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One of the most significant problems that mortgage brokers and loan officers face is the ability to build a pipeline of leads that allow them to close loans every month consistently.
There are many options marketing available to you whether that's dealing with referral sources, such as Realtors or business groups, or generating business through your website on the internet.
This article is going to focus on the latter and show how you can leverage the web to close all the loans that your business can handle.
The internet is a primary way in which homeowners used to research information about the next mortgage that they need whether it's to buy a new house refinancing existing loan or maybe even pull out a little equity for that Home Improvement project.
Done correctly, you can position your business in front of those homeowners and be the resource that they need to make the final decision of getting that loan through you.
This article is going to go over some of those ways that you can get in front of that stream of people on the internet to get a better idea of what things you can do. It is not an all-encompassing guide of these different avenues but more along the lines of a sneak preview so that you can get a better understanding of what could potentially work for your mortgage company.
With that said, Ascend Web Media is designed to help you with all of these areas. If at any point you want to have a quick conversation to figure out what's best for your company, feel free to contact us.
1. Advertising / Pay Per Click (PPC)
Paid advertising is the quickest way thing a mortgage broker can do to send potential customers to your website. However, it is also the fastest way to burn through your budget if you don’t know what you are doing.
There are two main places where you can buy targeted advertising, Google, and Facebook. They are not the only games in town, by a long shot, but they cover 90% of the web so you can’t go wrong starting with them.
Now, each company has their way of doing things. For instance, Google lets you bid on keywords that people use when looking to see if you can help them with a home loan.
Those keywords can be very profitable if you track your results closely. Results such as how many people are calling you or filling out a form. Those are front-end stats. ON the back end you need to track which of those phone calls and form fills are turning into 1003s and closed loans.
That will give you an idea of your conversion rates (something we’ll talk about later) and your cost per conversion.
For example, if you make $3,000, on average, for every closed loan and you want a 50% gross profit margin of every loan, then your cost per conversion can’t be more than $1500. If you run ads on Google and it costs you $800 for every closed deal then, cha-ching!
On Facebook, you don’t bid on a keyword. Instead, you bid on a wider variety of factors, such as interests, age, household income, family size, and plenty more. Because of these options, your approach to Facebook ads is going to be very different. Instead of bidding based on keyword, and the intent behind that search, you are bidding to show up in front of people that may be interested in your services soon.
You might be thinking that Facebook is at a disadvantage here, but you would be wrong.
Think of it this way, if you bid on Google for the phrase “bad credit mortgage refinance” you get someone looking for a loan right now. However, your competition knows this too so guess what that does to your costs.
On the other hand, if you target someone on Facebook who shows characteristic that shows that they may want a loan before they start searching, you could beat your competition to the punch.
The other difference with Facebook, because you are targeting people that might not be interested right now, is that you have to “warm” people up to the idea of getting a loan. It’s a process that we’ll cover later.
Search engine optimization has gotten a bad name in recent years due to people selling over-hyped promises only to be smacked down by the Google gods. It can be difficult if you are looking to exploit the latest “loophole.”
Believe me, I’ve served time in Google’s stupidity jail years ago, and I have no plan on returning.
SEO, today is about doing activities that get your brand known on the part of the web where your potential customers hang out.
This activity is broken into two primary segments:
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
On page can be best described as the things you do on your site that show the search engine that you know your stuff, that you are an “authority” in your field.
This means that the information on your site needs to be helpful and well organized in the eyes of your prospects. Do you have content that is explanatory, teaching people about the mortgage process in depth? Or do you do like most sites that have a simple glossary and a widget that shows current rates?
If that’s your website, then you are in trouble…
Google and Bing will care less about anything you have to offer if that’s the case.
Additionally, you need to show that you care about how they consume the information on your site. Make it easy for Google to figure out where everything is.
Part of this process is making sure your site’s navigation makes sense. For instance, you have an XML sitemap, your images are well labeled, your site is secure, it’s mobile friendly, loads fast, etc.
Off-page optimization deals with your reputation on the web. Who is talking about you and your company? What kinds of links have you earned from other websites with information topically related to yours? Do you have links/mentions from sites that the search engines already know and trust?
This off page portion is where companies get into the most trouble. They’ve heard that they have to build links and those links should have keywords.
You go to a forum and find that someone is selling a “Google Friendly” link package for only $50 that guaranteed to “crush” the search engines.
Those sellers will say fancy things like “natural anchor text distribution” and that there “services leave no footprint” and other ridiculous claims.
The best way to get links is to earn them by putting out great content and promoting that content.
Ok, I already hear you asking… What is great content?
Great question, by the way.
The answer is…
Sorry, but it does. However, there is a shortcut to figuring it out.
First, think of the types of questions that people ask you about different aspects of the mortgage process. Can you create an article that answers those questions in depth? Or create a detailed video?
