You can lead a horse to water...
Ridin' the New Frontier of Pay-Per-Lead Marketing
By Tom Barnes
There's a reason shares of Google are circulating at pre-crash Yahoo! levels. It's because Google is an Internet company that has actually turned a profit--and quickly, too. How? By giving advertisers what they've been looking for since the dawn of dot.com: a captive audience that can be turned into customers.
Back in Wild Wild Web's frontier days, online advertisers and publishers kept their blinders on. With a one-track view of Internet marketing, they touted the value of the banner ad, which had a downside. Advertisers assumed banner ads were failures if they posted less-than-stellar click-through rates. Never mind that drivers don't drive through billboards and magazine subscribers rarely clip out print ads. Expectations had been set...and expectations were shot.
Each link on a Google search results-page is really a little banner waiting to be clicked by a surfer who has come to the well to drink. Add the Pay-Per-Click results listed on the side of each page, and you've got a Webvertising module that works...or does it?
Pickin' up Clicks
There's no doubt that Google has made a bundle, but the jury is still out on how effective the Pay- Per-Click business model is for online advertisers. After all, clicks don't always lead to sales. Fortunately, Google isn't the only doggie out on the range.
Smart Web publishers are in the process of building B2B traffic around industry-specific content. That attracts targeted leads. Marketers have begun to use this model to trade their intellectual property for valuable sales prospects. They're more than willing to pay to post their white papers (and other content) on publisher sites, provided the publisher can provide them with qualified leads (usually defined as forms filled with correct contact information by site visitors).
The key thing to remember is that this is not Pay-Per-Click marketing. In Pay-Per-Click, marketers pay for impressions that may or may not lead to sales. In any case, Pay-Per-Click usually leaves you without a digital trail you can use to chase leads. In Pay-Per-Lead marketing, you only pay when you get the information you need to begin prospecting.