I've been working with clients for a number of years by doing SEO and marketing for them amongst other things. While it's some good, reasonably easy money I've decided to focus on lead generation completely. To me it is a near perfect business.
This post is to perhaps shorten the learning curve of others just starting out or just starting to realize that maybe being an offline 'consultant' is not all that it is cracked up to be.
These are in ascending order of importance to me...
Lead Generation Is An Easy Sell
It's a heck of a lot easier to convince somebody to give you $30 for a real lead than it is to convince somebody to give you $1,500 per month (or whatever). Since they are only paying for results it's an easier sell. You don't need references or testimonials really. You just need to be able to confidently get your message out that you can drive new leads.
Lead Generation Let's You Build it how You Want To Build It
Ever had a client tell you that the white text on black background converts better? Or that a lead capture will never work in their industry?
Now you can make the site how you want to make it. You live and die by the sword. I like that.
Lead Generation Removes A Lot Of Pressure And Annoying Clients
One thing I hate about working with clients is their high expectations. They expect to get #1 rankings in 3 days even though I've told them what to expect. Heck - it might even be my own fault. Perhaps I've created false expectations when selling because I want the sale so bad. It's in my blood.
It doesn't matter what the reason is - I just don't want to do it any longer so I am not going to.
With lead generation there is no real pressure except the pressure you create on yourself. If you generate leads; you get paid. If you don't, you don't. You don't get calls every 2 days wondering 'what's going on'.
Lead Generation Proves Your Worth
It's great to land a big contract. I've certainly landed my share and they are nice for paying the bills but I always worry if the other party will see the worth. It's not to say that the worth isn't there - it's whether they realize it.
It's amazing how people will cut marketing that provides an ROI when times are tight simply because it looks like a big expense.
It's easy to prove your worth at $30 per lead or whatever (as long as you are sending good leads).
Lead Generation Sets You Up For Long Term Profits
If you are doing strictly SEO then often times clients will dump you when they begin ranking. I know, I know you can tell them that their sites will slide (and they will) but the erosion is often so slow that it might actually be to their advantage to do this.
After all, they get 100 emails a day offering SEO so if their site begins to slide do you think they will come back to you with their tail between their legs? Maybe but I don't like to bank my business on a maybe.
Lead Generation Is Fast
It's not too hard to get a new client, build a website and begin generating leads in the same week. I always start out with PPC because it shows results (and profits) quickly. It also helps me make sure the customer is not a flake before spending time/money on SEO. Use an Adwords coupon wisely to get started.
Lead Generation Provides A Great ROI
If you do your research right and approach the right client then you can make big money doing lead generation. You might start off spending $20 to acquire a lead and selling it for $30. But once the SEO kicks in and you get your PPC costs lowered by upping your quality score, split testing etc and you get traffic from other sources like Craigslist then you can get the $20 cost down to $5 or so (as an example).
So now you are making $25 per lead. 1 lead per day is $750 per month. 2 leads per day is $1,500 per month.
Lead Generation Provides Monthly Income
I don't think I need to explain why you need this and why lead generation accomplishes this.
Lead Generation Is Infinitely Scalable And Repeatable
Let's say you do lead generation for a catering company in L.A. You build a site that works, test and tweak everything to get to a profit of $40 per lead. Everybody is happy. Best of all you can virtually now copy this same campaign in San Francisco or wherever. Sure you are starting all over again with a new client but you can begin making more money all most immediately.
Lead Generation Puts You In Control
Don't like your client's voice on the phone? Fire him and get a new client in days. More likely the issue will be that you don't get paid on time or the client is a jerk. It's pretty easy to fire that client and get a new one when you can provide screenshots showing all of the leads you have generated in the past weeks/months.
Lead Generation Provides Near Passive Income (Once It's Build)
Once you get your site and PPC traffic tested and tweaked and your site SEO'd then the income is almost auto pilot. Sure you have to continue to backlink and monitor your PPC but you can outsource both easily. Once it's built all you really have to do is provide the tracking once per week and whack the credit card you have on file.
Lead Generation - Conclusion
Of course nothing is 100% dead simple but if you have any IM skills then you might agree that this type of thing is well worth setting up.
Any average trades client in a city of any size should be worth $1,500 or more to you each month (after a few months of SEO, tweaking etc). 10 clients = $15,000 per month without a great deal of work once everything has built.
You may not be in a postion to move your business 100% towards lead generation but if I were you I'd start sooner rather than later.
Lead Generation - FORGOT ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ONES!
I forgot to mention building your own business instead of somebody else's. If you want to sell your business (or pieces of your business) down the road then this is a much better model.