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The 3 Most Common Lead Types and Their Results

Leads-based advertising is an ever-increasing, valuable form of marketing, particularly for small businesses on a limited budget. For those of you who are unfamiliar, a lead can be defined as “an individual or organization that expresses an interest in your goods or services.” By paying only for leads, you can directly tie your advertising results to how much you are paying for that prospect – and determine whether or not the advertising campaign is ultimately profitable to you.

Of course, the quality of those leads can vary significantly, and there are several different types of leads you can purchase. Here, we’ll cover the three most common types and talk about what kind of results you should expect with each.

Form leads:

Form leads are probably the most popular type of lead advertising you can purchase from a lead company (aka a company that collects and sells leads to you), and are usually generated through a web page that is advertised on search engines and/or other websites. This web page encourages visitors to fill out a form for more information and their input into that form gets emailed to you so that you can contact them. An example of this would be if you are offering a free coupon on your website, but customers have to fill out a form to download the coupon. By doing this you are capturing their contact information in exchange for a service.

While form leads tend to be less expensive than other lead advertising, they also tend to be of poorer quality. Companies that sell form leads often sell results to multiple businesses at once, making it much less likely that you are going to convert that lead into a customer of your business. Additionally, it is easy for visitors to the web page who are only browsing to fill out false or partial information – and, while you will likely still have to pay to receive these form submissions, the information is actually useless to you because you will not be able to contact the prospect.


Calls come in two forms – outgoing (telemarketing) and incoming. Outgoing calls are typically cold calls made by a call center to a pre-determined list of people. The people on these lists are not actively looking to purchase services that you offer but are determined to be more likely to buy based on their demographic information. The call centers will continue to go down the list calling each person until one shows interest in one of the advertiser’s services. Then, they will pass the call to you for you to complete the sales process. The advantage of this method is that you can reach a wider audience than just those people who are actively searching for your services. The disadvantage, however, is that the people who are passed to you may be much earlier in the buying process and not quite ready to make a purchase.

Incoming calls are usually sourced from those who are actively looking for a specific service – whether it is through a search engine, an industry website, or a local business directory. These callers tend to be much more engaged and deep into the buying process. They also may have an emergency – such as a broken pipe, leaky roof, or a cracked tooth. The main advantage of incoming calls is that conversion to sales tends to be higher. The main drawback is that these leads tend to be the most expensive. However, it is important to note that if you are able to consistently answer the phone and have your business’s pitch mastered so that callers feel confident about hiring you, these leads tend to be the most profitable.

Text messages:

While text message leads are a relatively new concept, they are increasingly becoming an option for small business advertisers as an alternative to phone calls. They work best if you are a one or two-man shop that often cannot answer the phone, but someone is still able to quickly text the prospective customer and let them know when you will be calling them back.

In general and if time allows, it is always best to set aside some marketing money to test all the different lead types as well as the top lead advertising companies so that you get a clear understanding of what works best for your business, and what ultimately makes you the most money.


Contributed By: Goodzer

Goodzer’s mission is to provide local consumer calls to local businesses with more simplicity and transparency than anyone else. For more information on Goodzer’s services, click here.


Becky Harris
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thanks for your comment, Kelly. If you have any suggestions on actively engaging with customers on social media and chat, we'd love to hear them! Feel free to email me at becky@thelsa.org to talk more.

Kelly Shelton
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Great list. I would add Chat to this. We have had great success generated leads via chat. We are also seeing more and more leads come in via social media channels. Customers are asking questions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I think phone calls are still king and will remain the best converting lead source for many years to come. Consumers do like to kick the tires before committing so having all your bases covered is important.

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