Information-based marketing is a great way for companies and mortgage loan officers (MLOs) to enhance their images as experts as well as cultivate additional business. Current industry events present countless opportunities for marketing departments, sales managers and company leadership to arm MLOs and teams with messages and collateral that rise above the clamor of unimaginative competitors and big budget national ad blitzes.
For best results, marketing teams and company leadership develop a system for harnessing industry events as marketing opportunities and work together to prepare material made readily available to MLOs. Keys to using this type of subject matter effectively lie in topic selection, messaging, localization and multi-channel deployment. However, success ultimately depends on originators understanding the value and using the material.
It's great to reach people at the precise moment they are considering a move that involves your services. In reality, it's not always possible to do so and solid repeat and referral business requires consistent contact with consumers outside of their buying cycles. Reinforcing customer interaction gets you noticed, reinforces your brand and stimulates association when people have questions, are considering scenarios that involve your services or know someone you may be able to help.
Messages that promote "interest rates at near historic lows" or "the benefits of homeownership" aren't very interesting to people in a post-close database. They currently have a home and mortgage and they are likely to ignore, delete or unsubscribe. Those two topics exclude people who aren't considering a home purchase or refinance, and at any given time, that's going to be the majority of people in your databases and other networks.
Marketing departments can do a tremendous service to the public and their originators by creating outreach that is intriguing to a broad group of people, such as homeowners and renters, but still relates to mortgage and household finance. Translating industry developments and explaining the applications for consumers establishes your organization and MLOs as experts who care about keeping the public informed.
On the surface, a story about refinances outpacing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) auditors' predictions by 125% doesn't seem relevant to many consumers. But the numbers released after the end of FHA's fiscal year on September 30 make great conversation starters for people of all ages and stages. Facts about FHA's finances and borrower behavior can have broad interest and application to a wide range of consumers:
- Mortgage insurance (MI) premium increases and life-of-loan MI requirements were enacted in 2013 to offset costs and losses from defaults and foreclosures.
- The number of borrowers with FHA loans who refinance into another FHA loan has dropped to 14% - down from above 50% prior to the 2013 policy changes.
The general public may not care that FHA borrowers are paying more for MI and can't eliminate it when their equity reaches 80%; however, this situation provides opportunities to market to several different groups with a mention of the story:
- Current homeowners: Offer equity and mortgage reviews. If they have MI, perhaps their home's value has increased to allow them to eliminate it. If they're current FHA borrowers, it could be time to investigate conventional refinance options.
- Parents: A little help = big difference. The FHA story could convince parents of potential home buyers to assist with down payment and closing costs to help their kids get loans that don't require lifetime MI - thus saving thousands of dollars over time.
- Renters: Learn and plan. Explain what to look for and the implications of different MI scenarios on different loan products and offer to provide examples based on individuals' specific situations.
The facts of the story seem arcane on the surface, but explaining who's affected, the implications and actions to take brings perspective and relatability to consumers you seek to impress. An email blast with a link to the FHA story along with a catchy subject line and appropriate messaging geared toward each of the above groups is a relatively simple way to differentiate your company and MLOs using current events.
Marketing departments can create relevant, unique materials and company leadership can roll them out to producers, but even the best collateral is useless if your MLOs don't deploy it. Marketing departments and company leadership need to promote the concept of information-based marketing and show originators the value of connecting with consumers using solid information without a heavy-handed sales pitch in every touch.
Industry news stories provide great opportunities to showcase options consumers don't realize they have, as well as issue caveats to help avoid costs and losses. In addition to providing compelling messages to consumers, mortgage marketing departments and company leadership need to galvanize MLOs. Originators are always looking for fresh material… help them capitalize on industry news that's hot off the press!