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Many new and experienced mortgage loan officers constantly struggle to find ways to generate their own mortgage leads.
From cold calling, randomly messaging contacts on their CRM, buying mortgage leads, and creating their own Google Ads campaigns, MLOs could always use some help generating more mortgage leads.
While referrals are still the best form of marketing, it can take years to build up a referral network that feeds you high-quality mortgage leads.
Instead, in this article, I’m going to break down Kaleidico’s proven mortgage marketing process so you can start building the ultimate mortgage lead referral source — your mortgage conversion-optimized website that’s powered by blogs, SEO, and PPC ads.
Why are mortgage leads important?
Talk to any mortgage loan officer and they’ll tell you the same thing—there’s never enough high-quality leads to work with.
With the top performing loan officers calling upwards to 100+ leads a day, it’s easy to quickly run out of workable leads required to reach your sales quotas.
And while referrals and word-of-mouth marketing are the best marketing you can have, it’s not terribly scalable — it takes a very long time to develop a large enough referral network.
Without leads, there is nobody to call, message, or email to sell your mortgages to.
Therefore, as a loan original, lender, or loan officer, mortgage lead generation should always be at the front of your mind.
How to generate mortgage leads
Today’s mortgage loan officers have access to more user data, tools, and platforms to reach their target audience and generate more leads 24 hours a day.
Let’s discuss the various methods used by MLOs from the web’s best resources to give you proven and anecdotal ways to generate high-quality mortgage leads.
Build an optimized mortgage website to capture leads
At the center of every mortgage lead generation campaign is the mortgage lender’s website.
Your mortgage website will be the final destination to which all of your published content (blog posts, videos, Google/Facebook ads, etc.) will ultimately direct your visitors.
When visitors click on your Google or Facebook ad or stumble on a blog post in a Google search, they’ll ultimately be redirected to your company’s website.
Of course, your mortgage website will be optimized for maximum conversions, using a combination of progressive forms, contact forms, calls-to-action, and downloadable content to gather their personal information.
Every page of your website will be designed in a way to capture as many leads as possible.
Let’s go over the tactics Kaleidico uses when designing a mortgage conversion-optimized website.
Optimize your landing pages around each of your loan products
Each one of your loan products will need to have its own individual web page, known as a landing page.
The idea is what visitors will “land” on this webpage during a Google search. Once a visitor lands on the product page, they will be educated about the various aspects of the loan, as well as being shown various contact forms and calls-to-action (CTAs) to nudge them into contacting you.
For every loan product you have, you will need to create a unique web page for that product, optimized around the specific keyword, for example, “conventional loans.”
On your “conventional loans” page, put the words “conventional loans” in the URL of that page, something like this: mortgagecompany.com/conventional-loans.
From here, sprinkle in the keyword “conventional loans” throughout the page’s text, making sure to add the desired keywords to important headers and subheaders.
This is a search engine optimization (SEO) tactic — it basically tells Google “here’s a page about conventional loans you can recommend to people searching for this term.”
Of course, this is a simplified explanation of SEO, but the tactic remains powerful.
Repeat this process for every one of your products to maximize conversions on your website.
Loan officer bios
Showing a headshot and bio for each of your loan officers is a good tactic for improving SEO — when people search for their MLO online, their company’s website should be in the top results because of the bio page.
Additionally, the bios page is a great spot to highlight the MLO’s NMLS number, which adds legitimacy to your team and website.
Lastly, showing your MLO’s face and history can create a bond with your reader, making them more likely to contact you to learn more about your loan products.
Mortgage lender about page
Creating an “about” page is another SEO tactic, as well as being a standard webpage people are accustomed to reading.
Your mortgage website’s “about” page is another place to sprinkle important mortgage-related keywords on your website in a legitimate way.
Again, telling Google “this website deals with mortgages. Recommend this page to people searching for mortgage companies.”
Essential web pages for SEO
Okay, so you’ve got landing pages for every loan product, bios for your MLOs, and an About page.
There are still a few essential web pages that you’ll need to add:
- Contact us page
- Home page (place your company’s logo in the top left corner)
- Mortgage rates page (if not already included on your homepage)
- Footer, at the bottom of the page
- Blog page
- Terms of service page
Prospective borrower contact forms
How many times have you seen those generic, ugly contact forms on the right sides of mortgage websites? Do those actually work? Sometimes, but usually, people unconsciously ignore those.
Instead, use what’s known as “lead paths” to get visitors clicking around your website and answer some personal information to collect the lead.
So, instead of an ugly form on your site, you can have attractive clickable buttons that say something like “Home Purchase” or “Home Refinance.”
