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Secrets to Successful Lead Generation

Secrets to Successful Lead Generation

Studies from IAB, Q Interactive

October 9, 2007

By PAULA PARISOT

photo of Paula Parisot
Paula Parisot
Whether mortgage leads are generated by loan originators or lead companies, there are several factors that can enhance the value of the leads.

Data verification is the single most important lead quality factor, according to a recent 47-page report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Lead Generation Committee. The study evaluated the standards and practices of lead generation with an eye towards improving conversions and lead quality.

The next most important lead quality component was consumer motivation, the IAB’s survey of mortgage advertisers indicated.

“All of the advertisers felt lead quality is heavily influenced by the consumer motivation for submitting the lead form,” according to the association, which represents over 250 companies that are involved with interactive advertising, including AOL, Cox Newspapers, Inc. and ValueClick.

IAB, which was founded in 1996, noted the best mortgage leads would be real-time leads that are manually verified where the prospective borrower had been offered information in exchange for filling out the form.

In addition, leads generated without incentives may be better than those where data was captured in conjunction with a giveaway or sweepstakes offer, IAB said.

To produce high quality leads, lead generation companies that garnish “free search” leads from consumers should have a Web site that is considered to have expert information on the subject matter, the report said. These type of sites tend to draw researchers or brand loyal consumers.

Conversely, “paid search” leads tend to drive the visitor to a conversion or landing page, denying prospects time to consider options and often forcing them to immediately complete a form, the report said. And e-mail based advertising might draw in consumers that are not actively shopping for a mortgage while affiliate marketing takes active monitoring.

“Precautions must be taken to avoid loss of control in media placement and callout messaging so that they can ensure the leads are only from consumers actively wanting mortgage information,” the committee advised.

The age of the lead and its exclusivity also ranked among the most important components of a quality lead, according to the survey.

Form design is also important, according to a white paper on lead generation from Q Interactive — a marketing agency.

Because online lead generation requires loan prospects to provide detailed contact information and explicit permission for the advertiser to contact the consumer, there must be enough value in the offer and trust in the company to get the consumer to comply, Q’s report said.

Design tips include short, easy-to-read copy with important details bulleted and headlines that contain the offer, the paper said. Body copy should restate the offer in one or two paragraphs with a brief description of the company, if necessary.

Include a strong call-to-action that tells the consumer what to do, i.e. sign up, join, etc., the report said, and design the offer as a half-page so the consumer does not have to scroll down to get the full message. In addition, the most important element should stand out among all others.

“Keep in mind a hierarchy of emphasis … avoid including numerous elements of the same size and emphasis,” Q stated.

Bold graphics should be used while outdated clip art, starbursts, scantily clad women and slow-loading animated graphics should be avoided, the report said.

The format of questions should be consistent throughout the process — with the number of questions minimized to only the most important, the Q report said.

But IAB’s report indicated that using a form that asks for more than just basic information, such as property information, or a social security number can add value to the lead.

The Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits statements or omissions that could mislead prospects such as, ‘Your acceptance is requested — merchandise standing by for delivery’ or ‘Claim your free product or service’, are forbidden, the Q report said.

IAB explained all lead generation data should be transferred and received in an encrypted common format though common, secure Internet technologies.


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