Marketing Hack: How We Created a Piece of Software for Lead Generation

Preface

Target lead generation is probably one of the most time-consuming processes for any business. Especially when you are expanding to a new market.

And that is why automating this process seemed like a good idea here at Ringostat.

We have numerous outbound educational and sales activities. As a call tracking service, we reach out to the companies that run geo-specific online advertising campaigns (PPC and PPA). We do that not only for business purposes, but also for receiving feedback, conducting various surveys and corporate research. For all that, we needed an easy and effective way of putting together the lists of potential leads.

We couldn’t find any ready-made solutions, either free or paid, so we created our own.

Initially, we used this software to collect leads for our local offline educational events about intelligent call tracking as a part of a multichannel analytics. Then, we called these companies and invited their marketing directors to attend our workshops. Our audience was incredibly responsive, and we decided to use this piece of software to create a list of potential customers in other countries — beginning with the UK.

This software helped us to start expanding into the UK market by allowing us to understand better the needs and specifics of local businesses in different cities. Now, we can gather a list of target companies from many locations within a couple of days with all the necessary information to reach out to them.

How does it work?

Our software combines a parser and data processor. It is based on a set of geo-targeting features from Google and Yandex (the most popular search engine in Russia) and Serpstat’s keyword database (a keyword research tool). With its help we managed to create an up-to-date database of companies that are running PPC advertising campaigns in a specific city or country, organized according to the keywords these companies use. i.e., we got a list of companies in London that advertise using the keyword ‘rent a house’. All the entries in the database were unique as the parser removed duplicate values.

How exactly does this software work?

  • First, we set the required search parameters (city, list of keywords).
  • Then, we chose the search engine/search platform, which provide a local listing of companies and businesses such as Google Places, Foursquare, Yandex.Catalog, 2Gis or any other (you can name them in comments and we will try to reply if that would work).

Then we started parsing. You can add one listing platform or combine several of them. i.e., if there is an insufficient amount of entries from one listing platform, you can start parsing data from another one. Additionally, a set of conditions can be pre-set as well, like to parse one type of companies in Google (i.e. real estate agencies) and others in Foursquare (restaurants, bars, galleries etc.).

(Yeah, the UI looks really simple, but this is for internal use only.)

There are limitations, though, related to a search/listing platform request restrictions. Thus, Google limits search results to the top 60 entries per keyword, showing the most relevant data for a particular keyword. Its relevance algorithm is corporate, confidential information. Nevertheless, the top 60 companies per keyword is a decent selection for a small to medium-scale study, or for starting to investigate the business niche. Yandex.Catalog allows you to get a list of all organizations, although you can only request 500 per day. In order to get more credits for search requests, you need to purchase a paid account.

But the most interesting part is when a data processor sets in. It feeds the obtained data from a listing platform into Serpstat in order to determine the company’s pay-per-click activities. Basically, this processor compares the obtained data from a listing with Serpstat`s data on the advertiser, locates a match, and the end results contain only those companies that are actively running ppc campaigns. We used Serpstat Pro account, which has unlimited queries per day, but there is also a free plan, with limitations, though — up to 30 search queries per day.

Of course, not only Serpstat can be used for this purpose, but we haven’t researched other tools profoundly.

Also, as we targeted UK companies, we parsed Google UK and compared our results with Serpstat’s UK database. Except UK, we can analyze companies in 10 countries (USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Russia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine).

Compare results by search platform

Basically, our software`s UI consists of two pages.

  1. ‘Workers,’ where the currently parsed results are represented. The data displayed on the screenshot contains the city, search parameter, search platform/listing of parsing. Thus, in UK parsing Google Places we gathered about 5,000 unique entries, meaning companies in more than 10 large cities for 130+ keyword phrases.

For example, for the keyword “online courses” we found 26 cоmpanies in London, 18 in Birmingham and several in York, Sheffield, Cambridge and Newcastle listed in Google Places, which also advertise by this keyword in Google UK! Plus, we only found six for “sex shop” in London. That’s probably because these services do not advertise a lot online, or perhaps we need to be more specific in our request! =)

Using several streams, we managed to gather information from this database for two days. By the way, we gathered a list of keywords with the help of Keyword Planner and Serpstat’s Keyword Research Tool.

Clicking on the company will present the following information:

  • Company name
  • Website and official address, if any
  • General email address for contacts
  • Telephone number, if any — initially, we collected only phone numbers, but emails can also added for parsing
  • Keywords and results — the search volume of this particular keyword
  • Other search parameters

Additionally, our software will gather all the keywords a company bids in the advertising network, i.e., Google Adwords .

2. ‘Results’ contains aggregated campaign data, which can be exported to a CSV file. On this page you can find:

  • Names of companies names, their domains and contact details
  • Keywords, which are used for advertising.

Epilogue

Coping with challenges of target lead generation is easier than you think. With the help of right software you can save time and effort for collecting information and compiling lists of potential leads. Now, it will take you only a couple of days to find target companies in many locations and start reaching out to them.

The data aggregated by the software can be used in numerous other ways in the advertising industry: conducting major research in different countries, evaluating market size and defining main advertisers in various market niches. By analyzing long-tail search requests, it is possible to discover narrow market segments to apply with your offer.

At the moment, we use this piece of software as an internal instrument to locate potential clients and partners. Although, it would be useful for marketing agencies or even for cold emailing. As well, it is a great tool for those looking for leads/partners in a specific geographic location — the possibilities are very broad.

If you are interested in more detail on the algorithm or code for this software, feel free to contact us or ask your questions here in the comments section — we will share what we know.