People looking to get into local lead gen often wonder what niches they should try. It’s true that getting started and finding your first customer is the hardest part. With so many types of businesses it can be overwhelming. Theoretically, almost any business could work in some way with the local lead gen model, but some business types are a better fit for LLG. Many of these niches are already accustomed to buying leads in one form or another. So the transition to working with a internet marketer can be easier. Here are 83 niches that work well with a local lead gen model. Obviously it is also a good idea to think outside the box when finding new businesses to work with, but this list is a good start.
Real Estate Investors
Health and beauty
Weight loss specialists
Technical training centers
Travel Agents (yep, they still exist)
Small non chain hotels
Heating And Cooling
Decks & Porches
Pools & Spas
Home Theater Services
This list is taken from Chapter 2, “Finding Customers” of Local Lead Plan
Everything in affiliate marketing is temporary. The offers, the campaigns, the income, even some of the networks are all very short lived. Nothing lasts for what would be considered a long time in the business world. This presents an interesting challenge to the Internet Marketer. How can you continue to make a living is such a volatile and fleeting industry?
One way is to accept the fact that everything you build and work on is temporary and always be working on the next thing to replace revenue sources that are dropping off. Unfortunately this is equivalent to living paycheck to paycheck with a regular job. Eventually your luck will probably run out and you will be left without an income stream.
A more stable approach is to try to build sources of lasting and growing value alongside your affiliate work. This might include things like an authority site, community site, real products, a service or tool, etc. These are the types of things that increase in value as time goes on, provide recurring revenue for the future, and have a residual value if you want to sell them. I like to think of affiliate marketing as a temporary income that can help fund long term projects, but I am always thinking of the long term projects as the main goal of Internet Marketing. If you look at almost everyone that has made it big in an online business, they have built something of real value.
I have tried building countless new sites and services. Most of them have failed miserably, but I have learned something from each failure. Some examples: I built a large dog community site that never worked out, a cooking site, a social networking site, built a business planning tool, gamer sites, etc…. Probably 90% don’t work out, but a couple have done ok which makes it all worthwhile. Once you hit upon something that brings real revenue and customers the payout can be great.
What kind of site or service should you create to build lasting value? It’s been said a million times but it’s still true: find a need and fill it. Sure that is easier said than done. You can start with things that interest you, then it seems less like work. Or you can look for trends and emerging niches and try to get in on the ground floor. Whatever method you use, provide value to customers and the revenue will come eventually. Instead of thinking “how can I make money online”, think “what do people need or want that I can provide”.
When considering a new online project, there are 3 factors that I consider the holy grail of an Internet business:
1. Automated sign up/delivery service – This means that once your system or site is built, there is no input needed for new customers to sign up and start using your service.
2. Infinitely scalable – Which means it doesn’t take any more effort to have 10 customers or 10,000
3. Recurring monthly revenue – Customers pay to continue to use your product or service so the revenue stream keeps coming.
An example of perfect internet businesses that meet these 3 criteria would be any online tool that charges by the month for use. It fills a customer need, they can sign up and use it without your input, you can add more customers with minimal extra effort, and they continue to pay as long as they use the service.
In short: affiliate marketing can be rewarding in the short term, but don’t forget to invest some time in building long term value projects – whatever they may be.
As you may have noticed in my other posts, I’m a big fan of Pay Per Call. I like running direct network campaigns with it, and using it for local lead gen and private offers. I think we are just scratching the surface of the possibilities for the technology. The ability to track calls like clicks is a real game changer.
Here’s a quick review of some of the benefits:
As you can see, Pay per call has some pretty impressive stats going for it, so how can you get started? The easiest way is to just run some of the Pay Per Call offers on the big networks. You usually have to sign up for these programs separately, even if you are already an affiliate of the network. Once approved, you sign up for an individual offer, just like you would a web based offer.
The 3 largest programs are:
There are also a lot of smaller networks out there running Pay Per Call offers. Almost all networks are using the Ring Revenue PPcall platform. (My interview with the CEO of Ring Revenue is here)
What kinds of offers are there?
There is a wide range of offers available. In general they are more established companies running PPcall, because of the higher investment required to get the programs running, and the staff involved in answering calls. The payouts are usually a price range on a sliding scale rather than a single payout. For example the eFax offer on CJ pays from $1-$25 based on call duration and menu options pressed.
Some other examples of good paying offers on CJ are:
Fitorbit(Exercise niche) - Up to $40 per call
Health Insurance Megastore – Up to $30 per call
ADT – Up to $25 per call
Allstate – $12 per call
Direct Pay Per Call
If you want to try Pay per call on your own offer, for a example a Local Lead Gen offer, you need to sign up for a call tracking service directly. There are a lot of them out there, but I use Ifbyphone (discount link). This will allow you to generate a phone number to use with your campaign that can be tracked in Google Analytics, just like clicks.
It’s not hard to give Pay Per Call a try, especially on a major network. Just like any new web skill, there is a learning curve. But if you already know web offers and PPC, it’s an easy transition. If you are frustrated with regular web offers maybe it’s time to give Pay Per Call a shot.
About 3 years ago (a lifetime in Internet Marketing) I did an experiment testing 13 PPC sources. So much has changed since then. Many of the services have dropped away, while new sources of social display ads like Facebook have exploded on to the scene. The big 3, Google, Yahoo, and Bing have all streamlined their systems and become much easier to use. But there is still a need for smaller traffic sources in certain cases.
Do any of the smaller 2nd tier PPC networks still work in 2010? Yes, but only a select few will actually produce positive ROIs in our testing. These are the 3 that I am still using to this day for certain campaigns, both network CPA stuff and local. The traffic volume is lower so these will never be a primary traffic source for a campaign, but if the traffic is good, every little bit helps with the bottom line.
