What's in this article?
Mortgage marketing is experiencing a rapid evolution.
The demand for consumer-direct experiences was born out of necessity during the COVID pandemic. But it’s quickly eased into the norm.
Your customers are online right now, typing home buying questions into Google and scanning the web for bold, clean lender websites that tell them exactly what to do and how to do it.
It’s up to you to find them by providing optimized, high-quality, engaging content and an unmatched user experience.
In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to do that using keyword search, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, lead magnets, sales automation, and dozens of other mortgage marketing tools.
Let’s get started.
What is mortgage marketing and how has it changed over time?
As a lender, your mortgage marketing goal is and always has been to prove to potential borrowers they should be using your lending services over the competition.
How you choose to do this involves a strategy that is unique to your business’s mission and goals.
Mortgage lending once was solely a face-to-face business, retail consumer experience. The tried-and-true mortgage marketing avenues used to focus on print marketing, radio and TV ads, networking, family-and-friend referrals, etc.
Today, it’s transforming into a consumer-direct digital experience. The COVID pandemic has only reinforced this trend, and it may never go back to the way it once was.
That’s not to say that the old methods of marketing are dead and gone. It just means that we must take the most effective components of those strategies and translate them into a consumer-direct mortgage marketing plan.
The bottom line is that borrowers prefer the online mortgage process. They appreciate its simplicity, closing speeds, and fewer in-person interactions.
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Today’s mortgage marketing is trending towards consumer-direct
If at least 63% of consumers believe an online mortgage process would make buying a home easier than an in-person process, what are your next steps as a mortgage lender or broker?
Get online, of course!
You hopefully already have a website for your mortgage business. But even if you don’t have a clean, functioning website, it’s never too late to get there.
These days in the mortgage business, you have to meet your prospective borrowers where they’re currently at. And that’s online doing preliminary research.
Your job is then to produce mortgage marketing strategies that can get in front of borrowers’ eyes while they’re researching mortgage options.
You’ll also need to invest in sales and marketing automation platforms to take the busy work out of your day. Think administrative work such as emailing, onboarding, and scheduling appointments. Your loan officers can focus on sales calls with their important leads.
But before we get into that, let’s get back to your website.
In consumer-direct marketing, everything begins and ends with the website—your lead generation platform
Your website is your lead generation machine—everything starts and ends in this vast digital office.
As soon as your potential customers walk in the virtual door to your website, they must be greeted with everything they need to successfully move through the mortgage process.
But, how do you get these prospective customers to your digital office in the first place?
There are numerous ways to promote your website, including:
- Mortgage marketing content
- PPC ads
- Optimizing your website for search engines
That’s just to name a few.
Ideally, your mortgage marketing ideas will implement all of these strategies to direct potential borrowers to your website.
7 critical mortgage website features you need to generate mortgage leads
To get potential customers on your website, keep them engaged. Encourage them to take the next steps in the mortgage process, we strongly recommend adding these seven critical features.
Brush up on website essentials and check out our Digital Marketing Plan for Mortgage Lenders
These tried-and-true components have proven time and again to generate mortgage leads. These are just the basics of effective web design and lead generation.
1. A simple home page with a clear positioning statement and buttons for purchase and refinance
Once you’ve gotten potential customers to click on your content and redirect them to your website, you only have seconds to grab their attention and keep them there.
This means a bold, clear positioning statement, and call-to-action (CTA) buttons to begin the purchase or refinance processes.
You also need to have a well-designed, attractive website that’s intuitive to navigate and matches the customer’s expectations. In other words, no clickbait headlines or misleading titles that don’t match their search intent.
Every page on your site needs to be optimized to capture leads at any moment. Prominently display “contact us” buttons above the fold of your home page, clear CTAs throughout your website, or highly visible contact forms on every page.
2. The mortgage lead generating secret of the survey-style lead path (form)
Classic web forms for collecting data are so outdated and frustrating that many of your visitors will abandon them before they finish filling them out.
If they’re trying to fill out these clunky contact forms on mobile, forget about it, it’s not going to happen. This is a shame because nearly 60% of internet traffic is from mobile phones!
