Turning Internet search into sales leads

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Turning Internet search into sales leads certainly sounds easy:

His latest client: First Choice Holidays, a U.K.-based company that sells travel packages. Vurnum saw a First Choice ad for destination weddings in Cyprus, but he noticed that the offerings were buried deep in the company’s website.

So he e-mailed First Choice, offering to deliver potential clients. He set up a site (destinationwedding.co.uk) with nothing more than a front page. Below a generic happy-couple photo and a title (“Destination Wedding”), Vurnum slapped in some highly targeted copy with lines like “What you must know before you make any plans for booking your dream wedding in Cyprus.”

At the bottom he added what’s known as an auto-responder template, in which visitors enter information such as their e-mail address and wedding date. The auto-responder (run by AWeber, one of many cheap providers) fires off two e-mail messages, one to the customer, the other to First Choice.

The page looks so bare-bones that Vurnum says he doesn’t even show this kind of site to his clients for fear they’ll disapprove.

How does Vurnum get paid? He charges clients a month in advance: If a company wants 300 good leads by a certain date, he delivers. To price his services, Vurnum checks the cost of keywords to calculate what it will cost him per lead and typically doubles that amount.

The beauty of the model, he says, is that it can be applied to virtually any kind of business anywhere in the world. “I’ll be brutally honest with you,” he says. “I’m not a genius in any way, shape, or form. Anyone can do this. And there’s an endless supply of customers who want someone to do this for them.”

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