Quality, not quantity, matters most in online lead generation.
Overmore.com founder Robin Caller shares what works (and what doesn’t) – and why quizzes perform so well, including some really good benchmarks to help you judge and measure your own lead generation marketing.
Welcome to the next episode of “The Quiz Makers”!
Today, our guest is Robin Caller. Robin is the CEO and founder of the Overmore Group, a group of companies focused on lead generation and lead processing. And we’re going to talk a little bit today about how to generate leads and the importance of good quality leads.
Hi, Robin, welcome to the show.
Thanks. Thanks for having me, Boris. Nice to see you again.
Yes, you mentioned seeing you again. I probably should do a little intro beyond just your title. So Robin and I – we worked together more than 10 years ago, let’s just call it a decade ago when I was running Tickle.
Tickle was one of the biggest websites in the world, number 27 in terms of traffic, where we did our own quizzes (unlike Riddle.com which I’m running now where we provide the quiz builder for our customers) and Robin worked with us on lead generation. And even back then quizzes were amazing for leads. Right, Robin, we made some good business.
Yes, it’s been my career since.
So you did. You took that idea of generating leads from quizzes a lot further, right?
Why don’t you give us the quick backstory of the Overmore group, what you do today,, and how you work with leads for your large selection of clients ranging from BMW to Bentley, Intel, and many other blue chip names.
Yeah, well, it did all start with Tickle, Boris. So Tickle was a fantastic website. And there was an opportunity to put a lead generation capability into the user journey, I guess.
So we built originally a piece of software to capture and deliver data coming off the back of quizzes and we still own and operate that software today. We then spent 12 years building that up and making it a real a real platform – a real system for for trading data.
But quizzes themselves, they lend themselves very well to lead generation.
They relaxed people, and they were subject relevant. And the lead generation part seemed like a natural step within it.
So over the last 12 years, we’ve branched out. We now have a business that helps advertisers purchase leads from various different publishers on the worldwide web, and you’ve mentioned a couple of them like BMW and there’s Vodafone and Bentley, etc. We’re very strong in automotive, technology, and telecoms.
But we’ve also built and operate some of our own websites to generate leads. So I suppose that we’ve built the business on the back of learning about how lead gen and quizzes is quite broad reaching their clients. You mentioned clients – we’re very proud to be working for clients like BMW, Bentley Vodafone, we are strong with DocuSign and Adobe.
Not that they all use quiz or competition sources, there are quite a lot of different lead generation tactics and techniques. We now work across different types of publishers, as well, but it’s interesting just to catch up with you. It all started with quizzes and now there’s about a $20 million business – so you can generate extreme value from from lead generation.
If you were to pit lead generation and lead forms against banner ads in today’s space…
It’s no competition, don’t even ask the rest of the question. I think it’s probably worth just that just to help anybody that’s listening, take that direction when I met you and we were selling banners. And we also sold leads on the back of quizzes.
My average order value in my business, the average booking was about 3000 pounds, maybe $5,000. The moment we started doing lead generation business, I would say the average order value was five times bigger than that.
And then the other key metric that I think is critical for anybody is rebooking and repeat business. The average rebooking, the average deal that we did probably just repeated 90% of the time. It went from a quarterly campaign to a six month or a 12 month program, whereas banner campaigns were purely tactical – they were on, then off.
Lead generation campaigns just repeated and repeated. So I don’t know if that’s where you would go with your question either. So I hope it was worth having interrupted.
Yes, I was going to lead down the road where, obviously, many large and bluechip customers that can afford agencies will already know that.
But there’s a whole bunch of listeners that run small to midsize businesses and this still spend a lot of their marketing budget on Facebook ads and on Google ads, simply driving traffic to a homepage.
What would you do if you were them?
Oh well look, we have a list itself.
Right. When in terms of in terms of traffic, from Google and Facebook, we have a business activity where we very much do drive traffic. So we spend quite a lot of money on Pay Per Click and quite a lot of money on social but the objective all of the money we spend on it – with seven figures a year on our own sites – is to generate a registration.
