How to start a lead generation business

The key steps to getting your lead generation business up and running.

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Starting a lead generation business is tricky if you don't know where to start. But with the right knowledge, skills and equipment at your disposal, you can increase your chances of success.

In this guide, we'll take you through the key steps you need to take to start a lead generation business, from choosing a business name right through to finding customers.

What is a lead generation business?

Lead generation is a form of digital marketing. A lead generation business acquires leads, or potential customers, for other businesses. Those other businesses can then sell their services or products to those new customers and the lead generation business earns a commission.

Lead generation is an important part of creating new opportunities for business growth. Leads are often generated through marketing, such as via social media advertising or email marketing, and the purpose of generating these leads is to help drive sales.

Common lead generation strategies include obtaining the contact details of potential customers via:

  • Online content or resources, such as a downloadable ebook
  • Coupons and discount offers
  • Instructional videos and webinars
  • Online advertising
  • Referral campaigns

How to start a lead generation business

So you want to build a lead generation business, but you don't know where to start? Here's a breakdown of the key steps you need to take to get your business off the ground:

  1. Find your niche. The first step is to work out the niche category you're going to target. Look for an industry that is always in demand, which could be everything from car finance to plumbing, but that isn't oversaturated with competition. Also decide whether you'll target a specific geographical area or multiple cities, or if you want to target a specific demographic group (such as millennials).
  2. Set up your business. Choose a business name that's memorable, original and for which you can get a suitable web domain. You'll also need to decide how to structure your business, such as being a Sole Trader or forming a Partnership, and register for an Australian Business Number (ABN).
  3. Develop a business plan. Your business plan sets out your key goals and strategies, and creating this document is an important part of setting up your business. It's basically a summary of what problem your business solves and how, your target audience, your marketing strategies and your financial plan. It doesn't necessarily have to be a lengthy document, but you'll need to provide a greater amount of detail if you'll be applying for finance.
  4. Work out your pricing. Next, calculate a pricing structure for your business. Will you receive a flat fee, a fee for every lead generated or use a hybrid pricing structure? How much will you need to charge to make a profit without pricing yourself out of the market?
  5. Consider legal and tax requirements. From a website Privacy Policy to registering for goods and services tax (GST), you'll need to make sure your business complies with all legal and tax reporting obligations. You may need online legal advice or assistance from your accountant to make sure you've ticked all the right boxes.
  6. Develop strategies and find clients. Now it's time to start honing your lead generation strategies and building your business. When you're first starting out, you might need to give a few potential clients a taste of what you can do for them before they'll be willing to hire you. As your client base grows, you'll soon develop a better idea of which strategies work in which markets.
  7. Deliver results. The easiest way to continue growing your business is to deliver successful results to your clients. Stay on top of trends, keep fine-tuning your strategies and deliver on your promises to build a bigger customer base.

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What you need to get started

From unique skills to specialist software, you'll need some key tools to run a lead generation business. We've broken them down into separate categories:

Skills and knowledge

You need to be proficient and well-informed about sales and marketing, particularly online marketing strategies and tactics. In addition to understanding buyer personas, you should have networking skills, top-notch communication skills and analytical skills.

You'll also need to have an in-depth understanding of how lead generation works and the most effective marketing strategies to help you acquire leads. It's a good idea to choose a niche that needs leads and has a high demand, and then know how to automate as much of the process as possible and monetise leads for businesses that pay for them.

Courses and qualifications

While you don't need certification to start a lead generation business, you can take advantage of free courses like HubSpot's Lead Management course and paid online courses on platforms like Udemy.

These courses will generally teach you how you can manage sales and organise them. They will also equip you with the knowledge you need to understand how to generate and qualify leads.

From a more general point of view, many Australian universities offer a range of courses that teach essential digital marketing and social media marketing skills. These can help you gain a broader knowledge of online marketing that could, in turn, help you build your business.


