Why can’t online marketing agencies guarantee leads?


Introduction: Hi beautiful online world, I am Chelsea, and I am an intern here at clickTRUE! So, the reason why I’m here writing this blogpost, is because I got arrowed to do so, when my boss saw how free I was 🙂 Just kidding! Over the course of working at clickTRUE, I observed many of clickTRUE’s clients asking for a guarantee on leads… My boss asked me to provide my opinions on this matter, so tada, here I am! I hope that this will be of some help to you, one way or another.

Online Marketing Consultant: *after delivering a pitch* So, what do you say? Would you like to come on board and try out our online marketing strategy?

Prospect: Sounds great! Are you able to guarantee that these online platforms will get me leads?

Consultant: *Sigh, not again* We cannot guarantee you a specific number of leads

Having done this business as an online marketer for the last 18 years, having worked with so many clients for the last decade, one of the many concerns always is: are you able to guarantee us leads?


Realistically, the answer is no. No beating around the bush about this, there is no such thing as a leads-guarantee with a 100% certainty, just like how there is no risk-free sure-get-rich scheme.

Before you begin your search for that elusive online marketing company that can give you a 100% guarantee for leads, I would encourage you to stop in your tracks and think – if there’s any company that can give you a 100% guarantee of top leads, don’t you think it’s too good to be true? With this high level of confidence, why not they run a similar business to attract all the leads and earn a high profit from there? They could easily be a champion in that industry then!

Now, let’s stop chasing after a magical unicorn that does not exist, and get down to the reasons why leads cannot be guaranteed by online marketing agencies.


Reason: There are too many factors to account for the number of leads that you receive, and a marketing consultant can only ensure the success of certain determinants within their control.

The following are some of such success factors:

Online marketing consultant: Right now, I’m going to throw back some questions at you. These are some factors that will lead to the success of a marketing campaign, that is not within our control. Are you ready to hear them?

Prospect: Bring it!

1) Do you have a unique selling proposition?

Being unique will mean that your product/service stands out, is differentiated from the rest, and it is special!
Here are some products or services with highly unique selling propositions:

Google standing out in its functions and efficiency to deliver the most relevant search results made it the most popular search engine

Apple’s iPhone, with its innovative touch screen technology that was a wow factor in the smartphone industry when it was first launched

Another example, will be Uber.


When Uber first penetrated the market, it addressed a widely felt consumer problem in the transportation market.

– You no longer need to queue for cabs.


– You do not have to anxiously hail a taxi frantically anymore when you have an appointment to rush for.
– You no longer have to painstakingly describe your location to the taxi company, when you don’t really know where you are exactly. Its GPS system tracks your location instantly!
– No longer will you need to worry about not having enough cash in your wallet – payments are all deducted from your credit card, based on the meter fare.

Uber has indeed brought a whole new level of convenience to commuters.
That, is their unique selling point.

What about your business, what is the differentiating factor for your product or service?

Are you innovating such that you are differentiating yourself from your competitors?
The companies above are able to achieve what they have, because they are innovative.

They offer customers services or products that are fresh, more aesthetically pleasant, and of greater practical use, than just the average product out in the market.

However, if you would realise, in a homogenous market, where goods and services are not differentiated from one another, in the absence of innovation, businesses may resort to a slashing of price in order to make their products stand out.
Not surprisingly, there are rather numerous repercussions to this!PRICE WAR red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

race-to-the-bottomSlashing prices of your goods and services below the market rate could put you at risk of a price war. As we all know, any kind of war results in a lose-lose situation, for both yourself and your competitors. Even if you manage to earn some profits due to a greater demand for your goods, it is only short-lived. In fact, it could bring about a vicious cycle of reducing profit margins for the entire industry, as everyone starts engaging in a ‘race to the bottom’ where prices are concerned. Nobody wants their profit to be marginalised, don’t they?

Hence, just by cutting the price of your goods and services such that it is lower than the market rate — is not a good way to show that you have a unique selling point. Unless, along with it comes an innovative method to save cost as well!



Finally, do you notice that there is something in common about the successful companies that have highly unique selling points — It is the audience that finds their products/services unique.

The audience value their products/services, their needs are being met, and therefore they are willing to jump in and become their loyal customers. It’s not about whether YOU think that you are unique.

Our ego can get the better of us and think that we ourselves are at the top of the world – without anyone else agreeing with you. It is so easy to fall into the trap thinking that we are the best, and thus becoming blindsided when a new competitor appears!


Your product and service must have a value proposition.

You don’t want to sell the exact same thing as everybody else.

If you are a supplier for screwdrivers and want to sell your products online, we can help you get more leads if you can show us its unique selling proposition. We will roll up our sleeves, get down to work, and push to generate healthy leads for you!


2. Does your audience exist online?

The first question to ask yourself, is, whether your target audiences actually exist online. Most of them should, as internet users make up 73% of the Singapore population, and over 85% of searches for products and services happen online! In fact, online marketing has been shown to be much more successful at generating awareness, leads and revenue than traditional outbound marketing.

However, there are some products that are highly sought out by users using the online medium, while for others, not so much.

Let us look into some statistics to find out which are the products/services whose users exist online, as well as those that don’t.

Product/Service Comparison #1: Tuition and Chilli Sauce

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 6.00.08 pm VS 19696_l

Parents residing in Singapore will most probably find good tuition teachers for their kids at one point in their life, to give them a competitive edge in school. These parents are highly likely to belong to the Generation X or Y — a tech savvy generation that will know to look at online reviews like kiasuparents.com in search of a tuition teacher.