So perhaps it’s pre lead, but it’s a registered user explicitly consenting on our domain, though we can have their personal data, their name, their email address, telephone number, and are then permitted to send them relevant promotions around the topics or subjects that they’ve they’ve engaged on.
We subsequently turn those individuals and registered users into leads and customers so I’d say it’s fundamental – actually I don’t think search or social or pay per click in itself is is necessarily a channel or tactic anymore.
I think of it really where lead generation is an objective, obtaining consent is an objective. And how you drive people to that consent is probably suppose less relevant. Everybody will use a mix of tactics, but they need to know how much it cost them to generate a consented individual – a real person who gives them permission to market to them.
Now, that’s a good thing to mention consent and personal information. How much did the introduction of GDPR change your business? Did it drive out competition or did it make it harder for everybody in the industry?
Unfortunately, the short term answer is the latter. I think it’s made it harder for everybody. I think it’s driven out some competition. But I don’t think that at a commercial level we’ve really seen the benefits of that as a from a competitive trading world.
I think the costs probably out outweigh the benefits. The cons outweigh the pros, but I think that’s still a short term point of view. And it’s been two years and we haven’t really seen any penalties for abuse or misuse of consent. We’ve seen penalties for a few like the theft or the loss of data and lack of respect and protection of data, but we haven’t really seen too much in the in the field of consents, permissions, and purposes. When that comes, I think that’ll separate the wheat from the chaff.
Okay, because everybody’s personal goal was probably less spam. But that certainly has not happened, right?
Mm hmm. And I think as as people who work as we do, and have done for more than a decade. There’s there’s different hats we wear, we could wear a hat as a personal user who wishes our inbox wasn’t so bombarded. We can also speak as professionals and look at the benefits that regulations and good practices actually best practice brings to anything we do. And there are different perspectives, for sure.
And then I think we could look just generically or holistically at the web and say that, you know, these are good changes. These are good changes that have come. But perhaps the real bad boys out there, the baddies and the bots, they need a proper spanking from a regulator before they really do run off and go somewhere else.
They probably do, they probably do.
Another topic I wanted to touch base on – and both of us we’ve been working on this for more than a decade. As we mentioned, for some clients, it’s just a focus on quantity. A lot of clients asked us just for sheer numbers – “deliver 100,000 leads this week”. And that’s what you would get paid for.
We always tell people when they create a quiz and have a form – always make the form optional, never force someone to enter data. Because that will always lead to bad data, I think is completely valueless, right?
You’ve taken this a lot further with your companies have you?
Yeah, but the premise is the same Boris. I mean, you know, going back to consenting, I think we should get value, but consent has to be freely given. As soon as you put a barrier up to somebody and tell them that they have to do something, you’re going to introduce some mischief and some attempts to overcome those barriers without freely given alternatives.
So we certainly haven’t seen any situation where a forced gateway produces better value, it does produce more value. Absolutely.
But what we’ll see is just more noise, there will be a bad signal to noise ratio – people will increase the amount of nonsense they submit, just to get past the formula.
In fact, you may not be aware of this but the chief executive of Ryanair recently said that if people are forced to give their address for two weeks of self-quarantine when they returned to the UK, they’ll probably say that it’s #1 Mickey Mouse Street, Disneyland – and that’s talking about border controls, these are people coming coming back through passport control.
But his point is a very good one – if you’re forced to give some information, you will very quickly assess the likelihood of getting into trouble and provide nonsense.
It’s far better to invite users to freely and respectfully give their information over to you if what you’re putting in front of them is relevant. And in the end, it’s value over volume.
I think most of the lead volume sellers that I’ve met in the last 10 years or more, they never think they’ll ever really think about the cost involved in separating the wheat from the chaff.
