FraudGet ready for some alarming statistics!

Performance Marketing Insider recently released the results of its survey designed to shed light on the world of marketing as it relates to fraud and CPA Affiliate Networks. They reached out to affiliates, advertisers, and networks to learn their perception of fraud, if they trust their networks and if the fraud solutions work.

Guess what?

According to this survey, the CPA industry is awash in fraud … or fear of fraud.

As a founding member of the exciting new LeadsCouncil for ethical practices in Digital Marketing, this hit close to home. We were deeply disappointed.

The Numbers

The survey showed the following scary statistics:

  • 84 percent of Networks utilize a fraud detection program
  • 82 percent of all marketers believe fraud in performance marketing is a major problem
  • 72 percent of all advertisers report being victims of fraud
  • 66 percent of advertisers report little trust in CPA Affiliate Network
  • 52 percent of publishers report little trust in CPA Affiliate Networks
  • 49 percent of those advertisers who utilize fraud detection programs don’t believe they work
  • 11 percent of networks say they have asked their publishers or affiliates to commit fraud
  • 10 percent of publishers report a CPA Network has asked them engage in fraudulent practices


What does this mean?


Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 4.43.33 PMOrange County, Calif. – February 5, 2016 – EPath Digital is excited to announce an expansion of their multi-year Agency of Record relationship with Optima Tax Relief. This extension builds upon the past two years where EPath has developed a performance email marketing channel that has significantly contributed to Optima’s new customer acquisition volume.


EPath has successfully scaled email marketing for Optima during a period in which Optima has risen to become the nation’s leading tax resolution firm. “In Epath, we have a partner that shares our commitment to excellence and delivering great results,” say Harry Langenberg, Optima Tax Relief’s managing partner.


Optima was named the fast growing financial services company in 2015’s Inc. 5000, a recognition that EPath is proud to have played an important role. “Optima is a case study in how we help our clients attain their ROI and growth goals,” says Jeremy Buttke, president of EPath.


With extensive experience servicing advertisements to targeted demographics, EPath is looking forward to helping Optima attain even higher goals in 2016 and beyond. “No company is better at solving people’s tax problems than Optima,” says Buttke, “and EPath’s efforts are going to ensure an ever-growing number of people who need Optima, find Optima.”


Branding works differently for lead generation companies.OK, one more to wrap up my series on the importance of generating your OWN leads. In the previous two posts, we discussed some big reasons to start building a channel for generating internet leads internally (driving free inbound phone calls, and generating a more targeted lead for more profit). This time we are going to talk about the “B word.”

Using your brand. First let me be specific here: by “brand” I mean what makes you a better choice for the consumer than your competition. I am not talking about promoting nebulous tag lines, color schemes, or building name recognition. Lead generation is for generating sales – period. It is critical that you do not sacrifice direct response principals that are proven to work in an attempt to promote brand elements that will not influence consumers to take action now. Specifically, by “brand” what I am talking about are the elements that are unique to your company and can convey the positive customer experience you have already built with your client base.

For example:

  • Real testimonials. The FTC has disallowed fake or general testimonials in advertising, which means that only advertisers that work directly with consumers can use them. Consult the guidelines on this, but actual testimonials specific to your company can add credibility and improve conversions considerably.
  • Third party verification. This could be your BBB accreditation, any awards you have won, any associations you belong too, etc. Icons and logos from these sources used on the landing page send a signal to the consumer that you are established and trustworthy.
  • Information specific to your organization. If you have a big number of clients, or have transacted a large dollar amount, or something similar, this can be powerful information for consumers trying to discern the difference between all the services they are researching at the moment.
  • Your phone number (see my post “1 Big Reason to Start Generating Leads Internally”). Having your phone number on the page seems simple enough, but many lead generation sites don’t have one. It will not only drive “free” calls to you, but will also add some credibility vs. sites that are lacking a call-in number.


Although I stress not trying to use your lead generation campaign as a way to build your brand, you can certainly stay within your brand elements such as colors and fonts. Also, branding is about customer experience, and what better way to generate positive customer experience than generating more customers? And as I always say, if you are not set up to generate leads internally because of technical and/or media buying resources, but still want to take advantage of benefits, maybe consult an online direct response agency (like us).

