Niche Lead Generation and Local Affiliate Programs

Niche Lead Generation and Local Affiliate Programs

Before I quit my job last month, I was a business banker at Wells Fargo Bank.  While there, I managed about 250 business clients and their accounts, lending needs, etc.  I found it interesting that over the past few years I started gaining more and more business clients that were internet marketers!  As such I was able to get to know several business owners that made 100% of their money online and were doing VERY well (I could see the money in the bank :) ).

One of these clients was a 26 year old guy making a killing with education leads.  He would generate leads through pay per click, bulk email, and other methods.  He then had several buddies working with him as a call center – where these leads would call.  He would of course help them out, but would also upsell, downsell, and maintain the leads to make money in the future.  He had quite the system worked out.

Anyway, shifting gears here – then I heard about MJ Demarco who started a limo lead generation website.  He essentially would hook up those looking for a limo service in any city with the actual limo service.  Every lead he delivered to the limo companies would earn him a flat fee.  At its peak, he was pulling in $250k profit each month.  Then he sold the company a few years ago for undisclosed millions.

So, is there money to be made in lead generation businesses?  Absolutely.

Niche Lead Generation Ideas

Here’s my quick take.  Education and other popular lead generation businesses like auto insurance, mortgage leads, business opportunity, and others are EXTREMELY competitive.  Yes, there is money to be made if you can get in; but you may never be able to get in with all the competition.  This is why the limo lead generation idea really got my mind racing.  Are there other unique lead generation services or better yet LOCAL lead generation ideas that I could start?

A local lead generation or affiliate program opportunity that someone could start are any small businesses that could benefit from having leads brought to them from people searching online.  For example, one I thought of, that may not be that great – is lead generation for sprinkler blow out services.  In the winter, home owners that live in cold areas need to blow the water out of their sprinklers in order to prevent the water from freezing and breaking their pipes.

Every winter I search online for someone to do this – not a single one has a website that I am aware of.  I always find their service on Craiglist.  So, I could EASILY create a website that could outrank these Craigslist listings and start collecting these leads.  Okay, this is only a seasonal business and probably not the best idea to pursue – but I hope it gives you an idea of what I am considering here.

For one of my potential niche pursuits, I am considering developing a niche lead generation site or local affiliate program.  In reality these could be one and the same of course.  Whether or not the local phone book company wants to accept it, more and more people are searching for things online.  I believe that there are still some great opportunities to rank well for some of these niche services and start generating some leads.

What Type of Companies to Target

Ideas that would work particularly well are those services that are owned by small companies (or even sole proprietors) and/or businesses that are usually commissioned based.  Commissioned based employees or services tend to see the value in an additional lead – and therefore willing to pay for it.  Small companies or 1 man show businesses tend to not have a good online presence and would find it easier to just pay for leads rather than develop an entire online campaign.

I really think there are thousands of potential niche lead generation ideas out there.  Here are just a few that I thought of:

  • Dog Grooming (commission based usually)
  • Personal training
  • Life coaching
  • Landscaping
  • Carpet installation
  • Carpet cleaning
  • House painting
  • Just about any contractor/manual labor type job
  • Moving businesses
  • Windshield repair
  • Car dent repair
  • Photography

Okay, the list could go on and on.  You will notice that I left of the list some profitable opportunities like local doctor, dentist, and other professional services.  These areas are already becoming pretty competitive – so I am looking for less competitive and more unique ideas.

Should This Be My Niche Pursuit?

Anyway, if I were to pursue this idea I would be first finding books or courses that I could get my hands on to learn some techniques first.  Although when it comes down to it, I already know search engine optimization quite well and would be looking more for information on how to approach companies and negotiate terms with them.  So, you will all have a chance to vote on which idea I pursue in the next 2 or 3 weeks.  The winning idea gets my full attention – so this one could be it.

What do you think?  Do you think creating a niche lead generation and/or local affiliate program is a solid business idea?  What else should I be considering that I haven’t covered here.  Obviously this is just a quick and brief overview of the idea – but please let me know your thoughts!

And of course, if you have a different idea that you would like me to consider – please submit your niche business idea right here.

 


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42 Comments for this entry

  1. Muzi Mohale says:

    Interesting niche Spencer, in my case I’m struggling getting the buy in from targeted businesses. My niche is already generating qualified leads, however none of the businesses is willing to pay for this leads.

    Locally truck owners don’t have websites for their trucks and I managed to register an exact keyword domain sidetippers.co.za, now even though I have proof of incoming leads which I want to sell to a side tipper fleet owner…none is seeing the bigger picture.