They don’t think about it from the buy side point of view, which is that a buyer of leads and a salesman would much rather make 10 phone calls and 10 sales than 1000 phone calls and 10 sales.
That’s obvious. So why not just respect the customer, respect the individual and get rid of the nonsense? And if you introduce barriers, you’ll get more nonsense.
Right? And always be honest what you’re going to do, right? If you put a form on your website or at the end of a quiz, tell people what you’re going to send them.
Oh, absolutely. I think our experience in lead generation has been that if you are clear and you’re fair with people, then the right people will signal clearly their interest and intentions towards an offer or an advert or an advertiser.
And that will transfer to value.
Again, going back to that point about separating the wheat from the chaff. If a salesman has to make 1000 phone calls to make 10 sales, that’s a significant cost. So they’d much rather make making 10 phone calls for 10 sales, they’re saving 990 calls or 990 employee minutes or hours or however long it takes to go through that information.
So you also have to factor in the cost of noise.
Perhaps a good analogy for everybody listening to a podcast in 2020 is that there’s probably very little background noise and hiss now – compared to when there was on a gramophone record or a tape cassette when we were kids growing up. So signal to noise ratio is something that all lead generators should think long and hard about – they really should be thinking about trying to achieve 99%+ signal.
Awesome. And as we mention in all our podcasts, quizzes have to be short and sweet and to the point.
So do our podcasts.
To finish off, I’d love to get a number out of you. People always ask us how they compare to other quizzes and lead generation. And we tell them, people like Shopify (who we had on this podcast a few episodes back), they tell us If they have a lead forum that’s optional, with a skip button, they get over 30% opt in rate. We also hear from others like the Chicago Bulls, they get a 35 to 40%. opt in rate.
What do you say someone that doesn’t want to do a quiz – who just puts a form on their website… what will be a really, really amazing number they can get for opt in rates for a lead form.
Oh, that’s extremely difficult one to answer.
But the percentages that you talked about are extremely high. I would think that some of the better user journeys that we’ve seen, would still not be at 25%. So if people want to do quizzes, engage users and put them in a positive frame of mind to become leads and opt-in, then I think the answer to that resounding yes.
Maybe I’m not answering the question, but it makes sense. One of the things we found all those years ago at Tickle, one of the things we talked about when we were explaining the journey and the opportunity to advertisers – when you get somebody to do a quiz, they’re leaning forward, and they’re actively engaged in the content. And they are thinking and reacting. You’ve got to a thinking, leaning forward, doing person on your page that’s already got their hands on a mouse or a keyboard.
That’s compared to how we are right now – for anybody who could see us, which is sitting back, reclining, hands back, having a chat.
So they’re in a good, psychological frame of mind so that they would engage at a higher rates I think over a normal, surfing, consuming visitor. That perhaps is the strongest argument I could give you for putting questions in front of people as you’ll get that ‘lean forward engagement’.
If you’ve got relevant lead generation on the back of it, it should do very well. So anybody who’s listening in, if you’re getting 25%+, that’s fantastic.
But I will give you a caveat, if I may, because I think it’s really important to track those users right away downstream to look at the value – not just the conversion rate value from one purchase or one change or one transaction but the lifetime value of a record.
I mean, one of the beautiful things about Tickle then and quizzes now with good lead generation is that you know where and when you got the consent – you know what triggered that opt in. And you can then follow a real person instead of a click or a cookie or some other kind of metadata.
You’re following a real person through a journey to an end point at which they spend money with you, purchase, or sign up to an advertiser or a partner offer. And you can track that all the way through. So that’s really valuable because now you know what works. Now you know what to do next. So it’s not just about the 20% or the 30% today.
Awesome. Thank you. That was super helpful.
Thank you so much, Robin. Okay, I’ll put the links to your website in the show notes. Anyone interested in more professional lead generation and processing than we could ever provide at Riddle. please reach out to Robin.
We’ll try. We could do it together. Thank you very much for having me. And thanks.