How to not get burned buying mortgage leadsAdrien LadouceurBuying mortgage leads The Internet has changed the face of business marketing with its power to supply anyone with a computer scads of information at the press of a button. If you know how to get noticed among the sea of cyber-traffic, the Internet can be a source of an endless supply of interested clients for your company. But tread carefully, it can burn you just as easily, sucking away valuable company capital and giving little in return. Still, the Internet's vast potential to connect the professional to the consumer, with an efficiency that is impossible to duplicate in any other medium, is too valuable a resource to allow some online horror stories to prevent one from taking advantage of Internet marketing. Instead, one should learn the proper methods for venturing into the vastness of cyberspace without becoming lost in a monetary no-man's-land. A current popular trend in online marketing is the sale of leads. Buying leads makes sense--after all, it costs a great deal of money to set up and maintain an effective marketing campaign, and leads generated from this campaign are typically time-consuming to manage, process and disperse to the people who can actually work them. Furthermore, most online marketing is available to the national market, so if your company is only licensed in a limited number of states, or if you wish to focus on a limited number of states, buying leads is a more economical way to save money and time getting only the leads that you want to work with. Lastly, when you buy leads, you're paying based upon marketing performance, unlike traditional marketing where you pay for an ad to run, and the number of interested contacts that result from it is determined by fate. However, when purchasing leads, there are still many precautions you should take in order to make sure the company handling your online marketing is going to bring you results, or if they're going to waste your time and money. First--and this is very important--realize that Internet marketing is still just marketing. The first warning sign that a company is not what you want is when you hear unbelievable closing guarantees from them with "very little work" required on your part. If it really were that easy, why isn't this company just closing these deals themselves? "All sale, and no effort" promises are all fluff. With any type of marketing, Internet included, the burden of transforming an interested lead into a profit-bearing client lies on the person working the lead. Remember, no matter what, it is just a lead--the individual indicated that they were interested in being contacted, and even had to provide several details about themselves, but they are still just a lead. Keeping this in mind, there are several useful questions that can help you determine which companies will generate valuable leads for your company and which ones are just looking to make a quick buck: How long have they been in business? What references do they have? Back in the late 1990s, we saw many Internet-based companies sprout up. Very quickly however, most of them failed. An online business requires as much dedication and capital to survive as an offline business does. If the Internet marketing company has been around for five or more years, they've figured this out. It's always a good idea to ask for references as well--every good company has them. How do they market for their leads? Can you see a sample of this marketing? This is very important, as there are many ways to market for leads online. Spam is a term anyone with a computer is aware of, and it should be avoided. Given recent legislation regarding Spam, it will attract more legal problems than leads, no matter what promises are made by the marketing company. Search engine leads (leads that are mostly advertised through Web page placement on the search engines) are good, but have a lower percentage of seriously interested "shoppers" than other types of marketing. Direct "opt-in" e-mail marketing, banner ad marketing or "pop-up" ad marketing are normally the best leads out there, but beware what is being promised. If there are promises of certain rates, or free draws promised to applicants, it would be best to steer away. Take a look at the marketing yourself and determine if you would feel comfortable having it represent your business. How old are the leads? While Internet marketing is very effective, Internet leads have a very short shelf life. A lead that sits around too long will go elsewhere, so make sure that the leads that you are buying are not too old. Be sure to ask the lead company if they will replace a lead that claims to have filled an application over a week ago--which does happen even with legitimate marketers. Check with the better business bureau A good marketing company always remains in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. What is their replacement policy? Once you have narrowed your search for an Internet marketing company down to companies with strong marketing practices, one way to separate the good companies from the average ones is to examine their replacement policies. Be careful, as this is the step at which the sharks will try to bite you! I've heard of companies guaranteeing that if their leads don't close, they will be replaced. At first, this sounds like a great deal, but look closer. The companies that I've encountered offering this kind of deal will indeed replace any lead that does not close, but if the replacement goes nowhere too, well, too bad. A good replacement policy should be fair to both you and the company in question. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. The company should replace any lead that has invalid contact information, or which had no interest in being contacted regarding refinance at the time the lead form was filled out. Of course, many things can happen between the time that a form is filled out and when the broker actually speaks with the lead, but if it's just a bogus lead to begin with, you should not have to pay for it. Is the lead exclusive? Many would say there is no such thing as a truly exclusive online lead. This is technically true--there is no way an Internet company can guarantee that every lead they sell has not contacted another company. Yet this isn't to say that paying a bit extra for an exclusive lead is not worthwhile; just be clear with the Internet company what you mean by exclusive. Often though, it is more cost-effective to simply go with "semi-exclusive" leads--leads that have been sold more than once for a lower cost. Just be sure to find out how many other times they have been sold. If it is more than three times, keep walking. A lead that is oversold is useless to anyone who buys it, because the lead gets so fed up with all the contact calls, that they become very irate when an innocent broker calls them or they simply don't bother to answer. Internet lead generation is a cost-effective, efficient way to market your business. It allows you to focus on the clientele you wish to work with, and has the power to supply you with the amount of traffic you want, when you want it. There are many good Internet marketing companies out there, but there are also many not-so-great ones, so be smart when contacting one of them. A good company will work with you to ensure the success of your venture. After all, the success of their business is dependent on your success with their services. Adrien Ladouceur of Direct Media Group may be reached by phone at (807) 577-3950 or by e-mail at [email protected].
About the author