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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2014

Reach for New Heights

With the right approach, you can lay your hands on top-shelf deals

Reach for New Heights

If you ask mortgage professionals what business they’re in, they’ll likely answer “mortgage broker,” “mortgage banker,” “certified mortgage planner” or something along these lines. The correct answer, however, is different: Whether you like it or not, mortgage professionals are — or should be — in the marketing business.

Originators should tirelessly market their services at every chance they get. If you aren’t promoting yourself, you may rest assured that no one else will. How can you ensure that your marketing efforts are helping you reach for top deals?

There are countless ways to promote yourself and your services. Some methods are inexpensive but time-consuming, such as cold calling or in-person networking. Other methods are costly but don’t take much time, such as direct-mail, radio, television or Internet advertising.

Regardless of your personal preference, you should look at your marketing as a three-legged stool. One of those legs represents your message — i.e., what you want to tell your prospects or what you want your prospects to know about you. Another leg of the stool represents your medium — that is, the method you will use to convey your message, whether it’s direct mail, Internet advertising or another means altogether. The third leg of the stool represents your market — i.e., the people or prospects who you want to convince to use your services.

If at any time one of these legs is broken, your marketing efforts will simply not work the way you want them to, and your related success will come toppling down. Let’s take a closer look at each of your marketing’s three “legs.”

Your message

When considering this aspect of your marketing campaign, keep in mind that the more you can tailor your message for the particular group of people who will receive it, the better results you’ll likely have. Although you don’t necessarily have to specialize in one area, the marketing your prospects receive should make it seem as though you do.

For example, if you are planning to send out direct mail to boost your refinance business, don’t just buy a list of 10,000 homeowners with loan amounts higher than $200,000 and loan-to-value ratios of 80 percent and then send out a mailer boasting about your low rates, low closing costs and excellent  service. Instead, dissect that list even more and customize the mailing for each recipient.

In doing so, you can then send out a mailer that reads, for instance, “As the sole owner of a home valued at more than $200,000 in the 65432 zip code, you may qualify for a special loan program that will lower your interest rate and save you more than $523 per month.” This is just one example, of course, but it demonstrates how to customize your marketing message to the prospects you want to reach.

In short, don’t just think about the type of prospects you want to attract; think also about the type of prospects you do not want to attract. This concept is applicable to direct mail, as well as any type of medium you’re using.

Your medium

Related to this is the second leg of the marketing stool — your marketing’s medium. This is simply the method that you are going to use to convey the message you’ve created. That medium could be direct mail, television, radio, the Internet or all of these combined.

Before deciding on the medium you’re going to use, however, do a little research on your prospects. Where do your prospects spend their time? Do they spend a lot of time online, and thus would you have a greater chance of capturing their business if you conveyed your message via search engine ads? Alternately, would you have a better chance of reaching your prospects via direct mail or physical display ads?

When considering your marketing in this regard, originators should always use more than one medium at all times. If you only use display ads in a newspaper and that newspaper goes on strike, your message will reach no one if this is the only medium you use. If you advertise only online and a new regulation reduces the results you’ve been getting, you’ll be left with an inadequate supply of prospects if your marketing is one-dimensional. To avoid circumstances like these, you should always be acquiring prospects from multiple sources.

Your market

Let’s consider the third and final leg of the marketing stool — your market. These are the people who you design your message for and decide which media to use to deliver it to them. If your message, media and market do not perfectly match, your advertisements will not work.

Let’s say that you create an appealing message to promote — one, for instance, that tells people how you can help those who are behind on their mortgage payments to refinance, catch up and then reduce their monthly payments. You then decide that you will send this message via direct mail to prospects who you know are one-month behind.

After sending out your mailings, however, let’s say that you have only disappointing results. It turns out that you didn’t realize your market includes homeowners who have zero equity in their homes, or in some cases, are even upside down on their loans. Instances like this — when the message, medium and market don’t match — typically deliver terrible results. Always make sure that your market qualifies for the offer and the message that you’re sending.

Maintenance tips

Once you know the three legs of a successful marketing campaign, spend some time finding ways to ensure that your marketing efforts remain solid. A wobbly stool may not be a broken stool, but it certainly won’t provide you with the maximum return on your investment. The following are maintenance techniques that you should consistently perform on your marketing approach.

  1. Create a strong offer. When designing your marketing piece or ad, make sure that it features a strong offer or call to action. This offer must be extremely appealing to the prospect and ideally should make a claim that no other competitor is willing to make.
  2. Review your advertising for clear, concise instructions. Never assume that your prospects will know what to do in reaction to your ads. If you want them to call you, tell them. If you want them to go to your website, give them specific instructions — e.g., “Visit my website, click on the link that says ‘refinance,’ and enter your name and number.”
  3. Measure your success. Have some way to track the results of the marketing and advertising you pursue. Nothing other than results matters, and your results should be based on closed deals, not on calls. The cheapest advertising might generate the most calls, but if you don’t close any loans from this campaign, it’s a waste of money and time. Track the money you’re spending on marketing, and likewise track the sales you make from it.
  4. Give prospects a reason to respond right away. Provide your prospects with an incentive for responding to your ads — a small gift or a discount, for instance, if they respond within three days. In its simplest form, use a deadline. If you don’t give your potential clients a reason to respond now, you don’t have an offer at all.
  5. Follow up with your prospects. This doesn’t mean calling them once or twice and then giving up — although if you’re doing even that you’re doing better than most. This may be the most important maintenance technique for your marketing campaigns. Your follow-ups should consist of phone calls, e-mails, direct-mail sequences and other means.
  6. Review the copywriting in your marketing materials. A lot of marketing and advertising materials are weak. Most of what you see consists essentially of, “This is our name. This is what we do. Call us.” You should send a strong message to the people you want as clients, and the way to do that is through compelling copy.
  7. Stay disciplined. Without discipline, you’ll be running from one thing to the next in hopes of finding the “one thing” that will put your business where you want it to be. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that will do that. Stick to spending your marketing dollars on efforts that you know are paying off.

•  •  •

Remember: You are not in the mortgage business. You are in the marketing business. Without constant marketing efforts, nobody will know about — or care about — the financial services you offer. Your marketing should be like a well-oiled machine that delivers predictable results each and every day, week and month. You should know how much it costs to run your machine, and you should know the profit it will make you.

So, start building your marketing stool today. If you follow the advice and ideas presented earlier, you will see your business in a different light and never wonder where your next prospect is coming from.  


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