What's in this article?
After reading through various loan officer forums online, there seems to be a pretty common problem facing all mortgage lenders—there are never enough mortgage leads.
Plenty of loan officers know about running Google Ads but aren’t sure how to properly set up their campaigns, which is why they’re considering buying mortgage leads from lead aggregators.
Buying mortgage leads isn’t a bad idea, however, it’s expensive. And as soon as you stop paying for the leads, they stop coming in.
What if there was a better way to generate your own leads through your own mortgage conversion-optimized website?
In this article, we’ll explain how to buy mortgage leads, which kinds of mortgage leads are available, and give you tips on how to build your own mortgage sales funnel online to generate your own exclusive mortgage leads.
Where to buy mortgage leads
When it comes to generating mortgage leads, there are basically three options:
- Generate them yourself through client referrals
- Generate them using a lead generation marketing agency
- Purchase them from a mortgage lead aggregator site
While client referrals are probably the best (and cheapest) option for generating high-quality leads, it’s not easy to scale up. You just do your best work and hope that your clients will pass along your information to their friends and families.
What you can scale up, however, is your ability to buy more leads from lead aggregators and generate your own leads through your mortgage-optimized website.
When it comes to mortgage lead aggregators, these sites are the most commonly used to purchase exclusive and non-exclusive mortgage leads:
- Smart Assets
While these sites are great at generating leads, they aren’t technically marketing agencies, and won’t creating specific lead generation systems for your company.
This is why we recommend hiring a lead generation marketing agency that can create a 24-hour referral system, which includes:
- An optimized mortgage-conversion website
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media management
- Paid ads (PPC)
When you create your own mortgage lead generation system, all of your leads will be 100% exclusive to just your company, and your website will work round-the-clock to attract new traffic and convert that traffic into a new pool of leads.
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How to buy mortgage leads
Sites like LendingTree and Bankrate offer prospective homebuyers access to helpful mortgage calculators, and comparisons, useful blogs, and free mortgage quotes.
These lead aggregators have a win-win relationship with mortgage lending companies. Lead aggregators monetize their traffic with mortgage ads and sell off their generated leads while offering their audience something very valuable—free mortgage quotes.
Not just anybody can begin purchasing mortgage leads from lead aggregators.
First, you’ll have to become an exclusive partner or join some sort of membership for each of these lead aggregator sites.
Finding pricing information on these lead aggregators’ websites is tricky. Most of these sites want you to contact their sales team before they’ll give you additional pricing information.
Many of these lead aggregators will have different tiered level pricing, giving companies that pay the most the best leads.
Things to consider before buying mortgage leads
The first thing you should do when considering purchasing mortgage leads is research the lead aggregator site’s reputation. Read reviews, complaints, BBB reports, and even search Reddit to hear others’ experiences.
It’s advisable to be cautious when you’re buying leads and find out exactly how the leads you’re buying are generated. This isn’t just to avoid poor quality leads, but also because “legally” as the lead generation company, they’re responsible to follow appropriate truth in advertising.
Once you’ve determined the company is legitimate, dig deeper to find answers to these important considerations.
Where do the leads come from?
This is important. You don’t want to purchase leads that have been recycled, reformatted, and resold several times over. False advertising or scams from lead generation companies can certainly happen but thankfully aren’t as common due to strict FTA advertising policies in the mortgage industry.
What is the lead quality? How are the leads scored and ranked?
Ask the lead aggregator where their leads are sourced from, and what processes they have in place to verify and qualify these leads to determine their quality.
What kind of quantity of leads can you expect monthly?
If you’re unsure of how to budget for leads, talk with the company to see how many leads you can reasonably purchase in a month.
What is the minimum budget to start purchasing leads?
Many lead aggregators list prices for purchasing leads in bulk, often for purchasing hundreds or thousands of leads at a time. But what if you just need a couple at a time to test out the leads?
Contact your lead aggregator to see what the minimum price point is where you can start purchasing leads. For some companies, you’ll need a $100 minimum starting point.
Are leads delivered instantly or will you have to wait a few days?
This step is crucial! Every day you wait to contact a lead drastically lowers your closing ratio. If you’re paying top dollar for exclusive leads, make sure that they’re delivered instantly so you can call the lead right away. Otherwise, you’re probably paying too much.
Are the leads exclusive, semi-exclusive, or shared (non-exclusive)?
Because exclusive leads are more expensive, you’ll want to make sure they’re worth the extra price. Be mindful of lead aggregators marking up shared, non-exclusive leads as exclusive leads.
The easiest way to find out? Try calling your leads and seeing if they’re already been contacted by other loan officers.
Find out about the return policy
When processing large amounts of user’s lead information data in Excel spreadsheets, there are bound to be clerical errors, outdated information, and inaccurate data from time to time.
Before spending a ton on mortgage leads, find out what the lead aggregator’s return policy is. The last thing you want is to spend money on poor data and not receive a refund on it.
Exclusive vs non-exclusive leads
Exclusive leads are what you want, but they will cost you extra, somewhere around 2-3 times the price of standard non-exclusive leads.
Exclusive leads are leads that are only sold to one buyer, meaning that when you buy a lead and contact them, you will be the first and only loan officer contacting that person. This drastically improves your closing ratio.
Non-exclusive, or shared leads, are much more common and are cheaper by comparison.
