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How to Choose a Lead Aggregator: 21+ Smart Questions to Ask
If you’re in the home improvement, home services, or contracting space then you’ve almost certainly heard about lead aggregators—sites and services like Angi, Thumbtack, EverConnect, CraftJack, Porch, and more.
And by “and more” I mean lots more. There are so many lead aggregators available today that it’s hard to know which one is best for your business...or if you should even be using one.
That’s what this post is for: To equip you with the knowledge you need to choose the lead aggregator that will:
- Deliver you the highest quality leads
- Be the best fit for your business goals and budget
- Yield the highest return on your investment
Table of contents
- What is a lead aggregator?
- What is the best lead aggregator?
- Questions to ask yourself
- Questions to ask the lead aggregator
What is a lead aggregator?
A lead aggregator is a website or service that collects leads for a particular niche and sells them to a business. Lead aggregators are common in the home improvement space as there is an abundance of search engines and platforms out there where homeowners can provide their information and project needs.
Porch's explanation above is not unlike how most lead aggregators work.
In general, you provide your criteria and they deliver leads to you according to that criteria. But the details of that process—including types of leads, costs, and methods of delivery, vary from platform to platform.
What is the best lead aggregator?
There is too wide a variety of lead aggregators out there to be able to provide one answer to this question. We have several we recommend, as seen in our roundup of the 10 Best Lead Aggregators for Home Improvement Businesses.
Each one has its own unique value proposition, pros, and cons. It all comes down to which one meets your business needs the best. And that’s what the questions in this post will help you to answer.
Questions to ask yourself
Before you even go around vetting lead aggregators, make sure you answer these questions for yourself first.
1. Do I know my ideal customer?
If you're going to purchase a high volume of leads, you need to make sure you know as much as you can possibly know about your ideal customer persona.
The more criteria you can give your lead aggregator, the higher the quality of leads it can deliver to you.
And not every lead is going to be the perfect fit—this comes part and parcel with anything that comes in high volume. But knowing your ideal customer and their nuances will help you to decide which leads are worth pursuing and which ones are not.
Things to know about your customer persona:
- Demographics: Age, location, income
- Lifestyle: What’s their job, family situation, day-to-day, hobbies, personality type, spending habits
- Condition of home/appliance: How old is it, what is its value, how important is it to the customer
- Consumer type: Does your customer have prior experience or existing knowledge about the service you provide? Are they avid researchers? What platforms do they use? Houzz? Pinterest?, are they “buyer beware” skeptics? The generation they belong to has an impact here.
- What are their goals: Why do they want this project done? By when? What is their budget? How hands on or hands off do they want to be?
- Challenges: What limitations, hesitations, or barriers are common for them?
2. How much am I willing to pay for a lead?
By definition, a lead is someone who is interested in your business and has the potential to become a customer. The level of that potential, however, depends on the quality of the lead and the effectiveness of the sales process you have in place.
- How many leads are you converting into appointments right now?
- How many of those are becoming customers?
- What is the average profit you make off of a job?
This information will help you to identify how much you can afford to pay for a lead and still be profitable. If that number is lower than you’d like, you may need to make some adjustments to your sales process.
3. Do I have a lead management system in place?
Many lead aggregators come with a dashboard of some sort that allows you to manage your leads. But if you’re purchasing a high volume of leads, a dashboard is probably not going to do you much good. You need something more robust that will allow you to:
- Segment and incorporate these leads into existing campaigns and strategies
- Automate the tasks involved with these leads
- Keep a record of your interactions with them
- Report on their performance with respect to leads from other sources
Your best bet is to have a CRM (customer relationship management software). CRMs are more robust than lead tracking dashboard, and the result is higher quality interactions which means higher success rates and higher ROI.
Jobber provides a CRM specific to home service businesses. Image source
4. Can I follow up with these leads quickly?
Speed to lead is of the utmost importance in the home improvement space—and yet the biggest challenge. If you want to get the highest return on your investment into lead aggregators, you should be reaching out to every lead within 5 minutes.
But this is pretty much impossible at such a high volume of leads, and with all of the other tasks you have going on—between prospects, customers, and operations outside of sales and marketing...
...unless you use automation.
Having a CRM will help with this as you can set rules, workflows, and reminders. But integrating your CRM with a communication tool that will do the actual tasks for you is really the best way to ensure you’re reaching every lead immediately without working your team into the ground.
