Is it better to buy online leads or get your own exclusive new business leads yourself?
As the owner of a lead generation company that has both sold leads to business owners and helped business owners generate their own leads, I feel like I’m in a unique position to share the pros and cons of both options.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The pros and cons of buying leads
- Why I stopped selling leads to clients
- Is it better for YOU to buy leads or get your own leads
Let’s get started!
The Pros and Cons of Buying Leads (Summary)
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of buying leads.
Pros of buying leads
Cons of buying leads
As you can see, there are a lot more cons to buying leads compared to getting your own exclusive leads.
So, why do so many business owners still prefer to buy leads?
Because it’s quick and easy.
You don’t have to do any work and you get leads delivered to your inbox.
And if that sounds appealing to YOU then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying leads. It’s a simple and quick solution to help you start getting some appointments with potential clients straight away.
But the downside is that…
The leads are often more expensive than getting them yourself and the lead quality is sometimes questionable (unless you can find a really good lead generation company that focuses on quality leads over quantity).
If you want to explore how getting leads yourself (instead of buying them) might be better for you in the long-term, I highly recommend you watch the video here before reading the rest of this article.
The problem with buying online leads
Here are some of the top problems with buying leads:
1. Lead quality is declining
One of the biggest problems with buying internet leads is that in recent years the quality of the leads being sold are declining.
Here are some of the problems I would hear from people buying leads online:
- “The leads are hard to get hold of on the phone”
- “The leads don’t respond to emails / calls / messages”
- “The leads are shopping around or not serious about working with me”
- “The leads are not the right type of clients that I’m looking for”
If you’ve ever tried buying leads yourself, you might be able to relate to some (or most) of these problems.
2. Buying leads is more expensive
If you buy leads, the lead generation company you’re buying the leads from are most likely charging you a mark-up on top of what they pay to generate a lead.
Here’s an example:
A lead generation company pays $10 for a lead on Facebook ads.
The lead lead generation company sells the lead for $100
The lead generation company makes a nice $90 profit!
Is there anything wrong with this?
Nope. It’s business.
The lead generation company deserves to make a profit because they are:
1) A for-profit business (not a charity)
2) They are doing all the work to generate the lead
But… It doesn’t change the fact that the lead would still be cheaper if you could cut out the middle person and get your own leads YOURSELF.
3. Lead gen companies are using old strategies
With determination, constant following up and a little hustle there are people who CAN get still get a good ROI when buying internet leads. It’s tough, but not impossible.
So it’s not always the case that the “leads are bad”.
In most cases, if the lead generation company is doing a good job, these are people who have genuinely filled in a form to learn more about how you can help them.
But – and here’s the key point – the reason why most businesses buying leads say the leads were bad (or hard to get hold of, or not a good fit, etc) was because of the STRATEGY used to generate the leads in the first place.
The new vs old lead generation strategy
To explain the NEW strategy to generate leads, you need to understand the old strategy (and what 80% of lead gen companies are still doing).
Here is the old way of generating leads online:
- People see an advertisement online (Facebook ads, Google, etc)
- People fill in a form to learn more
- You chase the leads for an appointment
Here is the new (and better) way of generating leads online:
- People see an advertisement online
- People fill in a form to learn more
- They watch a video presentation (about how you can help them)
- If it sounds like a good fit, THEY schedule a call with you (rather than you chasing to work with them)
This ONE simple tweak to the strategy (steps 3 and 4) completely changed everything for myself and my clients.
Now instead of you chasing internet leads, THEY chased YOU.
Now instead of convincing the leads to work with you, they WANTED to work with YOU.
It’s funny how one simple tweak in a strategy can make such a big difference…
4. You’re not in control of your marketing
Another problem with buying leads is that you’re not in full control of your marketing. The lead company controls YOUR source of revenue.
So while paying per lead is a good way to get quick wins, it’s dangerous to rely on buying leads forever.
For any reason, the lead generation company you’re buying leads from could decide to no longer sell you leads (and yes, I’ve seen this happen MANY times before).
Whereas if YOU are in control of your own marketing, you can get as many leads as you like on-demand.
If one month you want more leads, you can do that.
If another month you want less lead, go for it.
And if you ever want to pause your lead generation campaign over the holidays, you can do so without any repercussions.