Instead, we recommend building standardized lead paths that collect the information. These give your loan officers a consistent, highly detailed lead.
Train your loan officers in mortgage marketing and read our Mortgage Marketing Guide for Your Loan Officers
These lead paths—also known as progressive forms—are more like online surveys than traditional forms. If you’ve ever used TurboTax before you’re familiar with these intuitive, pop-up bubble questions.
Lead path forms are much smarter than traditional questionnaires. They’re responsive, meaning they use your answers to update their questions. It knows not to ask annoying, redundant questions that typically drive people away.
Because of this, lead paths are an essential tool for your sales funnel to coax people along their customer journey.
3. Branch and loan officer pages optimized for local Google searches and loan applications and pre-approval requests
Mortgage lenders typically have several branch locations, but just one website. This can make it confusing for your visitors trying to find the correct contact info for their branch.
We recommend a drop-down menu at the top of your website’s navigation titled “Branches.” Your visitors can quickly select the right branch location for them.
From there, they’re sent to that branch location’s individual landing page. They can find the address, and phone number, or fill out a form that gets sent to that specific location.
Another no-brainer, and something that’s actually missed quite a lot, is creating individual pages for each of your loan officers.
These loan officer profiles are the perfect opportunity to show your loan officer’s face, bio, location, and NMLS licensing numbers.
These extra pages, both for separate branch locations and loan officers, add more keywords to your website.
Now, when somebody Googles a specific loan officer or local mortgage business, your company’s website will appear in these searches. When somebody searches for mortgage brokers in their city, your website will appear in searches.
And of course, on every web page, there are contact forms and CTAs to encourage your visitors to take the next step.
4. Landing pages for all of the loan products and programs you offer
In addition to separate web pages for each branch location and loan officer, you need to create separate pages for each of your loan products or programs.
This is for search engine optimization (SEO). If you can have more pages on your website with relevant keywords, your website will be more visible in Google searches.
For example, you could create pages for:
- Conventional Mortgages
- Fixed-Rate Mortgages
- Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
- USDA Loans
- FHA loans
- Refinance, etc.
Each one of these landing pages can simply explain how each loan product works.
Be sure to include a list of FAQs that quickly give answers to common questions. This also helps your pages show up in Google’s search engine result pages.
Include CTAs (“contact us today to speak with a loan officer”) and contact forms on the sidebar to make it easy to contact you.
5. Blog posts optimized for SEO (Google search rankings) and mortgage lead conversions
Many of your website’s pages will be static. Once you’ve updated your branch location pages, loan product pages, and loan officer pages, you’re basically not going to touch them again.
But you need to find new ways to add more keywords and backlinks to your website to improve SEO.
Aha—blogging is the answer!
With blogging, you can talk in-depth about your loan products and help break down specific and confusing aspects of each process.
Create explanatory how-to articles or specific loan scenarios with plenty of examples to draw in more traffic.
Blogging and SEO go hand-in-hand to help make your website easier to find on Google, but it’s really the blogs that bring in so much of the traffic.
Google likes websites that constantly create new content. That’s why we recommend creating a monthly content calendar.
A consistent schedule combined with authoritative information and relevant keywords results in sure-fire success.
This is a great place to include a lead magnet.
6. Use lead magnets to educate web visitors and stock your CRM database full of prospective home buyers and homeowners thinking about refinancing
Not every visitor will feel comfortable filling out a contact form, but you can still find another way to get their contact info: lead magnets.
Lead magnets (or content upgrades) are those free pieces of content that your visitor can quickly download and add to their stack of research.
In exchange for this valuable (and desirable) piece of content, ask for an email to deliver the content and permission to add them to your email newsletter list.
If your visitor searched something like, “how to successfully complete a mortgage application,” they might be taken to a mortgage landing page that says, “Download our free template to help organize your mortgage process.”
Think of a lead magnet as an in-depth blog post on a specific topic. Make it valuable.
Sometimes these lead magnets are placed in pop-up ads that appear when a user scrolls down the page, or they’re simply added at the bottom of a relevant blog article.