5. Do I have the right sales process in place?
The ability to reach out to leads quickly is only the first part of the equation for landing a deal. Yes, it will allow you to connect with a higher percentage of the leads you’re paying for, but no, it does not directly equate to a higher ROI. You need to convert those leads into sales in order to see revenue and returns. And too often, we see sales processes with these traits:
- Use only one channel. Calling alone doesn’t do the trick anymore. In fact, people don’t want to talk on the phone. They want text, email, and ringless voicemail—and the best channel for that person varies depending on the day or even time of day. Your sales process needs to be multi-channel if you want the highest chances of actively engaging your leads and prospects.
- Reach out only once. So maybe you reach out right away. But only once or twice. Or you reach out all day for one day and then give up. Today’s best practice, based on consumer expectations and lifestyle, is to reach out several times, over the course of several days, over multiple channels.
- No follow up. Not only do you need to keep following up until you get a response, but you also need to follow up on your quotes and estimates. It’s all too easy for consumers to fall off the radar these days, and not because of lack of interest. You need to be following up on estimates and quotes, even for as long as two weeks
- Long messages. If you’re trying to engage your leads and prospects with long blocks of text—how long you’ve been in business, how many Google reviews you have, what services you provide—you are going to achieve the opposite. Do not burden them with a novel! Short bursts that invite a response is the way to go.
6. Do I have other lead generation strategies in place?
If you are relying solely on a lead aggregator to supply your leads, you are leaving yourself zero wiggle room. You truly can’t afford to make any mistakes in choosing your lead aggregator or in engaging these leads.
And mistakes are often the best way to learn and hone a strategy. It’s best to have other lead generation strategies in place that work concurrently with your lead aggregator. This allows you to:
- Have a fallback
- Compare quality of leads
- Ensure enough volume to be able to experiment and optimize strategy
Other lead generation strategies include:
- Paid ads through Google or Facebook
- Organic social media
- Blogging and website
A Google Local Services Ad
Another reason to have these other strategies in place is that you can collect insights on your audience and further refine your ideal customer persona (see question #1!).
7. Do you have a system of measurement in place?
To ensure you’re getting the highest ROI on your lead aggregator, you need to be able to establish benchmarks and goals.
If you have a CRM and a standardized sales process in place, it should be easy to establish KPIs and get clear reporting on:
- Number of leads coming in
- Number of leads reached
- Number of appointments set
- Number of appointments completed
- Number of deals sold
This will help you to answer questions like
- Is my lead volume increasing?
- Is my contact rate increasing?
- Is conversion rate increasing?
- Is revenue increasing?
You also need to be able to compare the performance of these leads to the performance of leads from other sources.
Questions to ask your lead aggregator
Okay if you’ve made it through the above questions and concluded you are a good fit for a lead aggregator, now it’s time to do some investigating. Here is an extensive list of questions to dive into in your vetting process:
8. What is your technique/process?
The leads you secure from a lead provider need to represent real people who are in the market for what you are offering. Find out what data sources the lead aggregator is using to collect leads.
Ideally, you’re looking for a company that vets and verifies leads using a combination of software, partnerships, and even manual QA.
Don’t be afraid to dig deep.
- Do you use proprietary software?
- Who are your official partners?
- What tools does your team use when manually performing Q&A?
- How do you verify that email/phone numbers are valid?
Real-time data is also key here. You want to make sure you’re getting qualified leads based on recent behavior.
9. How long have you been in the industry?
There is no shortage of technology and networks out there that can help a company source leads for your business, but there is no replacement for experience.
Experienced lead vendors know the nuances of both the lead generation industry as well as your particular industry. Knowing these ins and outs leads to small details that make a big difference in the quality of the leads you receive and the customer experience.
That being said, find out not only how long they’ve been generating leads, but if they specialize in your industry in particular.
Buyerlink specializes in automotive, home services, home warranty, insurance, legal, and more. Image source
10. Is there filtering available?
In addition to giving your criteria for what kinds of leads you want, find out if, once you get the list of leads, there is a way of filtering the leads for particular criteria so you can further segment your lists. And find out exactly what that method is.
- Do they provide a spreadsheet formatted for filtering in Excel or Google Sheets?
- Do they provide it through their own platform that offers its own filtering?
- Is there any advanced filtering, such as beyond the criteria you supplied in order to secure the list?
11. How many leads will I get a month?
The exact answer to this question depends on your budget, the level of demand in your service area, your preferences, the type of service you provide, and more. But what you can do is establish some hypotheticals with your provider, and ask for a ballpark range.
