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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   May 2017

Digital Ads Pack a Punch

Incorporating online marketing into your promotion strategy expands your reach

A recent Nielsen Co. audience report shows that last year Americans spent nearly 11 hours a day, on average, consuming media via a digital device. That’s up from about 10 hours in 2015.

And the much sought-after — and often misunderstood — market of millennials (individuals in their 20s and early 30s) are the most connected generation yet, consuming media across multiple digital platforms, including mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers. Yet many loan originators follow a decades-old blueprint to market their mortgage business: They use postcards, newspaper ads, direct mail and billboards.

There’s no question that traditional print display-advertising tactics still have a role to play for mortgage originators, but they should be part of a larger advertising strategy. Direct mail helps you reach specific people in a specific area, while billboards and newspaper ads give you wide reach and exposure. Digital ads, however, can do both for you.

Imagine a billboard that is only visible to drivers who are looking to buy a new home or thinking about refinancing their existing home in order to fund improvements. Not only that, but this billboard only targets people who live in your area. That would be one smart billboard. In reality, that’s precisely what a digital ad is capable of delivering.

Hyper-targeted, hyper-local digital ads combine the reach of a newspaper ad with the targeting capabilities of direct mail. These digital ads are targeted based on people’s web-browsing behavior, allowing the advertiser to narrow down the audience viewing the ad to those individuals who are most likely in the market for a mortgage product or a new home. These ads are local because the advertiser can define where the ads will be displayed. This approach increases the odds of displaying the right mortgage messaging to the best potential borrowers at the right time in their lives.

Consistency counts

Often when mortgage originators think of digital ads, they think of them as a way to get webpage clicks. And that’s a valid performance indicator. To measure the success of a digital ad simply by the number of clicks it gets, however, is to overlook the more intangible power of advertising.

Think about how you consume advertising messages in general. Would you remember a product after the first time you saw an ad for it? Few people do. In fact, consumers need to see an ad or product upward of seven times to remember it. The power of advertising isn’t just the ad itself. It’s also in the repetition of the message — showing the ad again and again.

The more we see something, the more familiar it becomes to us. And the more familiar something is, the more we trust it. And the more we trust something, the more confidence we have in using and relying on it.

You can build confidence in your mortgage business in many different ways. You can be responsive. You can execute the transaction smoothly. And you can be consistent. These are the kind of tactics that earn you the trust of your borrowers and your referral partners. Digital ads that run consistently can help establish that hard-earned trust, too.

Best practices

Once you decide to make digital ads part of the overall strategy you use to build your mortgage brand, there are some ways to do it well. Following are some best practices to consider.

The web is a noisy place, so make sure the images you use in your advertising stand out, while still relating to you. Make images eye-catching with high-contrast colors. Consider using lifestyle imagery, because studies show these tend to perform well.

Originators need to recognize that digital advertising can be a compelling supplement to what they are already doing to market their business.

Also be sure to add a text headline along with your image, so your audience knows exactly how to think and feel as well as what to do. This headline should not be your name. The headline needs to be eye-catching text that grabs people’s attention. In addition, include your company logo, which will lend your ad credibility and help build brand awareness. It is wise to test placement, but according to data from SwellPath, an online marketing consulting company, logos work best when placed in the upper or lower corners of the ad display.

Pay attention to color and what it means. For example, red is stimulating and encourages your audience to act. Orange is known to increase oxygen supply to the brain and stimulate mental activity. And blue has a calming effect in consumers as well as varied other connotations, including smoothness, tranquility and cleanliness.

Reach your audience

You must know your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Make sure the images and messaging speak to your target audience. If you don’t know who that is, take the time to develop a “persona” of your ideal customer. What does that person do for a living? What does that individual need most? Then write directly to that person.

Incorporate a clear call to action in the ad as well. Don’t think of your ad as a business card. Think of it as the start of a conversation. Make sure the people who click on your ad do exactly what you want them to do by presenting a call to action, or CTA. Keep your CTA short and action oriented. Some great examples are the following: “Download now,” “Learn more” and “Contact me.” Your ad can be effective and still be compliant with rules governing the industry.

Another important element of a digital ad is the offer. This dovetails with the CTA. Why should someone click on your ad. What’s in it for them? Will they get information? Will they learn something? Even if you can’t promise specific rates, you can deliver something of value.

Along with including an offer of some sort, digital ads should convey a sense of urgency. Time is an important motivator. For real estate and financing, market conditions are fluid. You can emphasize that without making specific promises.

Details matter

Be sure to match your website landing page to your ad. Your landing page should look like your ad. Use the same branding and color scheme. Maybe even repeat the headline and offer, so that people who clicked on your ad know they are in the right place. And if your ad promotes an offer, send them directly to the page with the offer.

In addition, size your ad correctly. There are definite banner-ad sizes that tend to perform better, so focus on the following digital-ad sizes: 300x250, 728x90 and 600x315.

Another smart move is to do some testing of your ad. Try different images and see which one people liked more. Change up your offers and see which one resonates most with your audience. The way you learn is to test. Refresh your ad every quarter and gather data on what works best for you.

•  •  •

The digital world isn’t going to stop influencing the mortgage business. Originators need to recognize that digital advertising can be a compelling supplement to what they are already doing to market their business.

With a holistically-planned strategy that leverages online as well as offline tactics, mortgage professionals can easily reach more local customers than ever before — wherever they go. 


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