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Mortgage marketing is one of my favorite marketing challenges.
It’s a marketing paradox where the customer journey is complex, but given the right digital marketing system for mortgage lenders – using marketing automation to generate a consistent flow of mortgage leads is relatively simple.
How to Market Mortgages
Marketing mortgages is a long game that must be played at scale.
Let’s pause for a moment and dissect my claim.
The average retail mortgage consumer only needs one or two mortgages in their entire lifetime. Even if they add in a few refinances along the way, you’re still talking about years in between transactions.
Consequently, if you want to be originating even a half-dozen mortgages per month per loan officer, you’re not going to be able to leave your production up to their friends and family network.
No, you’re going to need a big consumer database and a disciplined marketing system to work against that database.
This is the fundamental principle of my digital marketing system for mortgage lenders. And in this article, I’m going to lay out the framework I use to build successful mortgage marketing systems over and over again.
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy for Mortgage?
All mortgage lenders have been forced into adopting a digital marketing strategy in response to our new COVID-19 world. For most lenders, online lead generation is a new game. But, Kaleidico has been doing consumer-direct mortgage marketing for over 15 years. Let us accelerate your success in digital marketing.
How to Promote a Mortgage Lender
Knowing that your customers will go years without even thinking about a mortgage, presents an interesting problem in promoting a mortgage lender. Somehow you have to figure out how to stay in front of a customer, build a brand, and become a trusted adviser when the customer has no interest in your product.
But, believe it or not, that formula is pretty simple:
- Content Creation – The only way to stay in front of your customers without spamming them is to provide them with interesting and valuable content. And, obviously, it can’t just be mortgage content.
- Content and Email Marketing – Then we need to distribute the content to an audience, both to acquire and grow our database and nurture our existing database.
- Lead Generation – Finally, we need to present clear and compelling Calls to Action (CTA) and offers to remind them that we’re here to make their home buying or refinancing simple and hassle-free.
With this simple framework in mind, let’s begin designing our mortgage marketing system with a quick list of mortgage buying use cases, situations where people enter into the mortgage market.
Mortgage Buyer Use Cases and Personas
The first step in creating any digital marketing system is outlining all of the scenarios that trigger consumers to enter the market – researching or beginning their buying journey.
This is the shortlist of buyer use cases and personas that I use when creating a new marketing system.
- First Time Home Buyer – These consumers are typically transitioning from renting to buying their first home. They begin their buying process with a heavy amount of research and discovery, trying to understand the home buying process. This education process will require information about both real estate and mortgage finance, both highly complicated and overwhelming.
- Purchasing a New Larger Home – These folks have already been through the mortgage process at least once. However, it’s probably hit or miss as to whether it was a good or bad experience or even if they were provided the most ideal mortgage financing option. Again, education is important, but your marketing also needs to be empathetic to what they know (or at least think they know).
- Purchasing a New Home to Relocate – Relocating home buyers are often some of your most educated home buyers, but at the same time they have a lot of moving parts and stressors in their transaction. Your marketing goal should be to guide them through the smoothest mortgage process possible.
- Purchasing a New Home to Downsize – Downsizing mortgage customers are probably some of your most financially savvy mortgage customers. They have the complexity of selling and buying a home simultaneously (referral marketing opportunity), but there is typically a stable, fairly standard mortgage transaction that just needs to be managed to a smooth closing.
- Refinancing a Home for Rate and Term or Cash-Out – Your refinancing customers are experienced, to some degree, on the mortgage process. But, depending on when they went through the process last, the quality of that process, and their current goals this marketing campaign can have a variety of approaches.
- Home Equity Loan or Line for Debt Consolidation, Home Improvement, etc. – The home equity consumer is a small subset of the mortgage refinance consumer use case, however, in certain mortgage markets and climates this can become a very efficient segment of the mortgage market and worth targeting.
This list of six core mortgage consumer use cases will inform the personas that we seek to acquire into our marketing database and the campaigns and workflows we create for our marketing automation.
Next step? We need to build an audience and our database.
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How to Get Mortgage Leads and Build a Consumer Database
Getting and generating mortgage leads is a whole big topic on its own. I’ll just scratch the surface here.
The mortgage industry was one of the earliest, and still one of the most innovative markets to use the Internet to generate audiences and sales leads. This makes the options for growing your mortgage marketing database ginormous (Did you know this is a real word, coined in the 1940s from military slang mashing up giant and enormous?).
Here are some of my favorite ways of building my mortgage marketing databases:
- Direct Mail Lists – Many of you are already doing this very successfully. Acquiring targeted lists from one of the hundreds of consumer data providers and credit agencies. However, the missing step is often adding a digital marketing component to these drops to dramatically increase your response rates and ROI. Simply adding a clear website URL or QR code can land them on your website (they probably want to check you out before they call anyway – make it easy). This one little visit gives you the opportunity to begin remarketing (following them around the web with display ads) on Facebook and Google Ads (allows you to show up on all their favorite websites) and captures their email, officially adding them to your database.