HomeAppointments shares average number of leads per day, appointment set rate, and sales close rate for its clients. Image source
12. When and how will I receive the leads?
Make sure you’re clear on exactly how you will get the leads.
- Are they delivered in real time? In daily or weekly batches?
- Can they get imported directly into my CRM via integration?
- Can I pause or adjust the cadence?
13. Do you offer any tools or apps with your leads?
Some lead aggregators provide built-in or add-on tools or features to help you manage your leads. These may include:
- A dashboard or portal to manage your account
- A mobile app to track and manage leads (Angi Leads comes with the Angi Pro App, for example)
- Proposal/invoice generation and sharing
Ask about these features and do some investigating on how useful they are deemed by existing customers.
13. What kind of support do you offer?
Purchasing the leads is just one thing. Managing and working them is another. Find out from your vendor:
- Are there dedicated account managers to help me set up my profile and make the most of the platform?
- How can customer support be reached? Phone? Email? Live chat? In-app chat?
- Are there self-service options?
- Do you have a support community or forum?
14. Do you offer lead generation services or just lead delivery?
There are two kinds of lead generation services: the first is lead delivery where the leads are just given to you, dropped on your doorstep, basically.
The second is actual agency-style marketing services that can help you to generate your own leads, such as through your website, social media, listings, and more. These types of services range on a spectrum of completely hands off (do it for me) to very hands on (show me how to do it).
Going back to question #6—if you don’t have other lead generation strategies in place, you may want to look for a lead aggregator that also provides lead generation services. Or seek out lead generation services in addition to lead aggregation.
15. How does your pricing work?
Lead aggregators will vary in their pricing models. Find out how their model works and dig in to find out every detail.
- Do you have a membership or subscription fee?
- Is it monthly or annual?
- How does cost per lead work? Do I pay for every lead or only if I get in contact with that lead?
- How much do businesses like mine typically budget out per month?
16. Are there any buying minimums?
Find out what the minimums are. For example, you may be able to pay a monthly subscription but it may be for a minimum of one year. There also may be a minimum budget required for you to put into your account each month.
17. What is your credit policy?
A good lead aggregator will have some sort of system in place to help protect against bad leads. You can probably find out what their policy is on their website, but it’s best to discuss it in detail with a representative to make sure there’s no fine print you’re missing.
- What happens if I get a good lead and reach out but they don’t respond?
- Under what conditions do you offer lead credits?
- What exactly does the process look like? Is there a form I can submit, a button I can hit? Do I have to send a quilt-pen-written, wax-sealed letter?
CraftJack shows its easy credit request process. Image source
18. How many contractors do you distribute one lead to?
Lead aggregators typically sell the same lead to 4-5 companies, so ask about this to make sure they’re not above that range.
19. What is your average project size?
Make sure you understand not just the quality of the leads you're getting, but the types of leads that your aggregator aggregates. For example, HVAC customer needs can range from minor AC repair to a brand new ventilation systems and maintenance programs.
20. How detailed is their website?
The level of information available on a lead aggregator’s website is usually a good indicator of how much you can trust them. The more clear the information is and the more questions that the site answers before you have to talk to a rep, the better.
The more ambiguous, the more wary you should be about hidden costs or lack of experience in the industry.
- Do they clearly outline their process on their site?
- Do they have an FAQ page?
- What do customer testimonials say?
- Do they show screenshots?
- Do they have a blog or resource page that shows their expertise in the field?
21 questions to help you choose a lead aggregator (recap)
If you want to choose the best lead aggregator for your business, it's important to do your homework and educate yourself. There's no such thing as too many questions when it comes to investing your money into something, especially something as precious as your business! Here are 21 questions to help you find the right service for you:
- Do I know my ideal customer?
- How much am I willing to pay for a lead?
- Do I have a lead management system in place?
- Can I follow up with these leads quickly?
- Do I have the right sales process in place?
- Do I have other lead generation strategies in place?
- Do you have a system of measurement in place?
- What is your technique/process?
- How long have you been in the industry?
- Is there filtering available?
- How many leads will I get a month?
- What is the average project size?
- When and how will I receive the leads?
- What kind of support do you offer?
- Do you offer lead generation services or just lead delivery?
- How does your pricing work?
- Are there buying minimums?
- What is the average project size?
- What is your credit policy?
- How many contractors do you distribute one lead to?
- How detailed is their website?