Tag Archives: advanced lead generation

There is still demand out there from new car buyers

Engaging with up to 600,000 consumers per year across some of the UK’s biggest publishers, TLA is uniquely positioned to monitor consumer behavioural trends.

Antony Neill, Head of Data Insight at TLA, talks through some of the key consumer trends we have observed through our interaction with consumers in the past week.

5 lead handling steps to conversion success: turn more third-party leads into new customer sales

A proactive approach to lead handling and lead nurturing can have a drastic impact on lead-to-sale conversions, removing frustration and maximising your commercial performance.

Last month, we won Best Lead Generation Campaign alongside clients Mindshare, GTB and Ford at the Performance Marketing Awards. Drawing upon the success of that campaign and our 17-year heritage in the industry, we’ve compiled five steps that can help you and your sales to get the most out of the leads you buy – whether it’s from TLA or another third-party company.

1. Provide context

Not all leads are generated equally. If you’re working with a reputable lead generation partner that goes to great lengths to ensure quality, communicating how these leads are different to the sales staff that receive them can have a huge impact.

By providing the context behind the lead – where it originated from, how it has been qualified, what information the consumer provided, what opt-in procedures were used and more – sales staff understand the quality of the opportunity they have. That ultimately means they can dedicate the appropriate time and energy towards engaging the consumer and converting the sale.

There are a number of ways this communication can be done, from presentations to brochures to videos. It will be down to you and your lead generation partner to discuss and agree on what works for you and the sales teams you need to engage.

2. Be quick

Leads cool quickly. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that qualification rates drop by as much as 400% when consumers are contacted after 10 minutes of submitting an enquiry compared to 5 minutes. Now imagine if they haven’t been contacted for more than 24 hours. The impact of response time on conversions cannot be underestimated.

Our in-house team contacts consumers who have made an enquiry as soon as they’re received. If they are qualified as a lead and distributed to your CRM, we recommend that they are contacted at the earliest possible moment to ensure the lead stays hot.

3. Be persistent

The same Harvard study also concluded that by attempting to contact a consumer six times, contact rates increase by 70%. A qualified lead puts your sales teams in the driving seat to engage and convert a new customer. By allowing a lead to spoil, your sales teams could effectively be handing over the impetus to a competitor.

A qualified lead for us is someone who has arrived by way of an inbound enquiry and has double opted in to be contacted by our client’s team. In short, they’re expecting the call. So, if for some reason they can’t answer straight away, be persistent and keep trying!

4. Remain adaptable

Most third-party leads are consumers who enquire as part of their research and comparison journey – a journey they remain in right up until the purchase takes place.

While they may have expressed a clear interest in one particular product or service, it’s important to acknowledge that they could still making up their mind and remain open to different options. It therefore makes sense for your sales team to do the same.

They could arrive one of your products but now want to discuss other options you provide. Or perhaps they’ve had their head turned by one of your competitors. By staying open to different possibilities, your sales teams give themselves the greatest scope for providing what they want and need. Lead nurturing doesn’t end until the sale is complete.

5. Repeat and clarify

Don’t assume that because the script used as part of the qualification process has covered the key features or benefits of your product or service that the consumer doesn’t want more before committing to a purchase.

We go to great lengths to make sure the information shared with a consumer is understood, but it never hurts for sales teams to repeat and reinforce the message when first contact is made. Likewise, there is only so much information a consumer wants to hear or is able to take in on a qualification call or via a digital qualification.Having opted in to be contacted by your sales team, that consumer is now primed for more granular detail about what you can offer that others can’t.

In our experience, following these five steps can help you and your sales teams to get more out of the leads you buy and maximise your potential for conversion. If you’d like more information on any of the above, drop us a line and we’ll arrange a follow-up call.

TLA shortlisted at PMAs for Ford lead gen campaign

We have been shortlisted for Best Lead Generation Campaign at this year’s Performance Marketing Awards (PMAs).

The recognition arrives for our successful campaign on behalf of Ford, working closely with the automotive giant’s media partners Mindshare and GTB.

We were appointed to created a five-month lead generation campaign in August last year with the aim of generating high-quality, in-market leads for its full range of vehicles.

We reached and engaged car buyers in high volumes as they researched their new car purchase and qualified each one digitally and offline to identify the right buyers for Ford.

The campaign generated strong metrics across lead volume, marketing opt-ins and conversion rates (based on follow-up survey data), helping Ford achieve its targets and catching the eye of the PMA judges.

