My first insurance guy paid $25 to call me.

It was 14 years ago, and I had just quit my job to start a business. I innocently typed in ‘health insurance for self-employed,’ found a site with a clean-looking form, and got at least 10 calls from insurance agents.

Confused, I asked caller 11 how they got your name. “I bought it as a lead.” And this website had no issue selling me as a lead to everyone looking for a client like me. Gross.

So instead of buying leads, in honor of my now-retired former insurance guy, here are three things you can do instead of buying leads.

1. Make a ‘lead magnet.’ Cost per lead = cost to make it (including your time if you’re DIYing it!) divided by the number of emails you get Ex: $150/hour billable rate x 10 hours to make + market an ebook = $1500 cost to make it Get 100 email addresses = $15/email

2. Run your own lead generation ads. Consider your customer value and conversion rate. You can cap the cost you are willing to pay (ex $8/lead max) or let the platform optimize and just kill the ad if it costs too much. The worst-case scenario, if your budget is too low, is the ad just won’t show; nothing ventured, nothing gained!

3. Make a referral/affiliate program. Here are some example ideas and how they worked:

In short, there are better (and cheaper) ways to get the contact info of your prospective clients… and as a bonus, they’ll want to give it to you. Even better.

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