On the other hand, a chilli sauce buyer could be of any age, as it is a basic condiment needed for anyone who cooks. However, we know the older generation do not generally research online before buying. There is thus a lower likelihood that your chilli sauce advertisement will be clicked on Facebook or Twitter, as your main target audience just do not use them that frequently.

Based on Google’s trend search, it is also shown that the search for tuition on the webpage could be up to a 100 times more prevalent!! With an online marketing strategy, it is more likely that a tuition center’s online advertising can generate more leads than a chilli sauce advertisement.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 3.21.25 pm

Product/Service Comparison #2: Hairdressing Services and Screwdriver

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.12.56 am VSscrewdriver

The same idea applies here! While your target audience for hairdressing services are online, it is easier to generate leads when you choose a digital marketing strategy over a traditional one. However, the buyer for a screwdriver that you are trying to sell, may not frequent the internet or the social media that much.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 3.21.10 pm

Based on Google’s trend search, the search demand for hair salons online could be 10 times more than the search for a screwdriver online.

Hence, we can see that the online presence of your prospective customers would affect the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy as well. Online analytical tools can provide us with the data points as well to help us make intelligent decisions — something that traditional marketing cannot do.

3) Lastly, is it time to market?

When you launch the product, is it the best time?

There was a saying that goes:
Doing the wrong things at the wrong time, is definitely wrong.
Doing the right things at the wrong time, is also wrong.
Doing the right things at the right time, is the only solution that works.

Uber – Founded in San Francisco in 2009, it had grown into a transportation network spanning 311 cities in 58 countries by the year 2015. Uber was launched at the time when smartphones and Cellular 3G/4G networks are widely used throughout the world.
People will have to book an Uber car through the Uber App, and the user’s GPS will notify drivers who are near the location, ensuring that customers can get a cab as soon as possible within an estimated pick-up time.
Imagine if Uber was launched 10 years ago in 2005 instead.

Do you remember the model of your handphone in that year?


ca5b1fbdb3c7a33f3eb9d764cd05b107       nokia-3310-old-gol_1712908b

At that time, GPS navigation tools were primarily used by the military! In fact, the ownership of smartphones in the US automobile industry was only 2% that year. Uber, launched at the wrong time, could end up being a business failure! Therefore, TIMING is as important as the innovation itself.

Let us take a look at another product: Abalone
You’re a company that wishes to promote an abalone product, and only wants to do so at the right time. Let’s dive into a trend search to find out abalone’s search demand throughout the years.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 4.29.24 pm

From Google trend search, it’s highest search demand is at the start of the year, in the month of January. We can see that it’s search demand peaks every year right before the Chinese New Year season! How can we use this to analyse what is a good online marketing plan?

Consider these 2 perspectives: A B2C-centered point of view, and a B2B-focused point of view.

1) B2Cs perspective:
You are a company selling Abalone directly to your consumers. When’s the right time to launch your marketing campaign?


Maybe starting the marketing campaign during the Chinese New Year season is not that good an idea – It is the season where competition is at its fiercest. When the greatest demand for abalone is right before Chinese New Year, businesses selling abalone will invest in marketing campaigns, offer promotions, come up with great deals and hamper packaging services, to attract and tap on this surge of demand. The only problem is that everyone is doing this. For you to choose to launch a marketing campaign at this time may put you in a position akin to that of an overcrowded pot plant trying to struggle for sunlight and nutrients.

Our suggestion: Based on the search trend, the demand search for abalone actually began to rise in December already. Why not start early, and begin the promotion in December, to get a head start! We can even tap on the advantage of having 2 festive seasons (Christmas and Chinese New Year) happening within such a short time, and launch a one-time bundle consisting of abalone and Christmas goodies! Having a great online landing page at an early timing will ensure that your advertisement is not overcrowded by tons of other bigger brands too. I believe that this will help you generate more leads, compared to only starting your promotion and marketing campaign in January!

B2Bs perspective:
2) You are an institution offering leadership training workshops for companies. When is a good time to launch your marketing campaign then?

In light of an effort by the government to encourage continuous learning and upgrading of skills, the SkillsFuture Credit scheme was implemented. In this scheme, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive an opening credit of $500 from January 2016 – which they can use to apply for a range of approved courses. Why not tap on this opportunity to promote workshops and courses that companies often subsidize their employees for?


Employers know that there is a greater incentive for employees to take up trainings given the free credit, and hence tapping on such timings will attract the attention and interest of many corporate organizations.

Again, it is all about timing.

There you go, the time of marketing is important because:

· Different timings have different level of competition in the market. (Depicted in the previous abalone example)

This can be further exemplified using the Blue Market Strategy:
Rather than competing with tons of rivals at one point (being in a Red Ocean), choose a timing where there is a ‘blue ocean’ of uncontested market space. We want to tap on the market at a time when competitors do not distract customers from the unique selling point of our product.

· Different timings affect the demand in the market (Demand for training services in the market due to new credit scheme)

These 3 reasons are some factors that account for the different number of leads that different companies face, that is not really within the control of your marketing consultant.

Not that we as marketing practitioners are shirking responsibility with the disclaimers, we want to show you the full picture and that we understand your concerns.

Having done so many campaigns across different industries, we are proud to say that we have a mass of statistics across different companies that prove healthy and successful. We also have a thorough understanding of which industries really work online, given the experience and expertise. If you are really keen on finding out, then contact one of our consultants today by clicking on this link.

Instead of misleading you with magical unicorns, we deliver true value to what we can control.

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