You probably already know marketing is a critical component to successful sustainability in the mortgage industry. But do you know what you have to implement in your marketing arsenal in the first place? If not, this report may help!
For privacy concerns, the case study used for this report will be referred to as “Benchmark Lending”.
Table of Contents
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
In the Fall of 2017, Benchmark Lending decided to make a big push towards SEO. From updating web page searchability, to syncing review management systems, to rolling out location-based marketing on Google, Bing, and more; Benchmark Lendingsure had its hands full!
Most originators don’t take much thought into what the backend of a website says, but the contrast is clear once commonly overlooked changes such as picture meta-data, Google Maps accuracy, and Search Engine Verification takes place. Though being the smaller lender when compared to it’s smaller competition, Benchmark was able to make up for that with it’s organic reach! This lender reached over 172K visits in 2018, not too shabby! (Data sourced through Google Data Studio).
These small but powerful changes enabled Benchmark to catch a glimpse of the sleeping giant that is online conversion.
If SEO is where you struggle, Golden Medina LLC offers many affordable solutions for lenders of all sizes.
Realizing the high volume of untapped leads needed to be channeled effectively, Benchmark subsequently launched a number of platforms to help its Sales Force manage this audience.
· CRM – Benchmark simplified their mass marketing by implementing a Customer Relationship Management system, automating Email Follow-up through direct LOS integration.
· Mobile App – A Mortgage mobile app allowing instant invitations for both new & dated leads is a huge win for any lender. Coupling that with instant pre-quals & a consumer facing mortgage calculator also made this app a huge hit amongst, Benchmark’s loan officers.
· Home Search Channel – Adding an immersive Home Locating Channel was not only a relatively simple integration, but a powerful one directing consumer engagement within Benchmark’s app & away from platforms such as Zillow & Realtor.com.
· Credit Monitoring & Mortgage Inquiry – This is a GREAT addition for any lender looking to maximize client retention. By using a Credit Score & Mortgage Inquiry tracking tool, Benchmark’s sales teamis able to receive instant notifications when their lead’s credit scores fluctuate as well as know when a client is shopping around with another mortgage lender.
Golden Medina LLC can further optimize this tool by plugging it directly into to your CRM/project management apps.
· Review Management – Benchmark’s Review management software is able to post reviews across many popular channels, provide a real-time leaderboard, and even monitor review activity on employee social sites. This is definitely a powerful asset for SEO & Brand Building.
· Marketing Design Platform – Speaking of Brand Building, Golden Medina LLC can set up lenders like Benchmark with personalized design platforms that build up SEO & traditional marketing activity with on-brand, collaborative designs.
The development of these systems, along with other business expansion efforts, undoubtedly helped increase online lead count while help minimize seasonal slowdowns. (See graph below, Data sourced from Google Analytics).
Even with the many strides towards increasing online reach, it is evident that organic reach has taken a massive plummet across all platforms. With this being said, it will become increasing more important that Benchmark capitalizes on all online actions and provides its sales force with access to manage SEO platforms such as Google my Business, Bing for Business, & more!
(Data sourced from Google My Business).
Today’s consumers expect to see your presence across a variety of platforms & devices. While it is evident consumer brand loyalty has dropped significantly over the years, your brand can help minimize this effect by becoming adaptive enough to appeal to your entire online audience. Benchmark has chosen to adapt by acquiring 5 new DBA’s!
While having an arsenal of DBA’s is a huge advantage, it is also a huge undertaking when it comes to properly building out each entity’s SEO and lead funneling systems.
To maintain this process as organized as possible, proper attribution must occur at a DBA level. Golden Medina LLC has developed extensive tracking tools that can be easily manipulated through platforms like Instapage & Leadpages. Mobile apps, Review Management, and all other systems will need to display the appropriate DBA in order to prevent a drop in online ranking.
Knowledge is Power
Empowering the right team members will make a huge impact when conducting both long-term & short-term decisions.
Facebook’s Business Manager allows companies the ability to organize branches, divisions, & even entire DBAs into scalable dashboards. Facebook additionally offers partner insights that can be shared amongst companies to ensure a database is truly being worked on all fields!
There have been many important steps that were critical to Benchmark’s social media push. Projects include but are not limited to: location creation for every branch across social networks, creating a customizable platform for Loan Officers to create engaging content, and social media training at a branch level, as well as on a one-on-one basis.
“The problem is, we’re all using social networks as distribution instead of native platforms to actually tell stories.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
The educational portion of social media usage must remain a focus for large-scale results. Simple actions such as having the Sales Force like, comment, & share every post will pay off in the long run.
Benchmarking at a Glance
Facebook Business Manager offers pages the ability to monitor competitor metrics real time.
Benchmark’s branches must scope out regional competitors to, not only set S..MA.R.T. goals but, see if there is room for acquisition & recruiting. Let’s face it, many lenders will not be able to adapt to the ever-changing digital playing field.
(Data Sourced from Facebook Business Manager).
