Nathan Rufty is a mortgage coach and trainer with
Mortgage Marketing Pros, a company that works with loan
officers to develop marketing plans that increase leads
and closed loans. Mortgage Marketing Pros was created
by a producing loan officer and a master marketer to teach
mortgage professionals how to create their own businesses
without relying so much on one or two streams that can
dry up without warning. For more information, visit
mortgagemarketingpros.com. Reach Rufty at (909) 731-1218.
Harness the Power of Craigslist
You can advertise locally on a global site for free
By Nathan Rufty
With all of the free sites available online where loan originators can market heir mortgage products and services, why not consider Craigslist? Craigslist
is a highly trafficked website searched by more than
60 million people every month. Alexa ranks Craigslist
in the top 20 of most-trafficked sites in the U.S., based
on the personal assistant’s ranking model. In fact,
Craigslist outranks big-name websites like Wal-Mart,
Bing, Yelp, Apple, PayPal and CNN.
Many loan originators have found tremendous
success harnessing the power of Craigslist to generate
home-purchase and refinance leads. The advantages
of using Craigslist to attract attention from buyers and
refinancers are numerous. For one thing, it is internationally recognized, but provides local marketing
opportunities and leads.
Craigslist also is free and takes just a few minutes to
set up, and less than an hour to create three to five posts
that will go live immediately. After that, it only takes a
few minutes every couple of days for the first week to
maintain the posts as first-page search-engine listings.
Most importantly, originators who put in the
(minimal) time required to create and maintain a
presence on Craigslist will face very low competition.
Many originators have not yet taken the initiative to
start using Craigslist or have abandoned their efforts
because they are unware of the power that Craigslist
has in search engine results.
You may have tried Craigslist in the past and perhaps
didn’t see the results you were expecting or hoping
for. It takes more than just posting some text and a
single image to be successful on Craigslist. You need to
use the correct keyword search terms in the title and
include targeted search terms in the first 156 characters of the body of the post.
You also need to add more than a single, dull image.
Several images that include bright colors can make the
difference between viewers clicking on your page or
moving on. Lastly, you need to make sure to complete
all the fields in the posting form to ensure you get a
Having an attention-grabbing title that uses your
key search terms is crucial for top-page ranking on
search engines. Too often, originators use highly competitive search terms, which make it difficult to receive
top billing in search-engine results. The more detailed
you can get the better.
Think about using terms to describe your loan pro-
gram such as “USDA the No Money Down Home Loan
in Big Bear, CA 100% Financing” instead of just “USDA
home loan.” Search engines love long-tail keyword
search terms, so stay hyper-local to your area. You will
see better results.
The first 156 characters in the body of each post
need to have your key search terms as well. This opening section also should mention the name, benefits
and location of the loan program discussed in the post.
If you are advertising the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) loan used in the earlier example, the first 156 characters could read like this: “The
USDA loan program allows buyers to purchase owner-occupied homes in the Brawley CA area with no
downpayment. You can finance 100% of the purchase
price!” Search engines will use this text in their results
pages, providing all the pertinent information you
want searchers to see.
Having standout images is a good way to break
through the clutter on Craigslist’s search-results
pages. Many postings don’t have any images at all and
a lot of the images honestly are not terribly memorable, so if you make sure your images stand out, your
posts will get more attention. Try a portrait picture
of yourself with bright colors and an eye-catching
border. There are plenty of free sites that can help you
create eye-popping images.
Learn the process
The process for posting on Craigslist is fairly straight-
forward. Simply follow the steps presented on the
website or, if you need help, find someone in your office
or sphere of influence who can provide guidance.
Craigslist users can choose from a large number
of posting types and subject categories where postings will get displayed. For mortgage originators, the
best categories to use are “financial services” and “real
estate services,” which are found within the “service
Once you have chosen a category and location for
your service, make sure you complete every input section on the posting-input page before moving on to
the map and image pages. Don’t forget to include your
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