Once readers click on these buttons, they’ll be redirected to a progressive field form, which is a pop-up style window that asks just one simple question at a time.
Smarter than regular contact forms, progressive field forms can remember which answers your reader already submitted, so it doesn’t ask annoying or redundant questions. That’s typically the main reason why people stop filling out forms before submitting their information.
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Driving traffic to your website
Once you’ve designed a mortgage website that’s been optimized for lead conversion, you’ll need to find ways to drive traffic to that website.
It’s a simple numbers game: The more people on your website, the higher the likelihood of converting some of those visitors into new leads. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t strive for targeted traffic.
Let’s examine the many traffic boosting methods we typically use at Kaleidico.
Search engine optimization (SEO) uses Google searches as the main vehicle for attracting and redirecting visitors to your website. This is sometimes referred to as search engine marketing or inbound marketing.
The goal of SEO is to make your website, and its blog posts, as visible and high-ranking as possible in a Google search. The higher your website is on a search engine results page, the more traffic you’ll get.
Google rankings also have a psychological effect on your readers. They assume companies that rank higher up have more legitimacy, authority, and brand recognition, and as a result, are more likely to click on those links.
That’s why every mortgage marketing SEO professional’s goal is to get their client’s website on the first page of results.
SEO is a highly competitive field, and involves competitive analysis, which uses tools to analyze your competitors’ websites, telling you which keywords and search terms are bringing them the most traffic.
Using this information, SEO professionals will find “gaps” or weaknesses in your competitor’s strategies, so you can write better, longer blog posts that will rank higher, giving you a competitive advantage.
Create expert-level content (content marketing)
Content marketing for the mortgage industry, frequently referred to as blogging, works hand-in-hand with SEO to use Google as the main referral source for directing traffic to a mortgage company’s website.
Using the data gathered from SEO, marketers can see which keywords are getting searched the most often on Google, so they know which keywords and topics to write content about.
For example, using a tool like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, or Google Search Console, we can look at your competitors to see which of their blog posts gets the most traffic and backlinks.
Once we know which blogs and keywords are attracting the most traffic, it’s a content writer’s job to create expert-level content, such as blog posts that will better educate the reader on what they should know.
Over time, the better-written, and usually longer articles will start to perform better, and Google will then improve that blog post’s ranking on its search engine results page (SERP).
The frequency in which you post your blogs is also very important—the more often you’re posting, the more Google will notice your website and index its pages into its database.
Because Google prefers to recommend fresh blog posts, you’ll have a competitive advantage if you’re frequently posting new blogs.
Unsure what to write about? Write a blog post about each one of your loan products, as well as common scenarios your customers frequently find themselves in.
For example, write a blog called “How can I qualify for an FHA loan?”
Then repeat this for every loan product you have, and do it often, creating several variations on the same article, but with different formatting to increase your odds of being discovered in a Google search.
Monitor your site with Google Analytics
Install Google Analytics onto your website to gain access to valuable user data on your visitors.
With Google Analytics, you’ll know exactly where your visitors are being directed from (ads, blog posts, etc.) and you’ll know which pages they’re visiting, and even how long they’re on your website.
Google Analytics is important for measuring these important traffic key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Bounce rate
- New and returning users
- Time on page
- Organic vs paid sessions
- Average page load time
- Goal conversion rate
The more data you have on your visitors’ browsing behavior, the more you can optimize your website to capture more leads.
Using paid ads (Google, Facebook, TikTok)
Whereas content marketing and blogging are long-term strategies, using paid ads is a short-term strategy.
For example, it may take a few weeks or months for a blog post to start ranking on Google’s first page. But in a matter of days, you can run a Google Ad that shows in the very first paid spot on the SERP page—just remember it’ll cost you a pretty penny to do this.
Additionally, you can create pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Microsoft (Bing), and even TikTok.
It all depends on who your target audience is and where they’re spending their time online.
Just remember this—ads stop showing once your budget runs out, but content (blogs) last forever.
This is why content marketing, SEO, and paid ads all work together to create short-term and long-term results.
Whereas pay-per-click ads charges you every time somebody clicks on your ad, pay-per-call advertising charges you every time somebody calls you.
If you want to skip collecting leads and just have people directly call you, you may want to invest in pay-per-call advertising.
Google and Facebook ads both offer these pay-pay-call capabilities that should be used in combination with PPC ads.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is one of the best free ways to start generating your own mortgage leads today. They don’t require an expert to set up and can be created within minutes.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to create a presence on every social media platform known to man — just stick to the platforms you use and understand the best.