    What would you suggest to be a best approach in selling such leads?

    • Spencer says:

      Muzi – that’s a great question. I have to be honest, selling the leads is an area I would have to brush up on. However, one way to start would be to find any companies advertising through adwords. These companies understand the importance of leads. However, in your case where they don’t have websites – you are in the difficult position of educating the business owners.

      Perhaps you can offer a few leads for free to get the ball rolling? Once they see that your leads are valuable – they might be willing to pay in the future. This may be a good way to go.

      Does anyone else have any other ideas?

      • Victor Pidkowich says:

        I had a similar situation with a motorcycle site I had ranked #1 in Google Canada. I was trying to convince dealers to do business with me. Even though I had all the numbers to show them they seemed very skeptical.

        I put together a free offer and sure enough it got the ball rolling :)

        Also, once you have done business for free with these businesses its wise to ask them for permission to use them as a case study so you may showcase them on your site and use their success as an example – you may want to offer a reduced future price for doing business if they say yes.

        Hope that helps any.

        • Muzi Mohale says:

          Victor, wow that case study scenario is clever…i’ll be able to build more value for prospective lead generation sites as I’ll already have existing references.

          Appreciate the pointers mate.

      • Muzi Mohale says:

        wow, that’s a smart strategy indeed…they’re a few that have websites and do advertise on adwords. it should indeed be possible with them as they’re already using the net to advertise. offering them free leads as a bait should seal the deal.

        appreciate your help Spencer…just completed reading your handbook. it has re-ignited new fire to put more efforts into my work.

        i’ve been investing too much effort into one website hoping it’ll generate that killer revenue. now I know, diversification is the way to go…i’m aiming for that $10,000pm…

        • Spencer says:

          Muzi – I would definitely start with those on adwords – they are already spending advertising dollars. If your leads produce, they will go with you – best of luck!

          Also, glad the handbook is lighting a fire under you! I found success in diversification of sites (may not work for everyone) – but I hope it works out well for you.

    • Rob Kerr says:

      Your wondering how can I convince this business owner that it works? I say make his phone ring fill his schedule with your leads this month and go see the owner next month. Compare your leads to his business booking and quiz him on the success of the leads. Tell him the First Months Free! but if he sees value in your service he will pay your rate next month. What I’m saying is Prove it!

  2. Victor Pidkowich says:

    Hi Spence!

    With Local being the last wild wild west, I do beleive it leaves lots of opportunity. I have looked into this myself. And it is very appealing, especially when you know SEO :) even better yet…local SEO email on this one.

    But the one glaring obstacle is the systems. Like you mentioned – approaching these businesses / sole proprietors.

    With a nich site targeting 16 blade blenders is easy if there is market with no competition, but what makes those niches much easier is the ability to monitize – slap some aff., ppc etc and start the cash flow.

    With these lead gen niche sites the first step is similar to that of the above niche site in that SEO is simple – but 2 additional steps need to be added to the mix from my experience.

    1) Authority – when it comes to local people want to experience that that extra 10%. We are dealing with a significantly less number of people than if we were targeting 16 blade blenders globally. These sites needs some more commanding power and be able to get people to convert better than the ordinary adsense site.

    2) System – since this is the wild west, we need to be some what pioneers. From as much as I can tell there isnt many or any systems out there we can point and click to setup and make money. So we have to develop our own systems.

    Thats my 2 sense.

    In My opinion do this.

    Flipping stuff is no different than flipping real estate. Im in that business too – its easy to get burned and takes LOTS of practice and in a volitile market it hardly works. Certainly not worth the hours inputed.

    Go for something that can be near 100% passive.

    Stay away from software unless you have partners and people of experience. Iv spent over $25 000 on software dev. that went wrong. Not saying its bad, just competitive and expensive.

    Digg in to the lead gen business, put on the pioneer cap and show us the way :)

    • Spencer says:

      Victor – great comment! I agree that there are certainly some obstacles that would have to be overcome like dealing with systems for capturing and delivering the leads. And of course there is always the challenge of convincing owners that your leads are valuable.

      However, I also agree that this is still somewhat of the “wild west” – at least for certain niches. Anytime there is an unorganized/disjointed type atmosphere like there is with many of these companies – there is an opportunity for someone to make money. I agree that someone can still pioneer the way in certain segments of the lead gen business for sure.

  3. Victor Pidkowich says:

    To help in your decision:

    It may prove wise to stay clear of selling products due to the possible internet sales tax…

    http://www.naturalnews.com/032059_internet_sales_tax.html

  4. claudio says:

    My friend pays $400 a month for leads, he has a limo company. He said the office of these kids is a little shack w/4 computers and they sell limousine leads in NY.

