At a recent IMNY meetup I was asked about my experience with lead generation and I responded with an honest one-word response “profitable”.  In hindsight that was probably not the most helpful response.  So I then tried to help the internet marketing virgin better understand just how complex lead generation really is and how varied my 15+ years of online experience is.  I bet most of you don’t realize the potential of lead generation or have forgotten so here is quick 60 second recap of lead generation that hopefully will help inspire you to make even more money.

Its a Big Lead Gen World – First you should realize that lead generation is HUGE.  I’m talking billions of dollars big.  I’ve personally worked on lead generation projects for million dollar sale orders.  Those projects are the exception.  Even the  lead generation projects that tend to be for smaller dollar amounts usually have large volume potential.  Just about every online industry has potential for lead generation (moving companies, home remodeling, cleaning service, real estate, cnc machining, financial services, party planning, crime scene disposal, photographers, industrial equipment, personal shoppers  – just to name a few).  Simply put – BIG POTENTIAL.

Usability Matters -If you decide to get involved with online lead generation you better be ready to learn usability tips & tricks.  You only get paid when you generate a sales lead.  To generate a sales lead you need to figure out how to extract information from your human users.  If your website is hard to use or if your lead gen form is too complicated then forget about gaining sales leads.  Tiny things matter when it comes to usability.  I’ve personally seen how changing a single line break or a single word on a page lead to double digit boost in sales leads.  Every situation is different.  A twenty year old women looking for a wedding photographer needs to be handled differently than a 70 year old retired man looking for a reverse mortgage. So figure out how your target audience in your specific industry wants to be handled and do as good as job as possible.  Then try harder because when it comes to usability, no website is ever perfect.

Maximize Profits – Once you gain these online sales leads you need to find a company to sell them to.  You can use any of the popular affiliate networks.  Just about all of them have some affiliate programs that will pay for lead generation.  If you don’t see a lead gen opportunity that fits your website in your current affiliate network check the other ones.  I prefer to sell my leads direct to the source.  This requires more work but it leads to bigger profits in the long run.  I like contacting industries that have never explored affiliate marketing, barely know what PPC is and think that SEO is a misspelling.  Yes, these industries still exist and if you can crack into one of them you ‘ll laugh your way to bank doing online lead generation with zero competition.

Lead generation is not new.  The concept has been around for over 100 years in the offline world.  Remember telemarketing, direct mail and live demonstrations have been happening before computers even existed. For a profitable business model that has been around that long there is no way I can do justice in just 60 seconds.  If you are looking for more information check out Affiliate Summit or any of the thousand other places that cover online lead generation.

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