You need a good loan officer marketing plan template. "Winging it" doesn't work when you rely on leads for business. However, skipping a marketing template isn't the only common mistake among loan officers (LOs). Many LOs get caught in the trap of having overly complicated marketing templates that function like second jobs. Looking for an easy marketing template to follow? Use this model to establish a good foundation for landing leads.
Pick Your Loan Officer Branding
What's your brand? It can’t be "selling mortgages" because that's every LO's brand. Defining your brand is the first step to successfully marketing yourself as an LO. Having a brand isn't about being gimmicky. It's about being accessible.
Having a "brand" in mind helps you to decide where to throw your marketing efforts. Consistency in branding simply helps you to use your marketing dollars more efficiently because you're not tossing money at trying to be "all things to all people" when all people don't need your services. Only your niche needs your services. Your "brand" helps them find you.
What are some good ideas for loan officer branding? Begin by thinking of your geography, your local economy, and what you actually like doing. Here are some branding inspirations:
- The local insider with all the answers. Be the person willing to break down fact versus fiction, make the loan process seem less scary, and encourage first-time buyers to move forward. This is a great pivot if you want first-time-buyer leads.
- The "special circumstances" expert. Do you live in an area with lots of foreclosures, shorts sales, or unconventional mortgages? Brand yourself as the one to help people navigate financing.
- The "specific mortgage" expert. Are specialty loans like USDA loans, FDA loans, or VA loans especially common in your geographical area? Be the go-to on how to get approved for these loans.
- The refinance expert. Are you interested in capturing experienced buyers looking for refinancing options? Focus your efforts on helping people get financing for "life" instead of financing for homes.
You know your local market better than anyone. While these tips can get some ideas percolating, you ultimately have to decide "where the money is" where you work. Of course, you may simply have a preference for a certain type of financing based on your experiences. For instance, some LOs enjoy the satisfaction that comes with helping first-time buyers get financing. Balancing career satisfaction with good income is possible if your marketing guidelines work.
Create Brand Guidelines
Creativity meets strategy here. Identify the core characteristics of your brand to ensure that your messaging and target audience intersect. Your guidelines help you define what your process for attracting leads will look like. If you plan to hire people to help with marketing, you can pass along your brand guidelines to help "automate" the creative and technical processes. Here's a look at what goes into defining your brand guidelines:
- What you bring to homebuyers. Make sure this message is incorporated into every outreach effort.
- What's uniquely beneficial about your process. Again, make sure you drive this message home in everything you share and do.
- The value you bring to homebuyers.
- What makes you different from similar loan officers?
- Your brand tone. Is it helpful, authoritative, fun, or focused on "breaking" industry news?
- The mediums you feel comfortable using. Do you feel that your message shines with blogs, snappy social media posts, video tutorials, helpful graphics, personal/relatable posts, or some other medium?
- Your brand visuals. Consider working with a designer to create a template for social media posts, ads, blog headers, your website, and other digital assets to give your brand a crisp visual identity.
- Goals for engagement and growth every month.
- Metrics you will use to measure the success of campaigns and marketing efforts.
Defining all of these categories allows LOs to build brand templates that create branding consistency. While you may have "vague ideas" of how these categories all fit into your plan, it's impossible to be consistent unless they are part of a brand template. It's also impossible to measure success when you don't have standards in place.
Identify Three Niche Target Audiences You Want to Attract
Yes, your first inclination as a newer LO is to want everyone to contact you for help. However, mature LOs know that this is a recipe for busy work with a lower closing rate. You can't give your time to leads that aren't likely to close. That's why starting with three niche target audiences is a smart, reasonable way to begin getting leads.
As covered earlier, the niches that are best for you are often determined by things like geographic area, what's popular in your area, and what you actually like doing. Remember that loan officers have to choose between both product niches and customer niches. Here are the core niches to consider:
- First-time homebuyers.
- Refinance customers.
- Investment properties.
- Vacation homes.
- Buyers struggling with low credit scores.
- Buyers struggling with past bankruptcies.
- FHA loans.
- VA loans.
- USDA loans.
- Conventional mortgages.
Becoming an expert in every loan type is overwhelming for loan officers. The confusion, need for constant research, and potential errors all reduce your return on investment every time you get in over your head. Focusing on limited niches allows you to build your muscles for those niches to become a true expert. Your expertise makes you more valuable, more efficient, and more likely to be recommended by customers after they have positive experiences with you.
