The mortgage lending industry is undergoing an unprecedented amount of change. It is truly an industry where if your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. Your competition is communicating with your potential customers on many different platforms: between social media, paid ads online, email campaigns, servicing, and blog posts, they are reaching a new level of online interaction.
The competition is front and center in your potential customer’s inbox and social media feed, targeting them with proven ad campaigns to catch their attention – and they are doing it every day.
The most successful modern-day mortgage companies are actually technology companies that happen to originate loans. With all that in mind, how can small to mid-sized lenders compete with big tech and thousands of dollars of daily ad spending? Although most small and mid-sized lending companies don’t have the advertising budget to compete with the nation’s largest and most advanced lenders, you can still position your brand to grow in your markets with the right strategy.
The New Hybrid Model: Retail Meets Direct to Consumer
We believe the mortgage sales model has shifted from being either a retail loan originator or a direct to consumer originator to a blend of both. If the consumer is shopping online, you also need to be positioned on those same online platforms.
Reaching the customer where they are, even if it’s just your local market, positions your brand to succeed in this new blended model. Having a plan in place to bring your retail brand online is 80% of the work. Recruiting and retaining loan officer talent in this blended online market is more about what technology you offer them to streamline their work and generate leads on demand. Your recruits and current team want to know you have a plan in place to compete in an online world.
So what does this blend of retail and direct to consumer look like? A prime example of a blended mortgage company that uses the latest industry technology and marketing strategies is Quicken Loans. Take a look at the easy interface, clear calls to action, and variety of tools featured on the Quicken Loans website. Studying the lender that spends more than any other single lender in the country on technology, design, and advertising allows you to see what might be missing from your roadmap. Let’s look at three ways that Quicken Loans uses technology and marketing to grow their business.
Google Your Brand
The stat we all know is that around 74% of all customers go with the first lender that they contact. Your brand and your loan officers need to be easy to find online so that your company can be that first contact. When you search for your brand in Google, do the results look like the results below?
You want your website and information to be as close to the top as possible when potential customers search for mortgage lenders. Do a quick search using your company name and then less specific terms such as “mortgage lender Charlotte, NC.” When customers search these terms, will they find you?
If not, it’s important for you to put some resources into optimizing your brand’s keywords for Google. It may also be useful to promote your current rates in targeted paid ads.
The Importance of the Home Page
Next, take a closer look at the Quicken Loans home page in comparison to your own.
The first thing you will notice on the Quicken Loans home page are the clear call-to-action buttons in green that read simply, “Buy a Home” and “Refinance.” Now consider your own home page. Do you have clear calls-to-actions to encourage visitors to start the loan process? Here, we mean a simple pre-qualification or a lead workflow, not a full application link. Most first-time visitors or those who are just beginning the search for a mortgage lender are not ready to set up an account or provide personal information like their social security number or date of birth this early in the process, but you still want to get their contact information and help them get started without overwhelming them right away.
On the Quicken Loans home page, there is also an optional “Chat” feature in the bottom right corner and the overall layout features a clean, minimal design. The header is clear and concise, and there’s not too much text or information to digest as soon as you visit the page.
It’s important to make these same features available on your loan officer landing pages as well. Your loan officers have their own unique brands to promote and need the same tools on their personal webpage to succeed in an online world. Take a look at this example of a loan officer page. Using BankingBridge’s tailored mortgage lending marketing software, this loan officer was able to add many of those same features to his own personal webpage to increase lead capture.
Give the customer different ways to connect with your business and “Get Started” with their loan. Maybe they aren’t ready for a full application, but maybe they just want to see your rates or “pre-qualification” information. Wherever they are in their mortgage search, a home page with the intuitive and easy-to-use features outlined above will help you to meet them there.
Promoting Your Mortgage Rates
For many mortgage loan officers, your rate is your most important selling point. The home page for Quicken Loans makes it easy to find their mortgage rates.
Your mortgage rates are one unique offering that change every day. A potential customer on the Quicken Loans home page has multiple ways to get mortgage rate information quickly and efficiently. They can choose to view the current rates online, chat with someone in the chat box, or talk with a mortgage lending professional over the phone. This way, it’s easy to get your questions answered right away in whatever way you prefer.
This clear and easy communication channel builds trust and offers potential customers a reason to move forward with your brand or return to your website. Bank of America or Wells Fargo customers return to their website several times a week to check their account balance or make a payment. Your unique value is your rates and you should position them to your advantage like the example from Quicken Loans below.
Customer Experience is Key
Creating a hybrid retail-direct to consumer model for your mortgage company starts with understanding how the customer experiences your brand online. Follow the example of industry giants like Quicken Loans to improve the customer experience and stay competitive with these easy steps:
1. Be easy to find online. Invest in Google ads and search engine optimization of specific keywords that include your company name or local market key words.
2. Simplify your home page and your loan officer landing pages. Provide intuitive and easy-to-use tools that allow the customer to get started with the loan process with minimal effort in multiple ways.
3. Display your rates on your website. Your rates are your unique content and should be front and center.
If you are ready to grow your business in a quickly modernizing industry, BankingBridge provides the technology and tools your mortgage company needs to stay up-to-date in an online world, including rate displays and apps to customize your home page. Reach out to schedule a demo today!