EnerBank USA commissioned a study surveying a mix of EnerBank customers and other homeowners that revealed that 35 percent of homeowners start a home improvement process without knowing how they’ll pay for it.
The study also suggested that while other homeowners think they know how they’ll pay for a home improvement project, when they’re offered additional financing options, they often choose to finance—an option they hadn’t known about previously. Additionally, when a contractor is the main source of financing help, the homeowner is more likely to do business with that contractor.
Working with a customer without providing payment options can cause a homeowner to seek out other bids or postpone a project altogether. On average, contractors can nearly double their close rate when they offer choices such as a same-as-cash or a low monthly payment loan—even if the customer doesn’t choose the financing option.
These results not only show how integral financing is to contractors’ overall business, but how—and when—to communicate financing to customers. Promoting payment options in each aspect of marketing and every part of the sales process is the most effective approach. While it’s pretty straightforward to discuss financing after talking with the customer about a home improvement project—because they’ll have to pay for it somehow—contractors should also include financing in their marketing materials.
Also, close rates improve when contractors provide payment options to customers upfront. Contractors who include a finance offer in their advertising—such as a same-as-cash option—see an average of 50 percent more leads, and those better-qualified leads boost business with higher close rates and larger projects.
Here are some ways to include financing in marketing materials.
An important part of a contractor’s advertising program should include financing options in print advertising on flyers, door-hangers, showroom displays, service vehicles, paid media, etc. Of course, the main message to customers should first be a value proposition, leading with key strengths and advantages. However, a simple message to customers saying something like, “Ask us about our same-as-cash or low monthly payment options” or “Several payment options available to help you get the project of your dreams” will seed the financing idea in the lead’s mind while they’re researching potential contractors. That lets them know they can work with a contractor even if they don’t have enough money saved right now, and it gives them an option to use the money they had already saved for the project elsewhere.
While billboards, mailers and flyers are a great way to obtain leads, digital advertising can also effectively communicate financing choices. Digital marketing avenues include pay-per-click ads, email marketing, SMS (text message) marketing and other strategies. Many of these programs are very cost-effective and targeted, and they not only generate leads, but they also develop relationships for repeat business and referrals. Including a one-liner about financing in marketing messages helps customers know they can come to a contractor for both the project and the payment choices.
One great way to integrate financing options into marketing is through organic and paid social media. Organic social posts help business owners reach out and nurture their audiences. Paid social advertises content on various social media channels and can include teases about payment options. This provides an opportunity to discuss financing in more depth, including the different loan programs offered to customers. If the organic content performs well, contractors can pay to boost it to reach an even greater audience and even more customers.
Websites are key areas where customers can learn about payment options while researching a company. First, they can include payment option messages on their home page. They could use a home page banners to advertise a “no payments or interest for 24 months” option. While showcasing beautiful landscaping, that message can also plant in the customer’s mind the opportunity to get the project they really want instead of being restricted to their current budget.
While home page banners and messages introduce the subject of payment options, posting content on landing pages, blogs and in separate menu sections helps customers dig deeper and understand how financing can help them. Contractors can link from the home page directly to a section that discusses how to pay for the project, including payment options, rebates and more. These sections should discuss not only the financing program features but also the benefits of using payment options. Don’t forget to include a call to action so potential customers can learn more.
Financing Partners Provide Best Practices
A good financing partner will be one that can provide the best practices for advertising the business to customers, in print, online, on social media or on the website. Many will have easy-to-use templates to get started. In using those resources, measure what messages work best for customers and the business.
In addition to providing templates and best practices in marketing, these partners can provide sales scripts to use to continue the financing discussion as contractors formulate the project plan. Because a company offers financing, customers will see it as the authority and as the one place to get everything they need for their project.
As contractors integrate payment options messaging in their marketing, they not only gain more leads, but also more qualified leads for the sales group to close. The goal is to be the source for everything a homeowner needs to do their project..