As the largest generation in U.S. history, millennials have rapidly become an economic force to be reckoned with. Commonly defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, millennials are the first generation to come of age during a time of digital revolution. This gives them a unique perspective, which influences every aspect of their lives, from social engagement to global activism to financial interaction.
Today, millennials comprise the largest group of consumers in history. As such, many companies are reevaluating their aging business models and making necessary adjustments to keep up with the younger generation’s expectations. The mortgage industry is no exception—especially when millennials are entering their peak home-buying years.
With that in mind, mortgage lenders should be focusing on methods that attract and engage potential borrowers through digital platforms. To be effective, however, it’s important to understand the purchasing trends of young people.
Before making purchases, millennials will typically research the product or service on the Internet. According to Ellie Mae’s 2017 Borrower Insights Survey, 30 percent of millennial homebuyers begin the process of buying a home online. Ellie Mae also discovered 25 percent of millennials found a lender through an online search, and an additional 23 percent completed some portion of their application online as well.
In light of these findings, lenders must realize their online presence will likely be their first impression to a potential borrower. In order to establish trust and capture the attention of potential borrowers, they’ll need a strong digital brand identity. That means having visually appealing and informative websites, engaging social media feeds, and user-friendly online platforms.
Testing the Brand
Once the millennial consumer is convinced of a lender’s brand legitimacy, they are likely to test the waters through social media. For lenders, it is not enough to simply be online—they need to be active online. When working to gain traction, consistency is key. Social media followers expect and appreciate regular engagement and unique, interesting content.
Remember, social media is not simply a place to spew out promotional pieces about products and services. Millennials want substance, such as information that will simplify the mortgage process and help them in their decision-making process. The idea is to not only to satisfy a borrower’s digital appetite, but to entice them into coming back for more. Effective social media users humanize their brands, engage with their audiences and create a distinctive tone, all while providing content that “stops the scroll.” When done well, millennials will notice.
A Personal Touch
While the importance of digital brand establishment and social media engagement is paramount when marketing to millennial borrowers, there is still a need for quality customer service and in-person interaction. Ellie Mae’s research indicates that while many millennials like to begin the loan process online, they prefer to finish with face-to-face communication. This suggests lenders need to have a seamless transition between online engagement to good old-fashioned personal customer service.
For this reason, abandoning traditional forms of communication and customer outreach in favor of a completely digital model doesn’t make sense. A chatbot can only take a relationship so far. Developing online resources that complement and enhance real life consumer interaction is the best recipe for success.
At the end of the day, millennials will be the ones driving the housing market. When it comes to marketing to this group in an increasingly digital world, it’s worth getting right.
Information contained in this article does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice or services and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice. The purpose of the article is to provide the opinions of Castle & Cooke Mortgage, LLC (NMLS #1251) and general guidance on certain matters related to mortgages. The reader accepts full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.