- Aged Leads – This is a closely held secret of the mortgage (and insurance) lead generation market. These are real-time, opt-in internet leads that have simply aged without being fully-monetized (If you don’t know what this means, ask in the comments. It’s complicated.). The points you need to take away are 1. they’re cheap, 2. they’re consumers with intent to get a mortgage, 3. they’re internet-savvy, 4. and, most importantly, they’ve given you permission to market to them via a variety of digital means. This is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to build a large, reasonable high-intent mortgage marketing database. (I recommend Aged Lead Store. Full Disclosure: They’re a Kaleidico client.)
- Real-time Internet Leads – These mortgage leads are generated by professional marketing companies and are one of the quickest ways to quickly acquire new loan originations. The challenge is they’re expensive and the competition on each lead is intense. If you’re going to use this source of customer acquisition, make sure your system is set up and well-tuned.
- SEO/PPC (Google Ads) – Even though this takes a fair amount of skill and is very competitive, thanks to lead aggregators generating real-time internet leads, you need to start building out your little corner of the market to reduce your total cost of customer acquisition over time. In addition, the content (blog posts) and landing pages that you create for this consumer acquisition channel will be essential to your email marketing automation – the core of any digital marketing system.
- Email Marketing – This is the central nervous system of any mortgage marketing system. Email sequences and workflows will be the threads that keep you top of mind, building brand credibility, and ultimately trust right up until they ask for your help in buying or refinancing their home. Believe it or not, typically, these email sequences are also a significant source of new consumer acquisitions as subscribers forward these emails and refer friends and family.
Those are just a few sources of consumer data to begin growing your audience and filling your marketing database, now on to the marketing automation itself.
How to Design a Mortgage Marketing System
System, automation, sequence, workflow, journey…
Whatever you want to call it, the secret to consistently generating mortgage leads is crafting a series of relevant communications with a large number of consumers, and setting it on auto-pilot (for the most part).
Here’s how you do this from simple to complex.
- Have an aggressive acquisition process – Never miss and opportunity to acquire a new email address. Opt-in subscribers, emails, are the fuel to any consistent lead generation system. To gain this objective create a carefully curated system of content with calls to action (CTA) and web forms.
- Start with a Welcome series – Every new email subscriber should be warmly welcomed to your database. This series should be appreciative, share the value you intend to deliver, and clearly represent your sense of accountability to serve them with valuable content and counsel.
- Segment if you can, but don’t overthink it – As you add subscribers and send them emails they will give you clues (in what they open and click on) as to what their interests and desires are – this behavior can be used to trigger segmentation in most email systems. Segmenting will definitely increase the performance of your email list, but it shouldn’t bog you down if it gets too technical or confusing.
- Create a brief weekly email – Lenders and lists may find a variety of rhythms that work better for them, but typically I find that a weekly email is a pretty universally effective cadence. My secret is keeping the email as short and sweet as possible, add a little pithiness to keep it interesting, and then link to the actual content. This gives your subscriber the option to read or discard any particular email topic and gives you valuable clues (based on clicks) as to what is interesting and valuable and what’s not.
- Push to a logical sequence of educational content – Layout a diverse (i.e., real estate, credit, mortgage, personal finance, insurance, homeownership, home improvement, lifestyle, etc.) editorial calendar of content. Try to create a valuable flow of content on your website, and distributed through your email list, to keep your consumers engaged and responsive.
- Don’t forget the CTA! – Don’t be shy. Every communication, in addition to the helpful content, should clearly remind them that you’re in the mortgage business and offer to help them buy or refinance their home.
- Diligently care and manage your database – Pay attention to this one. It’s at the end, but it’s important. We’re often afraid to delete a contact or subscriber from our database, but I will tell you that it is critical to your success. People who have ceased to open your emails and visit your content are no longer an opportunity. Either through a lack of interest or more likely an email service provider algorithm, you have been silenced. Your emails are no longer being presented in their attention space. So, you don’t have a shot at a sale anyway. And, here’s the warning: if you continue to send emails into that black hole the algorithms are going to kill your whole list and put all of your emails into the bitbucket. Therefore, you need to actively prune and optimize your database to keep open rates as high as possible.
This might feel a little overwhelming at first, but the key is starting simple. Getting some leads and creating a simple, automated email sequence to follow up. From there you can build more complex and higher performing systems.
We’ve covered the whole process, but there are a lot of details and nuances along the way to implementing an effective mortgage marketing system.
If you need any help or just have a few quick questions along the way please reach out to us.
Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash