ServiceMagic does a great job with search engine optimization on their own Web site, and at getting affiliates to send out emails on their behalf. I’ve covered these techniques in previous posts. However, there’s yet another technique ServiceMagic uses to generate leads they sell to you – third party Web sites.
Here’s how it works: ServiceMagic partners with owners of independent Web sites. These owners post banner ads, links and videos or and use dozens of other online tools on their Web sites to send visitors to their Web sites over to ServiceMagic. (I’m referencing ServiceMagic here, but Web site owners work with many other online lead generation companies as well, such as QuinStreet and QualitySmith.)
What are these Web sites? Let me offer an example from my friends at FurnaceCompare.com. This Web site is dedicated to helping homeowners who have typical HVAC questions: i.e. Which furnace is best for me? How do I find a contractor to replace my furnace, etc.
In addition, the owners have built and evolved this Web to attract tens of thousands of homeowners every month. This Web site has lots of content, including in-depth material on furnace manufacturers, furnace models, and suggestions for homeowners with current furnace issues. It’s a good Web site, and Google and Yahoo think so, too: they have driven millions of visitors to FurnaceCompare.com in the last several years.
So how is ServiceMagic involved with FurnaceCompare.com? FurnaceCompare.com knows it attracts a highly-targeted set of visitors. Said another way, no one casually clicks over to this Web site just to hang out and ogle over furnace articles. That’s because the visitors are typically homeowners who have a furnace problem.
And FurnaceCompare.com needs to generate revenue from those visitors. That’s where ServiceMagic comes in. ServiceMagic pays FurnaceCompare.com for the sales leads that FurnaceCompare.com generates on its behalf.
On this screen: you see FurnaceCompare.com inviting homeowners to search for a furnace contractor. That leads homeowners to begin the process of identifying themselves:
Homeowners enter their information on this form, and then await contact from as many as three (ha!) contractors.
From there, the lead goes to ServiceMagic. Or QuinStreet. Or QualitySmith. Or any of the many online lead generation companies FurnaceCompare works with.
ServiceMagic then sells that lead to its clients: contractors who are willing to pay for furnace leads in the homeowner’s zip code. ServiceMagic could sell that lead to just one home improvement company, or to many.
ServiceMagic has thousands of partners like FurnaceCompare.com. And so does QuinStreet, QualitySmith and other large lead generation companies. Collectively, they generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of leads per year for home improvement companies.
Now, I know you’re asking the big question. Why can’t I buy those leads directly from FurnaceCompare.com and cut out ServiceMagic out of the equation:
(31 Jokes for Nerds)
That will be my topic for an upcoming post, “Why Can’t I Do What ServiceMagic Does?”