November 15, 2023
6 Ethical Lead Generation Strategies as FCC Targets Consent Farms
Lead generation drives outbound dialing strategies and telemarketing operations. If you want to reach potential customers and clients, you need a reliable way to collect their contact information.
In the past, many companies purchased lead lists from businesses that specialized in collecting consumer information. However, the FCC recently cracked down on “consent farms,” making it clear that it would not tolerate companies that use unethical collection strategies and sell their lead lists to questionable telemarketers and robocallers.
The crackdown won’t affect the success of your outbound calling campaigns, though. By using ethical lead-generation techniques, you can improve your brand reputation, increase sales, and keep yourself safe from FCC investigations.
What Is a Consent Farm?
A consent farm uses misleading tactics, such as promising gift cards or job interviews for non-existent positions, to gather information and create lead lists. These lead lists are then sold to telemarketing companies, robocallers, and similar operations to make money. They falsely claim that consumers have given their permission for other companies to contact them.
Robocallers rely on consent farms to supply leads they can use to pester and potentially scam people.
FCC Actions Against Consent Farms
The FTC recently opened cases against several consent farms as part of Operation Stop Scam Calls. The FTC’s formal complaints target Fluent, which falsely promises free gifts and job opportunities, and Viceroy Media Solutions, which collected contact info under the pretense of finding job opportunities but sold the lists to telemarketers.
A proposed order would force Fluent to pay a $2.5 million penalty, while Viceroy faces fines over $900,000.
It’s important to recognize the role consent farms play in robocalling and scams. Without them, illegal dialers wouldn’t have easy access to lead lists. Stopping North America’s massive scam calls problem might start with cutting off sources for lead lists.
Ethical Lead-Generation Strategies
Every company that reaches out to consumers relies on lead lists. However, there is no need to purchase lead lists from consent farms. In fact, following ethical lead-generation strategies can improve several aspects of your business, including your brand reputation and revenues.
1. Optimize Your Website
Optimizing your website increases the likelihood of people finding your pages, showing interest in your products, and providing you with their contact information.
Consider auditing your site to find opportunities for improvement. You might want to talk to a professional who specializes in website optimization.
In the meantime, you can boost your search engine optimization (SEO) by using keywords that potential customers search for online, adding alt text to all images, linking to high-quality internal and external pages, and improving your site’s load speed.
As more people respond to your site’s calls to action, you can build a lead list of consumers who are genuinely interested in your products and services.
2. Publish Whitepapers and Research Papers
Producing whitepapers and research papers positions your brand as an industry authority that people trust. Take the time to research, write, and design content that targets specific consumers and industry leaders.
Email your original whitepapers and research papers instead of publishing them as blog posts or landing pages. This creates an incentive for your site’s visitors to provide their contact information and consent to receive communications from your company.
3. Take Advantage of Newsletters
Newsletters provide frequent contact with prospects, often on a weekly or monthly basis. Each interaction creates an opportunity for you to share information about your products, services, and brand. A well-written newsletter helps move prospects through your sales pipeline, establish your brand as a trusted resource, and gives people on your email list opportunities to reach out for more information.
4. Leverage Landing Pages
Landing pages should focus on converting visitors into leads. Each landing page should highlight a specific product or service from your company. Include compelling copy that makes readers eager to learn more. Additionally, add call-to-action buttons and form fields that make it easy for visitors to provide their contact information.
Other tips for building effective landing pages include using responsive designs, optimizing text with keywords to attract search engines, placing your lead form above the fold, and choosing professional images that highlight the benefits of choosing your company.
Other tips for building effective landing pages include:
- Using responsive designs
- Optimizing text with keywords to attract search engines
- Placing your lead form above the fold
- Choosing professional images that highlight the benefits of choosing your company
5. Target Ads to Customer Demographics
Optimizing your website and adding landing pages will help increase organic traffic to your site, but strategies for increasing organic traffic can take weeks or months to work.
Targeted ads yield faster results. However, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can get expensive, especially when ranking for popular keywords. Manage your budget and get more valuable leads by targeting your main demographic audience. If you know that 90% of your customers are women between 20 and 25, don’t waste time and money on ads that appeal to men over 50. You’ll end up spending more money than necessary and attracting a few leads that never convert.
Additionally, make sure your ads look professional. People don’t want to receive spam phone calls, and they don’t want to see spammy ads online. Exposure to advertisements that look untrustworthy could damage consumer trust in your brand. Instead, post professional and believable ads to enhance your brand’s image.
6. Develop Online Tools for Your Customers
Depending on your industry, you could attract leads by adding useful tools to your website. For example, a mortgage company might build a loan calculator tool that shows visitors how much repaying the loan will cost.
Provide accurate and useful services that genuinely appeal to your audience. For example, a loan calculator might allow visitors to compare repayment amounts based on their down payment amounts, interest rates, and other relevant factors. Empowering your audience will make your company appear confident and reliable, increasing the likelihood that people will provide you with their contact information and recommend your product to others.
Cleaning Your Lead Lists
Even the most ethical lead-generation strategies can collect “dirty” data, such as phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry and your internal opt-out list.
Scrub your lead lists before giving them to sales reps. Prioritizing better data hygiene will position them for success and protect your company from consumer complaints.
Rebuilding Confidence in Outbound Dialing
The FCC and other government agencies understand that robocalling and scams have eroded consumer trust. Enforcing rules that apply to consent farms, robocallers, and other nuisance sources should help rebuild lost trust.
However, you can’t rely on government agencies to do everything. Improve your business’s operations by collecting lead information ethically, following ethical dialing practices, and cleaning your lead lists.
You can also use Caller ID Reputation to monitor your phone numbers for flags, negative labels, and blocks. Caller ID Reputation provides screenshots from real mobile devices connected to major service providers so that you can see exactly what your contacts see when you call them.
Sign up for a trial to learn more about how Caller ID Reputation can benefit your business as the FCC emphasizes the importance of ethical practices.