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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   February 2012

Marketing Your Business and Yourself

Understand how to approach your marketing with purpose and diligence

It’s important for mortgage professionals to realize that they’re constantly marketing; their business and their professional image are on sale all day, every day.

Consider the recent holiday season and all the various parties and get-togethers that you attended. Even if those situations weren’t strictly tied to your origination business, you should have been conscious of the image you projected and the trust that you were or were not building with friends, colleagues and strangers. You are your own brand, and everything that you do strengthens or weakens that brand.

Marketing with purpose

Regardless of the variety or particular type of marketing in which you’re engaging, how can you know if your marketing is effective or not? At the macro level, which is the only level most mortgage professionals are ever concerned about, it may seem fairly simple: You may merely ask yourself if you’re getting enough business in the door to reach your targets.

If you are, so this line of thinking goes, then your marketing is effective. If you aren’t, then it isn’t. Just because it’s effective, however, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be more effective. Further, just because your marketing is effective doesn’t mean that you’re not wasting its effects with a system of loan-closing that has significant leaks in it. Yet these things tend to be ignored in favor of the simplistic hypothesis that marketing is effective if it produces enough loans.

In a vibrant market, that brand of thinking may be enough to keep the doors open, but in this current market, originators have to do better and maximize every hour and every dollar they have. In other words, they have to market with purpose.

What are the specific activities you engage in, both professionally and personally? What about the newsletter you send out — is that effective? What about the networking meetings you go to, or the Chamber of Commerce meetings you attend, or your affiliation with local Realtor organizations? Are those affiliations effective? How can you know?

The only way to be confident in any marketing campaign or initiative is to test it. You need to take action in a decisive way and then determine the time that it takes and the money you expend in order to adequately measure the efforts you’re making. Then you can analyze the results, examining whether or not you’re receiving additional referrals or gaining new opportunities. You need to be certain that you’re not simply pouring time and money into activities that don’t affect your bottom line, even if those activities make it seem as though you’re busy.

Testing and analysis

Unless you’re inundated with business — and probably even if you are — you should be both exacting and demanding about your calculations. A good rule of thumb is that a marketing campaign should produce 10-for-1 in dollars. For instance, if you spend $1,000, you need to see a $10,000 return; otherwise, don’t continue with the campaign in question. You have to know not only how much you’re spending, but also how much “bang” you get for your buck.

Unfortunately, this sort of careful analysis is alien to the process of many mortgage professionals. Either they work for large companies that do advertising for them and don’t believe that they have to undertake marketing of their own, or they pursue their own marketing yet don’t rigorously test the results. Everything you do as a mortgage professional needs to be considered within the context of an overall marketing strategy, one that’s tested and analyzed with discipline.

Broadly, there are two kinds of testing that originators should undertake: internal and external. Internal testing refers to the client’s experience from the point-of-contact to the close; study any financial losses that may have resulted from holes in your business’ system. External testing refers to marketing with purpose; consider an individual campaign as being part of a larger overall strategy and examine each part of that strategy in order to determine the results and how they can be improved.

This seems simple enough, but it’s not necessarily easy. It takes creativity to design marketing campaigns that can be tracked. Tweeting about rates can be a type of campaign in itself, but how many of those tweets advance your conversations with current or potential clients? How many of them result in visits to your website? For that matter, has your website been designed so that you can tell when clients arrive from different marketing channels? How can you know if the time you dedicate to Twitter is well-spent if you’re not measuring, testing and refining your efforts?

This final question applies to every piece of communication and marketing that you do as an originator. If you’re rigorous about your metrics, you may find that you get as much as 80 percent of your business from 20 percent of your marketing. That knowledge will allow you to re-task your money and time into areas that are more profitable and will produce results superior to what you get now.

• • •

Marketing with purpose may sound obvious, but there are many former originators out there who didn’t do the work of analysis or couldn’t live with the results they got when they did perform analysis. If your business is going to survive in this economic climate, you need to understand what you’re doing with marketing and exactly how it may give you an edge on your competition. Only then will your business truly be able to thrive.


 


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