If you own a business with a web presence and/or rely on the web to drive traffic to your business, you’re probably familiar with lead generation services. When opting into a lead generation company’s services, you have an opportunity to optimize your website at the hands of experts and significantly enhance your SEO strategy by improving your rankings for prime keywords, and, subsequently, your profit potential.
By exercising a well-calculated, strategic SEO tactic, you should be—in theory—casting a wider net into a sea of quality, promising leads. But as we say and over: All leads are not created equal. Knowing the difference is the difference between outranking your competition and acquiring a solid stream of new customers looking for the very services you provide in your area.
Within the world of lead generation companies, there are multiple business models that all boil down to you paying someone to drive potential customers your way. Sometimes that entails paying for every click on one of your company’s ads. Other times that entails paying for authentic leads from third parties.
In the case of the latter arrangement, there’s a distinction you should understand before pulling the trigger on purchasing leads—and that’s the difference between exclusive and shared leads. It’s not always obvious and companies whose business model is one that deals its clients shared leads, they may not be upfront about that either. Exclusive leads can certainly be far more valuable.
What exactly is a shared lead?
Shared leads are the kinds of leads that are most commonly sold and purchased. They’re cheaper than exclusive leads, but not necessarily more cost-effective. Companies that have a strong brand awareness, fantastic website, competitive product or service, and a competent team are the ones who do best with this kind of scenario. These established and on-their-game companies thrive with shared leads because there is a limit to how many times a lead can be shared with competitors—and if a company runs a tight enough ship, they can reasonably assume that they’ll look more impressive than their competitors.
However, the shared lead approach is more of a financial vulnerability for a company that isn’t as self-assured. No amount of valuable lead information can promise a given company will wrap up a sale—especially when a potential customer has several options at hand. That part of the deal is the company’s responsibility. Potential customers who are given multiple companies’ information for their given needs are weighing their options, so it’s absolutely vital to stand out among the competition (like the well-established companies we mentioned above).
So companies that would rather not share their leads with competitors, exclusive leads might be the better choice.
And what are exclusive leads?
Exclusive leads give a business the opportunity to receive lead information without it being shared with competitors. That means potential customers are given an option rather than options, which makes the likelihood of conversion much greater. This is clearly advantageous for every kind of company—from startups to established professionals—but it has to make sense from a financial perspective. Because exclusive leads are precious, they cost significantly more than shared leads.
Is the price of an exclusive lead worth it for you and your endeavors?
Only you can decide. If you don’t have a problem budgeting for it, it’s a surer path toward sealing a deal. If a potential customer is only reaching out to you, you have a higher likelihood of converting them into a customer. The downside here is that you’ll have fewer leads with exclusive deals (albeit with less competition) than with shared deals. If you think your business and team might make the cut and stand out among competitors to potential customers, you might find that your profit margins are more impressive with shared leads.
The good thing about exclusive vs. shared leads—and all other nuances involved in lead generation services—is that you’re free to tinker with things. Take a close look at your analytics. Keeping tabs on what is working in your advertising strategies and what isn’t is essential if you want to grow and continue to grow.
Consider your particular company’s offerings, strengths, and weaknesses. And of chief importance, consider your budget. Lastly, consider the real return on investment potential. You may find that spending more on exclusive leads will, in all likelihood, lead to higher profit margins.
If you’d like to talk through lead generation options that match your company’s budget and goals, we’d be more than happy to talk through your options. Schedule a free consultation today.