Think about that core question and do a search on Google and look at the sites ranking for that phrase. What kind of content do those companies have (images, articles, video, audio)? How many words are in that article?
Look at each of the top 10 results and take note of what you see.
Now that you’ve seen the competition, ask yourself how your company can do MUCH better.
Not just a little, a LOT. Aim for being the best source on the web for that information. If you are, guess how much easier it becomes to get links, social shares, and cheering fans! (ok maybe not that last part)
Social Media, in a nutshell, describes a place where people can talk about and share information on any subject that they happen to have an interest. It has been around since the beginning of the internet, although some people think that it started with Myspace or Friendster.
The biggest thing to take into consideration is the social aspect. In the mortgage world, it takes people a while to figure out the direction they want to go because they are dealing with their most valuable asset and most substantial liability.
Because of this, you don't want to make the mistake of trying to sell directly on social media. It is about building a relationship with the potential borrower so that they trust that you're the person with their best interests at heart.
There are two steps you need to take to accomplish this.
- Build an audience of people interested in your services.
- Engage with their Audience by providing helpful information, and answering questions, and just being an overall good guy.
Building an audience, despite what you might think, is pretty easy to do. The quickest way to accomplish this is by running ads, within your chosen platform. In this example, I'm going to use the Facebook since it is the largest social media platform on the planet. Also, I assume that you already have a Facebook page.
With these ads, you want to accomplish two things at once. The ad should offer helpful information to the prospects, preferably if they have to sign up for this information. If that information you provide is interesting enough, a percentage of those people who see that ad will also like your Facebook page.
You'd be surprised at how quickly you can build your audience this way, while simultaneously creating an email list (something we'll talk about in the next section).
Now that you have this audience, you and make sure that you stay in contact with them on a regular basis. That could be daily or two to three times a week. The key here is consistency.
One of the misconceptions with social media, when it comes down to you keeping in contact with your audience, is thinking that you need to post all kinds of frivolous memes, quotes, jokes, or ask pointless questions. There's nothing wrong with doing that now and then, but you want to make sure that the information is keeping people engaged with the core reason as to why they came to you in the first place.
Again, the idea is to keep people engaged in topics that are beneficial to them and are related to the services you provide. This could be things such as questions such as how to find contractors for their home improvement projects, home maintenance tips, or how to prepare for their homes for the winter. The key is to be helpful.
4. Email Marketing
If you noticed earlier, I mentioned things email marketing in general. First of all back in the discussion on Facebook, I suggested that you could create ads intended to get people to sign up for some bit of free information. Well, the process of them signing up gets them on your email list.
Once there, your responsibility is to provide useful information on a regular basis that shows them that you are an authority whatever type of loans or financing that you specialize in. Over time, they will warm up to the thought of doing business with you.
Also, notice the similarity in the process between email marketing and social media. In both cases, you are building an audience, and in this case is an email list, that you want to make sure that you're in contact on a regular basis.
The difference with email, however, is that this is an asset that you take with you no matter what. For example, if Facebook decides to change the way that you can send information to people following your Facebook page, then you're pretty much out of luck. With your email list, you can contact those people anytime you want. Because of that, it's a good idea to make sure that you include email and your internet marketing mix.
Last but not least is the concept of blogging. Now I know that many people have a particular idea when they think of a blogger. Maybe it's a mom blog or even someone who likes to write about strange conspiracy theories.
That's not what I'm referring to here.
Blogging, in this case, is the process of consistently putting out useful information/content on topics surrounding the services that you provide as a mortgage broker. This content should also be beneficial for the prospect beyond your services as well (like I mentioned previously).
I'm sure that you may have heard people say that when it comes to digital marketing, "Content is King." This is true, and here's why:
- Search engines, such as Google and Bing, love it when they find new content that they can show their users. If that content is good, they will send more prospects your way.
- This content can be used as part of your social media campaigns.
- People will share your content if it makes them look smart for sharing it with their friends.
- These blog post that you write can also be leveraged in email as well.
- If the blog post is particularly helpful, it will directly generate leads.
I intentionally placed blogging, or content creation, here last not because it's the least important but because it affects just about every other aspect of your online marketing plan.
I hope this article has so filled your brain with ideas on how to improve or expand, on your current internet marketing activities. There are a ton of things to learn, and there are many pitfalls that you need to avoid in the process.
However, we at Ascend Web Media, specialize in helping mortgage brokers cut through the clutter and develop smart strategies that turn their websites into lead generating machines.
Because you've made it this far, I wanted to personally offer you a free analysis of your current internet marketing activities. This is not a veiled sales call; it is a consultation.
If the consultation leads to further conversations on how we can help you, great! If not, hopefully, we can at least help you solidify plans on how you're going to use leverage the web to build a consistent pipeline of leads for you and your fellow loan officers.
Until next time!