Internet Leads and Your Marketing

How many of you are currently signed up with one of the many Internet-based referral companies?

I have heard from some remodeling contractors that the leads are worthless. They cost too much. And the Internet company does not understand remodeling contractors and what they are looking for in a Potential Client.

Let’s spend some time discussing what is really going on with this “new” type of lead generation.

Are the leads really worthless? Is every call that comes into your office from other sources a gravy train of work? I don’t think so! On the average only 20 to 25 percent of the calls we receive as remodeling contractors become actual income-bearing jobs. It is up to you, with your marketing plan, to pinpoint your type of client. It is not up to the Internet company to understand the type of client you want to contact your company.

It is up to the Internet company to provide leads to millions of contractors, all with varying types of potential clients. It is up to you to profile your company within the Internet company to meet the criteria for the type of potential client you want to contact your company. Sure, it takes a little more time and understanding to figure out how the Internet company allows you to set a profile for your company, but if handled properly, you can show the Internet company what leads suits you best. If the Internet company does not provide some type of profiling, then you do not want to do business with that lead provider.

The leads cost too much. Come on now! On the average, the leads will vary from $10 to $75 each. Some cost more, some less. If you are doing your job as a salesperson, you should be able to close 20 to 25 percent of the correctly profiled leads coming to your company. If you close one in four or one in five, something tells me you can afford the lead-generation cost. Close one medium-sized job and you should be comfortable with paying $75 for the lead. I know what you are thinking right now: “Well, if I got five leads at $75 per lead, that is $375!” Are you saying to yourself that on a lead of that size you cannot work in the money to cover the cost of the five leads to land the one? Perhaps the fault is not with the Internet company.

The Internet company does not understand the remodeling industry. Of course they don’t! They understand how to drive our potential clients to their Web site. It is up to the remodeler to talk with the Internet lead provider about what you are looking for in a potential client. First, as a remodeling contractor, you have to know and understand the type of potential client you want contacting you. The only way to do that is by tracking your calls so you know which type of potential client, type of job, location of job, size of job, etc., you handle the best and the ones that make you the most money. Once again, the burden of understanding your company is up to you.

No Internet lead provider can make a potential client call you or sign a contract with you. The steps that are necessary for any Internet lead providing company to work well with your company require you to put into place a good marketing and tracking plan so you do not end up spinning your wheels, costing yourself money and getting frustrated with the lead provider.

Michael Carden, CGR, is an owner of M.U.I. Corporation, a Birmingham, Ala., design/build remodeling firm and is past chairman of the NAHB Remodelors’ Council. He can be reached at