Once your visitor has subscribed to your in-house email list, you can automate a custom drip marketing campaign to regularly send them emails to keep them in the loop until they’re ready to reach out again.
Lead magnets come in different forms, including:
7. Using mortgage rates and your reviews to bring in some of the best (ready to convert) mortgage lead traffic
It’s better to list reviews on your own website rather than on third-party apps like Yelp or Angie’s List.
There are a few reasons for doing this:
- You have greater control over the reviews you show
- Your visitors’ Google review searches will take them directly to your website, not another website
- Your reviews will act as social proof, making your website look more legitimate and trustworthy
- Showing reviews on your site boosts sales and conversions
Creating a mortgage rates page with constantly updating rates and a mortgage news feed also should be a key feature on your website.
Create forms for visitors to plug in their information for both purchase and refinance rates, and calls-to-action for moving ahead to get a personalized rate.
Keep a bold “Mortgage rates” button at the top of every page on your website, so visitors are encouraged at every point of their journey to move to the next step of the process.
How to generate mortgage leads with your current web visitors
If you’re already getting visitors to your website but lacking leads, you need to optimize it for lead generation.
The shift to a consumer-direct experience starts with reevaluating your business’s goals and expectations and determining how you’re going to measure your progress and success.
So, what are your business’s goals and expectations? Is it to shift to a digital model for long-term sustainability? Increase your ROI? Or just create a more sleek, modern website experience for visitors?
Basically, we want to determine why digital marketing is important to you, and what you expect the outcome to be. From there, you can dig into what types of content your specific visitors are seeking, and how they are finding this content.
Once it’s implemented, you can measure the success and fine-tune it to keep your visitors on your website longer and improve your conversion rates.
Pro tip: Optimizing your lead management system or CRM is the key to delivering an exceptional customer experience and more closed loans. This should be a top priority as you re-evaluate your mortgage marketing plan.
KPIs and Metrics
And of course, no marketing plan can properly be assessed or improved without monitoring your key performance indicators and metrics.
Before you begin a new marketing plan, gather these basic metrics to let you know where your marketing efforts currently stand:
- Monthly website traffic (including landing pages and blog posts)
- Conversion rates (for filling out forms on blogs, landing pages, PPC ads, emails, and other content pieces)
- Number of monthly online leads
- Cost per lead acquisition
- Social media page follows
- Cost per keyword
- Cost per ad click
- Keyword performance
- Engagement rates with content (social media posts, replies, shares)
- Ad impression, reach and clicks
- SEO website ranking
- Backlinks (links on your website to other websites)
- Bounce rate (whether or not people stayed on your page, or immediately left it)
- Time spent on website or pages
- Sessions and page views
- Monthly ad spend budget
If you’re starting out fresh, obviously you won’t have access to most of this data and will need to start with a blank canvas. If that’s the case, don’t make too many changes, or optimizations in the beginning.
You’ll need to give your marketing strategies some time to get results before you can improve them.
Google, for instance, can take weeks to index new blog posts and make them available in searches. So be a little patient in the beginning.
We recommend looking back and fine-tuning your mortgage marketing plan every quarter.
Formalize your marketing review into a 90-Day mortgage marketing plan, which should serve as a benchmark for assessing your effectiveness and looking for opportunities.
How to generate mortgage leads with Google Ads
Getting your mortgage website, landing pages, and content to the very top of Google’s search results is difficult because it’s one of the most competitive markets online.
Websites like Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage, Loan Depot, Better, and Guaranteed Rate have all been in the game a very long time, and their high Google ranking reflects that.
But don’t be discouraged by that, because we can use Google Ads to our advantage. With Google Ads, you can essentially pay to have your website listed above these natural, “organic” search results.
The most common keywords “mortgage, FHA loans, VA loans, 30-year mortgage” are all pretty competitive—this is where keyword competitive analysis comes into play.
Targeting the right mortgage keyword
Keyword research is crucial for both PPC ads and SEO/content marketing.
Using the Google Ads keyword tool, you can research keyword traffic volume online to find untapped and underused variations on competitive search terms that can draw in serious traffic to your website and help your blogs rank higher.
