Residential Magazine

Marketing Takes More Than a Keyboard

Stand out with a community-based approach to attracting clients

By Krish Dhokia

There are countless ways to build your business pipeline. Any experienced mortgage originator can give you a laundry list of detailed methods — all geared toward connecting with referral partners and learning about consumers. From in-depth, exhaustive research and convoluted spreadsheets, there are no shortages of data-driven, technical marketing tactics.

Many originators rely on that Pandora’s box of marketing — digital outreach. That’s the “pay to play” method of generating leads. Whether through Google or Facebook ads, or by buying leads directly from Zillow, there’s no denying that these methods get results.
But it’s time to ask: Are these the only ways to generate healthy leads? The short answer is no. The long answer is absolutely not.

Create relationships

Digital marketing is an Olympic-sized swimming pool. There are tons of swimmers who have been there since 7 a.m. Long before you even showed up, they were wading in profits. That said, if you arrived too late, you may be out of luck.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should give up completely on marketing in the online world. Instead, you should understand that there’s also a place for classic, relationship-based marketing. This realization could prove especially useful as younger generations begin to reach homebuying ages.
Take Generation Z, loosely defined as anyone born between 1997 and 2012. Speaking in broad terms, Gen Zers crave meaningful interactions with businesses. They’re tired of companies that only sell them a product. They expect you to communicate in a personal and relatable way.

If your community doesn’t know you, why would they work with you? 

Gen Zers often seek out brands with purpose. They choose a business relationship to do more than satisfy their demands. Gen Zers are extremely passionate about community building. They’re gravitating toward brands that know how to connect with other like-minded people. Marketers across the globe have thoroughly researched and adapted tactics over the years to meet the demands of the ubiquitous millennial homebuyer, but there’s already a huge shift in how originators are getting in front of the next generation.
Let’s agree that not all of your future partners and clients live online — being served ads that you invested your hard-earned money into. In some cases, your entire pipeline of prospects might consist of people who prefer a handshake and a conversation. Therein lies the question: If you aren’t in your community and competing in your local market, are you even competing at all?

Build community

SimCity is a popular computer game series that allows users to create simulated cities. But it also includes the illusion that the essentials needed to build a thriving community are limited to hospitals, farms, banks, schools and homes. What the game fails to showcase is the importance of the people — and more importantly, their value toward the growth of the overall community.
It makes you wonder, without the presence of real estate and mortgage professionals within the community, would the dream of a city still be possible? Does your neighbor, barista or grocery clerk know what you do for a living?
Think about all the people in your community who interact with you every day or every week. Have you had a conversation with them about homeownership? Think about your friends and family who purchased a home but didn’t opt to include you in the transaction — maybe they forgot what your occupation was? You must tell them, inform them, show them.
Your marketing plan should add value to the community. This can include anything from sponsoring local school events to hosting a farmers market or printing your company logo and contact information on the menu at the local diner. If your community doesn’t know you, why would they work with you?
The reality is that as a real estate finance professional, you will have an opportunity to work with a broad array of partners and clients. But if you are not making a statement within your community as the go-to expert, then how will you ever extend this competitive edge to your digital and online clients?

Capture attention

If you’re still feeling unsure and searching for reasons to join your next neighborhood block party, here are some business benefits of taking a more community-based marketing approach. First, understand that ongoing engagement equals increased client retention.
With the decline of attention spans, unfortunately, it doesn’t take more than a handful of negative reviews on Facebook to sway a client’s decision. Along with consumer review sites that dominate a person’s purchase process, it has become more difficult for mortgage originators to retain clients and build a solid referral system.
How do you curb this problem? Stay relevant. Become known within your community. Building a strong social experience for your potential clients breeds loyalty — not only to your brand but to each other as members of this “club” you’ve created.
And there’s no need to overspend on paid advertising. With spending on paid searches growing by 23% year over year in fourth-quarter 2021, there’s no shortage of pesky banner ads and intrusive advertising. What you need to do is focus on the people behind the screens.
Investing time into your community and engaging with potential clients scratches an itch — the human need for interaction — that paid advertising can’t. This is something that will never change. People are motivated by emotions (especially when it comes to real estate), so save your Facebook ad money and go meet some people face to face. ●


  • Krish Dhokia

    Krish Dhokia is senior vice president of marketing at Kind Lending LLC. With more than 20 years of experience in the arena, Dhokia has honed his craft in lead generation and social networking, spanning small to large businesses across multiple industries. Nicknamed “Crush it Krish,” Dhokia was one of the 2016 recipients of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 Under 40” award and is a frequent speaker in the mortgage, finance and real estate spaces. 

You might also like...