Identify How You'll Get Repeat Clients
LOs need a conveyor belt of new loan clients to stay afloat. However, diverting just a small portion of your marketing efforts to repeat customers is worth it. With the average person owning three to five homes in their lifetime, the field of potential repeat customers is robust. The lesson? Don't lose those contacts!
Newsletter and Email Marketing vs Personalized Outreach
First, you can actually combine newsletter and email marketing with personalized outreach if you use templates that import client names. However, the decision to do this really comes down to how much you want to pay for software and development work. You might be looking for a general answer about "batch" marketing campaigns versus reaching out personally to past clients instead.
Newsletters and email marketing are great for staying in the consciousness of your past clients. Providing up-to-the-minute tips and market insights helps to keep ideas of refinancing or upgrading in their minds. Don't "spam" leads that aren't actively looking for mortgage advice and products. They are more likely to "remember" that they don't need your services at the moment if they are getting constant alerts from you. This leads to the dreaded "unsubscribe."
Sending out a useful, informative, and friendly email roughly every one to two months that reestablishes old ties while reinforcing your ability to deliver information that's important to them helps old leads to appreciate your content. You can also consider sending personalized letters or calls using a calendar system that reminds you when a lead is back in a "moving window" based on industry averages.
What are some good content ideas for marketing newsletters and emails? Here's a look at some engaging topics to include:
- Local market insights.
- "Shocking" or interesting statistics about the housing market that spark the desire to sell or refinance.
- Information on new laws or policies related to the mortgage or real estate industries. The government just announced a new rule that makes now a great time to refinance.
- Personal news. Getting married? Having a baby? Go ahead and share it in your newsletter as a way to drive engagement.
- "Bragging points" about your local community involvement, achievements, milestones, or rewards. Use sparingly!
- Holiday greetings.
- Testimonial reels.
Yes, some of your leads may come back to you. Others may never use you again. Both categories are equally essential for a very specific reason. Referrals.
Build a Referral Incentives Structure
Consider building a referral incentive structure that rewards your past clients for "sharing you" with others. Referrals are typically warm leads. First, you should always feel comfortable about asking for testimonials after a closing. Did you know that simply writing a positive review actually reinforces a customer's positive opinion of you? Clients are unlikely to give negative testimonials and reviews because they don't want to look like they have "made a bad decision" by going with you. Tap into this psychological phenomenon by always asking for testimonials.
Consider an actual referral program that monetarily rewards clients when they send someone your way. Cash, gift cards, or chances to be entered in a high-value giveaway are all appropriate for referral rewards. Don't forget to build a separate non-compensation referral program for builders and real estate agents when you're organizing your referral strategy.
Should Loan Officers Focus on Social Media?
Absolutely! Social media doesn't have to feel like a full-time job. Refer back to your brand guidelines to create intentional social media content. This helps you to avoid spending all day long on low-impact posts when you could just release quality content that drives engagement. Don't forget about engaging with local town pages, joining private Facebook groups to be ready to answer questions about buying in the area, and commenting on local business pages related to your market.
Attracting New Clients as a Mortgage Broker
How do you start from scratch as a new mortgage broker? Almost every broker gets their start with paid leads instead of ads. However, there's nothing wrong with simultaneously strategizing to bring in your own leads through organic search and paid ads over time. Every mortgage broker with a website needs to do search engine optimization (SEO) because ignoring it makes you invisible compared to your competitors in Google searches. A website containing content with keywords related to your local service area, specific services, and contact information is essential for direct customer queries.
Paid Ads vs Search Engine Optimization
Paid ads work for some mortgage brokers. However, it's important to know that the cost for entry can be high due to both local and national competition for keywords. Use strong calls to action designed to get engagement from people ready to take the next step in the mortgage process for higher return on investment per click.
Final Thoughts: Build Your Loan Officer Marketing Plan From Your Strengths
It's tempting to try to recreate what other loan officers are doing. However, you'll be spread too thin if you try to recreate marketing strategies instead of building your template around your strengths. Start with one to two focus areas. Do you love breaking down mortgage information? Put your marketing time into blogs and social media content.
Do you need clear analytics to see what's attracting people? Paid ads can create great insights.
Just remember that you can't craft content for posts and ads until you've done the work of identifying your brand, clarifying your value, and choosing your niche!