FloorPop  - Interactive Marketing Best Practices, January 4, 2006
Vol. 6, Issue 9: Copyright (C) 2006 Blair Kuhnen.  All rights reserved.

FloorPop FloorPop (Flr-pop) n. 1. The homebuyer who visits a Builder's community and writes a contract for sale the same day. 2. The sound made by a salesperson clicking their heels high in the air and returning to the floor after a prospect signs a contract the day they first meet.

5 Online Form Conversion Keys

Editorial Disclaimer: The 2006 Rose Bowl just ended. Please excuse any discrepancies. Go Horns!

For many builders the primary purpose of their website is to generate qualified leads that result in on-site visits and sales. If this is your purpose, then you have to pay close attention to registration form completion or conversion rates. This basic online direct marketing principle is routinely overlooked. Improving your forms can easily double your lead volume. Online Form Conversion Rate is measured as: (Non-graphic Note: Visitor to registration page / Visitors completing the form = Online Form Conversion Rate)

First, find your current baseline online conversion rate for each online registration page. Do this by counting your unique leads from each registration page (your numerator) and comparing this to the number of unique visitors to each registration page on your website (your denominator). Your website provider should be able to offer you all these figures on a real-time or periodic basis.

What should your Conversion Rate be? Every client asks me this question. I can't give you a specific number, but I can offer you a guaranteed method of improving it. First, let me briefly explain why a specific number is impossible to suggest. There are simply too many variables, including: (1) Before the Form - website visitors, your call-to-action, market conditions, target market, brand, and (2) After the Form - offers, form requirements, form layout, form copy. The most important of these is your offer. A compelling offer can make up for many other variables.

FloorPop Expected Conversion Formula

(Non-graphic Note: Expected Conversion = Value of Call Action + Imbedded Value - Effort to Complete - Fear)

If you improve your call-to-action and imbed more value, conversion goes up. You also improve conversion by making it easier to complete forms and by reducing concerns about how you will use personal information or what happens next. When you design each of your links to your form and the form it self, consider what you can do to affect each of these variables.

Forms are not fun, but they are one of the most important features on your website. We all spend days and weeks agonizing over the details of our website designs, but usually little time on the single most important pages of our site.

Here are 5 things to do now:

  1. Start with a Compelling Offer: A great call-to-action will offset just about everything else. This is the only explanation for Spam working to generate sales and Publisher's Clearing House being in business for more than 100 years. Closer to home it explains why more than 25,000 home shoppers would complete my good friend Stan Kates 30+ question registration form linked to his 2 page websites. It may be as simple as "Join Our Advance Notification List" when you have a hot property. Don't skimp here. The more compelling, the more website visitors will click to your form. When Kates first promoted Langston Development's Las Vegas Central, the lead pricing was $139,900.
  2. Embedded Value: You can imbed value a number of ways. Wording is critical and needs to be tested. On the form you can include a Free Offer as David Weekly Homes does on their forms. Weekley will give you a Free DVD or David's Book, just for signing up to their Home Club. You can even take a question and turn it into embedded value by asking the question from a consumer benefit perspective. Consider the difference between 'When are you moving?' and 'When do you hope to be in your new home?' Both let you identify timing.
  3. Make it Easy: If you ask for less information, consumers are more likely to fill out the form. Don't make fields required if you don't have to. If it is easy to complete, more visitors will complete the form. Consider D.R. Horton's E-brochure.
  4. Provide Trust: Forms are scary. If you tell people exactly what you will do with the information and what you will not do, your conversion rates will improve. Make it clear as Buescher Homes does here: "We will only use your email address send you what you ask for. We will never sell or share your information with third parties without our permission. Privacy Policy"
  5. Modify and Test: You must test your changes. Some ideas work, others don't. Don't rely solely upon changes in lead volume, hunches, or advice from others. Measure your Online Form Conversion Rate. Make one change at a time and then retest. If your conversion goes down, be prepared to back out the change. We use Focus Weblinks (Flexible Web Forms) allowing us and our clients to change and test in real-time the changes made to forms. However you do it, find a way to test your tweaks.

We are fortunate to have very high response rates on our builder websites. However, I am very impressed with the results Stan Kates, President of the Kates Marketing Group, shared with me in their marketing of Las Vegas Central. In the 15 month's of their pre-marketing effort they were able to generate approximately 25,000 leads and claim a 15% visitor conversion to lead ratio. It kind of makes me feel like an amateur. I get giddy at the 10% level. How did they do it? Part of it is a great market, but it's more than that.

I asked Kates what were the keys to his success. According to Kates, "What you have to do is create a unique selling proposition within the market place." He is also a huge advocate of testing. What do they test? Just about everything. "You have to test the phraseology and the order of the questions." Said Kates. Beyond these basics, he also tests the landing pages and builds tracking in for each advertising vehicle. According to Kates , "All of the advertising is direct response advertising and every ad has it's own URL so it can measured."

Would you like to hear of some of Kate's secrets and ask questions in an interactive forum with other marketing/sales professionals? Please join us at the International Builders Show (IBS), on January 14, 2006 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for 90 minutes that can create millions in profits for your company in 2006. Stan Kates, Frank Guido, and I will share with you the proven secrets of effective online marketing using real life examples to show you how builders have created tremendous improvements in interactive marketing results and sold hundreds of millions in real estate purely online. If you want a copy of the presentation, just send me an email with your request at kuhnen@earthlink.net.

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