Mortgage Lead Gen Aff Business Model?

5 replies
Hi everyone - I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on how some long running mortgage refi/new mortgage lead gen sites seem to work...I a m new to this, I just need to reconcile some numbers in my head; something I am not grasping.

The below domains are all registered as "bills.com" and I see their landers everywhere including Native ad networks:
bills.com
theeasyloansite.com
onesmartpenny.com

Because of the amount of landers I see, I am assuming they are profitable and these sites look to have been running for years.

They all are different gateway pages to ultimately collect mortgage leads.

I found a mortgage re-fi offer on a popular affiliate network that pays out ~$40 per lead with an EPC of $1.50. This seems like a solid offer.

In general, how are they profitable if they are paying $.20-$.50 per click (probably more to drive a decent amount of traffic) to get to this advertorial:
onesmartpenny.com/landers/pages/mortgage-refinance.html

The offer I found @ $1.50 EPC seems great, but the advertorial would have to convert at 20-30% roughly...

Can anyone help me reconcile these numbers?
What is a reasonable conversion rate on an advertorial page?
Could they be getting paid way more than $40 per mortgage lead?

The short, easy sign-up (few fields, no SSN) is almost identical between their form and the aff offer I found, so it seems like the value should be the same. I also have found other middle-men or down stream aff networks hosting this same offer at $12, $15, $20, $25, $35 etc. per lead, so $40 per lead seems like the highest I will find.

Really very confused - I have tried to emulate it via Outbrain and am down $70 or so. I am new to aff market and have been floundering for several months. Every niche I investigate does not seem like it would close with profitability unless its a scammy niche (diet/wealth/pay day) and I would like to be able to sleep at night and not profit by selling lies... I read about boosting ROI, but if I could even break even I would be through the roof right now!! Any help is greatly appreciated, particular those close to this industry. Thank you for taking the time to read this : )
#aff #business #gen #lead #model #mortgage
  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    I have been promoting CPA - PPL (pay per lead - lead generation) offers for over 16 years.

    As you are finding out, it is all about generating cost effective traffic. I can't really help you out with your specific questions, as I don't generate traffic the way you are trying. I can tell you what I do.

    I acquire data(email), that way I'm building assets that I then own and can market to over and over at low cost. I do this in several ways...

    I purchase fresh / targeted data, in that I know what the users are interested in and that a PPL offer exists, that matches their interest.

    I generate real-time co-reg that targets specific PPL offers.

    I buy aged / domain targeted data. However, this is a bit more complex and requires additional tools / resources.

    I also get (fresh / targeted) rev-share data, which is data that has $0 upfront cost and then I split the revenue generated from sending it, with the list owners.

    In case you think this in some way is spamming, all the users have given permission to receive messages by third parties and is completely can-spam compliant, Additionally, with co-reg, all the users actually see my offer and are requesting more info directly.

    I will be the first to admit, that data that you purchases is rarely ever going to be as responsive, as a highly targeted opt-in list you develop on your own. So to compensate for this, you have to work with higher volume. This however, is not a big deal, because you can buy data much faster and cheaper than you could develop it.

    There are a couple important things you have to know.

    You always want to test data sources before spending any significant money. That way you will get an idea how long it is likely to take to break-even. Based on the test, you could then try and negotiate a better price, if you need it to break-even quicker. This is where rev-share data has an advantage, because with the right connections, you can have an a;most endless supply of data to test with no upfront cost.

    The data that you initially acquire, isn't what is going to make you money long term. You want to always be segmenting your open / clickers and removing the unresponsive users. That way you are building smaller lists that are most responsive. Then you will eventually be a be to send less and make more with each mailing. Essentially, you are converting the data from quantity to quality.

    Also keep in mind that this isn't about promoting a single offer. You want to build up many good offer that you have available. That way you can cross promote them, which is fairly easy. For example with mortgage refi data, you know the users are homeowners. So can promote other homeowner related lead generation offers and offers related to that demographic.

    Lastly, 90%+ of the offers I promote are lead generation offers. This is the way to go, because there is no credit card / purchase required to complete an offer. All a user has to do is fill out a short form, so conversion rates are typically much higher than offers that require you to make a sale. This is what is really making it possible to convert the data into cash producing assets.

    It is more of a business model than a traffic strategy, as you are really monetizing data.

    As I said, I have been doing the above for over 16 years and it really does work. Everyone that I lnow that is in the business and knows what they are doing, does 6-7 figures. While that is a huge range, much comes down to ones ability to scale and effectively manage the infrastructure that comes with scaling.

    Something to think about.
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    • Profile picture of the author gdubb85
      Thank you DIABL0, DABK, and badboy_Nick for your responses!

      Originally Posted by DIABL0 View Post


      I purchase fresh / targeted data, in that I know what the users are interested in and that a PPL offer exists, that matches their interest.

      I generate real-time co-reg that targets specific PPL offers.

      I buy aged / domain targeted data. However, this is a bit more complex and requires additional tools / resources.