Over time, you can begin to expand your social influence and claim more online profiles for your company.
Let’s go over the most popular social media platforms.
As mentioned, Facebook has its own ad platform that lets users create ads on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram, all using the Facebook Ad Manager.
If leads are your primary goal, you may be interested in Facebook’s “lead ads.”
Facebook lead ads cut out the difficulty of filling out mobile forms by quickly populating lead forms with the user’s Facebook contact information, making lead generation a breeze.
But don’t feel that you need to create elaborate Facebook ads in the beginning.
You can just create a Facebook page for yourself or your mortgage lending company and begin posting for engagement.
Try uploading short videos of yourself on your Facebook page, just a quick 30-second video introducing yourself and your loan products.
Instead of creating a Facebook ad, you can “boost” this post by spending a little bit of money, so your post is shown to thousands of people.
Using Twitter regularly can help you keep track of current industry trends, and also let you share your expertise through tweets.
Anecdotally speaking, I feel as if Twitter isn’t the best social media platform out there, compared to Facebook and LinkedIn, but it’s worth considering expanding your reach to meet younger generations buying homes for the first time.
TikTok is quickly becoming the most popular social media app. I’ve come across Reddit forums of MLOs talking about advertising only on TikTok to great success.
What’s good about TikTok is it’s comprised of all short videos, which can be helpful for simply explaining various aspects of the confusing mortgage process.
LinkedIn is used to build professional connections and relationships and is pretty standard for all mortgage loan officers.
It also has its own ad platform so you can easily target people who perfectly match your buyer personas and approach them—all in a professional way.
Just like TikTok, Instagram is becoming more well-known for short videos, known as “reels.”
In addition, you can post stories that last for 24 hours, as well as normal picture or video posts.
Again, you don’t necessarily need an Instagram account if that’s not the platform you’re comfortable with, but it doesn’t hurt.
Local SEO and monitoring your online reputation and Yelp, and Google Reviews
If you haven’t done so already, register your mortgage lending company’s location on Google Maps using a Google Business account.
Creating a Google Business account will give your office’s physical location a knowledge graph, which is a call-out table on the right side of Google’s search results.
This way when people Google your company, they’ll see a box of information with your office’s address, phone numbers, social media profiles, hours, and additional contact information.
Also, you’ll be able to respond to reviews and questions that users post on your Google Business account.
In addition, you’ll want to claim your company on Yelp and Angi (formerly Angie’s List) to be shown on more local directories.
Remember, not everybody searches Google for mortgage loan officers — some people still use Yellowbook, Angi, and other local search directories.
Make sure to claim your business profile on each of these sites and monitor your online reputation for good and bad reviews.
Getting good reviews
To rank higher in a Google Maps search, try to get more positive reviews on your Google account.
Reach out to your past, happy clients and ask for a review. You shouldn’t ask for a positive review, but just a review, and let them leave a positive review on their own.
Just remember, don’t reach out to former, unhappy clients, which brings me to my next point.
Responding to bad reviews
If you receive negative online reviews, respond to them politely and professionally.
Never respond to a negative review with a negative or intimidating attitude, as this will literally scare away anybody from contacting you.
Bad reviews happen sometimes. All you can do is respond to them nicely and try to improve your next client’s experience so you can gain another positive review.
Tips and hacks to help build a pipeline of mortgage leads
Below are various tips and tricks to generate more leads, including buying the leads and reaching out to your referral network.
Network and build a referral network
Referrals are still king and are the most valuable leads you can get—but it’s hard to get round-the-clock referrals without a referral network.
Reach out to local real estate agents, past clients, and local groups to get your name and face out there so people in your town know you as the “mortgage guy.”
Stay in touch with past clients through email newsletters
Referrals and repeats are a huge part of the business. Find a way to stay in contact with your previous clients through email newsletters so they can pass along your information to friends and family members who need a mortgage. You never know who they’ll forward your email newsletter to.
Buy mortgage leads, including aged leads
If you don’t have the time or energy into investing in a mortgage lead generation system, why not just buy your leads in bulk?
Have you considered buying aged leads? Aged leads are leads that are older than 48 hours to 30 days old that are sold at a deep discount.
If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to add leads to your sales pipeline, consider buying aged leads.
Read Quora, Reddit, and other forums
Follow these pages on Reddit and Quora to read interesting anecdotes and tips from real mortgage loan officers and loan originators:
Listen to the Loan Officer Podcast
I’ve read great things in several forums about the YouTube channel “Loan Officer Podcast” that may be worth checking out.
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