By: Rudy De La Garza, Jr.
We are in 2018 and the Internet is maturing at a faster rate. Typical home buyers and loan customers are savvier than ever before. They expect a fast website, easy interface features, and simplicity of process.
Understanding your audience is essential to maintain an influx of customers for any loan officer. Defining a content strategy around specific personas brings clarity to every marketing effort. These days, there is a mountain of data that can be leveraged to validate your current thinking of who your audience really is. What’s more is you can learn the terms and phrases people use that your internal team did not think of. Having this power makes many marketing initiatives more efficient.
Harnessing the power of social media is finally a science. A good social media strategist will help you create an idea that drives the signals needed to become relevant. But even more importantly, this idea will bring conversions into a CD, home loan, or other financial product. Contests and highly targeted paid social ad campaigns have proven to be extremely powerful for the bottom line when executed properly.
Some of your internal data sources are ripe for usage in a marketing campaign for loan officers. You probably have a strong list of emails of existing customers. Creating a gentle and highly valuable newsletter keeps your grip on existing customers while being there at every life stage. Email is a great way to show that you care and are always available.
Don’t forget about traditional outreach via the phone. It still works, especially in smaller markets where you might see the customer around town. This really makes your delivery even more genuine and creates a sense that the bank really cares.
There are so many ways to find information these days, but search engines are still the place for most consumers. That puts a strong emphasis on your website to be exact in the words used on the pages. Knowing exactly how your customers say and search for things will make a tremendous difference. Then, putting those words in the right places on your website makes you relevant when the customer is searching.
With a committed budget, there are several websites that can send you highly qualified traffic directly to your website. From there, you can convert these customers into your products. Sites like Bankrate.com and HSH.com list lenders and charge on a per-click basis. This is a great way to get immediate customers to your website.
NOTE: I worked for both companies in the recent past. I directed their digital marketing departments and gained very high levels of traffic for all their personal finance products from 2006 to 2016. Sorry, I cannot get you a discount but I still think these are great places to get a steady stream of qualified traffic. ;)
With all this in mind here are the 6 Mortgage marketing strategies for lenders and loan officers that will make huge difference right now.
Your target audience expects a functional online experience. That experience should also be quick and easy. There are several mortgage automation software packages out there. I advise lenders to invest in an automated loan origination and underwriting system. Then, we integrate the various online marketing channels into an easy workflow that allows the customer to input all the information and documents.
Once the quick application requirements are met, the whole process can be handled via email or text notifications. Loan officers will always be necessary, but if we can get the customer through an easy application process with documents, this makes everything easier. There are several great ways to automate the "front-end" of the origination process. Contact us directly for more information on how we get this going for your bank or lending institution.
This is huge and may not seem intuitive. Your first-time home buyers usually are not too concerned about the rate they will pay. They are so excited to get a house, they are looking for a monthly payment number they can afford. When creating a web page, email, social media campaign, or other marketing initiative, stay away from offering the rates so much. Certainly, show them mortgage rates, but don’t feel like you need to lead with it. These home buyers need your assurance about the process and that they are with a lender that will help them get that home of their dreams.
Refinance customers are different. They usually are looking at the rates and are trying to time the refi so they can save some money. They are savvier but still want to know they are with someone they trust. In both cases, your content messaging on the website should provide plenty of value about the next step they need to take. Be sure to explain each step and offer typical scenarios that your audience can identify with.
When I say “direct”, I am describing the type of conversation. Email and phone campaigns are one-on-one conversations. This creates the opportunity to speak directly to your existing customers and have a genuine conversation. Setting up an email campaign that provides unique and useful information is the key to a great newsletter. Email is still a great marketing tool and it does not have to be spammy. This is a great way to keep your customers involved in promotions and events.
Your social media accounts are also a great way to do very specific marketing. Paid social media campaigns allow you to target ads directly at your followers with very specific criteria. You could set up a campaign for less than $500 that targets people using mobile devices to access online banking within a 10 mile radius of your branch. That is some serious marketing potential. Make sure to give value, not just another offer. This is a way to connect with your potential customers and keep the product in mind.
This is much more than “smile and dial”. Make sure your best communicator is making these phone calls. Someone who cares and wants to make connections is best for this job. The goal is to make a sincere connection so this person becomes an even deeper customer for life.
But there is another option that many are using to perform large-scale call campaigns for loan officers. Lists of small businesses are available that contain the business phone number. With the proper technology in place, your business can set up an auto-dialer with a custom voice-over message that offers the potential customer the opportunity to talk with an agent right now or leave a voicemail. If you are interested in this option, call us directly.
Once you have a defined content strategy and personas, you know the keywords and key phrases your audience is using. This is very different than just looking for keywords with the term "mortgage" in them. With the right information, your loan officers can stay consistent in all efforts. They know who they should be talking to and how to communicate with them based on their specific problems, tasks, or goals they are trying to achieve. Even your website designer knows what to design because he or she will have specific targets in mind. Knowing the right words to use in your copy, web pages, emails, and social media campaigns can mean the difference between success and wasted money and time.
Even with a small budget of $3000 per month, you can get into the rate tables of websites like Bankrate.com and HSH.com (Quinstreet). These websites send high quality customers to your website. From there, your automated lending process should take over and be optimized. When a great customer comes to your website, you need to make sure the user experience is easy and top notch. Make sure your pages reflect a current and professional look. You only have a few seconds to convey your brand and a sense of comfort.
So there are the 6 Mortgage Marketing Strategies for Lenders and Loan Officers that will make a difference this year. Whether your organization is a multi-branch bank or a regional credit union, this strategy is perfect for small and medium sized budgets. The key is to execute well with proven best practices from experts who have done this before. But don't rely on an agency. Train your marketing teams to do this internally and only rely on agencies to support or enhance highly specific efforts. Most of all: Make this the year where your bank or lending institution steps into the current Internet Marketing universe.
Contact us directly for a free 1-hour discussion about your website. We would like to discuss how we can make sure your website converts customers in an efficient manner. Think digital.