    • Spencer says:

      Awesome to hear! This is exactly what I’m talking about. I believe there are lots of opportunities out there for niche lead generation – just got to put the thinking cap on.

  5. Noob Starter says:

    I’ve thought about this sort of thing. What software are you going to use to help with payment and transaction to the lead buyer? How and when do you get paid? What happens when they buy 10 leads from you and none of the leads buy anything, I don’t think the companies will keep buying leads from you.

    It sounds good, but for local businesses I’m not sure I could drum up enough leads to make it worth my time going and convincing all these local businesses to buy leads from me.

    It might work in a bigger city.

    • Victor Pidkowich says:

      Iv seen a few people successful at this and their system seems to only allow themself to do business where there is competition for the industry. Which is usually the larger cities. This is because the businesses in those environments are focred to compete and know the just how valuable those leads are.

      Where as in a city such as mine of only 300 000 people youve really only got an oligopoly. Where there are 2-3 painters, drywallers, etc. that people go to. And in this environment it literally does take these guys months or years to get things done, because they own the market.

    • Spencer says:

      I love all your difficult questions! These types of “scary” questions are EXACTLY why someone can still get into the business and make a killing. Lots of people see these hurdles (which really aren’t that big) and will simply give up before they try. I’m not suggesting that you would. Im just saying that lots of people will not even try a business because they think “uh oh, what if my leads don’t convert”.

      I love it! The challenges/”what if” questions are what keep a lot of potential competitors out of the business – which in turn makes it possible for someone like me to come in and make a killing. With a little effort you can easily overcome all these obstacles you brought up.

      I would certainly consider all these issues and take the time to figure them out. Also, specifically in response to your “bigger cities” would be better. Well, the real idea is that you start a “niche business” lead generation and then sell leads all across the country. It doesn’t matter where you live – you can target and sell leads anywhere.

      • Noob Starter says:

        Spencer, please figure it out and then tell me. My $27 will be waiting ;)

      • Gbenga says:

        Hi- I appreciate you guys for your experience sharing. they are very insightful.
        My website is on hairstyles and hair issues, but presently, I am thinking of changing it to virtual makeover hair where visitors can virtually test by wearing different hairstyle and print if they want. But developing the software is expensive for me. I also plan to join yellow-page affiliate for local business listing in hair-styling category. Do you think my idea is good. I am asking this question because of the new idea that you are talking about here (lead generation)

  6. Chris says:

    yes this seems like the best idea by far so far. I hope you go with this idea. When will you get the ball rolling? maybe I’ll join you in your case study.

    • Spencer says:

      Hey Chris, glad you like the idea. I plan to get voting started on which idea I should tackle before the end of the month. So, I should be diving into actually trying one of these ideas pretty soon…

  7. Bill says:

    Spencer…..

    This sounds like a great business but you need to know that it takes many hours of work….it is not an addition to revenue stream…..just look at servicemagic or similar….I think you would be best served by redirecting any leads and resell them to above like services…..easier since you already know how to rank websites.

    • Spencer says:

      Bill – I agree. I may be biting off more than I can chew if I go this route. That’s something I will consider before I dive into anything. Thanks for the tips about just reselling my leads somewhere, that may be go the way in my case if I don’t have a chance to tackle it “full time”.

  8. Boris C. says:

    Spencer i think Clickbank use Wells Fargo Bank when paying to their affiliates. When i get checks from them i always see Wells Fargo Bank there.

    I think local affiliate program while might be less profitable comapred to niche lead generation, it will involve less work since all systems are already in place by vendors and you won’t have to convince anybody about worth of your leads.

  9. matt says:

    just because a space has competition does not mean you shouldn’t enter it…. thats where all the money it :) mortgage,dentist’s…. you can go TOO niche sometimes…. mj’s limo company had 12 competitors when he started that did not stop him…

    :)

  10. Leads says:

    When promoting a network marketing chance offline your job is to disclosure your offer to as many people as possible.

  11. Leads says:

    Lead generation and local affiliate program is a main business idea for the success of business

  12. Lead generation or affiliate program chances that someone could start are any small businesses.

  13. Kiz says:

    I know I am late to this post, but I see a problem with local lead generation businesses nowadays. I am no expert so I don’t know whether there is anything that can be done about it… Google Places. When you search for a service + the name of a city, first page results are populated with companies that have claimed their address. How can we sell leads all across the country? We can target leads anywhere, but we are at a clear disadvantage when we compete with local businesses.

