In Case You Missed It
Below you can find the Slideshare of my presentation with Adhustler (if you are interested in Local Lead Gen and aren’t following his blog, you’re missing out) from Affiliate Summit West 2011.
(Sadly the slideshare deck was removed in 2014)
A Few Quick Notes
- This was my first presentation at an industry conference and (I believe) also for Ad Hustler. I felt slow at the start but as we became more comfortable with the audience and each other ideas started flowing better and I hope we were able to give the audience some good BTDT tips on local lead generation and clients. If you took any home and implemented them, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to contact me anytime.
- Check out my Local SEO Resources post if you haven’t seen it yet.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you don’t see the obvious advantages to bringing less to conferences like Affiliate Summit West, let me give you…
8 Good Reasons to Pack Light
- Avoid the long line to check bags and get your boarding pass.
- No need to worry about your bags being delayed or lost.
In the last 632 days of working for myself I’ve adopted a pattern that feels increasingly stagnant. So, in an effort to change things up I took a morning to sit down and candidly evaluated my situation.
Specifically, I asked four questions:
- What was expected to happen?
- What actually happened?
- What went well, and why?
- What can be improved, and how?
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde
I quit my nine-to-five 1 year, 8 months and 21 days ago. There are a few things I wish I had known before setting out and quite a few I have to keep reminding myself along the way. So rather then scrawl it into yet another notebook I thought I’d publish it.
If you haven’t left your job yet
- Now is the time to become an expert at time and project management; as well as how to balance your work and real lives. You’d think working full-time and developing your own business in the late night hours would be worse but I’m here to tell you- it’s not. When you work for yourself it becomes that much harder to leave “work” at “work”.
- Save three times as much money as you think you’ll need. Campaigns will die, you’ll need a new water heater- whatever, something will happen.
Earlier this year Chad Frederiksen (CDFNetworks.com) wrote “Local Lead Plan: A Comprehensive Guide to Running a Successful Local Lead Gen Business.” I received the launch email, put it on the back burner while I was doing projects, and totally forgot about it until October.
I would have had an immeasurably more profitable year if I’d done a couple things Chad mentions in his 115-page book, specifically with regard to handling leads, tracking and one really important lead negotiation tip in the first full sentence of page 18.
A more complete introduction from the man himself:
Headed to Affiliate Summit West?
Good; if you are in the CPA or CPS space it’s hard to find a conference that can rival the networking opportunities available.
But if you are just starting out, going broke Christmas shopping, or just looking to conserve some capital for ad spend in the lucrative New Year’s Resolution market- here are 8 quick tips to save some cash.
8 Simple Ways to Save Cash
- Don’t Stay at the Wynn
I was trolling through old posts and had a good laugh when I stumbled on this gem from 2006.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, you’ve no doubt seen dozens upon dozens of ads for teeth whitening CPA products. So in discovering that Jon Fisher foresaw opportunity in the niche back in mid 2006 – I was struck by the idea that we’ve probably already talked about tomorrow’s next big thing.
An impromptu Twitter discussion from May still has me thinking.
@ppcbz: Has everyone given up on local seo yet? What’s the next big guru circle jerk gonna be about?
@ppcbz local leadgen is a nightmare. Saw that coming a mile away. I’ve got “Barman’s Magic Inside Secrets” coming soon. Hope you don’t mind.
@smaxor @ppcbz IANAG (I am not a guru)- but I will say local SEO/ lead gen is a stable, consistent income stream. It’s just not scalable.
@adhustler replies to me
@phillian its scaleable but you need to form an entire company…look at reachlocal… I believe they are going public.
@smaxor replies to
@adhustler going public isn’t always what its cracked up to either. Have 2 partners that said its the worst thing they ever did. ;)
I reply to both of them
@smaxor @adhustler re local- even though it’s reliable (and thus hard to move away from) it’s still trading hours for dollars. Even if its not me doing the work, but an Odesker or an employee, overhead still walks around on 2 legs.
@phillian I’ll make a leadgen to create local clients for you. And everyone one else that wants to do it. Aggregate and post data then scale. I’ll sell you the lead then you can do all the work and deal with clients :P
Then he starts getting into the good stuff.
When it comes to local lead gen I think a way better way to go is niche specialty over many areas. Chiropractors for example. Then start local and keep adding more and more cities. Become a leadgen aggregator for the chiropractic niche.
That’s a very scalable business.
Look at something at 1-800-dentist. Working in 20 different niches in a local area really seems to be like starting from scratch each time with a whole new business to learn how to market and deliver a message people have to act on. Much easier to develop a message then grow to man markets.
It’s a whole new business to learn how to market and deliver a message people have to act on. Much easier to develop a message then grow to man markets.
The other nice part is to get 20 chiropractors in a zip and then have them bid up the lead price so you keep your cost the same and increase your return.
B2C is what I’d stick to if you’re making a margin as there will be more volume then B2B.
Pest control would probably be a good one to start. Realtors, mechanics… Who’s got other ideas? Gardeners?
Any real life continuity service would probably be good, house keepers. Or high cost service, remodels.
The mold, flood cleanup guys is a great niche. Talk about a scam it’s like 10k to have them dry your carpets. But its paid by insurance companies.
To which I add
Mold / asbestos remediation is becoming a hot-button certification issue in some states. Here in PA it’s still wide open though. but – you could upsell asbestos remediation lead gen on mesothelioma attorneys.
And @smaxor replies
All the better reason to be an aggregator :) sell the leads 3 times let the cleanup guys bid, then do the same to atty’s.
