The Weight of the Web
Having an online presence isn’t enough — customers and closings must follow
By Jerry Rouleau, owner, J. Rouleau & Associates LLC
It’s no secret that today’s homebuyers often begin their search for a mortgage broker online. Brokers,
therefore, should understand not only how
to create a Web presence but also how to
maximize that presence and turn it into
In some cases, brokers will seek a Web
designer’s help. Other times, brokers will
attempt to create their own site. Either way,
understanding online consumers will help
you deliver your message more effectively.
This is true whether you are dealing with
your first online project or are looking to
improve your current Internet image.
A seven-second window
For many consumers, a Web site has less
than seven seconds to leave a positive impression. If it fails to do so, consumers
will move on. As such, brokers should ask
themselves the following questions:
■ Does my home page make an immedi-
ate positive impact?
■ Am I selling a lifestyle?
■ Do I represent loan-seekers from dif-
ferent backgrounds adequately?
Remember that marketing isn’t just
about you; it’s also about your customers. Your home page should be attractive
enough to encourage consumers to spend
time looking around the site and informative enough to answer their main questions. You could have the best product, but
until you grab consumers’ attention, you
can’t prove it. The idea is to make your site
as sticky as possible.
Although it’s important to address
consumers’ questions and desires, it’s also
important to realize that many homebuyers choose a mortgage broker based
on personality. Make sure to inform potential clients about your past successes,
your community-service efforts and your
hobbies. Promote your personal narrative,
your staff specialists and your service. Use
testimonials and industry affiliations to
your advantage. The idea is to make a connection and to build trust and confidence.
When prospective clients like you, they are
much more apt to do business with you.
In many cases, music and videos distract consumers, and gaudy design can
cause Web shoppers to click away quickly.
Web sites that take too long to load also
likely will fail. If you want to use video
and audio elements, give users the option
of selecting those items rather than having
them launch automatically.
Also make sure to update your site often. A good Web site is never complete.
It’s a living thing that reaches its potential
only with new and interesting material.
For mortgage brokers, daily rates are a perfect place to begin. Maintaining a blog is
another way to keep information on your
site current. This can be done on the site
itself or through a third-party service.
The time and effort you put into designing
your Web site won’t matter unless people
can find it. Here are some simple ways to
drive traffic to your site:
■ Post comments to blogs other than your
own. Include your name, your company and
Web address whenever possible.
■ Place resource links on your site. This
adds value to users, who may think of your
site as an important Web tool. Consider
linking to community events, local school
districts and government agencies, as well
as anything else about which homebuyers
in your area should be aware.
■ Ask others to link to your site. Request
that your business and referral partners,
suppliers, vendors, and organizations to
which you belong link from their Web sites
■ Join online social networks and link
from there to your site.
■ Consider business-directory listings
and ads in the phone book. It might seem
antiquated, but the phone book is still an
important research tool for many consumers. It’s OK to drive traffic from a printed
page to the Web. Phone-book listings also
often appear in the associated directory’s
■ Post your company’s news releases on
appropriate public relations sites. These
releases often are posted on other Web sites
and can improve your Internet search rankings and your image.
■ Research which keywords mortgage
customers use in their Internet searches
and consider buying pay-per-click advertisements on popular search engines. These ads
can appear next to keyword search results
for the products you offer.
you wish to control access. This can be
ideal for forms, sample quotes or contract examples. When you meet customers in the field, you can give them the
specific URLs — make these addresses
easy to remember — where they can find
Finally, make numerous attempts to
collect customers’ information — even if
only an e-mail address and first name —
but do so without disturbing their Web
experience. Publish newsletters, write articles and offer special promotions that call
site visitors to action and that entice them
to share their information. A strong e-mail
database can represent powerful currency
today and as the market recovers.
■ ■ ■
Beyond getting people to your Web site
and keeping them there, it’s also crucial to
turn the prospects into business. One way
to do this is to include a contact button on
every page. This makes it easy for customers to get in touch with you, especially via
e-mail. When they reach out, make sure to
Think of your site as a lead-generator
and demand its top performance. Make
sure to track your Web site statistics, including the number of new visitors and
the amount of time visitors spend on the
site. Relate those statistics to the number
of clients you gain from the site and make
adjustments as necessary.
Another great way to use your Web
site is to include hidden pages where you
post special information or data of which
Having a Web site is one thing. Making
it an attractive lead-generating machine is
quite another. Brokers should understand
how to drive Web users to their sites, how
to keep them there after they arrive and
how to turn potential customers into
Jerry Rouleau is the owner of public relations and marketing firm J. Rouleau &
Associates LLC. He also is the founder of BuilderRadio.com and co-host of the
popular weekly radio program “Selling More Homes.” Rouleau is a speaker, author,
coach and consultant who specializes in public relations, marketing and sales
training for builders, housing companies and building-product suppliers. Reach
him at email@example.com or (860) 589-7391. For more information,
visit www.jrouleau.com and www.builderradio.com.
by Jerry Rouleau
“Why Referrals Aren’t Created
Overnight,” residential edition, April 2009
“ 34 Ways to Grow Your Business,”
commercial edition, July 2009
View these articles and more at
30 Scotsman Guide | Residential |
scotsmanguide.com | August 2009