4 Tips for Identifying the Most Profitable Lead Sources

There are nearly 1 billion active sites on the Internet today. As a marketer, think about that — each one of these is a potential source of new leads. The sources are out there — B2C marketers responsible for growing and optimizing their email lists certainly have their work cut out for them to find the sources that will produce their highest value customers.

While many are simply buying lists and hoping they get some traction, this is costly to (and unproductive for) their brand. So, with a billion potential sources for leads, what are B2C marketers to do? Here are four simple tips that will help.

Tip #1: Lead Sources are the Holy Grail

Lead sources, including URLs, keywords and bloggers, are the Holy Grail for digital marketers, just like zip codes are for offline marketers. Each attracts specific, identifiable types of consumers, based on their immediate and follow-up actions in regards to a specific brand. Some types mirror a brand’s top-performing prospects and customers, through, for example, website visits or orders. Others create risk for the brand, showing a clear disconnect such as complaining, responding negatively on social or not responding.

In addition, lead sources that perform well for one company may not perform nearly as well for another. For instance, it could be that the content is simply not as relevant or that the demographics are not conducive to a brand’s particular products.

Identifying the ones that are most likely to have customers that mirror your customers in your database at the lead source level is critical.

Tip #2: Prioritize lead source transparency

Today’s B2C customer acquisition ecosystem is rife with complexity. Marketers have dozens of channels through which to reach consumers, from search, display and email to blogs, co-registration and social media, among others. Within each of these channels, they have virtually limitless sources. For instance, there are millions of keywords for search and websites for display from which to choose. It becomes easily overwhelming.

Typically, B2C marketers focus on channels, which generates “blended” results for each one. This may seem “good enough” but it leaves lots of upside on the table, wastes significant amounts of budget, and opens brands to risk.

For example, a brand that has achieved a CPA of $100 might be aligned with their target cost, but this includes both good and bad leads. However, given the ability to drill down within each channel, at the lead source level, and weed out those bad sources so they’re focusing on the best ones, a marketer can effectively improve results while bringing down their CPA – a powerful value proposition.

This is where lead source transparency comes in. Lead source transparency means having real-time data that enables B2C marketers to view specific lead source performance and risk metrics in order to make educated decisions about how to spend their budget to produce optimal ROI.

Tip #3: Utilize technology that delivers transparency

Transparency highlights, at the source level within each channel, which sources provide prospects that engage like top-performing customers: prospects with either high positive engagement or low negative behavior.

To get this transparency, don’t go it alone. Because of its complexity, the process must be driven by technology. No marketer alone can manage hundreds or thousands of lead sources simultaneously simply to answer the question, “Where should we spend our acquisition budget?” However, don’t be fooled by providers that promise quantity. Technology that automates this process, analyzes all of the lead sources in real time and tells a marketer where to buy more and where to buy less – in other words, identifying quality leads – will better serve brands.

Tip #4: Use data to determine where you spend

Simply put, lead source transparency tells marketers where to spend their budgets, to get the most ROI for their buck:

  • 8 – 12% of lead sources are risky to a brand and must be shut down before they harm the brand’s reputation or inbox delivery. The key: identifying which ones fall in that group.
  • Within each channel, no more than 45% of unique sources perform at a level that’s profitable or constructive to the business. The key: determining which 45% works for them.

Focusing budgets on top-performing lead sources within each channel – those that fall in that 45% –lowers the brand’s CPA anywhere from 25 – 75%, and eliminates risk to the brands online reputation and/or inbox delivery. This is true even when the brand is running aggressive customer acquisition campaigns. Having the right technology in place can provide that insight.

By keeping these four things in mind, a B2C marketer can transform the complex omni-channel customer acquisition ecosystem to drive performance without breaking the budget. And the billion site challenge becomes an immense opportunity.

Neil Rosen is CEO of CertainSource.