Yes, shameless plug. But as a direct response marketer I just couldn’t help myself!

targeted lead generation for bigger profit

Targeted lead generation for bigger profitLast time, I wrote about one big reason to start generating more leads yourself: driving “free” inbound calls. Now, in this article, we will look at another big one: targeting to your key demographic. This results in, yup, more profit. I have sold leads for 15 years, and there are definitely big advantages to buying leads from lead generation companies, such as cost and the ability to scale quickly. But here is one advantage that generating internally can give you.

Create more expensive leads and make more profit. One of the most successful campaigns I ever managed was priced at more than $450 CPM and required a contract north of $4,000,000. The lead cost on this was very high, but what it produced was a large volume of the right kind of lead for my client (in this case exclusive, excellent credit, mortgage refinance leads). Those types of leads were simply not available from lead aggregators, on an exclusive basis, with any volume at the time. So, despite the big price tag, the campaign was very successful. At times it was even too successful: the 200+ agents were not able to get to 100+ inbound calls an hour because of the lead and call volume the campaign generated.

Lead generators typically can create high quality leads at a lower cost and provide the ability to scale. But, one disadvantage in selling leads is that very high quality leads may be too expensive to generate at the price point dictated by the lead buyer market. Here are a few ideas that may create more expensive leads, and produce a big return on your investment:


From Our Team to Yours

Tuesday, 22 December 2015 by
EPD Xmas Party

Dressed to the nines: the ePath Digital team.

As 2015 was fast receding, it was time for the crew at EPath Digital to put this year in the rear view mirror.  As the proud CEO, I hosted everyone in my home for a Monte Carlo Night themed event.  With chefs preparing amazing appetizers and gourmet sliders, and the bar pumping out shots and drinks (responsibly), everyone ate and drank their fill. Dressed up in all black for some holiday glam (it was great to see everyone get into the spirit), we had an absolute blast.

Since Monte Carlo was the name of the game, we rolled up our sleeves for a night of some serious (ok, not too serious) gambling. With many great prizes on the line, all proceeds bought raffle tickets to win items including the iPad Mini won by Chris Fangre and the Beats Studio Headphones won by Melanie Jarrett. As such, our crew and guests hit the blackjack, craps, and roulette tables hard, and the screams of the winners echoed across the back canyon. Everyone was a winner and the Craps table was running hot!

In all, it was a fun evening of food and entertainment, great company, many laughs and battle-hardened stories of victories won during the year, and the promise of an even better one to come in 2016.

Happy Holidays to all our employees, our families who support us, and our great clients who sustain us. We are truly grateful and look forward to many, many more good times to come.

See you next year!

(More party pics after the jump!)







Eli Gladden epath DigitalI’m not saying you should stop buying leads altogether from lead generation companies – in fact, I sell leads myself. Buying leads typically allows advertisers both cost advantages and the ability to scale up quickly. However, if you are a lead buyer and have not (yet) invested resources to generate a large volume of leads internally, there are several reasons (including targeted leads for more profit) that you should seriously consider building this channel – sooner than later.

One huge reason is having the freedom to drive “free” inbound calls to your sales floor. Call-ins usually represent the low hanging fruit of the buyer base and are typically not a component of leads purchased from a third party. Obviously, there is a 100% contact ratio on call-ins (as long as someone answers the phone). Beyond that, the mindset of someone calling in is better because that person is reaching out to you. Therefore, the close ratio should be significantly higher on these calls and thus an added bonus to the online leads you are generating.

Not sure how to start? Here are 3 ways to drive inbounds as part of your lead generation campaigns:


  1. Offer an incentive on the confirmation page or “thank you page” for calling in rather than waiting for a call from you. This can be as simple as stating, on the page immediately following the submittal of the lead information, “Thank you, a representative will contact you within 48 hours. Or, to obtain your quote immediately, please call (800) 555-5555.” We once ran a campaign for satellite television where this strategy caused 10% of the leads to call in after they had submitted the lead. These call-ins closed at around 50%, which doubled the performance of the campaign as a whole.


  1. Put the phone number in a shadow box upon the exit of the landing page. If worded correctly, the exit shadow box can draw on a powerful principal of influence that social psychologist Robert Cialdini calls “rejection then retreat”. Simply stated, when the consumer chooses to the leave the page he/she is rejecting our request to complete the lead form. When we then ask the consumer to please call us instead, we are “retreating” to a lesser request. There is an ingrained societal obligation to comply with the second request. Or maybe some people just want to call instead – I don’t really know. I do know this though: doing this will drive inbound calls and help you monetize traffic that was falling off the page anyway.