How Much Does Lead Generation Cost?

In the following article, we will go through the definition of lead generation, learn how to calculate cost per lead (CPL), examine which type of costs needed to include in the calculation, be surprised by what the average cost per lead and which factors influence the total lead cost, see how many leads you need to hit revenue goal, determine the best lead providers and their prices.

Did you know that the average spending on digital advertisement was over $ 77 billion by the end of 2018? That’s a huge amount of money! But what if you could know whether your money is well-spent or wasted?

Embodying new customers within your sales funnel is crucial for sustainable growth. Therefore, you need to focus on the efforts which work to generate leads to avoid spending for nothing.

Before we move, initially, let’s see what lead generation means;

What is Lead Generation?

what is lead generation headline image

How many people have engaged with your business to decide on whether to make a purchase or not? This would be the number of your leads generated. Lead generation does not necessarily mean that there must be a conversion. Even a visitor coming to your website and not taking the desired action counts as a lead.

The vital thing to know here is that there are two types of leads because the terms of marketing and sales carry different characteristics within themselves:

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are the potential prospects that you were able to entice their interests. Whereas Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are the customers who have engaged with your business. (downloaded an e-book, purchased a product or made a reservation)

How to Calculate Cost per Lead (CPL)?

Cost per Lead or CPL is one of the most used metrics to evaluate the efficiency of a digital marketing campaign. And the formula of CPL is very straightforward:

Total Cost Spend on a Digital Marketing Program/ Number of Leads Coming From The Program

For instance, let’s say you have spent $1,000 on a pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement and 50 people were converted into leads.

Cost per Lead = $1,000 / 50 = $20.

Remember that generating leads is all about a high return on investment of your customer acquisition. The higher the ROI, the more costly a lead is; and the lower the ROI, the less you will likely to pay for obtaining leads.

On the other hand, the average cost per lead varies depending on your industry, lead generation channel, company size, and company revenue. Don’t worry; we will dig them into in a minute.

But first, I want to recommend you some CPL Calculator Tools to save you from doing this math above;

Cost per Lead (CPL) Calculators

Types of Lead Generation Costs

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Some costs are occurring during the lead generation process and need to be summed in the calculation, but not are all applicable to every channel for lead generation:

  • Media Placement and Distribution: Cost of reaching the potential audience of a digital campaign.

  • List Purchase: Cost of buying or renting a telemarketing list and a third-party addresses list for direct marketing. (Here, I want to remind you that purchasing an email list is not a good idea!)

  • Agency and Labour: Cost of hiring an agency to manage some digital marketing processes like SEO.

  • Campaign Creation: Cost of developing an effective digital marketing campaign.

  • Incentive: Cost of immediate rewards like coupons or discounts to high-quality prospects before buying behavior.

  • Other: Costs of managing a digital marketing campaign aside from the ones explained above.

Average Cost per Lead

On average, cost per lead is determined as $198 for 2019. However, CPL differs widely depending on the industry, the profundity of your target audience, and, of course, the competition among your sector.

Let’s dig deeper into these amounts and the cost influencing factors;

Average Cost per Lead by Industry

Industry Cost per Lead on Average
Finance $ 160
Technology $ 208
Healthcare $ 162
Manufacturing $ 136
Travel & Tourism $ 106
Retail $ 34
Education $ 55
Telecom $ 45
Marketing $ 99
Consumer Products $ 105
Media & Publishing $ 108
Non-Profits $ 31
Business Services $ 132

Sources: Marketing Charts, Hubspot, Socedo, Ready Talk, Survey Anyplace, Integrated Marketing Association

Average Cost per Lead by Lead Generation Channel

Lead Generation Channel Cost per Lead on Average
Events & Tradeshows $ 811
Public Relations $ 294
Referrals $ 73
Video Marketing $ 174
LinkedIn Advertising $ 75
Webinars $ 72
Display Advertising $ 63
Content Marketing $ 92
Traditional Marketing
(TV, Radio, Print)
$ 619
Search Engine Advertising $ 110
Social Media Advertising $ 58
Search Engine Optimization $ 31
Email Marketing $ 53
Online Retargeting $ 31