Most content creation efforts are directed at a corporate level. It’s only logical, right? While corporate branding is extremely important, it has not yielded significant social growth for national lenders like Benchmark. Todays’ audience is more interested in a company’s client interactions than corporate holiday marketing. To grow social attention, Benchmark will need to post more “branch level” content to appeal to more audiences.
This means becoming more personalized in the company’s social media “voice”.
Keep note, your online engaged audience may not mirror your customer audience. With this being said, catering to the engaged audience is still important when considering how it will affect the brand further down the line.
(Data sourced from Instagram’s Audience Insights).
Marrying Mobile Applications with Social Media Platforms
While iOS/Android App Vendors may need to get switched out due to business demands, there is one overlooked constant: In-house applications within social media, such as Facebook’s app creation suite for developers!
The most common application for these apps is developing games, for a mortgage company to crack the code on Facebook apps, this is a game changer! Golden Medina LLC has created many user-friendly apps to help companies increase productivity, capture leads, & grow their brand.
YOUR ONLINE AUDIENCE
To reap the best results from online conversion, it is crucial to understand where your audience is in the Customer Journey. By using Deep Learning tools such as BlueConic, Benchmark successfully implemented its first A.I. tool in Summer of 2018.
BlueConic now enables Benchmark to produce interactive banners, landing pages, and messaging based off of visitor identifiers. Triggers are activated from various Listeners such as AdBlock Detection, Ad Sources, Browser Language & more.
Audience interaction can be further optimized by using heat-map tools. Empty or “dead” areas, for example, may indicate that a page’s layout needs to be adjusted to generate more leads.
Benchmark currently has powerful databases that have barely even reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online engagement.
Golden Medina LLC has created Saved, Custom, & Lookalike Audiences specific to each loan officer in order to launch campaigns with precision that was previously unavailable.
Benchmark is currently able to provide each Loan Officer with the ability to create their own custom audience based on their past databases, business objectives, or past social media engagement. Having a social media-friendly CRM will make a huge difference when scaling the upload of the sales force’s data.
(Data Sourced from Facebook Business Manager).
Every industry needs to be prepared to communicate to their audience in a variety of ways in order to maintain online stability. Sources that need to be further implemented include but are not limited to:
– SMS Dialogues
– Recorded Voicemail Campaigns
– Messenger Chat Bots
For optimal user experience, each Branch should have the ability to customize their communication funnels. Successful Bots will need to be adapted to the individual Loan Officer’s “voice”, so as to retain authenticity.
DIGITAL SALES STRATEGY
Benchmark has made monumental strides towards harnessing digital sales. One of the most important moves was developing an effective way to leverage existing partners’ success, while being able to properly distribute leads through the company.
This was made possible through their custom retargeting system centered on user experience and automation. Benchmark later developed another AI-backed system to generate niche audience leads, help Loan Officers increase their personal brand, target key audiences, and cement themselves tech-empowered professionals.
Golden Medina LLC has developed it’s own AI programs that can be custom-molded to your existing digital sales pipeline, resulting in exponential growth!
Here’s what happens when proper execution of both SEO & Lead Retargeting take place. A minimal Google Retargeting expense [approximately $100 per month] has led to Benchmark converting 438 leads within 2 months, and that’s without having to do any paid advertising on Facebook for our Broker partners.
At a glance, these look like pretty strong results…but there’s so much more “grey area” to untap!
(Data Sourced from Facebook Business Manager).
You may notice only 62 sources are currently mapped to the attribution metrics. With a sales force of 300+ and an average of 1.5 agent partners per loan officer, Benchmark islooking at around 450 sources…and this doesn’t even include mobile app attribution!
The need for B2B will always be there; however, there needs to be proper offline event tracking in order to get true Marketing-Sales insights. For this to happen, traditional transaction data, currently living on Benchmark’s LOS systems, and high-level performance metrics, currently living on a generalized dashboards, need to be uploaded to data-hubs, such as BlueConic & Facebook Business Manager.
It may seem like a daunting feat, but with the right Marketing Partners, it can be done!
One thing that is evident with the new age of Digital Sales is that proper implementation requires time. To make sure the right steps are taken along the way, mortgage companies will have to get out of their comfort zone and begin safely sharing success metrics with their competitors.
Why? Because digital AI is still in its infancy for mortgage/real estate companies. By only sharing superficial data with each other, companies risk a lack of competitiveness. Small to mid-sized companies cannot afford to try to figure things out on their own when industry giants like Realtor.com are developing technology at an impressive rate.
Emphasis on the New Era of Compliance
Implementation of AI-friendly compliance technology will be critical in order to launch campaign objectives in a streamlined process. Brand Safety tools & Block Lists, 2 relatively untouched features in Facebook’s Business Manager, can revolutionize the way lenders perform compliance audits.
Long gone are the days of manual opt outs!
There is a growing need for digital marketing support, and as teams struggle to adopt all the technology, a localized marketing specialist is essential for true adoption. Don’t leave your team without a proper line of support!
About the Author
Marlon Medina is an experienced marketing specialist with an emphasis on scalable lead generation & retargeting. Marlon has helped lenders across the US build out powerful marketing tools to help keep lenders ahead of the game.
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