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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2015

Niche Marketing Is an Exacting Art

Mortgage originators can amplify their business by identifying and targeting the right audience with the right message

When developing your business plan, or marketing plan, it’s important to consider where to spend your time and resources. After all, there are riches in the niches.

Niche marketing can help you grow your personal brand, break into new markets or gain a larger share of your current market. This isn’t to say that you can only have one niche, but making deliberate decisions on “who” you want to target can help you determine the “what” of your message that much easier.

As a mortgage originator, what is your niche? Defining it may sound like a daunting task, but it can be as easy as determining what you want to be known for in the market. Are you a veteran? Perhaps Department of Veterans Affairs-backed loans could be your niche. Is your territory an affluent one? Then jumbo loans, second homes or investment properties may be a good option. Maybe you like working with first-time homebuyers, so downpayment-assistance programs could be your specialty. Your niche does not have to be a loan program. It could be a specific geographic area, community, a specific occupation or organization. You could be an expert at working with builders, or serve as a resource for your Realtor partners to help them grow their business.

Reaching your audience

After you’ve identified your niche, you have to consider what you know about the people in your target market and their interests. Once you have a handle on their interests, it’s time to reach out to the people you’re trying to engage. Being thoughtful about which social media platforms to use can help separate you from your competition in that effort.

Authoring content that amplifies your expertise doesn't have to be
seen as a purely self-promotional act.

Here’s a cheat sheet offering an overview of the major social media sites. It is based on data from the Pew Research Center, ComScore, FaberNovel and Wishpond.

  • Facebook: The most popular social media platform counts 73 percent of the U.S. adult population as users and has the most evenly distributed demographics of any platform. It’s a great platform for increasing brand awareness.
  • LinkedIn: It bills itself as the “professional social network.” Overall, 23 percent of all U.S. adults and 44 percent of online adults with incomes exceeding $75,000 use the platform. Its users do skew older, with 79 percent age 35 or beyond. Only 13 percent of LinkedIn users sign in to the site daily.
  • Twitter: 19 percent of the U.S. adult population use the site. Users have a higher tendency to follow brands and are constantly looking for news and updates, but may not be actively posting.
  • Pinterest: 22 percent of all U.S. adults use it, 84 percent of the users are females and the site attracts a high percentage of adult Internet users (64 percent, according to Pew) with incomes exceeding $50,000 annually. Pinterest, according to Wishpond, offers a high return on investment for companies that effectively target its unique user base.
  • Instagram: 21 percent of U.S. adults use the site. It is popular among African-Americans and Hispanics, with about one-third of online adults in those groups using the site, according to a recent Pew study. In addition, 43 percent of mobile-device owners in the U.S. ages 18-29 are on the site.
  • Google+: Users are 67 percent male, and the average age of users is 28. A majority of its users are in technical and engineering fields, and the site is compatible with the other Google platforms — such as YouTube and Google Hangouts. Being tech-savvy helps in mastering the benefits of this platform.

If your niche is a community or organization- centered, directing a newsletter or mailing insert to that group could be a great way to get your information into their hands. (Remember to get permission from the appropriate individuals representing the group before you solicit them.) Attending or sponsoring local events also can help build name recognition and ensure you stay top of mind within your market.

Key Points

How to develop a niche-marketing campaign

  • Identify your target audience
  • Discover where to find that audience
  • Develop an effective message that appeals to that audience
  • Find ways to repurpose your content
  • Use multiple media platforms to deliver the content
  • Measure your results and fine-tune to improve results

Honing the content

Developing the right content for your niche audience can be a little time-consuming, but is easily one of the most important steps. But you have to hone in on the right message. This is where you have the opportunity to shine. Because you’ve already taken the steps to narrow down your audience, and you know where they’re looking for information, now you just have to present the message in a way that is compelling to them. Picture a Venn diagram with two slightly overlapping circles. The one on the right is what you want to say; the circle on the left is what your prospects are interested in hearing; and the overlapping section in the middle is the content that is relevant to you and them. Figure out what that is and find the most effective way to present it.

Consider using different mediums to present those ideas and information. Content that establishes you as an expert who can be of service to your audience can be as simple as posting on social media regularly, creating infographics or flyers, rewriting your bio, producing a blog or video, developing a podcast or sponsoring a seminar or forum discussion. All can be effective ways of getting your message across and establishing your authority.

Write or produce your content using terms and concepts that the audience will understand and build on that. Overcomplicating your message, such as by using too many acronyms, can happen if you’re not mindful.

If you’re unsure what content or medium is working best, start tracking your results. To get more out of your efforts, make sure you repurpose your content where possible. For example, if you write a blog for some website, post that content on your own website, share a link to it on your social media pages and then send out an e-mail alert to other parties who may be interested in the blog’s content. Remember to include a call to action in your content as well, such as asking your audience to go to your website to fill out a contact form or asking them to share your content with their contacts.

Not all content needs to be written or produced exclusively by you. For example, you can share a link to a news story or other third-party content, such as a video, on a social media platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. Along with that link, add some personal commentary. Sharing links to content that is tied to your expertise, along with adding your opinion and insights, is a way to establish thought leadership. Authoring content that amplifies your expertise doesn’t have to be seen as a purely self-promotional act. It can be viewed as a way to show people that you have knowledge, skills and experience that can benefit them.

A few final reminders:

  • Measure your results. Marketing campaigns, regardless of the scale, should be measured to help fine-tune them for better results.
  • Use the 80/20 rule in all of your marketing efforts. About 80 percent of your content should be value- added content that is insightful, useful and engaging for the audience. No more than 20 percent should be a direct sales pitch. Reinforcing that you are an authority in your areas of expertise via value-added marketing helps you to remain top of mind without being seen as a pushy salesman.
  • If you’re focusing your marketing efforts on social media, remember that creating a page presence on a site by itself does little to help you grow your brand. In fact, it can have a negative effect if it looks neglected and is not regularly updated with engaging content.
  • From time to time, search online for yourself to see what comes up, to ensure that it is relevant and, most importantly, to make sure it will leave those who might see it with a positive impression.
  • Have your past clients help grow your brand by asking them to share their positive experiences with you as a mortgage originator. This can be done on a variety of websites, via e-mail or even outside the Internet with handwritten notes.

•  •  •

By identifying who you should market to, where to find them and what your message to them should be, you can master the art of niche marketing. Do this, and you can find out why the riches are indeed in the niches.


 


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