Competition is heating up for lenders, and with profitability becoming a struggle in today’s market, the way you market your services can make all of the difference. By creating a reliable funnel of leads through strategic marketing, you can guard your business against coming challenges.
Loan officers wear many hats, with the role of “marketer” chief among them. Of course, while managing your workload, it’s easy to fall behind the marketing curve. The key to marketing your lending services is to stay consistent and keep it simple by figuring out what works for you and doubling down on those strategies.
Here are some best practices and marketing tips for loan officers looking to win business and stand out from the competition in 2022.
1. Make content the backbone of your strategy.
To win interest and trust, mortgage lenders need to focus on leveraging their expertise in a way that helps borrowers feel more confident throughout the mortgage process.
As Brent Vallat, Head of Lending for Varo Money, puts it:
“Integrating financial education tools with a focus on responsible lending options is the future of this industry. The impetus will be on socially responsible companies to create products that not only address immediate borrower and refinancing needs, but also helps customers use credit responsibly in anticipation of future needs.”
According to Cultural Outreach’s 2021 NextGen Homebuyer Report, one in four buyers finds a lack of understanding about the mortgage process to be the biggest challenge to homeownership. Because of this widespread confusion, insightful content that can inform and guide overwhelmed homebuyers through the process is an incredibly effective way to provide value to your customers and attract new borrowers into your funnel.
Plus, by educating borrowers on the criteria for mortgage approval and the finances needed, you’ll help to set prospective customers up for success when they proceed with taking out a loan.
Content creation can take many forms, including:
- Blog articles
- Ebooks and white papers
- Social media
The key here is to start small, test low-lift strategies, and scale the efforts that work. Don’t be afraid to get creative here. For instance, in a growing trend, lenders are using TikTok to serve “edutainment” to Gen Z audiences that spend time on the platform. The lesson here is to think through what will be truly useful to your target borrower and then distribute that value-add content where your audiences will see it.
Content requires continued effort, but it pays off. According to global marketing research and advisory firm Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
2. Step up your email marketing game.
A 2020 study found that email marketing had an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent, a number that has largely stayed consistent for years. Email marketing is tried-and-true, and its cost-benefit makes it worthy of your attention.
Email marketing serves as a targeted method to reach prospects in a way that feels personal. Consider sharing industry studies and relevant mortgage content with your prospective customers. A bi-weekly newsletter, for example, is a great, low-effort way to share industry information, offer tips, and increase your value to prospective homebuyers.
A solid email and content marketing strategy can also help you attract business from real estate agents. Because agents get so many emails from lenders, it’s in your best interest to figure out a way to add value with your email marketing.
A real estate agent we talked to when researching for our eBook Winning Agent Business once raved to us about a loan officer who would send him weekly industry updates and rates. Consider utilizing your industry expertise to craft content that will add value for borrowers—and, by extension, real estate agents.
3. Embrace visual content.
While written content undoubtedly holds value in marketing, visual content can often be more compelling than marketing collateral with just written copy. Blog posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement rates than text-only posts.
If you can manage it, simple video content is a great way to boost website performance and usher borrowers more quickly through the sales funnel. Statistics show that people are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a video. Plus, a whopping 72% of Gen Z and 71% of millennials report turning to YouTube when they want to learn about a topic.
Does creating videos and visuals sound daunting? Today, filming a quick video on a phone or editing an image using Photoshop or Canva is easier than ever. Plus, with younger generations of homebuyers embracing authentic, phone-created content, you may find that simple, lower-budget pieces actually resonate better with your target demographic.
4. Give, give, give, then ask.
No one likes being harassed by someone who wants to sell them something. An aggressive email marketing strategy that doesn’t offer anything of value to the prospect is off-putting.
Take inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, who says the first thing you should do is focus first on adding value to your prospect. Share your knowledge. Establish yourself as a trusted resource on all things mortgage and homebuying. Then—and only then—ask the borrower for what you want.
5. Put marketing automation to work for you.
Marketing automation is a great tool for any loan officer who wants to stand out from the crowd. With a little bit of work on the back end, you can build out email nurture tracks with valuable content and information that are automatically sent to your prospects at a specified interval so you can stay top-of-mind as borrowers get closer to being ready to buy.
Automation can also help you maintain a consistent social media presence to stay in front of prospects in a more organic way on the social media apps they use every day. Marketing automation simply automates the more tedious tasks that normally do manually to give you more time to focus on nurturing relationships with your borrowers.
For more on mortgage marketing for loan officers, check out this handy tech checklist for LOs from HousingWire.
6. Think about what you’d want as a borrower.
It’s easy to get so focused on efficiency and productivity that you forget that the borrowers on the other end of the mortgage transaction are real humans. Sit down and take a few minutes to put yourself into the shoes of a first-time homebuyer. If you’re a homeowner, think back to the process of buying your first home. If you’re not already a homeowner, imagine how you might feel the first time you purchase a house.
How would you be feeling? What would be your biggest concerns? How would you find the information you need to feel confident about buying a home? How would you research mortgage lenders? How would you want a loan officer to market their services to you?
To dive deeper, dig into common questions borrowers ask your lending business. Pay attention to the hesitations these customers have around the lending process and the barriers to entry they experience on their way to homeownership.
If you use this knowledge to hone your content, emails, and marketing techniques, you’ll be sure to speak in a way that resonates with borrowers and ultimately wins over their business.