How to Leverage Online Marketing to Win More Clients
Today's lending industry is certainly different than in the past, thanks to newly developed technologies and the advancement of digital lending processes. Even if you’re an experienced mortgage broker, offline marketing methods are no longer enough to help you stand apart in an overcrowded marketplace. Knowing how to choose the best online marketing tools helps you reach a wider audience, build your brand, and increase your client base. This guide has some helpful loan officer marketing tips and ideas to help your business grow, so read on to learn more.
Positioning your brand
If you want to know how to win more clients as a loan officer, it all starts by placing your brand in a winning position. The right marketing can help you build upon your brand and reach a wider audience to increase your ever-growing client base.
Establish a niche
Every successful business focuses on its client niche, and the mortgage lending industry is no exception. Your niche is the audience and type of clients you plan to service, whether they’re high-end buyers, first-time buyers, or clients in the commercial sector. Developing and establishing your niche helps you differentiate yourself from other loan officers. It also helps attract key clients looking for someone with your specific knowledge and skill set. You can establish a niche by focusing on a certain type of loan, a specific industry , or a certain market. Here are some types of customers focus on for a niche approach:
- Clients who need down payment assistance
- Construction loans
- Reverse mortgages
- First-time homebuyers
Research your target market
As you consider how to start your marketing efforts, the best way to determine your business niche is to start looking for trends in the market. Identify gaps or pain points where you can bring value to the table. As a lending professional, doing in-depth market research ensures that you choose and target the right audience and position yourself as an expert in that area. Remember to look at factors like demographics, income levels, credit scores, and buyers’ specific borrowing needs. In most cases, your final target market depends on where you live or what type of housing market you’re in at the time. For example, lenders in high-end markets tend to niche toward commercial or high-end buyers, while those in rural areas may decide to reach out to first-time homebuyers.
Creating your marketing strategy
Once you’ve found a niche, it’s time to create an effective marketing plan to help you achieve your business goals. As you learn how to develop the best online market strategy, remember these tips to help you start off on the right foot.
Define your goals
Start by establishing specific goals that you want to reach as a result of your digital marketing efforts. These goals may include increasing the number of loan applications you process, generating more client leads, or improving brand awareness. Write a list of your goals somewhere prominent so you always keep them top of mind. Be sure to include KPIs that will help you assess whether or not you’ve made progress toward your goals. Remember that it takes time to achieve goals, but having a clear definition can make them much easier to reach. As you achieve one goal, start to set new ones, so you’re always striving to improve. Setting goals is one of the best tips for loan officers on how to grow their business.
Choose the right channels
When you’re providing digital lending, it’s essential to make sure you’re choosing the right channels to help you reach your target audience and achieve your goals. Here are some of the most common channels that can help you gain exposure:
- Social media: From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn, social media is an excellent marketing strategy. Add engaging content like live videos with a Q&A session, host contests, and personal responses to inquiries. The more engaging you are, the more people will want to learn about you and your services. This is an inexpensive yet highly effective way to reach a wide audience online.
- Email marketing: Your email list is a powerful audience of people who have already chosen to receive communications from you. For potential clients, educating them about the lending process can be a powerful way to eventually convert them. For clients you’ve already worked with, this is a great way to stay engaged and hopefully be their first choice for future mortgage needs.
- Content marketing: Lenders know all too well how confusing the mortgage process is to their clients. Add value to your social media and email marketing with content marketing assets. This may include things like in-depth how-to guides, articles about trends in the lending industry, or helpful checklists for buyers. Providing value to new or existing clients can keep them more engaged with you.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): As a loan officer, your website does so much more than serve as a source for information. Loan officers serve a local market, meaning that an optimized website can increase your visibility when customers in your area ask Google for lender recommendations. With some research and tools, you can leverage search engine optimization on your website to boost visibility and earn more clients.
Measure and optimize
As you learn to grow your digital channels as a loan officer, it’s important to measure and track your performance. This helps you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing strategy so you can optimize and adjust accordingly. Consider key metrics to help you make the right data-driven decisions for the best results. These metrics should include things like your monthly website traffic count, conversions from lead generation and general ad conversion rates, and your CAC (customer acquisition costs). Use this data to inform you and then tweak your strategies as needed.
Execute your marketing plan
Here are some tips to help you execute your marketing plan as effectively as possible once you’ve developed a strategy. Your brand is about much more than an attractive logo or catchy tagline. As a mortgage broker, your goal is to create a brand that exudes confidence and experience so customers feel good about utilizing your services.
Develop compelling content
If you want to attract and engage your target audience, you need to develop interesting, compelling content. Everything you publish or send should be informative, helpful, and relevant to your audience’s needs and interests. Putting out quality content is vital if you want to establish your brand, build credibility, and win more clients. Remember that all of your content should make you sound like an expert in your field that people can trust. The more compelling the content, the more interested clients will be in learning more about what you offer.
Use social media to connect with potential clients
It’s important to know how to build your social media channels to provide value to your target audience. Having a social media presence on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter helps you reach more people and appear more credible. Ensure you set up an account with the right social media platforms to build relationships with your followers and engage with potential clients online. One great place to start is on Facebook where many people go to find local businesses and services. When happy clients share their experiences on social media, you gain exposure to their connections. It’s a good idea to stack rank the social platforms that will provide the quickest returns for you first, then expand from there. While it may sound like you have no choice but to be on all of them at once, it’s very difficult to manage 5 social media channels yourself and be successful. Start small and scale as you go.
Use email marketing to nurture leads
Establish an ongoing email list of potential clients and existing customers to send marketing emails to on an ongoing basis. You can use your social media platforms and website to ask your audience to sign up to receive updates from you. From there, leverage a powerful marketing platform to segment your list and market specifically to their needs. Ensure that every email you send captures people’s attention while also building trust. Optimizing your email content with copy testing, infographics, videos, and other assets helps you get the most from this strategy. Ensure you’re analyzing your marketing emails' results, then optimizing them as you go to get the best results possible. Don’t forget to link to your website and social media accounts.
Leverage online reviews and testimonials
Thorough reviews and real, authentic testimonials from your clients are absolutely invaluable when it comes to growing your business. Ask your clients to leave positive reviews whenever possible, and make sure you publish them in as many places as possible, including your website and on social media. Ask each client individually to leave a review or simply send an automated email asking them to do so once a mortgage is closed. As for negative reviews, it’s up to you how you want to handle them. Ideally, you should respond publicly in a calm, professional manner to show others that you care about your clients’ experiences and are taking strides to make things right.
Build a website that boosts credibility
As a lender, your website should always be used to showcase your services and build trust and credibility. Establish website goals and choose a quality website-building platform and server to host your website. Design and optimize your website for some of the major search engines like Google. Always remember to add a call to action to your website. This CTA should encourage visitors to contact you to learn more about how you can help them, or it should ask people to leave reviews, send you an email, or call your office so you can turn a potential lead into a real client.
It's also important to keep in mind how the look and function of your website can make or break credibility. Low-quality design can give the impression of an unprofessional operation and potentially decrease your chances of earning new business. It's also critical to optimize your site for speed to provide the best experience to incoming leads. If your site is slow to respond or inundates visitors with disconnected information, they are likely to exit without interacting.
Retaining and nurturing clients
After you’ve found your niche market, built your website, and developed an effective marketing strategy, it’s time to focus on how to retain and nurture your existing clients. Doing this not only helps ensure they’ll be a repeat client in the future, but it also helps with word of mouth and encourages them to spread the word about your business to others. Retaining clients is much less expensive than finding new ones, and can help bring in “free” new business through referrals. One study by Bain and Company found that increasing client retention by just 5% could help you increase profits from as much as 25 to 95%. Here are some helpful tips to show you how to retain and nurture your existing clients through good communication and incentives.
Offer exceptional customer service
If you’re a mortgage lender, providing outstanding customer service is key to your success. Use some digital tools to help improve the experience, such as follow-up emails, engaging with customers on social media, and staying in touch with your clients online after they close. It’s also important to thank your clients who leave positive reviews so they know you appreciate them taking the time to do so.
One of the best ways to make a good impression is to promptly respond to borrower inquiries. If you’re busy, you can answer inquiries with a list of FAQs in an automated reply. Sometimes, simply answering the most frequently asked questions will be enough. You can also direct inquiries to your website. If you’re out of the office or currently unavailable to answer questions, send an auto-reply letting people know that you’ve received their email and will contact them as soon as possible.
Offer a loyalty program
Come up with some creative ways to provide incentives to your loyal customers. Do this via emailed coupons or by holding contests that offer winners a nice prize. Look for ways to use your digital tools to create a customer loyalty program that works in your niche. For example, if you cater to commercial clients, offer them a discount on office furniture or advertising. Give residential clients special deals on new appliances or a discount on fees when you process their next loan.
Ask for honest feedback
Positive online reviews are extremely valuable for growing your digital lending business. Encourage as many clients as possible to leave positive reviews online so they’re published for others to see. Good reviews help potential new clients understand your level of customer service and past clients’ experiences. If you end up with negative reviews, learn how to respond to them professionally and constructively rather than being reactive.
When it comes to marketing your digital lending business, remember these strategies to help your business grow. With the right niche, digital optimization, and effective customer engagement, you’ll find that getting new leads through outreach to a wider audience can help you grow your profits. Always make sure you offer exceptional customer service and work hard to retain your loyal clients, and you’ll reap all the benefits that being a digital lender provides.