Residential Magazine

Widen Your Circle

Local marketing is about much more than advertising on a bus-stop bench

By Alec Hanson

For many, if not most mortgage originators, the idea of “local market outreach” has been to build relationships with local Realtors. While this traditional approach to building your business is fantastic, it should not be your only local marketing angle. If it is, you’re definitely missing out — and you could be left behind.

Believe it or not, there’s a ton of opportunity for you to build your local-market muscle by establishing relationships, generating client opportunities and growing your business. Best of all, it’s right under your nose. To do this, you must ask yourself three basic questions: What do you care about? What does your local market care about? How can you be of service?

Nurture relationships

When people first hear the words “local marketing,” they often immediately think of adding their face to an advertisement on shopping carts or bus-stop benches. Let’s flip that term upside down and instead talk about it in a framework of supporting the communities in which you live and work by engaging them with authenticity, education and service. In other words, market yourself for opportunities through service to your local community.

In simple terms, this means that in order to grow your business, you must continue to deepen relationships within your community, and why not do this in the places where you spend your time? It could be your church. It could be your gym. It could be the softball team that you coach, the drama program at your child’s high school or the local senior center. It’s different for every one of us — and yet it provides all of us with the power and ability to build influence. When you build influence, you gain opportunity.

Once you identify these places, you can determine how you can be of service. Let’s be honest for a second: Does every person you come into contact with even know you’re a quality mortgage professional? Would they call or text you the second they had a question about home financing? Often the answer is no. So, what can you do about that? Surprisingly, your efforts do not have to be large or elaborate. Simply changing your perspective on how you can become a bigger part of your community creates a volume of ideas that you could act on. 

Say you spend a great deal of time at the gym. Your initial efforts could be as simple as wearing a branded T-shirt when you’re working out. You could sponsor a smoothie bar once a month. Maybe you could sponsor a “body fat challenge” and host the dunk tanks twice during the challenge, encouraging fellow members to lose weight and helping the owner of the gym to run a cool event. Small but authentic gestures can truly have a dynamic and dramatic impact. You’re flexing your influence muscle, all while building genuine relationships and being a good community servant. 

Serve others

You also should consider what your local market cares about and get involved in those areas. This could be as simple as sponsoring a garage sale or a community cleanup, sponsoring or participating in a local 10K charity run, or providing the refreshments for a monthly community meeting.

And you don’t have to stop there. Help community members you may not know (yet) by holding regular educational seminars. Pick themes or topics, such as first-time homebuyers or downsizing for retirement. Alternatively, invite local real estate agents and talk about the different types of products you offer that might appeal to their clientele. As you consider your options and try to be authentic, your local marketing strategy should be done to serve, support, thank or connect with the people in your local community. 

And don’t forget about social media. Think about how you’ve spent years building your Facebook and Instagram followings. Your local marketing efforts are massively complemented by simply documenting what you are doing on your social media channels. 

Use your social presence to help increase engagement with any outreach that you plan to do. Showcase your upcoming classes, seminars or networking events. Promote garage sales and community cleanups. Provide insight on new products or dispel misconceptions (like 20% down for first-time homebuyers). In other words, use your social channels to reinforce your activity.

The mortgage industry may be on the cusp of a variety of technological changes that are sure to challenge and inspire us, but one thing is not going to change: the need to connect, serve and relate to other people. The need to nurture in-person relationships has never been more important. 


  • Alec Hanson

    Alec Hanson is senior vice president of production at loanDepot and oversees the retail channel’s Pacific Southwest Division. He has been recognized over the years as a top 1% loan originator, team builder and industry thought leader. Hanson was instrumental in the development and execution of loanDepot’s Modern Lending Playbook, which aims to help originators thrive in today’s industry. Learn more about the playbook at Reach Hanson at (714) 464-1157 or

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