How Do Mortgage Loan Originators Generate Leads?
Mortgage Loan Originators and Mortgage Loan Officers (MLOs work in a competitive profession and can face challenges with generating a consistent stream of leads and new borrowers. Traditional mortgage marketing methods for creating new business, such as cold calls and direct mail, have their place. But you also need to embrace digital marketing to improve visibility and widen your network of contacts.
Whether you're new to the industry or looking to expand your existing contact list, diversifying how your brand reaches the market helps build a steady flow of new business. This guide provides MLOs with six useful strategies to generate leads.
1. Purchase a Mortgage Lead List
Mix up your marketing strategies by including a mortgage lead list generator service to capture qualified prospective residential and commercial buyers who are actively looking for mortgage lenders. Some considerations before you commit to a company include:
Budget: If you're just starting out as a Mortgage Loan Officer, money is likely scarce. Choose a resource that works with smaller budgets.
Exclusive vs. Non-exclusive Leads: While exclusive mortgage leads may only be sent to two or three lenders, they're also more expensive than non-exclusive leads. On the other hand, non-exclusive leads are much more affordable. However, they may not always be the most up-to-date option as these leads are sold three to five times more often than exclusive leads. Prospective buyers might have already gone with another lender or decided against purchasing altogether by the time you receive their information.
Viewable Leads Before Purchase: Choose a company that allows you to view the leads before you make the purchase. After all, you want leads that are as high quality as possible!
Refund Policy: Make sure the lead generation service clearly states their refund policy, and select one with a generous return if you're not satisfied with the product.
Customer Service: Evaluate how the provider handles customers’ questions and through which medium (chat, phone, email, etc.). You want to work with an accessible company when you’re buying mortgage leads.
Consider the following mortgage lead list resources:
Data Axle TM Genie: With pricing starting at $79 a month, Data Axle TM Genie provides quantifiable leads based on your criteria. In operation since 1972, the company offers a free trial and demo and excellent customer service.
GlobalDataUSA.com: GlobalDataUSA.com provides clients with the opportunity to try out its service with a $50 deposit. You pick up to three leads, and in the event you're unhappy with the leads, you contact the company for a full refund. These leads are delivered from real-time calls and clicks. The service also offers tools for your own lead generation.
Loanbright.com: Providing quality mortgage leads for more than 20 years, Loanbright.com offers clients real-time selections based on specific criteria. Individuals have the advantage of a month-to-month service with a starting rate of $200. Its real-time unlimited daily lead options, online marketing, and direct line call center services help the company maintain an A+ Better Business Bureau score.
Mortgage Leads Direct: Mortgage Leads Direct has provided Mortgage Loan Officers with real-time automatic delivery of qualified leads since 2003. Clients can preview the selection and choose the ones they want. There isn't a contract commitment or minimum purchase, and individuals who pay in advance receive a 20% discount.
2. Social Media and Content Marketing
According to Pew Research Center, approximately 70% of U.S. adults use Facebook, 81% glean information from YouTube, and 28% share professional data on LinkedIn — meaning there's no question about how powerful social media can be as a marketing tool for Mortgage Loan Officers.
Before you begin your journey into social media marketing, however, check with your company's compliance officer. You want to adhere to company-specific policies and federal compliance regulations, including:
- The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, through Regulation B
- Truth in Lending Act, Regulation Z
- Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Section 8
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Federal Trade Commission Act, Section 5: Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices
Once you've cleared the parameters with your Broker, go ahead and set a casual, informative tone and follow the general guidelines below to help you stand out for the right reasons:
- Monitor feedback, ensuring that others' comments are also in compliance.
- Provide relevant information for your audience. Pay attention to the feedback or traffic you get on which platforms. First-time home buyer information may resonate more clearly on one site while another generates more interest in refinancing data.
- Show support for your community but leave most of your personal information for private posts with friends.
Get the most out of each social media platform:
- Facebook: Facebook is a friends' network, so it's a great place to create posts that generate interest and discussion. Consider posting about home improvement projects, the latest industry news, or whatever else may interest your audience and encourage them to interact with your post.
- YouTube: If you're feeling confident, go ahead and post a YouTube how-to video outlining the answers to frequently asked questions from borrowers.
