It’s all about the marketing, right? Every business owner understands this underlying principle. Whether you are selling a clothing line, flower arrangements, or a service, like say, mortgages – marketing is the key to your success.
The digital age has ushered in a wealth of marketing opportunities, but with it comes certain challenges. For mortgage loan originators, digital marketing can be a daunting and sometimes frustrating endeavor. While some excel and relish the digital marketing space, most originators would rather be, well, originating.
Marketing requires some market savvy, a little bit of imagination, and time and effort. Loan originators can probably think of better ways to spend their time rather than creating a new marketing plan. However, developing a good mortgage marketing campaign is worth the effort because marketing works. Not any marketing, but smart marketing. If you are going to spend time and resources on promoting yourself, stick to the techniques that are
proven to work.
Before beginning a new digital marketing campaign, you need to change your way of thinking about lead generation. Digital marketing is more about business development rather than simply generating new mortgage leads. People go online looking to learn, to investigate, and to understand how the choices they make will affect them down the road. View your marketing campaign as a way to engage an audience and familiarize them with your business. Social media is perfect for this type of communication and makes it easy to get the word out and remind followers exactly what it is that you do. It does not always have to be about selling. Sometimes it is as simple as reaching out with an interesting story or engaging article.
While reaching out to the public, keep your eye on the prize. Find referrals and focus on meeting other parties that can refer you new business. Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn all have groups for virtually every type of business. Joining these groups and engaging members with a conversation about topics you are familiar with is a good way to get your feet wet. Not only will you converse with like-minded individuals, but you may learn something about your industry and your client base that you may have never considered otherwise.
Marketing has always been about developing relationships. Digital marketing is no different, and with the mortgage industry, the best way to grow your business long-term is to build business partnerships. A new business relationship provides much more value than a loan lead. Sure, leads can convert to applications and result in a closing, but a partnership, say with a referring realtor, adds more value to your business in the long run.
Building professional relationships with builders, accountants, realtors, business bankers and others is
an excellent way to grow your business. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to stay in contact with your partners and take in interest in their business as well as personal lives. It is always a good idea to seek opportunities where both parties can benefit. Look for openings that will allow you to refer your clients to their businesses as well.
Marketing is as much about demographics as it is anything else. Know your target audience. Whom do you want to speak with directly to sell your services? Sure, most loan originators would like to reach out to everyone who owns a home or is planning to buy one, but that is not very realistic. Instead, define your target business partner and go after that base. You have a much better chance of garnering new business by reaching out to a select group of realtors, rather than blasting the entire real estate market in your area.
Another concern is how to make yourself stand out to realtors and other professionals in your area. One way is to specialize. Every loan originator has a niche they like to work within. Be it VA, FHA, purchase money, construction financing or hard money loans, whatever it is, show your business partners why they should pick you. Many lenders choose to market for business that is most profitable, but still, it is smart to consider other options, such as fastest to close. Whichever product suits your taste, be specific, offer clarity, and demonstrate that you excel in providing that product to borrowers.
Digital Marketing Platforms
When developing any good marketing plan you want to focus on delivery systems that work. For years, originators relied on direct mail to reach out to potential clients. The problem is, that approach still requires your potential lead to open your letter and read it. In the digital age, several platforms allow you to get your message out and reach a far greater audience. For loan originators, there are seven leading digital marketing tools you should focus on when developing your marketing campaign.
Personally Branded Website
A website is an excellent way to provide a “digital business card” to the world. Many originators work for a company that provides a corporate website where they can direct customers to for advice, questions, or information about the types of products and services you offer. However, a personally branded website sells you. This is a site that you can personalize with information about your expertise, the types of products that you specialize in, and type of service customers can expect. Loan originators do not always stay with the same company. A personally branded site will also move with you as you further your career. It provides a way for your business partners and previous clients to keep track of where you are and what types of financing you continue to provide.
A personal blog is also a quick way for a mortgage professional to get their message out to the masses. One misconception is that you have to know how to write to have a blog. That’s not true; you don’t have to be a good writer or even know how to write interesting content to have a blog. Many bloggers just post links to articles that they think their customers would find interesting or educational. Blogs are quickly becoming the medium of choice for marketing firms. Besides offering insightful information, a blog can be shared on social media over
and over and reach an incredible amount of readers in a short amount of time.
As we indicated before, email branding was one of the first digital marketing tools used by the industry, and even after all these years, it still works. While spamming has become a global scourge, email marketing to business partners or your existing customer base is still a good way to communicate. However, people’s time is valuable. Instead of sending out boring messages, many email campaigns contain only a few lines of information and then a link to a blog or website. Remember – keep it short and sweet if you want to make sure the recipients will read your content.
Facebook | www.facebook.com
Facebook recently surpassed 2 billion users worldwide. It is the undisputed champ when it comes to social media. In fact, some marketers only advertise on Facebook; it is that powerful a digital tool. Facebook is similar to a blog in that you can post articles, photos, and other content that your contacts may find interesting. Like your blog, you only want to post information that you believe will attract potential clients or business partners.
Some business users make the mistake of posting chain mail, political content, goofy videos, or other content that
may turn off many prospects.
LinkedIn | www.linkedin.com
Think of LinkedIn as Facebook for business. You can create a profile page. Share and upload information about
yourself. You can even create discussion groups and interact with other business professionals across a variety
of industries. In this manner, and the fact that LinkedIn has over 500 million worldwide users, LinkedIn is perhaps the best relationship building digital platform for industry professionals. LinkedIn provides a unique profile page whereas your contacts are allowed to give feedback on your skill sets. So, adding contacts with whom you have personally done business or those who understand your business, will become your referral base for other users that may be considering using the services you provide.
ActiveRain | www.activerain.com
ActiveRain is a website community designed around real estate and real estate professionals. The site allows users
to post relevant articles, blogs, and other information and promotes the community to comment and share the content.
Opportunity | www.myopportunity.com
Opportunity is the newest business platform to emerge that provides an interesting way for professionals to network. Opportunity is a network of business professionals whom each builds a profile detailing the services or products they provide, along with indicating what professional services he or she is seeking. The platform then allows users to reach out to others who may be in need of their services, and vice-versa. This feature is a great lead generation tool and offers users the ability to reach out to customers all over the world.
Content and Consistency is Key
As with any marketing campaign, content is king. Creating the right blend of interesting articles, updated list of services offered, and call to action is essential to your digital marketing success. With the amount of information bombarding consumers daily, finding and posting content that will have people not only take notice but actually read, is key to generating new leads and building strong business relationships.
If you are not an experienced marketer, this is the hard part – consistency. Marketing is most successful when done on a regular basis. The good news is that digital platforms make being consistent easier. To stay on your marketing task, you simply need to block out a little time each day, perhaps in the mornings or evenings, to post to your social profiles. Posting regular updates and new content will keep your profile popping in your contacts’ timelines and remind them that you are ready and able to help them.
With a little effort, some creativity, and dedication to making a difference in your business, you can be on your
way to becoming a master of marketing.