7search traffic converts very well in my experience. The volume is low, but on a ROI basis, I actually see a better return on 7 search traffic than Google Adwords or even Bing. Setup is simple and there are no quality score concerns. Targeting is country based, not down to the city level, so its not suitable for local campaigns. I’ve had 7 search campaigns running continuously for years now.
Miva can generate a decent volume of clicks and their network has a large reach. The interface is good and conversions are solid for some niches. You can get an account rep that will take care of a lot of the setup for you and even let you do “run of the network” campaigns.
Ask has almost all the features that Yahoo or Bing have including bulk uploads, conversion tracking, dayparting, and local targeting down to the zip code. The traffic is relatively cheap and does convert for certain niches. Geo-targeting is effective and can be used for national or local lead gen campaigns.
That’s about it, those are the only 2nd tier PPC services that I can recommend these days. If you have others that are currently working well, please let me know!
One reason people struggle getting any significant traffic to their content network campaigns is not having enough images. You really need to cover every available image size option to have the maximum possible exposure for your display ads on the network. That’s why the display ad builder is such a great tool to use.
The display ad builder has been out for a while, but the recent updates have made it work really well. Its basically a tool for quickly creating images to use on your content network display campaigns. You can choose their standard templates with flash animation built in, load in an image, and it spits out all the standard IAB ad sizes. Normally, its quite a chore to make 5 different animated display ads. If you outsource them to a designer you might pay $40 an ad, so a group of 5 sizes would cost $200. The display ad builder tool can do this in 5 minutes for free.
You launch the tool in a campaign by selecting “new ad” then choosing “display ad builder” from the drop down. You are then presented with all the different designs and formats.
Its then just a matter of filling in the form fields with the information you want, uploading a logo, and entering your destination URL. The tool then re-formats each ad to fit the correct size and you get flash ads in every size. The only catch is, sometimes you have to play around with your images or text in certain ad sizes if it doesn’t look quite right. But overall, its a very fast process.
So if you haven’t tried image ads on the content network because you don’t have the images, check out the display ad builder. You could be up and running in a few minutes.
Local Lead Plan is now live! If you want to find out what it’s all about, head on over and watch the video. I know its pretty boring, but hey, I never said I was a dynamic speaker;) So far the feedback from people who have tested the course has been great.
To commemorate the launch I am giving away a free copy.
To enter tweet: just entered to win a free copy of the Local Lead Plan course http://bit.ly/95sLqy
Or if you don’t do the Twitter thing just leave a comment to this post.
I’ll pick the winner in 2 days, on Friday at noon.
Update: Due to user feedback for a place to continue the local lead gen discussion, I just launched a forum on the site!
Head on over and check it out, everyone is welcome! Local Lead Plan Forum
I’m really excited to announce a project I have been working on for long time. It’s called Local Lead Plan, and it’s the first totally comprehensive local lead generation course. I’ve been involved in local lead gen for the last 4 years, before anyone was even calling it local lead gen. Back then I was just helping some business drive web leads. It has really blown up in the last couple years though. Now my company works with local businesses all over the country as a main revenue source.
Through working with countless businesses, I have developed a lot of systems and strategies for local lead gen. I realized that although some people have written some great posts about certain topics of local lead gen, there was really no way to for someone to learn the whole process, from start to finish. I know there was a demand for this kind of information because I get tons of questions about the specifics of local lead gen. This course should answer all those questions.
I wanted to write an actual old school book, but I quickly found out the publishing process takes too much time, so I reluctantly decided to put it out electronically. I say reluctantly because I’ve never been a fan of most e-book marketing tactics. So I decided to make it an info product that I would actually buy – I made it the “anti-ebook”. There’s no sales page, no pressure, no hype, no limited time, etc. The price doesn’t even end in a 7!
Once the product is released there is a long video that shows exactly what the course is about so you can decide if it is something you are interested in. The price is well under $100, and a one time fee, not recurring.
The site goes live April 14th at 9:00am PST. If you go there now and sign up for the mailing list, you will be able to buy it through a special link the day before.
I hope you check it out!
About a year ago I was brainstorming one night about the future of internet marketing. I wrote in big letters on the top of my whiteboard:
With mobile penetration continuing to go through the roof, and pay per call technology rapidly evolving, those 2 points will converge at some point. We are still in the very early stages of the merging of these technologies. The few early players in the game up until now have been mobile service providers who can implement their own customer pay per call display ad solutions. Now Google has quietly introduced click to call, allowing everyone to access mobile users with a real solution. Basically a mobile user sees an ad and clicks it to be connected directly to the number, rather than having to enter the number and dial manually. The clicks are charged to same price as regular web clicks.
As a marketer, I immediately thought how this could work with pay per call. I do a lot of work with pay per call on local lead gen, so click to call seemed like a perfect fit. Now you can actually integrate pay per click, pay per call, and click to call in one easy step.
Why would you want to do this? Here’s an example:
• Say you were running a local lead gen offer. You had a unique trackable phone number set up to capture phone leads (pay per call).
• Now say you wanted to reach local mobile users browsing the internet on smartphones like IPhones, Droids, Blackberry, etc. (pay per click)
• Finally, you want those users to be able click directly on the ad from their phone, rather than having to dial the number into their phone. (click to call)
Some of the benefits:
Setup is simple, in the Campagin settings under Networks, Devices and Extensions, click the checkbox to enable click to call under ad extensions. Enter your phone number (your trackable pay per call number). Then under Devices, to make sure check the box to show ads to iphones and other mobile devices with browsers.
Keep in mind this is not going to be a large traffic source right now, but I think is going to be huge going forward. Start playing around with it now before it gets saturated.
Interested in this kind of local lead gen stuff? Then you’re going to want to sign up to my new list! Something big is coming soon.