      I also get (fresh / targeted) rev-share data, which is data that has $0 upfront cost and then I split the revenue generated from sending it, with the list owners.
      DIABL0, where can you buy quality lists of users that fit your criteria? I imagine there are lots of shady list selling sites that provide outdated, non-human garbage emails

      When you say "generate real-time co-reg" do you mean you create a co-reg page of current offers you think would match based on their interests and market via email? "Generate real-time" is throwing me off, like you have a dynamically created co-reg site?

      Could you elaborate on "age / domain targeted data" I did some googling and came up short - I just don't know what this means. Your data seems to be emails, but is this somehow related to expired domain traffic?

      Do companies offer this rev-share data or do you get yours through private contacts/networking through the years?

      Again thanks a lot, still very curious if someone who has a solid grasp of the economics could speculate as to how these "native ad" advertorial sites are making money.... if you reload foxnews.com or time.com etc you are guaranteed to see ads like "Drivers between 18 - 45 in <State> Can't Believe How Much Money They Are Saving" or "Shark Tank Star's Brilliant Advice for Saving on a Mortgage." They must be making money and these leads can't pay more than $10 - 40...can they?
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      • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
        Originally Posted by gdubb85 View Post

        DIABL0, where can you buy quality lists of users that fit your criteria? I imagine there are lots of shady list selling sites that provide outdated, non-human garbage emails

        When you say "generate real-time co-reg" do you mean you create a co-reg page of current offers you think would match based on their interests and market via email? "Generate real-time" is throwing me off, like you have a dynamically created co-reg site?

        Could you elaborate on "age / domain targeted data" I did some googling and came up short - I just don't know what this means. Your data seems to be emails, but is this somehow related to expired domain traffic?

        Do companies offer this rev-share data or do you get yours through private contacts/networking through the years?

        Most mailers are not going to freely share who their data sources are and especially in an open forum.

        Real-time co reg just means that I am running ads on a co-reg network and when someone requests more info, the users info is imported real-time into my autoresponder account.

        Aged data (also called legacy data) is simply fresh / targeted data that is X in time old. I think everyone will agree the older data becomes, the less likely the user may still be interested in what they were initially interested in. The older it becomes the cheap it costs. The downside to mailing old data is lower responsiveness and greater chance of getting complaints.

        So to send this data you want to use a self hosted mailer and get server / IPs from a mail friendly provider. This will allow you to mail at the lowest possible cost per message and not get terminated for complaints. However, this is not as easy as it sounds, as there will be domains that you will not be able to inbox. So you domain target the data based on where you can get the best deliverability.

        You can buy data that is already domain targeted and you can also buy it after it has been ran and just buy the opens / clickers. There are many options when you get into this space. Raw, deliverable, opens. clickers and you can get it fresh and aged.

        There are companies that aggregate fresh / targeted data and then make it available on a rev-share basis. You can also develop rev-share deals directly with companies that have mailing lists and want to generate more revenue from them.

        Going the direct route is slower, you will typically get access to higher quality data. However, going through a company that provides rev-share from many sources, will give you a consistent stream of data to test. Any source that performs poorly, tell the company to stop providing data from that source. While keeping just the data from the sources that perform well..
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Mortgage lenders make between 1% to 2.75% of the loan amount.

    If you're one of those who charge 2.75% and you live in an area where the average loan is $250,000, at 2.75%, you're grossing $6,875 on average.

    Let's say you're not that greedy or are active in an area where you only get $4,000 per closed loan. How much of that amount are you willing to pay to get another $4,000?

    By the way, a lot of the sites that do this lead gen for mortgages have tiered payments, with a few dollars per lead to $40 or $50/lead, depending on what type of lead you get.

    If you get 1 sale out of every 10 calls you make, at $4,000 per sale, and you're willing to spend $200 to make one sale, each call you get is worth $20 to you.

    If you're willing to pay $500 per sale you make, and you convert 1 in 10 calls, you're willing to spend $50 per call.

    If a lead is an email address and a name and you need 50 to get 1 call... you do the math...

    The point, what's profitable depends on who's buying (their costs, average loan amount, and greed (profit desired)) and how well the leads convert (a combo of how good the leads are and how good they are at converting them).

    In other words, sometimes $7 leads are expensive and some $50 leads are not. And sometimes it's the other way around.
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  • Profile picture of the author badboy_Nick
    Originally Posted by gdubb85 View Post

    Really very confused - I have tried to emulate it via Outbrain and am down $70 or so. I am new to aff market and have been floundering for several months. I read about boosting ROI, but if I could even break even I would be through the roof right now!! Any help is greatly appreciated, particular those close to this industry. Thank you for taking the time to read this : )
    What Diablo and DABK have said is actually pretty spot on.

    You may however want to stay away from Outbrain if you want to run any mortgage or mortgage refinance offers. I used to run a ton of these before the credit crunch and the going rate was like $150 bucks per lead. Now its barely $50 if you're lucky with a lot of criteria attached to it ... so the whole mortgage market has really taken a hammering and suffered slimming margins ever since.

    A lot has therefore shifted towards debt, claims, insurance, property, unsecured and more niche type secured loans.

    Hope that helps
    Nick
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