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Long Web Forms Online: A Marketing Lesson from Owner Builder Construction Loans

Jul 24, 2008
Owner builder construction loans are hard to sell, because it is difficult to generate leads. There is no established list of interested owner builders to whom you can send out direct mailings.

Therefore, owner builders have to find you. This is where having an online presence is vital, but you need more than the standard, simple information request form if you want to be successful in marketing to any group of clients like owner builders.

Why should you pay any attention to the marketing techniques for owner builders? Chances are good you don't sell owner builder loans. Chances are good you don't even care what an owner builder is.

But, the lessons from marketing owner builder construction loans are the same lessons that all marketers can apply whenever selling to clients that either have a long lead time or who have to actually qualify before being able to make the purchase.

Owner builder construction loans, perhaps similarly to a product you sell, require not only that the owner builder wants to purchase them. Also, the owner builder has to be financially qualified to be able to purchase them.

It doesn't matter how good of a salesman you are if your client isn't going to be approved for the purchase financially.

Second, owner builder construction loans have a very long lead time before the sale is finalized. Owner builders have to get blueprints, apply for building permits, compile a budget to build their home, etc. The owner builder planning process could take a few months.

Compare this to most products that get sold online, for which the transaction might happen literally within a few minutes.

So, if you are selling a product or service like owner builder loans that require a long lead time and a stringent client qualification process, then there is a simple online marketing tool that you can use to streamline your sales process.

Instead of using the standard, simple online information request form on your website, try using a longer, more intensive information request form that requires your potential clients to jump through a few hoops to submit their information.

It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Wouldn't you get more leads if you had a short, simple online form that would allow you to market to more people?

Yes. And, no.

You would have more leads, but they wouldn't be qualified, motivated leads. And, you would be wasting your time, energy, and money marketing to them.

In the owner builder example, it is very useful to use a long, laborious info request form, because you know that the people who fill out the form are very motivated and extremely interested in your product.

If the owner builder weren't interested, he wouldn't spend the time filling out a long, detailed request form. In fact, in this example, you would have your owner builder fill out a form with almost 50 fields just to get you to contact them with more information.

They would fill in information about their construction project, as well as information about their financial qualifications. This way, you could spend your time following up with the owner builders who are going to be qualified for your product. You don't have to spend your time trying to sell your product to people who won't meet your qualifications.

And, you will know that they are all very interested in speaking with you. Nobody would fill out 50 questions about being an owner builder if they didn't want to speak to you about your owner builder construction loan.

Therefore, the long form serves a couple of very important purposes. It allows you to weed out the leads who aren't going to qualify to purchase your product. And, just as important, it makes your leads jump through a few hoops to ensure that they are very interested before ever contacting you.

It's good positioning for you. By the time you contact your lead, you will know they want to speak to you. Any emails or follow-ups that you send them will be welcomed.

Make no mistake, there is a time and place for simple, short info request forms on your websites. If you are selling a product with a short lead time and that requires no specific buyer qualifications other than interest in your product, then a short form is a perfect online lead generation tool.

On the other hand, if you are selling a product like an owner builder construction loan, then you will want to use a longer, more detailed information request form that makes your new leads jump through a few hoops to make them raise their hands and show interest in your product. Plus, you will be able to get enough information about them to pre-qualify them before spending too much time.

Do not be scared to make the leap to a longer online information request form. Your number of leads will go down, but the number of qualified, interested leads will not. You'll have more time to focus on the truly qualified leads. Your sales will go up. Your profits will go up.

Owner builders have proven that this method works. It can work for you as well. Owner builder construction loans are much easier to sell when you are dealing with clients who are qualified and interested in the product. Owner builders are no different from any of your potential clients.
About the Author
Chris Esposito specializes in owner builder construction loans for people who use his Owner Builder 101 program to allow them to act as their own general contractor and build their own homes. For details about owner builder loans, visit www.OwnerBuilder101.com, or call (877) 876-3688.
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