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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   July 2017

Compete on an Equal Footing

Online marketing can level the playing field against your biggest competitors

Compete on an Equal Footing

Has the thought ever crossed your mind about what your business would look like if you could level the playing field against your biggest competitors? Better yet, what would it mean to you if you could dominate your local market?

If you could be seen as the “authority” — the “No. 1 mortgage provider” in your area — and you had a steady and predictable flow of new, qualified leads coming in all the time, how would that change the game for you and your business? It’s time you acquired the tools you need to be a giant slayer.

Quite frankly, everything you need to know to take on your biggest competitors can be summed up in four simple words: “effective online marketing strategy.” At this point, you may be thinking, “Wow, that was a really big help, everybody knows that.” It really is that simple, however. But simple does not mean easy, and that’s why most mortgage professionals get it wrong.

Many of you may have previously tried some type of online marketing — search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, building a new website, or social media — and didn’t get close to the results that you expected. If that’s the case, it’s not the online marketing that didn’t work. It was, unfortunately, the marketing person or company you worked with that didn’t work. It is important to keep an open mind because online marketing works in the mortgage industry, and it works like crazy.

Stay front of mind

If your business is not front and center online in all the places potential borrowers search to find a mortgage provider (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), you may not be in business much longer. The major players understand this concept and are basically stealing clients every day from those that don’t.

Online marketing works in the mortgage industry, and it works like crazy.

Luckily, this doesn’t necessarily mean your biggest competitors are all that good at online marketing. It just means they are better at it than you. With just a little bit of research, however, you can know more than 95 percent of them.

You are probably aware of the most common types of online digital marketing, but before we go any further, let’s review them — because they all have a place in your mortgage marketing.

  • SEO (Search engine optimization). This is a strategy that allows your company to be found on page one of Google in the organic search results.
  • PPC (Pay-per-click marketing). This strategy allows your company to be found on page one of Google through paid ads. You only incur a cost when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Social media. This is most commonly associated with Facebook and Twitter but also encompasses other digital media. Most mortgage companies never connect the dots on how to use social media to actually get more clients.
  • Paid directories. This is basically paying a well-known directory, such as Angie’s List, Yelp, industry directories, etc., to get your company information listed on it.

Your online marketing hub

All of these online strategies are great, but none of them are going to work — or at least work to their fullest potential — unless you get one critical component exactly right. That component is your website.

You see, your website is the “hub” of everything you do. The success or failure of every single online marketing strategy you employ will be determined by the quality of your website. Every one of the methods mentioned earlier is designed to drive people to your website and entice them to take whatever action you want them to take.

SEO or PPC strategies won’t work if people leave immediately after getting directed to your site. The same principal applies when you leverage social media or buy a listing in a paid directory. If you can’t get people to do what you want once they land on your website, there really is no reason to spend any time or money to get them there in the first place.

When you get your website right, you can level the playing field against your biggest competitors, including those with marketing budgets 10 to 50 times higher than yours. You will even start to dominate your market and see amazing results.

Make sure your website gives you the best opportunity to connect with every visitor.

To get the most out of online marketing, you need to successfully maximize your site for conversions — meaning you get visitors to take the action you want them to take after landing on your page. That action could be filling out a prequalification, requesting more information, calling your office and so on. Whatever the action, it allows you to capture visitor information so you can contact them later.

Perfecting your website

So how do you get your website just right? It all boils down to seven important components.

First and foremost, and this may sound silly, but you must plaster your phone number on your site for all to see. Typically, the best place for this is in the header area at the top of your site, on the right-hand side. Make sure your phone numbers shows up on every single page of your site.

Second, make sure your site has an obvious method for people to take the action you want them to take. Where and how visitors can complete your call to action (CTA) should be the main focus of your website page. If you want a visitor to complete a pre-qualification form, for example, your site better include information that convinces visitors to do that. If you want them to request a free report, give visitors a compelling reason to make that request.

Next, and this is a big one, is authenticity. Authenticity in this case refers to how “real” your site feels. Does it have pictures of your office, staff, company meetings, etc.? Prospective clients like to see that you are real, and most sites lack this authenticity. Many websites use stock photos, which does not convey authenticity, especially when they are found on multiple sites.

Fourth, you need to leverage any authority you or your business have in the industry. Your website should prominently display any awards you have won or organizations you belong to. So, if you were a top volume producer, or you belong to NAMB — the Association of Mortgage Professionals or the Better Business Bureau, plaster those logos and symbols on your site.

Testimonials also fall under leveraging authority, but are an important component in their own right. When visitors come to your site, they are trying to decide if this is the place or a person they want to do business with. Why not make it easier for prospects to make that decision by showing them some happy clients you have already helped? Video testimonials outperform written testimonials, so if you can get past clients on video, that can be very powerful.

Sixth, your site should provide multiple options for prospects to contact you. The more options the better. Phone, e-mail, direct message on Twitter or Facebook, and live chat are all great methods to have available on your site. Often, people will visit your site at a place or time when they cannot talk on the phone. Many people simply prefer other methods of contacting businesses. Make sure your website gives you the best opportunity to connect with every visitor. The more contact methods you provide, the higher your chances.

Finally, your site must be optimized for mobile devices. In the mortgage industry, about 50 percent of searches for a mortgage originator are performed on mobile devices, such as a mobile phones or tablets. So, if a thousand people in your area are searching for an originator and your site is not optimized, you’re missing out on 500 new prospects each month.

• • •

Now you know why your previous online marketing efforts may not have produced the results you hoped they would. More importantly, you know how to fix the problem. If your website is missing any of the seven important components listed here you should get to work on implementing them as quickly as possible. Some of these you might be able to fix yourself, but others might require you to hire an expert.

When searching for the right person to help you fix your website — or even build a new one — make sure you work with someone who doesn’t just build websites, but also understands the mortgage industry. A lot of designers know how to build websites, but very few understand the real reason for them.


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