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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2016

Differentiate Yourself Online

Four ways to personalize your website and stand out from the crowd

Differentiate Yourself OnlineIf you want to increase the number of inquiries you get from your mortgage website, you should know it’s not all about showing up first in search results. Does your website look like a clone of every other mortgage website?

Of course, every site needs certain generic information, such as areas served, length of time in business, team bios, an interest rate calculator and links for prequalifying. But none of this differentiates you from the next mortgage provider.

So, what are mortgage prospects looking for when they go to your website — or anyone else’s? Getting a mortgage is one of the most stressful and complex processes people deal with in their lives. To catch their attention, your website must convey a high level of professionalism and experience, and it must show that you really care about your customer.

Imagine how borrowers would respond to getting to know the real you. Following are four broad content categories that can be adapted for your website: niche, stories, videos and community. If content is developed effectively around these categories, it will help highlight your unique approach to the mortgage market and also encourage borrowers to choose you.

Niches

You’ve probably already created a niche for yourself if you consistently use just a few favorite mortgage programs. Let your prospective clients know about these programs.

Go into detail about the benefits and advantages of them and why you — and your other clients — prefer them. Don’t waste time and space on your website promoting mortgage programs that consumers do not really care about.

Remember, prospects are more interested in specifics about their particular situation than generic program blather. The latter does nothing to help you stand out.

Stories

How have you used your expertise and programs to help your clients? Tell those stories. Change names for privacy — and it is usually best to ask permission first — but other than that, feel free to share results of success stories. Why were those borrowers looking for a mortgage? What was their financial or credit situation? Why did they pick you and use your programs? Most importantly, how did you help?

Your stories are one of the biggest factors in helping you stand out. Make them prominent on your website. This is the “million dollar view.” Share new stories often. Search engines love fresh content as much as potential clients will.

The more you share, the better you will rank, and when your website ranks better in search results, more people will read your stories. This also helps position you and your company as subject-matter experts, and this is where you can really start differentiating yourself from your competition.

Videos

With advances in video-recording devices, from GoPro to your cell phone, you no longer need a big budget to produce high-quality video for your website. A little time, some simple software and a willingness to be yourself on screen is all it takes.

What should your videos be about? Some video-topic ideas to help you stand out to future clients might include focusing on your market niche, success stories, new programs you endorse and why, and offering tips for borrowers to improve shaky credit scores.

Most of your videos can be short introductions to the stories you share about borrowers you have helped. These videos do not need to be million-dollar productions. Their real purpose is to help you stand out when people search online to find a mortgage provider.

Creating a YouTube channel is another way to get your videos seen. Video is one of the most powerful tools to help increase your website’s Google ranking.

Community

Building a professional referral base is critical to the growth of your business. One of the best ways to facilitate referral growth is by creating good stories and quality content on your site. When local professionals and Realtors see that you take your business seriously, they will be more inclined to ask if they can share their own stories with your audience.

If, for example, a local community releases plans for building a new downtown baseball stadium, as a mortgage professional you know that values of downtown real estate will rise. Share stories on your website about new renovations and construction, which can position you as the local expert.

Realtors are good guest contributors to your website or blog as well. The best Realtors have their ears to the ground when it comes to market changes. They can write about trends and share current listings that fit your niche. More importantly, if you share stories from your Realtor contacts on your website, you often can get them to share your content on their websites, which creates a true win/win for both of you.

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These are just a few quick tips on how to stand out from all the other mortgage professionals’ websites in your area. These tips also can help you get ranked higher on Google as well — at little or no cost to you.


 


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