The financial crisis of 2007-2008 all but crashed the American housing market. The demand for existing homes was at its lowest point in recent history. Families watched the equity in their homes evaporate as the call to build new homes fell considerably. It was the worst financial dilemma since the Great Depression.
The good news is things have improved. The U.S. economy is recovering, the outlook is healthy, and new constructions are on the rise. U.S. consumers spent more than $562 billion on residential construction in 2018, and the forecast projects to be approximately $672 billion by 2022. That’s good news for financial and mortgage marketing experts looking for great marketing ideas to attract home buyers.
The mortgage industry is the largest and most complicated home-financing market in the world. It’s no wonder it’s such a competitive space. Don’t feel limited with your marketing strategy. Here are seven great home loan marketing ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
1. Find Your Niche
You’re a financial marketing expert with a penchant for mortgage loans. But have you considered focusing all your attention on a particular area of home loans to narrow down your expertise? You’ve probably heard the old adage:
“Jack of all trades, master of none.”
That figure of speech has long been associated with someone who tried to develop so many different skills, they never became an expert in any particular area. Don’t let that be you if becoming a specialist would enhance your home loan marketing career. If you specialize as a mortgage marketer in a particular area, you could see your business soar as a result. Your marketing strategy may remain the same, but there are different marketing messages for different audiences.
Different Types of Home Loans
If you’re marketing renovation loans, you’ll target those consumers looking to make home improvements or to buy or refinance a home that needs repair work. When you want to help people find a new home that needs repairs, or you want to help them increase the value of their current home, you could specialize in marketing renovation loans.
Christine DePaepe, VP of Mortgage Lending/Renovation Division Manager for Guaranteed Rate, found her niche naturally. You might even say her niche found her.
“I did not initially decide to market myself in a specific way. In fact, it happened organically. Renovation lending became my specialty niche in 2009 when a client was purchasing a home without a kitchen. The property was originally deemed ‘uninhabitable.’ That’s when I found a renovation loan that would help her purchase the property and replace the entire kitchen.
“That experience was so positive that I decided to begin educating other borrowers and real estate agents about renovation lending to revitalize local neighborhoods. Throughout my 20-year-career as a loan officer, it has always been important that my borrowers find home financing that fits their individual needs, whether it be a renovation or a traditional home loan. In turn, my clients trust that I will meet their goals.”
Like Christine, you may have to try your hand at one particular type of mortgage loan before finding if it’s something you want to specialize in.
Note: An FHA loan may also be appropriate for renovations. Keep reading for more on FHA loans.
If you’re marketing VA loans, you’ll target veterans and the military community. A VA loan is a mortgage offering extensive benefits for qualified military veterans and service members (including their spouses) who want to buy a home. What are the benefits? The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees the loans, so there’s no need for private mortgage insurance. Plus, the rates are typically the lowest on the market (compared to traditional bank financing), and no down payment is required.
Here’s some more information about VA loans.
If you’re marketing FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans, you’ll likely target first-time home buyers and those with lower credit scores. When you want to help people find a home—and they have less than ideal credit and/or not much money to make a down payment—consider specializing in FHA loans. An applicant can qualify with a credit score as low as 500 and 10% down. To get the maximum amount of financing, however, they would need a credit score of 580 or higher and 3.5% down.
Here’s everything you want to know about FHA loans.
Once you determine if you want to be an all-encompassing home financing expert or a specialist that’s honed into a particular area, you can get a better focus on your target audience and their needs.
2. Update and Optimize Your Mobile Website
Your website. It’s no longer a matter of whether you have one, it’s about how optimized it is for readers. More than two-billion people have smartphones and more than half the world’s webpage views come from a mobile device. That’s all the convincing you should need to make sure a properly optimized mobile site is one of your home loan marketing ideas.
Studies show that 85% of adults think a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than its desktop site.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
This open-source initiative from Google is a publishing technology that makes it easy for you to create mobile-friendly versions of your content at the touch of a button. Here’s how it works.