You also can filter the location to determine whether a specific keyword is relevant to your location, and search the trends for that location.
Targeting the right geographic location(s)
Google Ads is great for reaching people who are actively searching for mortgage help. You gain access to insane amounts of user data and demographic information, which allows for very specific targeting options to keep your budget focused.
When you set up your Google Ad, you’ll be able to target the location. This targeting affects your placement based on how relevant it is to a search.
Keep your targeting tight, and consider using a small radius around your individual branches.
Optimizing ad text and landing pages to generate a profitable mortgage lead
Your visitors require a seamless browsing experience from start to finish. Your ad text and landing pages must use the same keywords, and the ad text must lead to content that solves the problem or answers the question as promised.
The post-click experience is equally as important as the click itself for generating a profitable mortgage lead. Visitors will quickly leave your page without a second thought if it doesn’t match their search intent.
This is why optimizing your ads and landing pages based on your keyword research is essential for the success of your campaign. It’s one thing to have the right keywords in your possession, and it’s another thing entirely to execute them properly.
Using Google and Facebook remarketing to drive down the Cost Per Lead (CPL)
Ever visit a website, leave the website, and then see an ad for that website a couple of days later? Those are remarketing (or retargeting) ads, and they’re effective at nudging past website visitors to come back to your website, especially prospective clients!
Remarketing in Google Ads allows you to advertise to users who have interacted with your content, but haven’t made their move yet. These moves are tracked via cookies.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads allow you to create audiences based on these cookies that they can target with certain ad campaigns. These campaigns might, for example, be targeted to those who read blog content or watch videos but haven’t moved beyond that stage on your website.
It can take prospective customers several times to view your marketing before they convert, which is why remarketing is considered a highly effective tool.
How to generate mortgage leads with SEO and content
For most people, purchasing a house is the biggest and most important financial investment they’ll make in their life. Naturally, they’ll want to do a bit of research online before contacting a loan officer.
Remember, as a loan officer you know everything about mortgages, but the average person does not. That’s why they’re constantly searching for information.
If you can break down these complex programs in a high-quality and easy-to-understand way, you’ll have a better shot of convincing your readers to fill out the contact form.
Create mortgage content
Your prospective borrowers turn to Google to answer their most common questions about the mortgage industry and application process, including:
- How can I qualify for a loan?
- Can I get a mortgage with a lower credit score?
- How much should I save for a down payment?
- Which loan option is best for my situation?
- Where do I find real estate agents?
When they search for these questions, they’ll find plenty of articles that can answer their questions. Almost all of these articles will be blogs published on other mortgage companies’ or money lenders’ websites.
This is the perfect example of content marketing—producing helpful content that your audience will stumble upon in Google searches, in the hopes that they’ll like your content, continue reading, and eventually fill out a contact form.
In addition to content marketing, SEO is the perfect complement to further make your website more visible in Google searches.
SEO and content marketing both works by matching highly-searched keywords or phrases in user searches with the keywords used throughout your website’s copy, landing pages, and blog posts.
The more keyword-rich your website is, the more potential customers you can attract through Google searches.
By the way, this customer journey is the same for buying a home as it is for refinancing a mortgage, so consider writing explanatory content for all of your refinance loan products.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Create an editorial calendar based on your customer’s most common questions
- Create content, whether they are blog posts, videos, or ideally, both
- Publish and continue to update those that are ranking well
Your ongoing mortgage marketing content production will strengthen your website’s SEO and can be used as content to fuel your social media pages and your email marketing strategies.
How to generate mortgage leads with the aged leads in your CRM or contact database
Email marketing is your best bet for nurturing long-term leads that aren’t quite ready to buy yet, or reaching out to existing clients who you haven’t worked with in a while.
To go a little bit more in-depth, try using these lead nurturing techniques to send better and more relevant emails to your older leads:
- Segment your audience based on which actions they’ve taken on your website. If they downloaded an eBook, send them another eBook once it’s been published. Have customers who got a mortgage years ago? Maybe they’re interested in hearing about updated refinancing rates.
