We’ve got the numbers: 450 years of mortgage experience and tens of thousands of users. But, the real experience is in implementing proven best practices.
Why is digital mortgage marketing a key component of any loan officer’s success? There’s no doubt that digital communication is ubiquitous. Chances are we’re logging on or logging in whether we’re working, watching a movie or staying in touch with friends.
Would we expect less when it’s time to make a move? The National Association of Realtors says that 55% of 2018 home buyers started their purchase journey with either an online search for properties or for information on the home buying process.
A solid online mortgage marketing program will help lenders start a conversation with potential clients before they decide to act, whether for a purchase, refinance or other mortgage product. Furthermore, a plan will guide you in keeping the conversation going after those prospects have closed on a loan and may be ready to refinance. If you show up in their inboxes and social media feeds regularly, your name will be top of mind when they begin that online search.
The best place to start is by creating your own plan from scratch or adapting a digital marketing plan for mortgage companies – because as we all know, the mortgage industry has unique opportunities and its own set of challenges.
Determine Your Digital Marketing Goals
Whether you’re a mortgage marketing professional or a loan officer in need of marketing strategies to grow your personal pipeline, your digital marketing plan should align with your business’s goals.
Ultimately, many plans focus on generating increased closings efficiently, with minimal cost. Write down some numbers to help you measure your success. Consider a percentage increase in closings; number of leads or prospects added; or percentage of leads converted to prospects or prospects converted to in-process borrowers.
Look past the numbers, too. Consider how your digital marketing efforts will support your mortgage company’s mission statement. If you’re creating a plan as an individual mortgage professional, focus on showcasing your personal business values. You might include concepts like community support, customer service and consumer education.
It’s harder to set numeric goals for supporting a mission statement. Here are some to consider:
- Community Support Value – Develop one message a month in support of your community. Ideas include highlighting service you and your teammates are performing, sharing opportunities for contacts to support a non-profit, or promoting an investment you’ve made in a community effort. Don’t think of it as blasting an email each month about your endeavors (that might be overkill). Consider posting stories on your company blog or social media, too.
- Customer Service Value – Add a note offering/or highlighting availability of service providers in each message. Within one month, make service easier to access with a contact form link in your outgoing messages. Send messages to referral partners one time each month to remind them of your availability over the weekend.
- Consumer Education Value – Add 10 first-time buyer educational pieces over the year. Create a series of messages to support prospects with credit trouble. Acquire access to online mortgage calculators. (NOTE: The best mortgage industry CRMs will have these educational materials and ways to distribute them. No need to start from scratch!)
Identify Your Target Audiences
Most mortgage companies will market to the following groups, at least.
- First time buyers
- Credit challenged prospects
- Trade up buyers
- Investment buyers
- Vacation home buyers
- In process borrowers
- Current homeowners (prospects for refinance, HELOC, reverse mortgage and other services)
- Closed-loan clients
- Referral partners
You might also think of your target audiences in terms of generations. First time buyers are more likely to be around 30, while homeowners don’t qualify for a reverse mortgage until they’re in their 60s. If your digital marketing plan includes social media platforms, you may want to consider posting more first time buyer materials on Instagram and more reverse mortgage information on Facebook, for example.
When you’re planning, prioritize communications with your target audiences based on your own way of doing business and the areas you would like to see the most growth.
Identify the Channels You Will Use for Your Digital Mortgage Marketing
Think about how you’ll get the word out. What channels will you use, and what’s your desired functionality for each? What target audiences will you reach? Here are some examples:
Email and/or Text Messaging
- Educational messaging for all life cycles and target audiences, including automated drip campaigns (such as a series of educational communication for prospects)
- Personalized communication (including specific deal or neighborhood details, for example)
- Automated in-process communication
- Messages based on triggered events (such as a loan anniversary or refi opportunity)
- Regularly recurring messages (such as a weekly market update for real estate agents, birthday greetings, or an annual credit report check reminder)
- Timely industry messages sent to an individual contact or as a blast to a large audience
Social (consider which platforms you’ll use for different types of messages)
- Industry updates
- Links to calculators or other interactive tools
- General holiday greetings or motivational messages
- Company or personnel updates (such as new hires or a staff members’ new certification)
- Program highlights.
- Home buying or home selling tips
Website and/or Blog
- Basic company information
- Team member introductions
- News releases
- Educational content
- Links to branded mortgage landing pages with educational content, interactive tools or calculators (all with contact forms!)
- Embedded calculators or interactive tools
- Embedded “contact us” form
Overarching Elements of a Digital Mortgage Marketing Plan
You’ll want to apply some unique industry considerations to your online mortgage marketing plan. These will need to apply to every marketing strategy, every piece of content, every target audience, and every action you take.
In your planning, account for both the features you’ll need to ensure are compliant and for any extra time to implement.
- Understand requirements for displaying your licensing, NMLS number and disclaimers consistently.
- Ensure a reliable system for opting out of email and text messaging to meet CAN-SPAM Act requirements.
- Enact a system for compliance reviews and approvals.
