Try these loan growth strategies to help your portfolios weather market ups and downs.
- Use data analysis and modeling to identify new marketing opportunities — and who isn’t worth marketing to.
- Develop informational content that makes customers more confident and comfortable with the homebuying and mortgage processes.
- Implement an SEO-driven website refresh to grow brand awareness and site traffic.
- Start an abandoned application marketing campaign to re-engage prospects and build conversions.
- Strengthen professional partnerships by earning trust and providing mortgage information.
- Develop referral and testimonial programs, taking advantage of consumer reliance on personal recommendations.
It’s no secret that the real estate market goes boom and bust — and mortgage portfolios tend to go with them. Over the past few years, mortgage lenders have enjoyed a boom as interest rates bottomed out. Now, all signs point toward the bust end of the cycle. But the mortgage acquisition and retention marketing tactics described here can help lenders energize interest in their home loan products, including purchase mortgages, refinances and home equity solutions.
Use data to direct your mortgage marketing.
Chances are, you’re already using data to inform at least some aspect of your mortgage acquisition and retention marketing. Now make sure you’re maximizing it. Beyond gaining a better understanding of who your customers are, data analysis and modeling can let you:
- Incorporate personalized data points into marketing materials, beyond name and address, to improve engagement
- Segment customers and prospects so you can target them with the most relevant messages and offers
- Find new opportunities for marketing efforts through a portfolio analysis
- Identify people who aren’t good candidates for a particular marketing effort — for instance, CCG’s Momentum Segmentation can pinpoint audience groups with a projected negative return on marketing investment, so you can remove them from a marketing campaign
Emphasize content marketing.
A quarter of home buyers say that lack of understanding about the mortgage process is the biggest challenge to home ownership, according to the NextGen Homebuyer Report from Cultural Outreach.1 That makes a value-added content marketing plan essential to your mortgage acquisition efforts.
It’s equally important for mortgage retention. Relevant, useful content helps strengthen relationships with existing customers and keeps your institution (and your products) top of mind when they’re ready to refinance, make a new home purchase or use their home equity.
Topics can run the gamut from guiding people through the mortgage process, to providing facts on the value of homeownership to building awareness about home equity financing and how it can help them achieve financial goals. Developing a content calendar will help you make sure your content covers key topics and aligns with your other marketing initiatives.
Development is only half the job, though. You also need to distribute the content. You’ll reach the most people by leveraging multiple channels, such as website blogs, newsletters, email, social media, in-app messaging, direct mail, webinars, statement inserts and ATM messages. Using a variety of formats can also help engage consumers, and video (as well as other visual content) is especially impactful.
Refresh your website.
When someone seeks out a mortgage, chances are they’re going to plug a query into a search engine, regardless of whether they’re purchasing, refinancing or tapping equity. That makes search engine optimization (SEO) a critical part of your mortgage acquisition and retention strategy. Implementing SEO tactics can help push your website higher on the search rankings.
But it’s also important that once the consumer clicks through to your website, they get a good experience. That means making sure your site renders well and your forms function properly on any digital device. And it means making sure visitors can find what they need easily — from products and rates to loan officer contact information to customer reviews. Don’t forget that popular pages on your site are also good places to feature your mortgage marketing messages.
Address abandoned applications.
E-commerce retailers have long used abandoned cart campaigns to re-engage shoppers who put an item in their checkout cart, but never made a purchase. The same idea can now be useful to financial institutions. As consumers increasingly shift to digital banking, they’re starting loan applications online — and some are never completing them. Following up on these very warm leads can increase conversions.
Start by ensuring your online application process is as friction-free as possible. Then create an email campaign that’s triggered when an application is abandoned. A series of abandoned cart emails could work 63% better than a single email.2 For instance, you might consider a three-part campaign like this:
- Email 1, sent within a few hours of the abandon, is a gentle reminder that the application is waiting to be finished; you could add an estimated time that it would take the person to complete the process.
- Email 2, sent within a few days, follows up with information that might help the person complete the application, such as a documents checklist or answers to FAQs.
- Email 3, sent a few days after #2, is a little stronger message that might include a limited-time incentive and customer testimonials.
Expand and strengthen professional partnerships.
Real estate professionals and financial advisors are positioned to recommend mortgage lenders to their customers. To help ensure your company is a favored resource, you need to gain trust and demonstrate how you can help their customers. One way to do this is by sending potential partners value-added content, such as through email “bulletins,” newsletters or blogs on your website.
You might cover topics such as mortgage news and trends, as well as consumer-facing information on the mortgage process, different types of home loans, mortgage lingo and other content that helps them educate their customers.
Ask for referrals and testimonials.
This one is an oldie, but a goodie — and there’s a reason why. For starters, more than half of home buyers find their mortgage lender through a referral, according to a Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report.3 And positive online reviews are just as powerful:4
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 72% of consumers act only after reading a positive review
Given the importance of personal recommendations, it’s surprising that just one-third of all financial institutions in North America have a referral program.5 Developing one could give your organization a competitive advantage.
Look Beyond Marketing
Beyond these mortgage retention and acquisition marketing strategies, it can be beneficial to conduct an objective review of your products, processes and services. You may find opportunities to offer new products that would draw in a new audience. Or you may discover friction in your application process — or hiccups in your customer service — that might be turning prospects away before they become customers.
Evaluating these factors and enhancing your marketing efforts can help keep your home loan portfolio healthy and growing regardless of economic and real estate cycles.
If you need an objective, data-based overview of your HELOC portfolio or strategic marketing recommendations, CCG is here to help. Our financial marketing experts have more than 40 years of experience guiding financial institutions to improved revenue and driving customer action with a comprehensive array of services and solutions. Schedule a free consultation or call us at 303.986.3000 today to see how we can help.
1 “2021 NextGen Homebuyer Report,” Cultural Outreach, MBA and National MI, https://www.culturaloutreach.com/2021nextgenreport, accessed May 9, 2022
2 “Ecommerce Email Marketing Statistics 2018 [Infographic],” Bernard Meyer, Omnisend, posted Sept. 5, 2018, https://www.omnisend.com/blog/ecommerce-email-marketing-statistics-infographic/, accessed May 9, 2022
3 “20 Steps You Can Take to Grow Your Mortgage Business,” Zillow, https://www.zillow.com/lender-resources/grow-mortgage-business/, accessed May 6, 2022
4 “The Importance of Online Customer Reviews [Infographic],” Khalid Saleh, Invesp, https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/, accessed May 10, 2022
5 “10 Referral Programs That Are Shaking Up the Finance Industry,” Saasquatch, https://www.saasquatch.com/blog/rs-financial-industry-referral-marketing-examples/, accessed May 10, 2022