- Vary up the styles of content you’re sending out. In addition to blog posts and eBooks, send out invitations to webinars, links to YouTube videos, free content, birthday greetings, and more.
- Use their first name when addressing them. This is easy automation to set up and is really effective.
- Always include a call-to-action in everything you send. Schedule an appointment, read more on our website, click to call, download now, etc.
Consistently sharing fresh, relevant, or personal content with aged leads helps you stay in their minds when they need your services again.
How to use sales automation to increase your mortgage lead contact rate
Now that the leads are rolling in, you’ll need an efficient lead management system to make sure nobody slips through the cracks.
You’ll want to ensure the new mortgage leads get quickly and effectively assigned to active, ready-to-respond loan officers.
Assist loan officers in reaching out to potential new clients instantly, persistently, and indefinitely following up on all the leads in their database.
Systemized follow-up is a critical part of any high-performance mortgage marketing plan. Remember, “Leads never die; salespeople just stop talking to them.”
A sound lead management system will increase your lead conversion rates, improve your overall lead ROI, and ultimately become another high-effective mortgage lead generation channel.
This is what the goal of your mortgage marketing plan is all about.
Email and text message marketing with new leads
When a potential new lead fills out a form on your website, they should receive an email from you automatically. Of course, you didn’t actually send it, this has been automated for you.
Email marketing, and more commonly text message marketing, help convert your leads into customers. As soon as they fill out the contact form or download a lead magnet, boom! They receive a welcome email or text.
For emails, we recommend embedding a short introductory video, links to a couple of your blog posts, and easy access to your contact information.
For text messages, keep your messages much shorter and don’t send any attachments. Keep it casual, but end with a call-to-action such as “When are you free to talk?”
We recommend using MailChimp or Drip for your email and text messaging campaigns.
To take your sales automation a step further, you can add an appointment scheduler inside these automated messages, allowing your lead to schedule an available time slot based on your existing schedule. Once they book, your calendar automatically updates.
Calendly and MailChimp are both solid options for appointment scheduling apps.
How to use marketing automation (lead nurturing) to increase your long-term conversion rate and lower your cost of customer acquisition
Not all of your leads will respond to your automated welcome email or text.
This can be surprising, especially if they just filled out a form and now are feeling sheepish and unresponsive to your messages. But that’s okay because you can play the long game with these leads—maybe they’re just not ready yet.
In sales, you know it takes many points of contact to finally close a deal with certain buyers. Email marketing can help you stay in touch with minimal effort and cost.
As long as they haven’t unsubscribed from receiving your emails, continue sending automated messages to keep them engaged with your organization’s mortgage marketing content (blogs, newsletters, rate changes, etc).
Email marketing platforms also give you a pretty good insight into open rates and click rates. So you could try cold calling your leads once you’ve seen that they opened your email for a better success rate.
Email is incredibly cheap compared to direct mailers, and gives you a very valuable tool for nurturing your future mortgage leads.
What about social media?
Everyone is on social media, so that’s where you need to be, right? This is true, but it may surprise you that it doesn’t need to be your top priority right now.
Social media is typically a phase 2 strategy because it takes a lot of effort, resources, and money for a lower return. Social media is tougher to optimize and as a result, is harder to turn into a high-quality lead source.
By all means, set yourself up on the social media channels that your customers frequent, but as far as where to focus your time and ad spend, we recommend starting with your website, your content, and Google Ads.
Get your website and content optimized first, then use social media for sharing your own content and engaging with your current and future customers.
What about local SEO?
The best thing you can do for local SEO is to completely and accurately set up your Google My Business profile and set up solid branch pages in the communities where you have a physical presence. That’s it!
There are a surprising amount of myths and confusion surrounding local SEO and what affects your ranking. Thankfully, you can ignore the confusion and simply focus on putting together a thorough listing with an accurate location, contact information, hours, and photos.
And don’t forget to quickly update any information that changes. There’s nothing more frustrating than driving to a business that doesn’t exist at that location anymore.
How to pick a great mortgage marketing partner
If you’re committed to growing your online presence, you’re going to need to partner with the right mortgage marketing agency.
Most digital marketing agencies today offer a full range of services, including website building, branding, content, SEO, lead generation, and more.