Henry Mitchell, account director at GTB, said: “We set The Lead Agency an ambitious target for the number of leads we required over a five-month period in order to ensure our investment in the lead generation channel would be worthwhile and hit ambitious year end lead targets. The team’s commitment to our goal, flexibility to meet our requirements and support throughout the campaign has been excellent.”

We’re immensely proud of the campaign and pleased to have been nominated at the PMAs. We’ll discover our fate at the ceremony taking place on 30 April at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Leveraging the latest tech for digital customer acquisition

The digital marketing world evolves at a fantastic rate with new concepts and ideas appearing every month from established players and start-ups.

The proliferation of software as a service (SAAS) tooling has enabled non-technical staff to quickly establish live digital campaigns and acquire customers for your business – but this only touches the surface of what is possible.

The evolution of SAAS

For, behind the scenes, the world of technical development is also changing just as rapidly. There has been a gradual split in recent years with large tech-focused corporates like IBM, Microsoft, Google et al. accelerating away from the rest of the field in terms of newer technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence etc. Smaller companies could never hope to keep up with the levels of focused resource these businesses are able to throw at such major challenges.

But do they need to? The mighty tech giants provide access to all this technology via APIs, with microservices providing specific elements ready for the developer to build with.

This is the evolution of SAAS in that rather than taking a fixed system as a service, developers can take every micro-function as a service and simply pay as they go for what they consume.

Combining the building blocks

This approach spans across a range of fields so includes future giants like Twilio who provide use of multichannel contact functionality via API.

As a developer, you can now quickly create a system that takes in a message from phone, SMS, Facebook messenger and so on, understands the semantics of that message using AI natural language processing engines and then elicits a response based upon your own business logic. Just for good measure, you could throw in calls to a machine learning service to have the system learn how to do a better job next time around!

So, developers are being provided with ever more complex building blocks and their job is to combine these in unique ways with their own business specific code to create something new. This evolution has been ongoing for many years, starting with development of reusable components then through a proliferation of more complete development frameworks, which saved ‘rebuilding the wheel’ and allowed more focus on bespoke elements.

These more recent and highly-advanced service-based components are a game changer though, providing access to highly complex functionality your average developer or dev team could never build.

Advancing targeting intelligence

These advances break down barriers and create massive opportunity for those that have development resource that can make use of them. At the Lead Agency, we are focused on just this and have a long list of R&D projects continuously running alongside the ‘business as usual’ to look at how we can adapt such advances into our world.

It is such projects that give us the edge in digital customer acquisition. They allow us to target consumers in ever more intelligent ways, ensuring we present them with the right message at the right time in their buying journey. They help us find consumers in places others might not select for targeting and then change the ways we engage with them.

It is the use and shaping of such technology that provides us with the ability to create campaigns you can’t run through ‘off-the-shelf’ marketing tools.

Evolution of customer acquisition

There are numerous examples of TLA projects run over the past 12 months that have utilised these technological advances to change the way we work.

We’ve always run our own independent websites which allow us to target and attract in-market consumers using a variety of approaches. This year saw a significant addition to our capability with the launch of our publisher performance marketing system – a tool that enables us to run our performance-based marketing campaigns on third-party publisher websites, bringing a new revenue stream to them and allowing us to increase our consumer reach.

Our technology captures page context and, using our specific vertical knowledge, converts this into product data, thereby gaining product-based page context rather than simply keyword level data. With this level of understanding we can then utilise both our own and additional datasets to understand the type of consumer we are dealing with, the competitor model set, product options and current sales trends.

We then anonymously attempt to track the consumer across website pages, building a picture of their product interest which we use to determine buying cycle stage.

For instance, in the automotive space, if a consumer is reading reviews on a range of vehicles within the same sector, we will most likely consider them to be early in the buying cycle and therefore most likely to engage with a car brochure call to action. As they progress on their journey, the range of vehicles would be expected to decrease and this information can determine when best to target them with test drives or price-based adverts.

The ultimate aim is to ensure we present a consumer with the right message at the right time, adapting the wording and approach based on the consumer, website they are visiting and product of interest.

Working across a network of mainstream publishers, we are able to reach more consumers and, combined with intelligent targeting, generate incremental consumer enquiries.  Our internal validation and qualification processes then convert the most relevant consumer enquiries into sales leads for our clients.

This system currently uses a range of API-based software products to enhance its function and we are currently setting up a project with a technology-focused University to advance the machine learning aspect within it.

Bots and further automation

Another technology we’ve invested in is automated bots; our hypothesis being that if we can engage consumers in online conversation, we believe we can do a better job of converting them into an enquiry.

