Tactic To Win With Internet Leads (Part 2)

Internet Leads

If you believe anything you read on social media, you might believe that internet leads are the most hated lead source of the year!  You’ll hear some agents proudly proclaim that they don’t purchase leads.  This approach may have worked in yesteryear, but “The Times, They Are a-Changin’.” (Dylan, 1964). Agents who aren’t focused on growth in our red, red, red ocean may find themselves a casualty of times a-changin’.  In this internet lead renaissance, there’s a disconnect between agent expectations about various lead types.  With over 12 million dials on hundreds of thousands of leads, from a myriad of types and sources, we’ve noticed that contact rate is the single MOST important metric in determining lead strength.  Let’s look at why, while investigating the four different tiers of leads.

You pay in time, risk, and labor, for what you don’t pay in lead spend.

The first kind of data leads that agents can purchase are the cheapest:  InfoUSA, SalesGenie, etc., — companies who are all raw data aggregators. These leads will have tremendously low contact rates.  Because you’re looking at contact rates of less than 1%, you’ll find that even if using a dialer and a telemarketer, you’re likely to waste a vast amount of time just to get to the contact.  Even at best, with a 1% contact DNC and still run significant risk of legal issues. 

The less dials on a lead to result in a quote, the more quickly you’ll end up with a policy sold.

The second type of lead source, are aged data vendors.  You’ll find these for under a dollar and as low as pennies per lead.  While the contact will likely be higher 2-5%, it’s still a long row to hoe, because these leads, in our experience, take much longer to warm up due to their low interest.  Many agents have been successful with aged data, but like raw data, aged data have a low contact rate, which in turn, clogs your sales pipeline and stretches it out further: lower contacts = more dials = more dials = more time and labor.  Yes, it’s potentially 5x as “effective” as raw data–aged leads can get you results over a long period and tons of dials, but the savings in cost will be wasted on time, risk, and labor.  Time is money.

Real-time leads are well-worth the higher ticket price.

The third tier in the internet lead game is made up of high volume, lower priced real-time internet leads.  With a few vendors who handle these leads, these will come from “co-opt-in forms” from around the internet, and tend to be short form (name, phone, and email).  They’ll cost you around a dollar each, and while they typically will be exclusive to an industry (sold only once to insurance agents, for example), many prospects don’t even remember opting in for these, as it was included along with some other offer. There is a much longer warm-up period than real-time regular internet leads, but shorter warm up (better contact rate) than with the aged data or raw data.  This lead source can have a tremendous CPS ($35-90) over a 60-90-day period, but because they need to be sifted through, have a longer tail, ideally require 50 of these a day per telemarketer, they should only be used as a portion of your overall lead arsenal. 

The most hated lead type, when done properly is by far the fastest to obtain CPS-justified results.

The fourth lead type are the various filtered options from the big lead companies.  These work great when they can be purchased for under $5.  Many agents will purchase too few and pay too much for these leads.  Our analytics tell us that of thousands of internet leads we have sold, it takes 8-21 dials, and 70% of the time business is closed on a lead.  These leads should make up the majority of your lead investment and will cut down time to close because of the increased intent and higher closing ratios.  For these to work, there has to be an understanding that you won’t even connect with MOST of these leads in the first day, first week, and even the first month.  But, when you put enough dials on a lead, you will eventually connect.

With these different types of leads in mind, agents can predict results by identifying a premium goal and working backwards (figure in a 5-10% close ratio for captives and 20-30% close for independents as a baseline) you’ll have a great start on what’s needed to pump into your tele-funnel.  As time goes by, make tweaks by changing the allocation of different lead types.  It’s critical to manage emotions by choosing a spend that you’re comfortable with and sticking with a source for at least 30 days.  If CPS isn’t going down a little each week, turn to the other metrics before pulling the plug or making a lot of changes at once.  Is it contact percentage, number of transfers, quotes off transfers, or closed quotes that is the metric below your expected result?

You can win at this game, you just need to trust your spend, and follow the clues that the numbers present.

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