As mortgage rates remain historically low and demand surges, lenders have major opportunities to bring in more business. But a hot market, of course, also means vastly increased competition.
Not only are other financial institutions trying to capitalize on the high demand, but non-depository originators are on the prowl more than ever. Already they have doubled their share in the U.S. market from 25% to 50% in the past ten years, according to McKinsey. In addition, direct-to-consumer originations account for more than one-quarter of the market.
Clearly mortgage lenders can use all the help they can get to stand out in a fast-paced and crowded marketplace. Financial marketers can provide help by focusing their efforts on digital mortgage marketing strategies. Let’s look at five that have the most potential to drive new business.
1. Not Just Mobile, the Right Kind of Mobile
As consumers have spent the last year communicating and doing business digitally amid stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines, they have come to expect a seamless, convenient digital experience more than ever. Even before the pandemic, borrowers preferred mobile options when offered 78% of the time, an Ellie Mae survey found.
Now, consumers expect to engage with their financial institutions through their smartphones to do everything from open accounts to submit mortgage applications. If you haven’t already invested in a convenient mobile lending app, this would be a good time!
But invest carefully. You want technology that allows mobile digital document uploads, automated quality assurance, and application data pre-fill using internal and external APIs. These advanced mobile offerings will soon be table stakes as lenders see the benefit in speeding up sales cycles and decreasing costs.
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2. Chat Is Essential, But Must Be Compliant
Research shows that Millennials and Gen Xers are three times likelier than Baby Boomers to communicate with their lenders often through online chat. This is a significant factor because Millennials are currently the largest homebuying cohort and Gen Xers are the highest-earning homebuyers, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Loan officers should meet them where they are with direct message marketing.
Of course, direct messaging online does present compliance concerns. Regulations around electronic communications abound, and financial institutions must have the right protocols and tools in place to guarantee messaging stays compliant.
Social media management software can automate approval processes so that no message goes through without getting proper sign-off from compliance and marketing personnel first.
Be sure to archive every social media comment and message to prove compliance when auditors come knocking.
Marketers should also work with compliance teams to develop a thorough, easily accessible electronic communication policy so that loan officers never have to guess whether their messaging is compliant.
3. When Used Correctly, Social Gives Traditional Lenders an Edge
When loan officers post branded content on their own social media channels, they can achieve greater reach and engagement than the brand profile alone. Audiences relate more to actual people than to brand names, so this approach can help humanize your institution and set a foundation for strong relationship-building. As digital direct lenders become more competitive, the human element is a strong differentiator for loan officers today.
What loan officers share matters, however. They shouldn’t be posting promotional messaging about your lender’s products and services — that won’t do much to build relationships. But sharing content that highlights their expertise, helps educate consumers on relevant topics and provides real value is effective.
Be sure to set up approval workflows for lenders’ posts so an ill-advised message doesn’t land you in regulatory hot water.
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4. Boost Your Social Strategy With Paid Advertising
While organic posting helps set a foundation for trust and thought leadership, social media platforms have updated their algorithms in recent years to limit the visibility of brand-related posts. Putting some budget behind a paid social media strategy, however, can help you reach the right audiences at exactly the right time.
In addition, the advanced targeting capabilities of paid social media marketing allow you to pinpoint exactly who you want your ad to land with, which ensures that the time you and your loan officers put into social media pays off.
5. How to Drive Up Your Conversions
Don’t let the customer experience stop at a social media post. To convert social page views into leads, include a path for consumers to engage further with you. Create landing pages on your website for each target audience in order to deliver more relevant and valuable content to the people who need it most.
Loan officers can include links to relevant landing pages in their social posts, and viewers can navigate to those pages where they’ll be prompted to enter their name and email address to receive a valuable piece of content — a “Mortgage 101 Guidebook,” for example. This way, consumers get helpful and targeted information, you get contact information for primed leads, and you can pass on more tangible opportunities to your loan officers.