It is still early days for bot technology and we’re not quite at the point of allowing free-flow conversation, but the bot approach does open up opportunities and leads us towards speech-based interaction in future. Our existing bots are powered with vehicle, pricing and dealership datasets and able to offer a range of services to our consumers using a more engaging approach. Again, these rely on AI natural language processing (NLP) services provided by the likes of Microsoft and IBM.

We also utilise third-party software services within internal and client facing systems, whether for data validation, provision of our contact centre technology or even our client facing systems that provide real-time data insights and lead audit capability – all part of our customer acquisition platform.

So, what’s next? Well, for The Lead Agency and other tech-focused businesses: fantastic opportunities to combine the latest building blocks with business specific expertise and data to create more industry leading technology. Welcome to the world of XAAS (Everything as a service)!

Written by Ed Clark, chief technology officer at The Lead Agency

Contact us to discuss how your customer acquisition campaigns can benefit from new technology.

Key trends in the UK property market

The UK Property Industry is continuously moving and evolving, with the unpredictable effects of Brexit looming, the ever-changing demographic structure and advances in technology.

Here are some of the latest trends and stories being discussed within the UK property market:

1. Cheaper to buy than rent

Despite an increase in rentals (Countrywide Research has predicted that by 2022, 20.5% of homes will be rental) evidence still points to buying property being cheaper than rental.

Research carried out by Santander reveals the average monthly rent in the UK is currently £912 per household, compared to monthly repayments of £723 for the average first-time buyer household. This means average savings of £189 a month or £2,268 a year for buyers compared to renters.

2. Online continues to grow

Homebuyers and sellers continue to turn to online estate agents thanks to the strong levels of service they receive.

Online agents increased their market share by 11% during the first quarter of the year, giving them 7% of the overall market.

Flexible contact hours, 24/7 customer service, face-to-face visits from local experts and lower costs are contributory factors for its continued growth.

3. The grey pound dominates the market

Younger buyers are outnumbered by older buyers in the UK property market due to the preferable wage to house-price ratio at the time of purchase.

Homeowners aged 66+ were responsible for around 43,000 property transactions in the first quarter of 2018, a 46% increase compared to the same quarter in 2017.

4. House prices keep climbing

Housing prices have shown a steady incline in recent years and property consultants, Strutt & Parker, predict that the figures will continue growing.

According to the UK House Price Index, as of April 2018, the average house price in the UK is £226,906. Prices have risen by 1.2% compared to the previous month and risen by 3.9% compared to the previous year.

These figures are supported by Strutt & Parker, who, despite Brexit uncertainty, have provided a five-year prediction on the housing market, with an estimated 18% rise in housing prices by 2022, growing 2.5% year-on-year.

5. Homeowners on the increase

Despite property prices continuing to rise, the number of homeowners has risen for the first time in 13 years.

Following the financial crash of 2008 that created a clash between wages and property prices, the Government has positioned accessible homeownership as a matter of importance.

Since the Help to Buy equity Loan scheme was announced, over 160,000 properties have been purchased, with 81% being made by first-time buyers. Meanwhile, Stamp Duty cuts will apparently save four-out-of-five first-time buyers up to £5,000. However, the cuts are mainly benefitting existing homeowners due to the rise in house prices.

6. New-build homes becoming more popular

A number of factors are driving an increase in homeowners, first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors choosing new-build properties.

Among the key reasons is higher energy efficiency compared to that of older properties. The HBF claim that occupiers of new-build homes save £629 a year through being more energy efficient. Other factors include the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme and the opportunity to customise new-build properties – saving money that might be needed for renovating an older property.

7. Shopping influences location

Online services from other industries are influencing location searches within the property market.

Location to schooling and transport services continue to be primary influences on purchasing decisions. But other location-based factors – such as access to local shops – are becoming less of a consideration in location choice thanks to online delivery services.

We reach thousands of UK homeowners every month, connecting them to property services that relate to selling and buying their home. To discuss your lead generation needs, contact us today.

ASE Global endorses The Lead Agency for its approach to GDPR in automotive lead generation

ASE Global, the automotive accountancy and business services company, has provided a strong and positive endorsement to The Lead Agency for its commitment to GDPR compliance.

The auditors described our approach as “remarkable” following a GDPR Readiness Assessment that reviewed our core compliance documents and relevant activity – including our data mapping, privacy statement and technology.

Kevin Symm, data protection and compliance officer for ASE, said: “We have been working with hundreds of businesses in the automotive space, ranging from household names with 10,000s of staff down to small companies.

“We’ve seen the full range of practices – good and bad – that those businesses have in place but in no one business have we seen as many good practices as at The Lead Agency,” he added.