5. Leads don’t know you
Another problem with buying leads is that they often don’t know anything about you.
They’ve just filled in a form online and they don’t know if they actually want to work with you or not.
This means you have to constantly chase leads to speak to them.
Whereas if they knew who you are, how you can help them, and why working with you is better than other options, they’re more likely to WANT to speak to you.
This is what’s possible when you run lead generation campaigns from your own company brand, rather than using a 3rd party lead gen company.
Watch this video to learn how to run your own lead gen campaigns.
Should you pay for internet leads or generate them yourself?
At this point, you might be wondering: is it better to generate the leads myself or pay someone to generate the leads for me?
It’s a good question.
In the past, my business model was based based on selling leads to businesses.
But I found that many clients wanted to be in control of their own marketing.
So, even though I still help some lead generation companies generate leads (trhough my white-label lead gen services), I mainly help clients generate their own leads.
Benefits of generating leads yourself:
- Lower cost: you get the leads at-cost without paying a premium or any mark-up to a lead gen company.
- Higher quality leads: leads are seeing your business and not a generic brand which builds more trust
- Exclusive leads: obviously any leads you generate won’t be shared with any competitors
- Full control of your marketing: you are not locked in to any contracts so you can generate as many leads as you like on-demand
- New innovative ideas: you have room to experiment and test your own marketing ideas
- Education: once you know how to generate leads, you can use this knowledge for years to come in any business
Benefits of buying leads:
- Takes less time: the lead gen company does all the work for you
- Less risky: the lead gen company is taking on most of the risk to generate the leads
As you can see there are pros and cons for both buying leads and generating leads yourself.
Ultimately it will be up to you to decide which option you think will be best for YOU and your business.
Warning: If you do decide to buy leads, just remember to do your best to avoid shared leads and make sure the leads are as high quality as possible (to avoid wasting money).
If you’re currently buying internet leads or thinking about paying for online leads… don’t just get a lead with someone who fills in a form online. Get a lead to watch a short video presentation about how you can help them and then get them to schedule a call with you straight in your calendar.
How to generate your own leads on-demand on autopilot
If you want to generate your own exclusive leads at cost, you might some questions about HOW to actually do this.
- How do you create a short video presentation to build trust with leads?
- What are the best marketing channels to generate leads?
- Do you need a lot of money to generate leads?
- How can you use software and tools to automate 80% of the work?
If you’d like to learn, step by step, how this strategy works, you can sign up to my free masterclass training. I’ll show you exactly how you can generate your own exclusive high quality leads with prospects that actually want to work with you.
How to buy online leads
If you do decide to buy leads or generate your own leads through paid advertising, here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Identify the kind of leads you want
There are many types of leads you can buy and not all leads are equal!
Here are a few types of online leads you can buy:
- Lead lists
- Shared leads
- Exclusive leads
- Leads from Facebook ads
- Leads from LinkedIn ads
- Leads from Google Ads
Step 2: Pay for leads
Once you’ve decided on the type of lead you want to buy, you can pay for them.
How to buy leads will depend on the type of lead you are buying.
Buying leads from a lead gen company
If you’re buying shared or exclusive leads from a lead gen company, you will likely need to purchase leads in bulk. The more leads you purchase, the lower you’ll pay. Then you will typically receive the leads via email in real-time.
Buying exclusive leads yourself without a lead gen company
If you’re buying leads with Facebook ads, TikTok ads or any other paid advertising channel, after spending at least $1,000USD on ads, the advertising channel will tell you your cost per lead. Once you know your cost per lead, you can decide how many leads you want to buy each month.
Step 3: Convert leads into paying clients
This is the most important step when buying leads. You need to convert as many leads as possible into paying clients.
How many leads can you expect to convert?
This largely depends on the type of lead you are buying and the strategy used to generate these leads.
For example, if you buy shared leads or lead lists, your conversion rate will be much lower compared to buying exclusive leads with people looking for your services right now.
Ashley Davis (or ‘Ash’ for short) is the CEO & Founder of Skyline Social. For over 15 years, he has been helping business owners with lead generation. Ash specializes in helping businesses get high-quality leads, appointments and clients each month in an automated, scalable and profitable way. You can watch his free Masterclass training to learn more.