  14. As an owner of a successful small biz, I was wondering how I could monetize this site beside adsense and Chitika.

    I would love to see more info on this when you have it.

  15. Pavel says:

    I was thinking about how to sell the leads to business owners and I found one method, which can be a bit time consuming, but you can be sure you will get paid and also the other said (the biz owner) will surely get the deal.

    I will use your sprinkler-thingie idea – set a up site about sprinkler maintenance and how it is a pain in the A to get them working after the winter etc. Now promote something like this “If you want to get it done easily and cheap, give us a call/email/whatever and we will get back to you in 24h.” After you receive this email/call, you will contact the local sprinkler repair guys with the simple sentence – “I have a guy who wants this sprinklers done, I’ll give you the contact for /designated sum of money/”.

    Well, we can imagine the sprinkler guy will be reluctant to pay in advance (he cannot be sure you didn’t make that contact up), but you can be sure that after his deal is done, next time he will be more than happy to pay in advance!

    I know this is bit time-consuming, because you need to personally be able to contact someone who is able to do the service your lead requires, but at least it is a starting point and an idea how to do it.

  16. TK says:

    I know this comment is way to late for this topic, but I’ve just signed up to a course that teaches exactly what’s being discussed here.

    Which is how to go about setting up small “Lead Generation Websites” and securing clients. I joined the course 2 days ago and a lot of the stuff talked about here regarding all the pit falls if you get into this sort of model is pretty much answered in the course.

    Some great points mentioned here though, some things I never thought of. I’m keen to give this model a shot and the guy is pretty well known and trusted in the online marketing arena, interested to see if anyone is doing this stuff now

  17. noponus says:

    I hosted this website with the aim of making it a lead generation website but am hooked, I really don’t know how to start

  18. I think we’re over complicating things here.
    Pick a service industry.
    Find a long tail keyword such as “affordable house painters In dallas”.
    Rank the site 2-4 times with use of PR, ads, video, etc.
    then use the Contact form of existing businesses to show them what you have done- lease the site don’t sell it- keep it generic- set up with an answering service to take the leads until you lease it and give them away as an incentive.

    It’s a tried and proven system- hope this helps someone
    Best

  19. This is definitely among the most interesting websites I
    have seen. It is so easy to assume you’ve seen it all, but there’s absolutely still some lovely
    things out there, and I feel your website is honestly one of them!

  20. Greg says:

    Having worked at a web company that obtained business through lead generation, I think this is a viable niche business.

    If they buy AdWords ads and the landing page asks for your Name, Company Name, email address and phone number in order to download some free Ultimate Guide, they are prime candidates for buying leads.

    The marketing people who work at these companies are just regular people and will, in general, respond favorably to an offer of sending them leads, with the first 25 or 50 being free.

    One point of dispute is whether they are good leads. They may tell you that you are giving them bad leads that don’t result in new business.

    From what I’ve seen, the best way to obtain great leads is to use “Martha Stewart Marketing.” She ostensibly teaches how to do projects, but in reality almost no one completes her projects – they are too time consuming.

    The true purpose is to demonstrate her expertise, so later when you see her towels at Macys you buy them because if she is behind the product it must be good – just like all of the other amazingly great things she demonstrates on TV and in her magazine.

    So to get great leads, the best keywords contain “do it yourself” questions. You rank and offer a free five page guide that really tells them how to do it. You base the guide precisely on what the company you are generating leads for actually does. Essentially, you are showing them how to do something by showing them exactly what the company actually does.

    Most people, at the beginning of a project, think it will be easier than it really is. When they read the guide they realize – oh no! – this is way more involved than I thought. They want all the features and services described in the Guide, but they see a lot of things they never even considered, and realize it will be a Big Job to get this done themselves.

    That’s when the phone rings. It’s a sales person from the company. They ask, “Do you do this?,” and “Do you have that?” The answer is always yes, of course, because your download simply describes what the company does.

    These leads are educated. Due to the download, they know what they want. Amazingly, the company offers exactly these services.

    These are great leads. They convert like crazy.

    Also it’s important to get a call to the lead about five minutes after the download. As each additional minute passes, the percent who will convert decreases.

    This is a viable opportunity for someone who can select the keywords with the right query intent, rank for them, produce a free guide that explains what the company does, and make sure the calls are returned promptly.

  21. Ron N says:

    Spencer, you know Joe Troyer, he has a program out that teaches getting leads and one of the things he says is that you need call tracking to make sure that the lead buyer is following up in a timely fashion and to make sure you are being paid for the calls.

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