3 Key Factors Impacting Digital Loan Application Submission Rates
Why do some lenders thrive while others lag? What separates the best mortgage lenders from the also-rans and everyone else?
Your borrowers are smarter and more informed than ever. They know what’s happening with interest rates. They know how to figure out their own credit scores. They can calculate payments online with ease. In short, today’s mortgage consumer needs more than just a mortgage – they want great experiences to demonstrate a lender’s commitment to their success.
The conversion rate, or submission rate, for your marketing efforts, is a critical metric for your mortgage business’ success. Industry-leading conversion rates can make up for lower traffic numbers and smaller marketing budgets in ways few other metrics can match – simply increasing the submission rate on your application page from 1% to 2% can bring in substantial new revenue when you’re already driving thousands of prospective applicants to your site.
Conversion rates for real estate-related businesses tend to be on the lower end of the scale. A Wordstream study of Google Ads conversions by industry found a typical conversion rate for real estate was 3.4% for search ads and just 0.4% for display ads. A similar Ruler Analytics study placed real estate conversion rates dead last among all surveyed industries, at just 1.7%.
Your mortgage business doesn’t have to settle for the “industry average,” though. With a few smart improvements, you can boost your conversions and submission rates, generating more revenue from the same volume of leads.
Here are five common obstacles between your customers and their completed applications, and some easy ways to fix those issues…
1. Poor user experience / user interface design
User experience and the user interface, or UX and UI, are the foundational aspects of any digital process, whether you’re trying to get people to play a mobile game or apply for a $500,000 mortgage. Great UX will boost conversions and submissions, while poorly designed UX and UIs will actively hinder your conversion efforts.
The first thing you can fix is your loading times and general page performance. Every second your leads have to wait to use your site – and any digital applications hosted on it – makes them far more likely to leave for an alternative.
We like to use GTMetrix.com to check our site and page performance. This free tool can scan any page on your site to tell you how quickly it loads, highlight anything that might be unnecessarily slowing it down, and will even provide some basic guidance to help you and your website team make the right changes.
Speed alone won’t win over your leads, though.
Great UX delivers a great experience on whatever device your leads view your application. Your mortgage application page should be easy to find on every other page on your site, or at least on every page from which you’d like to generate leads. This might be as simple as placing a prominent call-to-action (CTA) button on your navigation menu, or it might involve carefully seeding contextually relevant CTAs throughout the content of your site’s pages.
Here are some quick tips to improve your UX / UI:
How to improve your UX / UI:
- Ensure your site and its pages load as quickly as possible
- Make sure your application works well on any device (responsive design)
- Make your site and pages easy to navigate and understand
- Place relevant CTAs throughout your site to direct leads to your application
2. Applicant or borrower fatigue
Let’s face it. Your prospects are more impatient than ever. An application process full of hoops to jump through and boxes to check off can quickly become a barrier to completion, particularly when dealing with borrowers with existing mortgages who want to refinance or take out new loans.
In many ways, applicant fatigue is a subset of poor UI / UX design. Good design extends to all aspects of your online experience, from your company’s homepage to its application forms. A clunky, overly complex, and overly demanding application can be a deterrent to completion.
How can you address this issue?
Like other aspects of great UI and UX design, great forms and application experiences often benefit from experienced guidance. Some application-management solutions make it easy to customize your applicant experience with tailored form fields, multiple steps, save-and-exit capabilities, and other useful features. However, if no one on your team has experience creating application forms, you may want to contract an expert for this integral step in your process.
And, like other aspects of great UI and UX design, your borrowers’ experiences will differ on different computing form factors. A Jotform study found desktop users were nearly twice as likely to submit forms as mobile users, and the discrepancy grows larger as the number of form fields increases. You can’t eliminate borrower fatigue entirely on mobile devices, but you can mitigate it by giving applicants easy ways to resume their applications later on their desktop PCs.
Whether you’re designing your own applications or working with experts, here are a few questions to ask to help you improve the experience and minimize applicant fatigue…
How to reduce applicant fatigue:
- Map out your customer journey, including common steps before applications
- Don’t overload applicants with excessive requests for data and documentation
- Make it easy to save progress and return to applications later
- Test different form arrangements on different devices
3. Tech stack integrations or conflicts
A brilliant UI and a fantastic form will both be wasted if your website back-end, application or form software, and CRM don’t play nicely together.
Borrowers want a seamless experience, which in 2022 requires numerous different pieces of software to be well-integrated and cross-functional. The average business uses dozens of different tools or software platforms from day to day – one analysis by Siftery found an average of 37 tools per business – which presents many potential points of failure on both front-end and back-end operations.
Your applications need to auto-populate submitted data into your CRM. Customer support tools should also be able to tap into borrower data wherever available to streamline the helpdesk process and make it easier to quickly solve applicant issues. Your marketing efforts should be able to properly attribute lead sources to applicant data to improve both your marketing ROI and your ability to personalize communication. And for most mortgage businesses, these three integrations are only a start.
If you have an IT manager or department, they should be able to properly integrate all your essential tools together in ways that make sense and can help borrowers. If you don’t have IT personnel on staff, you should strongly consider hiring an expert. An expert on your CRM of choice will typically be best-equipped to integrate your back-end tech stack, while a web developer (possibly the one you’ve hired to build your website) tends to know how to integrate your front-end tools to improve borrower UX.
If you’re not a tech guru, don’t tackle this stuff yourself. While it may be easier than ever to integrate different technologies together, it’s not always a cakewalk, and mistakes or missed connections can have a real impact on your bottom line.
Here are a few general tips to help you improve your integrations, even if you never write a line of code or access any admin consoles…
How to improve your tech integrations:
- Try to select complementary tools (most CRMs have databases of software that can natively integrate with them, like Salesforce’s AppExchange)
- Work with a qualified CRM expert and/or web developer
- Test everything to ensure compatibility and interoperability
These three factors don’t represent an exhaustive list of the common causes for applicant fatigue, but they will most likely weigh heaviest on your efforts to convert leads into mortgage customers. Addressing them all will put you head and shoulders above most mortgage lenders, and might even bolster your brand perception and increase customer loyalty. It will take time, effort, and expense to properly overcome these issues, but the long-term benefits will be well worth it.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your outcomes by addressing multiple issues with one platform, take a look at Floify. We offer highly customizable application forms with top-notch UI design, and we have native integrations with many top mortgage business software tools as well. Adopting Floify could get you several steps closer to overcoming borrower fatigue, so get in touch with us today, or start your free trial now to see how Floify can help your business.