ASE has been providing audit and accountancy services in the automotive industry for more than 40 years, working in more than 50 countries, with brands such as Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Ford. Its GDPR team, which was established following the announcement of the new regulation, has provided GDPR assistance to in excess of 700 retailers and a number of national and international manufacturers in the last 12 months.


In its official assessment of The Lead Agency’s approach, ASE said: “There is a clear ‘top-down’ commitment to compliance which drives all associated activities. Internal focus has been on compliance. However, this has been conducted with an eye on the customer, to keep them informed and up to date in as transparent a manner as possible.”

We have gone to great lengths to prepare fully for the new legislation; from what ASE described as “comprehensively undertaken” data mapping to an “excellent” privacy statement. In addition, we have built our proprietary Client Portal, which provides a complete audit trail of every consumer’s journey from beginning to end.

Commenting on our preparation, Kevin said: “The levels The Lead Agency has gone to and the things it has implemented – such as the client portal, policies, procedures and documentation – go as far as anything we’ve seen for how companies can minimise the potential for something to go wrong and then maximise how quickly any potential issues can be discovered and acted upon. It really is impressive.”


“What’s particularly impressive,” said Kevin, “is that the work undertaken by The Lead Agency goes far beyond what the new legislation requires. The company is in a very good place.”

“The right attitude is evident from the top-down at The Lead Agency. It’s clear that there is a real and determined commitment to GDPR and how it can be used to make the business better.”

The report concludes: “Internally, The Lead Agency’s policies are sound, staff are appropriately trained and there is commitment to ensure compliance does not suffer over time. Externally, customers can provide their personal data to the business confident that the processing it is subject to will be compliant.”

For more information on The Lead Agency’s automotive lead generation services, contact the team today.

New Car Lead Generation: Ignore customer emotion at your peril – 5 takeaways to maximise the performance of your campaigns

Understanding the emotional rollercoaster of buying a new car and how customers are feeling during every micro-moment of their journey will transform your campaign performance.

Car manufacturers are undoubtedly the experts in understanding the primary triggers which bring a consumer ‘in-market’ for a new car – from family lifecycle events (some of us have had to morph from boy racer to safety conscious family man, with bags of room for child seats and a dog) to technological innovation and efficiencies. (One manufacturer even went as far as to identify 72 separate triggers and uses them in campaign creative!)

Despite this, Deloitte claim that a staggering 85% of car buyers do NOT think that they purchased their perfect car. How is this possible?

Put simply, researching a new car is over-whelming, emotionally draining and consumers are still wary of dealerships and indeed, the manufacturer brands.

In a study by Nationwide, 38% of respondents claimed that negotiating with a dealer was the most painful part of buying a new car. 11% felt that working out affordability was the main headache and 19% felt that financing the car was the main pain point.

In the same study, respondents claimed that buying a new car is just as stressful as preparing tax returns, jury duty and public speaking!

Three months. 900 digital micro-moments.

The various stages of the buyer decision-making process have been well documented. Although the latest research suggests there is no such thing as a traditional funnel. Instead, consumers flip between them over an average of three months:

  • What are the best options?
  • Which is right for me?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where should I buy it?
  • Am I getting the best deal?

Google recently added to the research by mapping out typical user journeys over three months for consumers looking to purchase a new car. It used the example of Stacy, whose journey included a staggering 900 digital touchpoints or micro-moments in her path to finally selecting and buying her new car.

Interestingly, only 20% were with manufacturer websites and only 8% we were with dealerships. This means that over 70% of Stacy’s research took place elsewhere and, as we have seen above, it was probably a highly stressful experience.

Stacy’s consideration set went from 14 brands she explored at the top of the funnel down to six brands she compared in some detail, leaving her with a decision between two brands and her ultimate purchase.

14 brands across 900 micro-moments over three months – and only a 15% chance of making the right decision. How depressing.

There is a better way!

There will be as many as 2,500,000 new car sales in 2018. Excluding fleet, that’s potentially over 1m consumers who may have a similar experience as Stacy.

Billboards on motorways, the ads on trains and TV adverts all continue to have their place. But, when it comes to digital budgets, there is a more effective way than scatter-gunning display ads or relying on the micro-moments that take place on manufacturer websites or dealership sites via search or paid social.

