Build a fraud-free, quality database

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When it comes to building a large, high-quality lead database, nothing beats the Internet. Reaching more users every day, the Web lets advertisers access a massive audience and rapidly generate leads in high volume. Forrester Research reports that 60 percent of surveyed marketers think online advertising is as or more effective than traditional advertising for generating quality leads.

But take heed. All lead generation tactics, online or otherwise, are subject to dark forces that can compromise the quality of your database. False information, fraudulent data and extensive duplication greatly diminish the quality of your data and its power to deliver results for your business.

Why all the bogus information? Any time a consumer is asked to fill out a form, advertisers risk getting false information. Many consumers are reluctant to share even minimal personal information online, and not without cause. From the irritation of spam to serious risks such as identity theft, online hazards have consumers wary. These situations make the act of entering false information, in exchange for the featured offer or promotion, all the more appealing. That's one reason lead generation campaigns are plagued by fraudulent, duplicate and poor-quality leads.

For advertisers, the best solution is to use the most sophisticated tactics to ensure a qualified database. Multiple technologies are available, including advanced targeting techniques and sophisticated lead-scrubbing tools, all designed to minimize the influx of invalid leads.

Here are tips for building a fraud-free database:

Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. Advanced lead-scrubbing tools such as data verification, fraud detection and address verification help raise the overall quality of leads generated by a campaign. And they come in various flavors:

• Custom scrubs: Comb leads for advertiser-defined criteria such as leads ages 18+ or male-only, etc.

• Data verification: Scrub leads across partners and channels to ensure validity, including proper e-mail format and no profanity.

• Fraud detection tools: Scrub leads for validity by analyzing patterns that may indicate fraudulent activity.

Monitor performance. Are your leads resulting in sales? Are you getting a return on your lead generation efforts? Track your leads and the sources of those leads to ensure that your objectives are met. Use this information to measure the quality of your affiliates and to improve your media placements.

Use an ad network. A reputable advertising network helps ensure a large, qualified database. Networks provide the extensive relationships required to deliver mass exposure and the resulting lead volume. They also provide easy access to the most advanced lead-scrubbing tools and back-end performance analysis.

Lead volume is only as valuable as the quality of the leads you accumulate. A few precautionary steps at the start of your campaign, such as implementing tracking and scrubbing tools, will save you money and headaches in the long run and ensure your leads translate into revenue.

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