Sources: Marketing Charts, Hubspot, Socedo, Ready Talk, Survey Anyplace, Integrated Marketing Association

Average Cost per Lead by Company Size

Company Size Cost per Lead on Average
1001+ Employees $ 349
201 – 1001 Employees $ 212
51 – 200 Employees $ 180
2 – 50 Employees $ 47

Source: 1st on the List Promotion

Average Cost per Lead by Company Revenue

Company Revenue Cost per Lead on Average
$500 M + $ 429
$10 M – $500 M $ 179
$1 M – $10 M $ 185
< $1 M $ 166

Source: 1st on the List Promotion

How Many Leads Do You Need?

As the main aim of a marketer is to maximize efficiency in your campaigns, you must understand how many leads you need to hit the revenue goal of your business.

How many leads you need to generate for sustainable growth

The analysis requires information about your company data elements like;

  • Targeted Revenue – The amount of revenue you aim to reach at the end of a period

  • Marketing-Driven Revenue – The portion of total income that is gotten thanks to marketing efforts.

  • Average Sales Price (ASP) – Net Sales / Number of Sold Units

  • Marketing-Driven Deals – Marketing Driven Revenue / Average Sales Price

  • Opportunity-to-Sale Ratio –  How close you to turn one lead into a customer out of the total number of leads. (%)

  • Qualified Lead-to-Opportunity Ratio – How many leads it takes to turn one lead into a customer. (%)

  • Lead-to-Qualified-Lead Ratio – How much analysis is necessary to turn one lead into a converting customer.

Now, let’s evaluate one example together:

  • Suppose you aim to reach a $100,000 revenue by the end of the month.
  • Your marketing-driven revenue is $45,000 at the end of the month.
  • The average sales price is calculated at $5,000.
  • Marketing Driven Deals: $45,000 / $5,000 = $9
  • Opportunity to sales ratio is predicted as 3, which means you have the opportunity to turn one lead into a customer out of 3 leads.
  • Number of Opportunities Needed: 3 x 9 = 27
  • Qualified lead to opportunity ratio is foreseen as 6, which means you can turn one lead into a converting customer if you have at least 6 leads.
  • Number of Leads Needed: 6 x 27 = 162

What you can deduce from this example is that you need to have at least 162 leads in order to obtain zero profit.

Rather than making calculations to know the lead break-even point for your digital campaign, some tools are providing you the same information automatically;

Sales Lead Calculators

These tools will help you to determine how many engagement you need to convert qualified MQLs into SQLs, leading to a boost in your sales. It is also good to know the necessary amount of leads before moving to plan your digital marketing efforts.

Lead Generation Service Providers

Another option to increase leads is to pay a third-party to generate leads for your business. In some cases, getting help from companies in the lead generation sector would be more effective than spending your money and time on obtaining leads by yourself. Especially if you are a small business with a small database of prospects, you may let someone else develop you an extensive database while you focus on customer retention strategies within the company.

Let a third-party to generate leads for you

The problem with those companies is that they offer you a temporary solution. When you stop paying for obtaining leads, they will simultaneously stop generating you leads. Therefore, you need to constitute an efficient plan to keep those leads and turn them into loyal customers.

No matter which path you choose, you should set clear objectives, start an accurate program for the job, and track your results to find the best strategy.

Here are some of the companies that may help you to generate more leads, their services, and their prices are given;

Company Services Pricing (Per Month)
Popupsmart High converting popups,
digital marketing tools
Try for Free
LinkedIn Sales Navigator Letting you search for
leads and features
$64,99
Mailshake Outbound email generation $ 19
Vyper Creating contests, promotions
and social media buzz generation
$ 29
Click Funnels Building sales funnels and webpages $ 97
Callpage Engaging the user to a phone call $ 79
Datanyze Enabling you to search for leads
based specific conditions
$ 29

To sum up, if your overall value of a lead is more than your total lead cost, it means your lead generation program is a winning one!

I hope that this article would be beneficial for you to make the right choices related to expenses on lead generation and guides you to become a digital marketing hero in your workplace. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to communicate with me via comments!

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