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    Equipment and software

    There are several software products that can help you offer more effective lead generation services. Some of your options include:

    It's worth mentioning that many software platforms combine multiple features into one package. For example, HubSpot is a CRM platform that offers tools for lead generation, marketing, sales, website SEO and more. It's worth doing an in-depth comparison of a range of leading providers to find the right software for your needs.

    You'll also need some basic office equipment to help you run your business. This includes:

    How to structure your business

    One of the key decisions you'll need to make when starting out is choosing a business structure.

    The easiest and most affordable option is to set yourself up as a Sole Trader. This means you assume sole responsibility for the business, including any debts.

    If you're going into business with one or more people, you may decide to set up a Partnership. Partnerships are cheap and reasonably easy to establish, but this means you'll have to share control of the business (including income and debts) with your partners.

    The two other main business structures in Australia are Companies and Trusts. However, these are more complicated and expensive to run, so be sure to seek legal and financial advice before deciding whether either of these options is right for you. You can also learn more in our guide to choosing a business structure.

    As the owner of a lead generation business, it's essential that you understand and comply with the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles. These govern the collection of personal information and how you'll use that information, so you may want to seek online legal advice to make sure you satisfy all requirements.

    Another piece of legislation you'll need to be aware of is the Spam Act. Under the Act, you must obtain permission from someone before you can send them marketing messages, while marketing emails you send must also contain your contact details and make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe.

    A business lawyer can help you understand key regulations and draw up the important legal documents your business needs. Alternatively, you may want to take advantage of free online document templates. Some of the documents you might need include:

    • A website Privacy Policy that explains how and why you collect users' personal information, and how that information is used.
    • Service contracts to use with clients.
    • An Employment Agreement if you intend to hire workers.
    • A Partnership Agreement if you're setting up a Partnership.
    Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Free legal documents available?
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $79 per month
    Essentials: $288, legal advice: $828
    You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
    Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    $4.99 per month
    Free one week trial available which gives access to hundreds of documents.
    Customise and download legal documents in as little as five minutes. Plus, LawDepot offers peace of mind with two service guarantees.
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    Varies per template
    Legal123 offers a range of individual templates or document packages for consultants, app developers, personal trainers and more.
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $49 + GST per week
    $2,548 + GST
    Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Tax requirements

    You'll need to report any income your business generates to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). However, keep in mind that the tax you're required to pay may vary depending on the business structure you choose, so you may need to seek help from a tax or legal adviser.

    Registration requirements also vary. For example, Sole Traders can use their individual tax file number (TFN), while Partnerships, Companies and Trusts require separate TFNs.

    Another factor to consider is whether you need to register for goods and services tax (GST). This is a mandatory requirement if you have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 and in certain other cases, so you may want to speak to an accountant or registered tax agent to get a clear picture of your requirements.

    How to find customers

    One of the key steps for any new business is setting up a search engine friendly website. This means that it should have a responsive design which is optimised for mobile users and have content targeting valuable keywords.

    Before creating your website, you have to register a new domain name and find a web host service provider to publish your website so that it can be available online for your clients to find you.

    Your website allows customers to find you and there are a number of ways you can find clients. One way to build your customer base is by using cold calling and email campaigns – find local businesses you'll be able to help and show them how you can help them find leads.

    Paid marketing channels like Google and Facebook can also help you to generate leads. With Facebook, you can target specific audiences based on a wide range of factors to ensure that you're getting your brand in front of the right people.

    Online marketplaces give you a platform to sell your services on the Internet without establishing online stores. Upwork and Fiverr are examples of popular marketplaces where you can advertise your services.

    Pricing your services

    There are a few different options when pricing your lead generation services. Many larger firms offer their services for an ongoing monthly fee, while other lead generation businesses work on commissions. You may also want to consider a hybrid fee structure that combines a flat fee with a commission on each lead or confirmed sale.

    When deciding on your pricing structure, research the market to find out what your competitors are charging. You'll also need to consider your own expenses, including all the costs of setting up and running your business, to find a price point that suits you and your customers.

    Accept payments from your customers in person and online with Square's card readers, payment terminals, digital invoicing and e-commerce tools.
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