AMP pages are like any other web pages, without certain technical functionality that can slow down load times. AMP also features a distribution system built around caching in the cloud, so your content gets to mobile devices faster. The priority is on speed and performance, which leads to several advantages for your mobile website—and business.
Research has shown that slow-loading web pages equate to higher bounce rates. If your web page doesn’t load immediately, the potential customer will move on to another lender. With AMP, you can rest assured that your website’s pages will load immediately. Additionally, AMP allows the widest possible distribution of your content across all platforms and apps. It isn’t limited, therefore neither is your content. You’ll reach more people, which means you’re open to more revenue.
When you’re sure your mobile pages are up to date and loading quickly, you’re putting yourself in the best position to win the business of your visitors. Use AMP’s technology to help you keep your mobile website functioning at a high level.
3. Boost Your Email Open Rate
According to the Direct Marketing Association, for every dollar you spend on email marketing, expect an average return of $38. Studies show that email marketing is the most effective tool for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention. As a financial or home loan marketing expert, you’re likely already using this technology in your marketing efforts. But are you seeing the results you desire?
There are 205-billion emails sent each day. How do you get your recipients to open yours? Let’s start with some stats. According to HubSpot, the average open rate for email across all industries is 32%. Financial emails are slightly higher at 40%, and construction-related emails are even greater at 45%. If you’re not achieving these percentages (or if you want better results), it’s time to zero in on your subject line strategy.
Tweak Your Email Subject Lines
With so many emails moving through the ecosystem, how do you get people to open yours? You can start with a great subject line. Studies show about half of all recipients open emails because of a tantalizing subject line. Invite your recipients to do something, experience something, or enjoy a benefit. Solve a problem for them. Give them a reason to open your email. Here are some specific tips:
- Keep the subject line brief, between 6-10 words.
- Test it before hitting “send” to make sure it’s easy to read on mobile and desktop.
- Stay on target. Don’t make false promises.
- Tap into the recipient’s emotions.
- Give your readers what they can’t get elsewhere, like specific financing, speed, VIP service, etc.
Email should be a big part of your mortgage marketing strategy. Don’t settle for less than your best results by neglecting this quick subject line fix.
4. Marketing to Millennials with Direct Mail
With all the hype of digital marketing, you may view direct mail marketing as an antiquated platform to reach your target audience. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however.
Direct mail isn’t just one of the great modern-day marketing ideas for home loans. It works even better when it’s combined with digital marketing. Almost 75% of consumers say they’d rather work with businesses via multichannel marketing.
Now let’s talk about millennials. Owning a home is a top priority for these Generation Y individuals and the number of homes sold to them is on the rise. Bank of the West reports that 42% of millennials own their own home. Another 40% say they plan to buy within 3-5 years. That’s where you, the financial marketing expert, enter the picture. According to the Financial Brand, millennials need advice, the right mix of products, and tools that are easy to use. What’s the best way to reach them? Would you believe direct mail?
Almost 80% of millennials pay attention to the direct mail they’re receiving. In fact, their love of mail, in general, is beyond that of other generations. They’re more likely to scan it, read it, and show it to other people. About 90% of them redeem offers they receive via direct mail. So you should be using it to market your services and help them find the home they want.
Want some help? MSP brings more than 65 years of experience to direct mail marketing production. We can tailor a solution around your unique challenges and goals as you market to millennials. Learn more about our direct mail capabilities.
5. Post Visual Content on Social Media
In 2018, there were over three-billion people using social media. Facebook has over two-billion active users each month, and other social channels like YouTube and Instagram are reporting all-time-high usage numbers. This is encouraging information, especially when you’re trying to reach your target market on social. Still, how do you gain an advantage over the rest of the brands trying to get their message out there?
Be sure you’re using some kind of visual content.
- It’s over 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
- Facebook posts with images have 2x greater engagement than those without images.
- Over 500-million people are watching videos on Facebook each day.
- Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those that don’t have images.
