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Mortgage Marketing With the Personal Touch

Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in the November issue of MReport.

Personalization in marketing campaigns matters—a lot. Delivering the right engagement, to the right person, at the right time, with the right message means marketers have to get a lot of things right. 

When done correctly, marketing campaigns soar with success, and it makes the loan officers’ jobs a lot easier. When done generically, it’s not necessarily a failure, but the results are nothing to brag about, and much of the success of converting a prospect into a customer is based on the loan officer’s talents. When done wrong, the wheels completely fall off and it’s hard to recover with those prospects. In that case, many of the top-performing loan officers will begin to seek a new company to call home. 

Great marketing is difficult for a variety of reasons and is a constant work in progress. Implementing personalized marketing automation campaigns at scale and across multiple platforms requires a lot of energy and focus given the amount of detail required, but it will pay dividends for years to come. The result can be an experience that is unique for each consumer. Personalized experiences make people feel like they are being marketed to by someone who knows them and cares about them as an individual.

People like doing business with those that care, are empathetic, confident, and treat them with respect. They don’t appreciate being “sold” or feeling like they are just another number. But the care given doesn’t start and end with the loan officer. Marketing plays a vital role in this relationship, more so than most realize. Many times, marketing can make or break a deal based on the level of personalization of campaigns. When marketers have the tools and data to create personalized engagements, and care about getting every detail right, that is when it all comes together seamlessly and harmoniously, and the consumer feels like they matter to the lender. On the other side of the coin, when marketers are sloppy and throw marketing campaigns together, consumers assume the lender doesn’t care about them and will seek financing elsewhere. 

 

Marketing Gone Wrong

We’ve all seen mistakes in marketing, some small and others large. Consumers reject lenders who make mistakes in getting the marketing details right because it’s a reflection of what they can expect throughout the process where a mistake can be costly. Here are some examples that negatively impact a lender’s conversion.

 

Email/Text Campaigns:

  1. “Hi {first_name}”—Have you ever received a message with the first-name tag from the email platform rather than your actual name? The delete button is usually the next button utilized by those that spot this mistake.
  2. “Hi mike”—This time, they got your name in the right place. Unfortunately, they did not capitalize the first letter, resulting in poor execution. Many email and text platforms can cleanse your list first, however Excel has a simple function to do this as well. Try it for yourself by downloading your contact list into excel. Assuming the contact names are in the first column, use cell B1 and enter the formula =PROPER(A1). The name in cell A1 will convert from the current format (example: “mike smith”) to the proper format (“Mike Smith”).
  3. Any and all typos. Use spell check, triple-check grammar and spelling, have another person review the campaign, and subscribe to an editing service. Whatever you do, do not make grammar and spelling mistakes, and do not let autocorrect ruin an opportunity to gain a new customer.
  4. “Are you ready to start the refinance process?”—A refinance message to a consumer who is in the market to buy a new home is just telling them you don’t know them and don’t care enough to know their goals.

 

Outbound Dialing Campaigns:

  1. Calling too much (part 1)—Dialer configurations are tricky, but test, test, and test again to make sure you aren’t making any mistakes that will result in dialing the consumer over and over again on the same day unintentionally.
  2. Calling too much (part 2)—Understanding what people will appreciate and not appreciate is not tricky. Receiving more than a couple of calls in response to an inquiry on the first day begins to get annoying. Rather than using a jackhammer approach to get a person on the phone, use a multi-channel approach to engage, asking their preferred time to speak and method of communication (email, text, phone, chat).
  3. Not calling or taking too long to call back—Many consumer inquiries aren’t responded to or the response took greater than 24 hours. 
  4. Missing a scheduled callback—If someone asks for a call back at a certain time, call them back at that time. Dialers have scheduled call back features that users should be well aware of. If the loan officer is occupied during the call back time, an automated courtesy email or text will typically satisfy to reschedule for a short time later without many repercussions.  

 

Marketing Campaigns Gone Right

The best marketers have moved away from “lead-based marketing” and have deployed a more personalized, one-to-one engagement strategy called “people-based marketing,” using an omnichannel approach. In other words, the consumer is receiving an engagement message and cadence across multiple channels (phone, email, direct mail, sms, digital ads, etc) that is unique to them. 

For example, when “Mike Smith” fills out an online inquiry, he’ll receive an immediate phone call with a voicemail left by a real person. “Hi, Mike. This is Lauren at XYZ Mortgage, and I just received your inquiry about a mortgage. It’s Tuesday at 1:40 p.m. and I’m sorry to have missed you. Please call me back at your convenience. I look forward to helping you.”

Then, a text message and an email are sent automatically, appearing to be personally written by Lauren. If Mike responds to the text, that is flagged as his preferred contact method moving forward. If Mike goes stale for a month and the marketer is informed by a third-party data vendor that Mike is back in the market for a mortgage, then the timing is right to re-engage. If the vendor indicates Mike is interested in a home equity loan, then future marketing messages are scheduled for home equity or cash-out, messaged to improve click-thru performance. 

Lenders who use dialers often get excited to use the automated voicemail feature that will leave a pre-recorded message for all consumers at specific points in the funnel (e.g. all “dial attempt five” consumers will get the same voicemail). However, performance improves greatly when voicemails are genuine and unique. Let the loan officers leave a well-scripted first-dial voicemail that uses the consumer’s name along with referencing the time and day. For subsequent voicemail in the calling cadence, consider using the same pre-recorded voicemail that the loan officer recorded that morning referencing the day or date. Consumers will recall the first dial voicemail and assume subsequent voicemails were personalized as well. 

Text messaging and emails should be coordinated with the call cadence and should be synchronized with one another and appear to be written by the loan officer personally. How do lenders know when they’ve won at creating a winning text and email marketing campaign at scale? When the consumer sends a response that appears as if they are responding to the loan officer directly—“Hi, Lauren, happy Friday to you too. Thanks for texting about my mortgage. I’m swamped and can’t answer my phone now. Does tonight at 6:30 work?” SUCCESS!

 

How to Leverage First- and Third-Party Data

Gaining a clear picture of your prospects through the use of third-party data will greatly improve your ability to personalize your marketing and increase win rates. When consumers submit a quote inquiry or complete a lead form, basic contact and loan scenario information is received. Name, address, phone, email, loan amount, property value, loan type, etc. can all be used in personalization. However, some data-as-a-service providers offer more information about the consumers you care about enabling you to create a high-quality “people-based marketing” strategy with far superior results. Knowing exactly when specific consumers are actively visiting mortgage comparison websites throughout their mortgage shopping journey would allow you to deliver timely one-to-one engagement, substantially improving the performance of those engagements. 

Generic, lead-based marketing strategies have quickly lost momentum due to declining performance. By combining a lender’s first-party data with third-party data from data-as-a-service providers, marketers can create better strategies and market to consumers as if they know them. Each engagement attempt a marketer attempts should be done in a thoughtful and meaningful way since each failed engagement attempt means a lower chance of successfully converting that consumer. 

About Author: Mike Eshelman

Mike Eshelman is the Head of Consumer Finance at Jornaya, a data-as-a-service platform that delivers consumer-journey insights to publishers, marketers, analytics and compliance professionals with the highest-resolution view of the consumer buying journey.
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