March 12, 2017

So, over the last few years the situation with lead aggregators has improved in regards to lead branding. There was a time where these aggregators were selling leads that may have had “some interest” in career training to any school that would buy them. Heavy workloads in admissions departments and an overall low conversion led many of these schools to start asking for their school name to be mentioned on landing pages and in ads.

Over time, aggregators like Search4CareerColleges and the College Bound Network have raised their standards tremendously. Now, each of their clients have their own mini-landing pages complete with school name and sometimes even a logo. It’s unlikely that you would be buying leads from big aggregators like this without the lead knowing exactly what school they were contacting.

The problem with these “branded leads” is that these were already your leads, and you never should have been charged for them in the first place.

To illustrate my point, let’s assume our Executive VP, Bob Newman, decides to quit the firm and start his own truck driving school. He opens up shop in Waco Texas and calls his school “Bob’s Truck Driving School”.

Now Bob may not have an optimized website, and is missing out on a lot of his share of the market. Rather than investing in optimizing his site, he chooses to go with a lead vendor who will sell him leads. They promise the leads will be local and branded, two things that are very important to Bob. Где можно взять деньги в долг без зaлогa в Липецке.

The problem with this is now this aggregator has carte blanche to use the school’s name and location-based keywords as much as they’d like. With an already heavily-optimized website with a PageRank of 4 or 5, they create a page for Bob’s new school.

The new page gets optimized for keywords like “Bob’s Truck Driving School” and “Waco CDL Training”. Then the aggregator contracts with thousands of their vendors to place mini-ads all over the web, only further driving the PageRank and relevance of their little landing pages up even higher.

Before long, Bob is buying leads that really should have been his in the first place. What Bob should have done was optimize his site for location and brand based keyword phrases, then look for a vendor that could fill in the gaps with non-branded prospective students.

In Bob’s case, a non-branded prospective student would have been someone that lives in Waco, and is interested in going to truck driving school, but really doesn’t know much about it. Initial research leads them to search for phrases like “How much is CDL training?” or “How long is truck driving school?” A lead vendor with a higher value proposition would be able to take the same, highly-optimized aggregation site and turn it into a resource portal where people could find the information they were looking for and then, if they chose, could be introduced to a school in their area.

Example #1 goes something like this:

“Hi, Joe the Lead. I see you were looking for Bob’s Trucking Company. I’m Jason. Give me your info and I’ll put you in touch with Bob.”

Example #2 works quite differently:

“HI, Joe the Lead. I see you wanted to know how long truck driver training was. Well it’s usually 3-4 weeks. Also, I know of a good school in your area, would you like to talk to them about their training program?”

Marked difference. Lead #1 is a branded lead actively seeking out your brand, yet lead #2 is being introduced to the concept of training gently, at their own pace and are still being branded before being passed off to the school.

The bottom line is that lead aggregators have crappy landing pages that hurt your brand image, they cannibalize leads that should have been yours in the first place, and do little to nothing to attract the large volume of general leads looking for training but don’t yet have a particular school in mind.

Optimize, then Diversify

If you are interested in learning how you can optimize your own site for brand and location specific leads then branching out to generalized leads, please feel free to contact us here, or give us a call at 800-800-9204.

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