However, shared leads are sold to multiple companies, which can take away any competitive advantage you may have. This means when you call a lead, you probably won’t be the first loan officer who called them, and you certainly won’t be the last person to call them either.
There’s another term, semi-exclusive lead, which refers to exclusive leads that are sold to 2-3 different companies. These leads are more expensive than shared leads and cheaper than exclusive.
You still have a competitive advantage, because only a few other companies have this information, but you’ll have to be quicker on the draw to make sure you contact your lead before other loan officers.
Aged leads vs. real-time leads
The reason homebuyers go to sites like LendingTree, NerdWallet, or NetQuote is to get access to free and quick mortgage quotes. These lead aggregators usually promise their users 3-5 instant mortgage quotes.
But sometimes these sites can’t find enough vendors to purchase these real-time leads within a 24-48 hour time frame. After two days, these leads are no longer fresh, or “current” and are now considered “aged.”
At this point, lead aggregators are forced to sell off these aged leads at a deep discount.
Now ideally, you should contact your lead the very same day that you received it, which is why real-time leads are more expensive. The quicker you can call a lead after they submitted their form, the more your odds increase of closing the sale.
But sometimes you’ll find that the price of aged leads considered with their success rate make them valuable, which is why aged leads have grown in popularity.
Because aged leads cost a fraction of real-time exclusive leads, why not try your hand at purchasing a huge volume of aged leads and test your luck?
If anything else, you could give these aged leads to more inexperienced loan officers who need a bit of practice, without the risk of losing an expensive, high-quality lead.
One more thing about aged leads—people looking for a mortgage may seem like they’re in an urgent rush when in actuality, they’re nowhere close to being ready to purchase another home.
Because these leads are so cheap, you can call more people during a work day and nurture these leads automatically until they’re ready to buy.
How to build a mortgage lead funnel
Lead aggregator sites and lead generation agencies both use mortgage lead funnels to find and attract their target audience to their website.
From casting a wide net to narrowing down to highly-qualified leads, mortgage lead funnels are the main strategy for all lead generation campaigns.
Once visitors land on your website, a certain percentage of them will convert into leads. From there, a certain percentage of leads will become new mortgage customers.
I’ll give an example of how Kaleidico’s mortgage clients generate exclusive mortgage leads through custom lead funnels.
Creating a mortgage-conversion optimized website
Every mortgage marketing strategy needs an optimized lead generation website. Otherwise, where would you publish your blog posts or direct paid ads?
Every piece of content published, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, blog posts, videos, etc., will ultimately redirect your visitor back to your mortgage website where your optimized contact forms are and will generate a new lead.
Content marketing (blogging) to get more traffic through Google searches
Most people find mortgage lenders through a Google search, after maybe consulting their friends and families for referrals.
To increase your odds of being discovered in Google searches, you’ll need to ramp up your content marketing production, usually referred to as blogging.
You should be blogging about each of your loan products, making sure to use whichever loan product in as many headings throughout your article as possible.
You should also create free, helpful guides, checklists, or even YouTube videos to prepare people for the mortgage process.
Because mortgages are extremely confusing to the average person, most people do research online before contacting a mortgage lender.
When your audience is searching for mortgage-related questions, whose website will they discover? Yours or your competitors?
Using SEO to optimize landing pages and website copy
Search engine optimization (SEO) works hand-in-hand with content marketing and blogging. SEO’s main objective is to make your website rank as high as possible in a Google search related to your loan products and services.
SEO analysis helps marketers and loan officers see which keywords or phrases have a high search volume on Google, so you’ll know which topics to write about and which topics to avoid altogether.
Using SEO competitive analysis, marketers will actually be able to spy on their competitors to see which keywords they’re ranking for, which of their blog pages are performing best, and even the keywords they’re bidding on for paid ads.
Using this competitive analysis then helps marketers create a plan of attack to find any gaps or weaknesses in their competitors’ strategies so you can outperform them in a Google search.
Optimizing landing pages with CTAs and contact forms
A landing page is just an individual page on your website that talks about a specific program, product or service. You should have a landing page for each of your loan products that are optimized around specific keywords or phrases associated with that term. This will improve its searchability on Google.
For example, you should create a landing page on USDA loans, and on that page talk about everything that people should know about USDA loans. Include a FAQ section, and several calls-to-action (CTAs) to encourage your reader to submit their contact information.
The idea around optimizing loan landing pages is that when your audience searches for “USDA loans” they’ll find your website because you’ll have a huge webpage all about USDA loans. This page will have the keywords “USDA loans” frequently mentioned in text and headers, as well as their synonymous terms.
Generally, the more times you can mention your loan product on a page, the more Google will recommend it as a relevant search result.
Just beware of keyword stuffing, which is an illegitimate SEO tactic that inorganically “stuffs” a keyword too many times on a website to fool Google. Don’t do this, as Google will eventually catch on and penalize your website.
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Kaleidico—your mortgage marketing lead generation agency
You can benefit from Kaleidico’s 15+ years in the mortgage marketing industry by working with us to generate your own exclusive mortgage leads.
Instead of purchasing your leads, you’ll be generating your own through a customized mortgage website with high-quality content for your target audience to discover.
Not only can we design your website but we can provide content marketing too. As well as handle PPC campaigns, email marketing, and social media marketing.
Contact us today to book your Discovery Session, where we can tell you more about our proven mortgage marketing system.
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist