The average website converts a small percentage of traffic to qualified mortgage leads, which makes it all the more important to first optimize your website for conversions. Once you have taken those steps, it is time to start pulling the levers that bring traffic to your site.
It is important to remember that there is no silver bullet when it comes to directing traffic to your website. No single thing you do will make for an instant and dramatic change; however, the cumulative effect of nailing these details, mixed with some time, will result in an increase in qualified traffic.
Organic Traffic Generating Channels
When we’re talking about generating traffic to your website, we categorize the sources in which that traffic comes from into channels. You may choose to employ different tactics or strategies within a channel, but that doesn’t change the source – social media will always be social media no matter how you go about leveraging it.
The following channels are those that show the best results with the lowest outlay. In most cases, the only cost is your time.
As marketers say, “content is king”. In part one of our mortgage leads series we talked about utilizing niche content that is of high-value to your potential customers to establish authority and build trust. That same content acts as a magnet for you in search engines. You also share it on social media to generate traffic.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enabling search engines, like Google or Bing, to know exactly what your content is about so that it can be appropriately delivered to individuals who are seeking related content. Traffic may be your end goal, but for Google, etc., their goal is to help people find the best content for the topic they’re looking for.
The intersection of those two goals is where your content needs to live. Provide value on the subjects your potential prospects are interested in, then optimize it so prospects can find it in search engines. SEO can be intimidating, but by nailing a few of the on-page basics you should be able to position your content to rank well in search results.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s a good article on some basic SEO by the folks at Moz.
This is most likely the easiest recommendation to implement if you haven’t already. Make sure you’re listed on relevant local directories and that your profile has accurate information.
If you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, sign up for one ASAP. Not only is it free, but it allows the listing of your business in Google Maps. Your business will also show up in local search results. Furthermore, it allows you to collect unbiased reviews that build credibility. To see the power of a Google My Business listing, check out the website local SEO section below.
Other local listing sites to consider include Zillow, Yelp!, AngiesList, and any hyper-local listings in your community.
Website Local SEO
Another low-hanging-fruit recommendation is to ensure that your website’s metadata is appropriately set up for local search. Every website has a title and description that display in search results. Dial yours into leverage keywords appropriate in your local market. For example, when we search our backyard for “Boulder Colorado Mortgage Broker,” which one would think might be a popular search among people not native to the area, we get these results:
As you can see in the screenshot above, our search first returns a few of the major listing websites because those sites have a TON of authority (i.e. brand recognition). Immediately after, Google lists a local business whose site title is close to an exact match to our search terms. Google rewards that local site by displaying their Google My Business listing in the first position on the map. And bonus: their 5-star rating is also prominently displayed.
Interestingly, even if the prospect’s search doesn’t contain the desired location, Google uses their IP address to determine their physical proximity to local businesses. When we repeated our search for just “mortgage brokers” we got similar local results.
There are countless other Boulder, Colorado mortgage brokers with many positive reviews; however, they all failed to overtake First American Mortgage, PLLC for the No. 1 spot because they used this easy-to-implement search term tactic.
In a recent Bright Local survey, 90% of consumers reported that they “regularly” or “occasionally” read online reviews for local businesses. The ease at which business experiences are shared now has taken the concept of social proof, expanding it ten-fold to become “reputation marketing”.
Positive reviews are important to winning the 2-second battle for attention in search results, as well as via review-centric services like Yelp!. Having a review “star rating” of 4 or 5 stars is proven to be associated with trust, whereas people will skip over your website if it has 3 stars or below. How often do you eat at a poorly reviewed restaurant?
After a successful closing with a satisfied customer, ask them to share their experience with you by writing a review. Remove the friction and make it as easy as possible by sending them the direct link to write the review. Have a plan, and rotate the services in which reviews are being posted (Google, Zillow, Yelp!, Facebook). To generate even more reviews, consider rewarding reviewers with a discount or other incentive.
We’ve written on social media marketing for loan officers before, and the major points still ring true. 72% of all adult internet users are on Facebook, and they are spending more and more time on the platform than ever.
Social media is an interconnected network of social circles. Each person has their “friends” or “connections” in a closely-knit network. Many times, these people are connected to their own special network. This phenomenon creates a powerful opportunity for word-of-mouth marketing via your satisfied clients and their circles.
To be effective when using social media, you have to have a strategy and execute it consistently and repeatedly. Velocity is a major key to social media, so you need to post often.
In your social media posts, you can include links to your content, re-post the content of your partners (or people you’d like to be partners with), post pictures of your clients’ successful closings (make sure to tag them), or record and post short videos of yourself explaining something current and topical. The branding and networking opportunities are endless.
Facebook has become the social media network of record for B2C prospecting. However, it’s important to remember that people don’t go to Facebook to have boring ad-type content thrown in their face. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a more serious network based on professional relationships. Often, this network offers opportunities for niche marketing to professional groups in your area as well.
One rule to remember: always provide value. If you’re looking to network within a LinkedIn group of local real estate agents, for example, add value in the form of content they’re typically interested in. Don’t come across as self-serving.
What Gets Measured, Gets Managed
Once you’ve put in place strategies that generate traffic from these channels, you’ll need to start measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. Google Analytics is the best free resource for understanding where your traffic comes from, and how people are interacting with your website and related content.
With this user-data in hand, you can double-down on activities that promote the channels that drive the highest quality traffic to your business.