Zimmerman is the chief marketing officer for Tundraland. Previously she held similar positions with 1-800-Hansons, Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, and Republic Windows. She holds a masters degree in advertising from Northwestern University.

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