Here are The Lead Agency’s 5 take-aways that will improve your digital new car lead generation campaigns:

  1. Test using triggers in ad copy and CTAs – search is absolutely still the strongest signal of intent but as Google’s research has shown, our search terms don’t always give away what our trigger is
  2. Brand is one of the least important elements for consumers during their research (premium brands aside)– they are much more interested in value for money, features and the opinion of their friends and family
  3. Most consumers decide which car is right for them BEFORE they research whether or not they can afford it – yet a lot of the first touch messaging is around financing
  4. We’re dealing with people, they aren’t aware that they are in a funnel or a target market! Let’s start producing copy that addresses the emotions and stress they are experiencing just by looking for a new car, and ways to remove it! One in five car buyers feel they are being confronted with too many deals
  5. Nearly half of all respondents in Deloitte’s study claimed they changed their mind about the make of car they wanted AT LEAST once during the buying journey… which means there’s plenty of conquest opportunity out there

Written by Justin Thorne, Head of Digital at The Lead Agency.

Enjoyed this content? Then why not discover more practical advice and insight here: ‘8 customer-centric tactics to dramatically increase lead quality and performance

Advanced Lead Generation – 8 customer-centric tactics to dramatically increase lead quality and performance

Are you frustrated by the inefficiency and low quality of third-party leads?

Trawling through the haystack of high volume raw leads to find the proverbial needle of an in-market consumer can be an exhausting challenge any sales team faced with a challenging short-term target.

But in a crowded-market place, with competitors vying for attention across multiple digital screens, connecting with real potential customers as they research their next purchase is vital for incremental sales growth.

Lead Generation can – and does – provide a cost-effective and efficient route to new customers. Just not in using the traditional high-volume, low-quality approach.

‘Volume and quality are not mutually exclusive’

At the crux of every lead generation campaign, the primary goal is to connect with the consumer. But too often the need for volume drives organisations further and further away from the consumer’s needs, wants and expectations.

But volume and quality are not mutually exclusive. Advanced lead generation goes beyond traditional lead gen at every stage of the process to reach more consumers, engage more meaningfully and qualify thoroughly to generate high quality, qualified in-market consumer leads at scale.

It does so by focusing on the customer from the outset and maintaining that focus throughout every stage of the acquisition process.

We have identified eight steps you can take right now that will dramatically improve lead quality and campaign performance.

  1. Purpose – Dig down into the root of what problem you’re trying to solve. This is where you will see the biggest success – aligning your expectations with consumer needs will harness quality from campaign inception.
  2. Track all interactions – Understanding all consumer touchpoints will allow better optimisation of activity further down the line. Without the visibility of where a consumer is in their decision cycle, it’s almost impossible to drive quality.
  3. Acquisition – Qualify consumers from the outset. Testing multiple digital channels, optimising accordingly and focusing on what drives quality at the first touch point will yield strong results further down the line. Deep and purposeful questioning, which adds value to the interaction, will ensure only quality leads are fed into the top of the funnel.
  4. Optimisation – Evaluate all user journeys within the decision cycle and understand at an intricate level what is/isn’t driving quality consumers. From this you can take appropriate actions to capitalise on the opportunity or alternatively fix the issues. Whether this be reprogramming or tailoring the language used for questions asked over the phone to looking at the what imagery drives engagement in the digital channels, it’s imperative to have an ongoing optimisation framework.
  5. Qualification – Re-engaging with the consumer through the appropriate communication channel, whether this be on the Phone, through Email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Live Chat service (etc.) can have a significant impact on lead quality. Understanding that live consumer interaction is the key to driving quality! This is the one opportunity to get real-time feedback on specific consumer demands but also shape expectations from the brand. It truly is the integral piece of connecting brands and consumers.
  6. Nurture – An acquired lead is always valuable, regardless of where the consumer is in their decision cycle. The real magic is how to move a consumer along their journey from consideration to purchase. Often the tendency is to focus on consumers at the final point in the decision cycle. It’s important to remember that lead times between consideration and purchase can vary based on the actual size of the purchase. Consumers are different, operate and think differently and take different lengths of time to reach their decisions. It’s important to be there at every stage in their cycle, this will engender trust and help produce lead quality when the consumer is ready to pull the trigger.
  7. Re-evaluation – It’s important to drive understanding of the activity, gain feedback and iterate on what could be working better. Can new solutions be developed to help alleviate an issue exposed within the user journey? Tackle any problems head on and lead quality will be ensured.
  8. Evaluate customer lifetime value – A lead should not be thought of as just a lead. This is a person, who may/may not be ready to make their purchase at the point of when the lead is passed over. Working with the brand to ensure that the lead goes into the appropriate user journey on the brand side is equally paramount to ensuring quality. Understanding whether the consumer needs to go into a nurture programme or is ready to pull the trigger immediately will have long-term quality benefits.

Written by Paul Court, Head of Performance Marketing at The Lead Agency.

To discover how advanced lead generation can support your goals, contact us today.