You’re going to find that there’s no shortage in the number of agencies out there who will want to work with you. That’s why we’re going to help you choose the right one for you.
Some key indicators to help you determine whether an agency will be the right partner:
- They are honest and transparent
- They take the time to get to know you, understand your mission and goals, and ask follow-up questions relevant to your brand
- They have an established history
- They have positive reviews and testimonials
- The employees are happy and passionate about what they do
- They are always learning and adapting
- They are able to deliver measurable results
Make sure you ask them for plenty of examples, particularly for the mortgage marketing tools and features you are interested in. Ask them about their company’s values, qualifications, and experience in the mortgage industry.
10 quick, simple-to-start mortgage marketing ideas
We have provided a ton of important mortgage marketing information in this guide. Understandably, some of it may feel overwhelming. The good news is, that Kaleidico is here to help you with the next steps.
The tips, tricks, and tools we mentioned all can be broken down into smaller, more digestible steps and actions to get you started.
We have compiled these 10 quick, simple mortgage marketing ideas you can pick and choose from depending on where you are in your marketing journey. Take what you can use right now, and leave the rest for when you are ready.
1. Start sending a regular email to all of the contacts in your database
It doesn’t have to be a fancy newsletter, just a simple, brief note on what is happening in the mortgage market, what it means to regular folks (like them), and that you’re a quick phone call or text message away if they have any questions.
2. Start making short, informal, educational videos
First-time buyers in particular are hungry for information on the mortgage process. Meet them where they are by filming quick, informal videos that position you as the down-to-earth expert they need. Video topics might include mortgage rates and housing news, how to save for a down payment, FHA vs. conventional loans, and more.
3. Set up your Google Business account
A GB account is a quick, free, and easy way to get your branches and contact information out into the world so local customers can find you.
4. Write an eBook
eBooks don’t have to be a big production. Instead, they can be an expansion of a blog post or video or a more in-depth explanation of a frequently asked question. For example, you can create a guide on preparing to buy a home, and include information on budgeting, how to get a preapproval and the most common loan types.
5. Repurpose and optimize existing content
If you have existing blog content, go back and add photos or rewrite it with relevant keywords. Not all video or blog content is evergreen, so it may need some updated research and information to bring it to the current year. Also, Google the topic and check out the top-ranking articles to see what they have that you don’t. Some ideas for repurposing include turning a video into a few blog posts or turning a survey into an infographic.
6. Create an FAQ
Ask your team what your customers’ most-asked questions are, and create a FAQ section that you can place on your website, share on social media, or touch on in a video or two.
7. Guest-write a column or get on a local podcast
Based on current mortgage news or your FAQs, come up with some topics and submit guest articles to the local newspaper or a referral partner’s blog. Make sure you’re offering helpful information to the community to make it worth their while. You also can ask to partner with a local finance podcast or radio show for a guest interview.
8. Host a virtual mortgage education event
This can be as informal as scheduling a Facebook or Instagram live event. Plan some discussion topics, then leave room for a question-and-answer segment to address your customers’ biggest pain points.
9. Bring a human element to all content
One of the biggest marketing trends in 2022 is making content more human and creating genuine connections with customers. Share your unique business story and mission, share others’ stories (with permission, of course), and speak directly to the needs and struggles of your audience.
10. Create a survey on social media to hear exactly what your audience wants
If you’re just getting started with a consumer-direct approach, you may be unsure what your digital audience wants from you. Create a survey you can post on social media, link to in your blog posts or position on your website. Ask your audience what they need from you, what their biggest questions are, and how they prefer to interact with you.
Get even more mortgage marketing ideas
Kaleidico, a mortgage marketing lead generation agency, has over 22 years of experience generating mortgage leads for clients.
We’ve helped businesses through booms and busts to mortgage meltdowns and back again.
The Kaleidico team has hundreds of mortgage marketing ideas we are eager to share with you. If you want more right now, check out our 50+ Mortgage Marketing Ideas to jumpstart your mortgage marketing plans.
Schedule a discovery session with our mortgage marketing team today to start the conversation.