- Prepare ahead for audits in case regulators come knocking.
You may need to plan extra time both for setting up these systems and for the review of content as you create it later. Again, the best CRMs for the mortgage industry will help you in these areas.
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Many mortgage lenders rely on referrals from real estate agents for high quality leads. You’ll start seeing more leads coming in from your digital mortgage marketing efforts, too. Still your marketing plan should include ways to build relationships with referral partners. These might include:
- Adding a cobrand partner’s contact information alongside your own in emails or on mortgage landing pages.
- Creating messaging specifically for cobrand partners.
- Providing digital tools for real estate agents, such as single property websites to promote their listings or co-branded calculators to help buyers estimate costs as they’re looking at homes.
Remember the old Chinese proverb? “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
To help your potential borrowers learn and remember, you’ll want to include interactive online tools in your digital mortgage marketing plan. Calculators, video riddles and personalized animations will not only help your prospective clients absorb more information but will also go a long way toward engaging them and keep you top of mind.
In the mortgage industry, as in many others, speed-to-lead makes a noticeable difference. Seventy-eight percent of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first. That’s almost 4 of 5 leads, simply by being the first to reach out!
To maximize your mortgage marketing, be consistent about adding contact forms to your messages. Just as importantly, employ a system for immediate automated responses and develop a plan for human follow up as needed.
All digital marketing plans should include ways to optimize all content for displaying on mobile devices. This is where consumers are most likely to receive your messages. Your email marketing, landing pages, mortgage website and your entire online presence should be designed for mobile display first.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. It’s important to pay attention to your branding. You’ll want to ensure your company’s style, colors and proper logo are applied consistently.
Think about how, not if, you’ll incorporate video into your digital marketing plan. Ninety percent of consumers say a video helps them decide to buy. Consider these options:
- Videos on your website can optimize your search engine results. Ideas include explainer animations to help potential borrowers understand loan products, personal greetings from loan officers, and reviews from happy clients.
- A personalized video embedded in an email through a service like BombBomb or Cyrano helps prospects associate a face, a voice and mannerisms with a name. This makes the selling process exponentially more personal than an everyday professional headshot. And won’t it be harder to turn down a loan officer you feel like you know? Look for a mortgage CRM that offers integrations with these types of services.
- Live videos on social media channels also offer the feel of a personal conversation but to a public audience. You can use these to offer timely interest rate or industry news in a casual format.
Creating the Best Digital Mortgage Plan for YOU
Now that you’ve (finally!) worked through the preliminaries, it’s time to create an actionable digital marketing plan.
The primary part of your plan will address the types of communication you’ll use and details of each. Plans typically are arranged on a spreadsheet for easy organization. Here are primary components of a digital marketing plan for mortgage companies:
- List your goals at the top of the spreadsheet for reference in all planning.
- Divide your digital communication into primary distribution channels, including Public and Individual. Under Public, include rows for your website, blog, mortgage landing pages and single property sites. Also list the social platforms you will use. Individual communication might include recurring deployments, drip campaigns, triggered communication, and standalone blasts.
- In the spreadsheet columns, note and track your descriptions, requirements, and progress. Common column headings include target audience, types of messages (article, email, video or text message, for example), whether any content already exists, whether new content is needed, actions to take, and expected or actual completion dates.
Your plan will also likely include linked documents and spreadsheets. You might attach:
- Content Library. You’ll probably use a spreadsheet. On each row, list the name of a content piece. Create columns for if whether it’s existing or needs to be created, target audience, type of content (blog post, email, social media, etc), creator, due date (or date for update, expiration). You might also include a column to note where it’s used. Examples are in a drip campaign, blog, standalone blast, or some combination. Finally, you could include columns to check whether it meets certain goals or requirements, such as compliant, cobranded, interactive or optimized for mobile.
- Content Calendar. These are typically organized in a spreadsheet by month. List topics or pieces that you plan to post in each row. In columns, include anticipated publication date, interim deadlines (such as a draft due or date to send for compliance review), and the channels where you’ll post. These may include your blog, social media channels and/or email. Also include a column for results, such as views, click through rate or even deals won. Some teams also like to track publication dates and deadlines on an actual shared calendar, such as through Outlook or Google Calendars.
- Style Guidelines. You’ll want to publish your company’s rules regarding use of company logo, colors, fonts and editing style. You might also include approved templates or graphics in addition to compliance guidelines and cobranding rules. Reminders of priorities may also be in order, such as a focus on interactive content or on messaging that promotes your company’s values.
Your digital marketing plan should be a living document that you can adjust to fit company needs, industry shifts, and mortgage compliance regulations as needed.
Where do you go from here?
Creating a broad digital marketing plan is not for the faint-hearted. You may want to start by building a sample plan focused on a few platforms/channels or a single target audience.
Consider the resources available to help. Surefire CRM provides not only a place to manage your customer information but also a vast content library, the ability to schedule or trigger communications, set-it-and-forget it workflows, and more.
Let us give you a look around. We are confident you’ll like what you see.