If you own a business, you’ve no doubt come across plenty of unsolicited emails asking if you’re interested in buying “leads”. I put leads into quotations here because they are not really leads (at least not in the way that we define leads), and they’re almost never a good idea for your business.
Typically, these emails come from an individual (rather than a corporation), usually with a personal Gmail or Yahoo address. That’s a red flag right off the bat. They usually claim that these are “hot leads” or that they represent companies that are dying to do business with you. Don’t believe it.
Most of the time, these are simply lists of companies, sometimes with an individual’s name and contact number, and sometimes without, that these people pulled off a simple Google or LinkedIn search. They’ve never heard of your company and they have never reached out to the provider of these leads begging (or even asking) for the services you offer. And more often than not, this provider is selling these “leads” to more than one company at a time, which means you’re not even the only one who has access to this list. You’re competing against someone else (or a lot of other companies) for the same business you just paid good money to contact. It’s a sham.
Think about it. If these “leads” that were that hot or that valuable, why would this provider be willing to sell them to you for a very inexpensive price (we see something like $10 to $20 per “lead” offered quite often). If these companies were indeed looking to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on your services, don’t you think they’d be worth more than $10? And if the provider actually spent the time and effort required to cultivate these “leads” you’d think he or she would need to sell them for more than $10 to recoup that time and effort.
By now it should be clear that this is a scam, and that you should avoid it at all costs. So how should a business owner go about recruiting new customers? Well, the most cost-effective option is to mine your professional network on a regular basis and recruit new business that way. It’s free and you already have an “in”. But many business owners have neither the time nor the vast amount of contacts needed to support their companies. That’s where targeted advertising and marketing comes into play.
Unlike buying lists of garbage “leads”, a properly targeted and executed digital marketing campaign will bring you qualified customers who are interested in the products and services that you offer. Google search (whether paid or organic) connects these interested prospects with your company at the moment they are searching for businesses just like yours. These marketing campaigns aren’t “cheap” per se, but they are cost-effective, and you get what you pay for. So the next time you’re looking for new business, stay away from the crooks peddling garbage “leads”, and turn to a real marketing company to bring you new customers.