Publishers lately have jumped on the lead-gen bandwagon as a way to supplement declining revenues, but nevertheless still see their primary models as display or brand-driven. One company is using a CPL model to open doors with advertisers, eventually upselling them to brand advertising after a lead-gen track record is established.
"Lead generation is a door-opener," said Noah Anderson, CEO of Family Marketing, which produces PlanningFamily.com, a content site that’s also a lead-gen engine for marketing clients. "Advertisers only pay for something they define as a qualified lead. The risk is really low, we have a 24-hour out clause and we get them in on a CPL."
Once PlanningFamily.com proves itself as a lead generation partner, Anderson says he’s then able to "upsell" clients to additional CPM dollars. The "risk" Anderson refers to is an interesting point. Both online display and lead-generation sales are metrics driven, but Anderson sees lead-gen as a softer play for the marketer. "When someone buys on a CPM basis, all the risk is on them. We’re switching the risk to us, and then that gives us the chance to prove ourselves as a lead provider and the ability to sell them on the other products at a later date."
Additionally, says Anderson, there is some residual branding characteristics for the marketer when they run a lead generation program. If, for example, 20 out of 1,000 people sign up for an enewsletter, 980 people were still exposed to to that brand’s offer.
PlanningFamily.com, which gets about 500,000 unique visitors and 2.4 million page views each month, offers a membership model that gives users greater access to content after they sign up.
During registration, the consumer is shown several partner offers to opt into—usually enewsletters and coupon offers from brands such as Huggies diapers. That information is then sent through Pontiflex, PlanningFamily.com’s lead generation service provider, who then forwards it to Huggies. "Then Huggies can send out their newsletter in realtime and welcome that person to the brand and start a relationship with that member," said Anderson.
The number of opt-in offers shown to consumers during the registration process varies, said Anderson, but can hover around 5 and rotate through 10 to 16 depending on that consumer’s interaction history with the site. "Our members do have a propensity to select a fair amount of offers," he said.
"The category of lead generation that we operate in is what we call the marketing lead segment," said Zephrin Lasker, co-founder and CEO of Pontiflex. "This is very different from what a lot of people consider to be traditional lead generation."
Lasker noted that this method keeps leads associated with a particular brand. Marketers don’t get to bid on a common group of leads. "When we generate a lead for Huggies, we can’t turn around and sell it to Pampers or some other baby brand."
That plays into the risk concept Anderson was referring to. Marketers only pay for the qualified leads and the onus is on Anderson to provide the volume and, more importantly, the right demographics.