Today I want to talk a bit about one of my past side hustles, selling local leads. And the idea behind it still works, 100%.
What is a lead? A lead is simply a person who needs a service, any service, that is local to that geographical area. Think of “traditional” businesses in the offline world that everyone needs.
And sending hungry customers to a capable local service provider is a win-win-win scenario.
My longest-running and highest-earning pet project was about funneling people online to different dentists in two cities in Finland. The thing run for years, and all I did was send the invoice 2-3 times per year.
Here is how to get started with local lead generation and what to keep in mind:
1: Ensure Lead Quality
It is a lot easier to sell hot leads: People who have an urgent, genuine need to buy something right now.
In other words, when you send them forward, it has to be practically a done deal already.
Who has an urgent need? Many do.
In my case, I chose people who need a dentist. Typically in Finland, dental care is free in public healthcare. But the queues are long. So, the people who end up googling about a dentist have a reason to cut the queue. In other words, they need it now.
Similarly, you could choose something like plumbing. You don’t go googling for a plumber for fun – you do it when you have a mess at your hands. Lawyers? Anything related to fixing things? Yep. You get the point.
- Spend some time looking around in your city or even some business directories to see what kinds of services exist.
- Then think of if their customers are typically in a hurry to find one.
- Finally, spend time googling about the services in your city and try to estimate how well-established the websites on the first search result page are.
When you find a niche and think you would be able to build a website around it, bingo.
2: Build your Setup
The basic scenario goes as follows.
Someone needs a service and goes to google. They end up on your site. They give their details to “be contacted soon”, and you funnel the details immediately to the service provider. They close the deal and pay you a cut.
In my case, I built a site around the keyword “dentist <city>” where the city was my home city and another even smaller city in Finland. This also then gave me a wonderful excuse to learn Search Engine Optimization. Because I had to rank the site. Remember, building these things is about learning skills too, not just the beer money.
Now, I know. Everything was easier some years ago. But it’s still doable. And you can also generate traffic in other ways than just ranking in Google. Posting in forums, social media, and even posting physical fliers around a downtown area will all work.
Make sure to automate sending the leads. If you build with WordPress, there are several form plugins that can send the data forward immediately and retain parts of it as a copy on your end. You do not want to make this a manual process.
3: Build and Maintain a Relationship
Alright, so time goes by and you start to see traffic at your site.
Where do you send people in need of a service and who fill in your data capture form?
Start approaching service providers with your leads. “Hello, you need customers, I have them – let’s talk.” This part can be really simple if you have done your research well in the first step.
The price of the leads will be difficult to gauge at first. I suggest playing the long game here: Focus on building your setup and give away the first 10-20 leads for free.
Then negotiate the price.
Personally, I hated cold calling and finding a dentist to sell the leads to, so I recruited a friend of mine to do all the selling in exchange for a cut of the total earnings.
If the leads are good, you should have a very nice passive income coming your way soon, as long as you keep talking to the service provider and the leads keep flowing.
It’s not Complicated
But it takes a lot of work to get rolling.
When you do, if you do, this can be as close to passive income as there is online.
Two final things to keep in mind:
- If your own city is already “taken” in the sense that there are already countless others doing this same scheme, feel free to choose any city on the planet This is the power of the Internet: You can reach out people anywhere.
- Don’t build out of greed. Go where there is space, not where there is a lot of competition. A steady flow of lower-value leads beats never getting the high-value leads due to saturated space. And this is about building skills.
That’s it this time, see you next week!