t is important for everyone, from the CEO to
loan originators, to speak from the same messaging to create a strong brand from the inside
out. Once the brand exercises are completed, it
is time to think about how to communicate the brand
to target audiences. The message needs to resonate
with them at the critical time when they are looking
to buy a home, refinance a home, refer a homebuyer
who needs home financing or seek employment with a
REACH THE AUDIENCE
Investing the time to map out a strategic marketing
plan, including digital and traditional marketing tactics
at the local, regional and national level, will provide a
competitive advantage for mortgage companies and
their loan originators. In today’s media-rich culture and
with the proliferation of mobile devices, leveraging
technology to efficiently deliver content to the different audiences in the format that connects with them
Buyers of all ages are starting their home searches
online with millennials and Generation X buyers most
likely to begin their search online. To ensure the target
audience finds the company’s digital content (web and
social), utilize keywords with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind to improve search results.
Digital campaigns are a cost-effective option and
deliver marketing specific campaigns to a variety of
audiences. Digital messaging can include website banners on industry-leading sites both nationally and locally, paid social media posts and e-mail engagement
with audiences. Digital campaigns also provide a data-driven platform to engage with homebuyers.
The NAR’s Real Estate in a Digital Age study found
that 58 percent of millennials, 46 percent of Gen Xers
and 33 percent of younger boomers discovered the
homes they purchased on their mobile devices. It is
imperative to think “mobile first” when optimizing the
company’s website and social media sites.
They are a critical part of the marketing plan and
can be a great asset or a source of missed opportunities. Websites should be viewed as community
hubs that serve as ongoing resources and the center
of online and owned media. Well-conceived websites provide a variety of engagement opportunities with homebuyers that result in action, such as
subscribing to a newsletter, researching homebuyer tips, calculating a loan payment or completing a
Websites should be built to serve as a type of online community where homeowners are informed on
the topics essential to them while engaging with a
mortgage company’s brand. Adding a weekly blog to
the website with fresh content each week can help
drive SEO by keeping the website timely and relevant. Also, consider personalization technology to
deliver relevant content to the various segments of
the customer base.
In addition, social media continues to drive engagement in the homebuying process. According to the
Pew Research Center’s Social Media Use in 2018 survey,
68 percent of Americans use Facebook followed by
Instagram ( 38 percent), Pinterest ( 29 percent), Snapchat
( 27 percent), LinkedIn ( 25 percent) and Twitter ( 24 percent). Social media provides a variety of planning tools
that help focus social media efforts by demographics,
geography and behavior. A solid social media strategy
allows mortgage companies to connect with current,
past and potential homebuyers on an ongoing basis.
An easy-to-execute example of engaging audiences at the corporate and local level is a picture
campaign, showing the happy new homeowner,
real estate agent and loan officer at closing. When
posting on social media, remember to tag everyone to
increase views. Engagement can be further expanded
by overlaying a social media campaign with a hashtag
sweepstakes to maximize the audience reach.
VALUE OF TESTIMONIALS
Loan originators with positive customer testimonials
and reviews, professional websites, and creative social
profiles (backed by a solid social media plan) will lead
an organization. Those without will likely fall behind
in bringing in new business.
The best way to get an outstanding testimonial or
review is for the loan originator to ask for it at the closing table. A review request also can be included in the
customer-relationship management e-mail post-close
or survey campaign. In addition to digital marketing,
there are multiple other options to consider, including
digital-display advertising, behavioral targeting, look-alike modeling, SEO and search-engine marketing.
In this digitally focused world, however, there is
still power in highly targeted direct-mail and e-mail
campaigns, as well as traditional public relations.
Thought leadership driven by public relations will
greatly enhance paid-media efforts.
Public-relations efforts leverage the power of
relationships with reporters, industry organizations
and events to position leaders of a company as
industry experts. A strong public-relations program
can increase awareness and business, help in recruiting high-performing employees, enhance SEO for the
company website and boost community sentiment.
The majority of people place greater trust in a news
story than a paid advertisement.
n n n
A mortgage company with a strong brand identity and
relevant and consistent messaging from employees,
partners and customers — backed by a robust, strategic marketing plan — has a competitive advantage
in today’s changing industry. While developing and
successfully executing each of these areas comes with
challenges, the mortgage companies who spend the
time, talent and resources to develop a strong brand
and execute against the brand will come out on top
with homebuyers, employers and partners. n
Jim Anderson is senior vice president and
chief marketing officer at Certainty Home
Loans, an independent mortgage banker
that delivers a confident closing, with the
terms agreed upon, and the timing prom-
ised. With 20 years of experience leading marketing teams
at Certainty Home Loans, CNN, Accenture and The Weather
Channel, Anderson brings innovative, business-building,
marketing strategies to the mortgage industry. Anderson
has a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky
and bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University.
Visit certaintyhomeloans.com. Reach Anderson
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