Lead Generation Do's and Don'ts

One of the best ways to grow your email file is to invite prospects when they are in process with another registration. The idea of a “co-reg” checkbox has been around for a while, but a newer opportunity is lead generation — also typically offered on a cost per lead basis. Publishers provide advertisers with full page ad forms that entice prospects to engage with offers of interest. A single offer on the page gives advertisers lots of room to tell their story and makes the process more clear to prospects. Lead generation programs tend to yield much higher quality leads than co-registration because the subscribers are less likely to be confused by a sea of checkboxes.

If you are considering trying lead generation and want to make sure you succeed, consider the following Do’s and Don’ts to help you craft a winning strategy.


Vet your media partners carefully. Sign up for their offers so you can see the experience from the prospect’s point of view. Know how much other email will be sent as a result of the sign-up process. Consider the annoyance factor of checked vs. non-checked boxes and what that means for your brand. Include a prohibition in the contract that bars the publisher from running the campaign anywhere but on sites they disclose. If they are a network, require transparency into what sites your offer will be included on.

Use single-offer pages whenever possible. Avoid multi-offer pages which tend to be damaging to your brand and don’t drive high-quality leads. Single offer pages tend to drive much higher quality leads.

Test as often and comprehensively as you can. Test the offer, your placement in the page flow, creative treatments, the call to action and the confirmation email that gets triggered.

Think in campaigns. Don’t assume that a 15-second co-registration experience will establish a relationship. Take the time to create a series of welcome emails with an appropriate cadence that greets prospects, engages them, and moves them through the sales cycle.

Act fast. Follow up immediately with the leads generated. Real-time auto-response is best. Your response rate diminishes over time.

Get opt-in permission if you intend to add the prospect to your email file. And make the process clear. Burying permission in fine print language might be legal, but fooling prospects gains you nothing. At best they won’t remember you and will ignore your email. At worst, they will feel spammed and complain about your email, resulting in deliverability issues.

Pay attention to the long-term quality of leads. Track lifetime value (LTV) by source over time, then segment and model future leads as soon as they come in. Pay more for better quality sources, and pay less – or eliminate — lower quality sources.


Assume all lead generation is the same. Look for full page ad forms that run on reputable sites. You will be known by the company you keep, so see what other advertisers run lead generation programs on the sites you are considering.

Try to close the deal with one touch. Offer something simple and enticing (an instant download, a whitepaper, a subscription to your email newsletter) that collects both the email address and permission to send additional email. This gives you a chance to continue to market over time.

Use lead generation in a vacuum. Combine your reach with email list rental, online advertising and search to spread the widest net and improve all channels through synergy of message.

Take a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to approach each data source with a new strategy and test all the elements mentioned here to optimize the opportunity. What works on one network may not work so well on another. Some leads may need more time to convert, but show higher value over time. Others might convert quickly, but not stick around long. Figuring out the combination of offers, creative and audience that work best for your business will pay off huge dividends in the long term.

Employ incentives too early in the process. Using incentives in lead generation can increase the number of leads you get, but decrease the quality. A better approach is to use an incentive in your follow-up messaging to move prospects through the sales cycle more quickly. At this point you have prospects who are already interested in your offer.

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