When people compete you win right? :P
I still believe there are tremendous barriers to entry to take a local lead generation business from comfortable (which I define by replicating the income I would have had if I were still working a job as an IP paralegal, somewhere between 85-95k with overtime) to seriously scalable profit (2-3x “comfortable” and growing).
What Jason Akatiff (Ads4Dough and @smaxor from above) was talking about, however, is the conglomeratization of effort by creating systems. Letting the work work for you rather than replicating that work in new industries or niches. I revisited this discussion recently because that is the direction I’ve decided to head with my local lead generation business.
I’ve worked and had clients in about a dozen different industries, mostly B2C in the blue collar trades. There are some big scaling problems with clients like this:
- More education. This client base is going to need a lot of bringing-up-to-speed to understand what you are talking about when you pitch them. That means you are frontloading a lot of effort in the pitch that may not result in profit.
- Rapid lead cap. You can only scale your business at the rate with which they can scale theirs. If you have a major Philadelphia plumber, no matter how many broken toilets you can find in the city for him to fix, his resources (trucks, employees) will only allow him to get to so many, at which point you have to turn off the valves on your traffic. And your profit.
- Squeaky wheels. Because your profit is limited per client, you have to engage with a much larger volume of clients to increase profit margins… and with an increase in volume comes the inevitable increase in squeaky wheel clients; the kind who will call you in the middle of the night to ask why your day-parted ads aren’t running.
So I am reorganizing this business to be more streamlined and effective going forward.
- Niche selection. I’m choosing industries that I already have a working knowledge of and sticking to no more than 3 at a time while I build out…
- Systems. Creating and testing best practices for lead generation within those niches that can be moved to a variety of locations. This minimizes the opportunity cost and effort I have to put out to be profitable. From there, I want to investigate…
- Data Sales. Specifically finding a way to multiply the monetization of every collected lead either through aggregate data sales or upsells (with highly-targeted, applicable affiliate marketing programs). There are some ethical questions involved here so I’m not yet 100% sold on this idea. (For more information, check out More Money, Same Traffic: List Building and Paths)
What do you think?
Is Local Lead Gen a scalable business, yes or no? Any recommendations for increasing profit per lead?
Last updated: 10/16/10
I am not here to reinvent the wheel- simply to aggregate the resources that I used to learn how to rank small businesses locally… and how to make that a profitable portion of your internet marketing business plan.
Local SEO and Lead Gen First Steps
- AdHustler.com’s Local Online Advertising Series | Solid, practical, executable information. Go here first.
- The Wickedfire posts that got my started are nicely aggregated here.
- Shoemoney’s Local Affiliate Marketing white paper. | Advertisement for his tools aside, this white paper is actually very good at giving you a wireframe platform of ideas.
- In non-pdf form check out: How To Make Money Setting Up Your Own Local Affiliate Program
- CDFNetwork’s 83 Proven Local Lead Gen Niches
- Also, if you are serious about branching into Local Lead Generation for your business, I highly highly recommend Chad’s Local Lead Plan. 99% of all eBooks / forums are bullshit. This one is not.
- 9 Killer Tips for Location-based Marketing
- One Dead Simple Tactic for Better Rankings in Google Local | SEOMoz delivers. Always.
- Local SEO Case Study | by Aaron wall @ SEOBook.com
- Local Business SEO (Wickedfire.com)| Very long series of forum posts, recently-updated, includes loads of resources and advice on breaking in and getting ranked.
- Raven Internet Marketing Tools | This tool will automatically research your competitors by examining the keywords it extracts from your site and track it’s SERP ranking for each word, determining your competitors on the fly and displaying your positions side by side. (Free 30 Day Trial then $19/mo.)
- SEOBook Toolbar for Firefox | A bandwidth suck but amazing tool. Compare with:
- SEO Professional Toolbar for Firefox | A late-comer to the game of free tools, but it is free… and it tracks Yahoo backlinks. Why not give it a go?
- Alexa and Compete | Know your competition’s stats and traffic trends.
- Inbound Link Analyzer | Just make sure you compare these stats with
- Yahoo Link Search | Within Yahoo, you can search for inbound links by querying “link:http://www.sitename.com” and further distill these results by adding “-site:sitename.com” (which eliminates internal links).
- “linkdomain:” This command finds all pages that link to any page within a domain.
- Combining the “linkdomain:” and “link:” syntax command identifies what pages within the site that are being linked to. Ex: linkdomain:sitename.com -link:http://sitename.com -link:http://www.sitename.com -site:sitename.com
- Remember to query with both ‘www’ and non-‘www’ extensions. You’d be surprised what you’ll uncover if you (or your client) hasn’t enabled a 301.
- Domaintools | Spammy sites cluttering your 10-Pack? Look up who’s behind them. Then reverse engineer their methods or turn them into the webspam team.
- Google Local | Be listed or die.
- Yahoo Local | Don’t ignore- especially since Yahoo Mobile is the default browser on Blackberries.
- Best of the Web | The original directory. For above-the-board sites only. Nice backlink to have.
- DMOZ | Ditto on the above. Hard to get a backlink from, but awesome one to have in your quiver.
- Yelp | Questionable business ethics, but a must-have if you are an actual business of any kind.
- 4Square & Gowalla | One or both, doesn’t matter… 4Square has greater marketshare and brand recognition (as of this writing) and has been integrated with Bing Maps. It’s also been mentioned that Google is crawling Foursquare– but not Gowalla. If you ignore these check-in social networks you are leaving money on the table.
- Twibs | Twitter Business Directory