- There are over 500-million active Instagram users every day.
Here’s some of the best visual content that mortgage lenders are creating (according to NerdWallet).
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans created a social video content studio and invested heavily in aligning their campaigns with consumer interests. For example, they target the mobile user and take advantage of high-profile social media “moments,” from holiday celebrations to zoo births to major motion picture campaigns. As a result, they doubled or tripled their social engagement, depending on the project. Their “Avengers: Infinity War” campaign helped them increase traffic to their website by 50-60%.
While you may not have a partnership with Marvel Comics in your sights, consider partnering with local (or national), high-profile businesses or celebrities to boost your own credibility—and traffic numbers.
Chase Home Lending
Chase, the second-largest originator of U.S. mortgages, launched a customer-driven digital mortgage experience for a faster, more transparent home loan process. To promote it, they turned to their social media channels. Their YouTube video, “The Anatomy of Choosing a Mortgage Product,” demystified complex financial concepts and terms in less than 90 seconds.
Share your knowledge with your social media followers. No matter how large or small your numbers, you can contribute valuable insights and help make sense of the sometimes confusing mortgage loan market. In the process, you’re developing trust with consumers and creating the foundation for future business with them.
New American Funding
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Buying your first home can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time – which is why we have a variety of first-time homebuyer loans to help you through the experience. Learn the basics of homebuying and explore New American Funding’s first-time home buyer loans, so you can get your keys to your first home! Link in BIO
This independent mortgage lender grew from a 40-employee call center into a national mortgage banker and industry powerhouse. They use all their social media channels to provide information about their lending opportunities. This includes non-QM (Qualified Mortgage) loans. Their belief is that everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dream of owning a home. That’s why they’ve taken steps to reach millennials and minority borrowers with technology and marketing.
If you want to tap into a specific demographic, try social media to reach your target audience with the details. Use emotion to connect with them and show you understand their dreams and aspirations. The more they can relate to you, the better chance you’ll have of winning their trust and business.
6. Automate Your Marketing Strategies
Your marketing efforts become a lot easier when you automate some of your tasks. You can automate and distribute any ongoing or repeating communication using print, email, SMS, or social channels. There’s a good chance you’re already doing this in some form. We discussed how you can use email, social media, and direct mail as part of your mortgage marketing strategy. Now let’s see how you can automate them to save time and money and develop a relationship with potential home buyers.
Automate Email Marketing for Mortgage Loans
When you automate specific types of email messages, you’re saving yourself the time of tailoring a new message for each customer. Consider the autoresponder series or drip campaign. Automated emails over a long period of time can help increase your conversions by 50%, provided they’re well written, helpful, on-topic, and sent at the right time in the buyer’s journey. One of the benefits of staying in touch is staying on your customer’s radar. When the time is right for them to get serious about a home loan, you’ll be “top of mind.”
Let’s say a customer signs up for your general interest email newsletter or they fill out a form to receive an e-book or report (or whatever you’re willing to give them in exchange for their contact information). This is where the series of automation begins. The question is: what are you going to say to them in succession to get them to do business with you?
When scheduling a series of emails, only send information that’s relevant to your customer’s needs. For example, you wouldn’t send home-improvement emails to first-time home buyers. Schedule a minimum of one automated email per month, but don’t be so aggressive that you’re sending more than one per week. Include a bold CTA (ask them to give you a call or visit your website) and use helpful content to direct them to your website and social channels.
When you automate your email marketing, you’re sharing valuable content that requires less effort.
Automate Social Media Marketing for Mortgage Loans
As long as you’re directing customers to your website and social channels via automated emails, why not schedule a series of social posts too? Social media demands consistency. As a mortgage marketing expert, you should post relevant, helpful content on a regular basis. Here are a few examples of what you could be posting:
- Video. Teach, share a success story, or offer tips in a (roughly) one-minute video.
- Educational Content. Inform your readers about home loans. Turn to the questions you receive on a regular basis, and you’ll have an endless supply of content to post.
- Emotional Content. The dream of owning a home is just that—a dream—so share your success stories. How were you part of making someone’s dream come true? This is a powerful incentive for your customers. They want to fulfill their dreams and they know you can help.
If you’re concerned that people are missing your social content, create a weekly roundup post and/or send your contacts a weekly summary with links so they can read at their own convenience.
Automate Direct Mail Marketing for Mortgage Loans
The numbers prove that direct mail works, and not just for millennials. Up to 90% of all direct mail gets opened, and almost half the recipients keep their direct mail for future reference. Plus, you could have a 1,255% ROI. By automating your direct mail marketing efforts, you can achieve an even higher level of success. How so? One way is personalization.
By personalizing the direct mail correspondence with your customers, you’re improving your odds of getting your mail opened and receiving a response. About 85% of consumers said they’d be more likely to open a piece of personalized mail. Plus, targeting customers in this fashion can increase your response rates by 50%. Consider a window envelope with a personalized message that shows through. For example:
“Bill, Here’s Your Mortgage Information!”
You could also highlight his unique, qualifying APR, or the anticipated mortgage amount. Personalized, relevant mortgage offers get results, so be sure to take advantage of all your available direct mail data to achieve this.
7. Step Up Your Networking Game
Even with all the aforementioned home loan marketing ideas, it’s still important to meet people in person. Some potential customers will use their face-to-face experience to decide if they want to do business with you. According to a study by the Virgin Group, nothing is more important than in-person interactions. Here are some networking ideas to try.
Mixers and Business Get-Togethers
Check your local chamber of commerce to see if they have regular, informal events where business professionals get together. You might develop valuable contacts within your community. Kick the experience up a notch by becoming a chamber ambassador. It’ll provide more exposure and you’ll get to know the members better.
When you exchange information and ideas with others in your industry, you’re tapping into an entire network of potential clients or target markets. Find ways to participate without selling, though. For example, you could volunteer to handle some of the association’s marketing efforts. In doing so, you’ll not only show your value, you’ll build relationships.
When you give of your time and talent to your community, you’re creating relationships that broaden both your personal and business networks. If you approach volunteer events with the idea of contributing to your community, what you receive in return will reward you both personally and professionally.
Put Your Home Loan Marketing Ideas into Action
Now that you’re armed with some great home loan marketing ideas, it’s time to put them into action and realize the rewards.
Decide what your niche is going to be. Will you specialize in one area of home loans or treat them all as a specialization? Once you know who you’re marketing to, get your mobile website in order. There are more people looking at web pages from a mobile device than a desktop computer, so make sure your mobile site is in tip-top shape. Accelerated mobile pages will help you get there.
Next, decide how you’re going to deliver your message. Email is a no-brainer, but with so much of it in circulation, how do you get your recipient to open yours? You can boost your email open rates with some strategic subject lines. You’ll likely get more opens.
Do your home loan marketing ideas cater to millennials? Almost half of them are in the market to buy a home, so you can appeal to their preferences by using direct mail. More than 40% of millennials want to buy a home in the next few years, and studies show they love receiving mail. MSP can help you reach this growing target market—or any other audience—with direct mail solutions that produce results. Contact us for a free direct mail marketing consultation.
Next, be sure to use visual content with your social media posts because it receives 40% more shares than text-only posts. You can also use automation to plan and design your social posts, as well as your email and direct mail marketing. You’ll not only save time and money, you’ll boost your ROI, too.
Finally, don’t forget to network. You’ll build relationships that reward you both personally and professionally. Almost 100% of people surveyed considered face-to-face meetings essential for long-term business relationships. Create more credibility personally and professionally by meeting people in your community and showing a genuine interest in their lives. The rewards will far outweigh the effort it takes to mix and mingle.
Help for Your Home Loan Marketing Efforts
Do you need help determining your marketing goals, developing a campaign, or deciding what processes and materials are best for your brand? MSP can help. We’re here to assist with all your marketing and mailing needs. Contact us today.
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