- LinkedIn: Used as a resource to connect with other professionals, LinkedIn is a great way to showcase your industry knowledge. Create posts about interest rates or buying trends, for instance. Give your brand a voice, and you may find yourself part of a supportive and helpful network of professionals.
- Twitter: While Twitter users are often inundated with information, you can still use this platform to your advantage. Try following community posts and conducting market research to determine borrowers’ preferences, for example, to generate leads.
- Instagram: Keep your hashtags local and community-focused. Add some photos of new homes on the market, relevant information about the local market, or updates on community events.
3. Utilize Online Review Platforms
Online review platforms dominate word-of-mouth marketing for products and services in the 21st century. If you've worked hard and gone the extra mile or ten for your clients, don't be shy about asking for a review on an online platform. Some you may want to consider include:
Still not convinced? Consider that 82% of U.S. adults read online consumer reviews with some frequency, with 40% saying they almost always read reviews before purchasing. Going into a bit more detail, the Pew Research Center finds that half of American adults under 50 routinely check online reviews. So, go ahead and get on board; you've earned it.
4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising and SEO
One of the most cost-effective strategies to create a recognizable brand in your local market is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Digital campaigns work for you 24/7, 365 days a year.
PPC Campaigns: When individuals conduct a general search online for a service or product, they typically enter a specific term, such as mortgage, lender, or refinance, on the search engine's homepage. While Google is the most popular search engine, Bing and Apple shouldn’t be ignored. There are different types of PPC ads, but paid search ads are the most common. As the name suggests, you're only charged when an individual clicks on your ad.
How to Make the Most of Online Campaigns:
Ad Auction: Google and other search engines use an automated process to determine the relevance of the ads that appear on their search engine results page. As an advertiser, you bid on the search terms, or keywords that trigger the ad. You only want to bid on the most relevant keywords for your business.
SEO: Your goal with PPC advertising is to generate high-quality leads that convert to loans and a healthy return on investment (ROI). Search engine optimization improves your site's visibility when people search for terms related to Mortgage Loan Officers, which is why choosing relevant keywords is so critical. The conversion rate, or the number of times individuals click through to your site from the initial search term, is one of the factors search engines use in their algorithms to rank your page.
As your business' ranking improves on Google or Bing, your brand will organically appear on the first results page, replacing the need for PPC ads.
5. Use a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
Streamline your client information with a CRM system that collects and analyzes data to help you understand the needs of prospective and existing customers. An effective CRM system connects customer information from a variety of sources, including email, websites, advertising and marketing, and call centers. Functions to look for in a Mortgage Loan Officer CRM include:
- Customer interaction logs through different communication channels, such as email and phone
- Document management
- Customer category database, including location, age, and income
- Lead management
- Calendar and notification synchronization
- Offline mobile access
6. Word-of-Mouth Marketing and Referrals
As you take advantage of all the digital realm has to offer Mortgage Loan Officers looking to build and expand their business, don't overlook the value of traditional marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing and referrals help develop your reputation as a professional in the industry. Enhance referrals through personal and business contacts, including:
- Your social circle (friends, family, community involvement, etc.)
- Satisfied customers
- Other industry professionals (real estate agents, insurance agents, accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, etc.)
Don't forget to show your gratitude for a referral with a handwritten thank you note. You could invest in useful promotional merchandise to share, such as branded coffee mugs or stress balls. If you've received several referrals from one source, you might want to include a coffee or dining gift card.
Nurture Mortgage Leads and Get Conversions
Your nurture campaign provides an opportunity to put your CRM system to good use. Once you've invested time and money in generating leads, you need to carry them over the threshold and convert them to actual business for your company. There are a few ways to accomplish this, including:
- Knowing where they came from and address the potential customer accordingly (aka lead segmentation)
- Maintain a prompt response time
- Encourage interest in your brand with timely blog posts, downloadable guides, and infographics
- Personalize your communications
- Utilize email, phone, and text messaging to vary your points of contact
- Maintain a follow-up schedule
- Track customer outreach
- Qualify leads to determine if the prospective client has the appropriate means and motivation
Mortgage Advertising Compliance
To remain relevant in the highly competitive mortgage industry, MLOs must embrace digital advertising and marketing platforms. Industry professionals walk a fine line, however, between connecting with a niche audience and adhering to federal compliance regulations. One way to avoid overstepping boundaries and paying hefty fines is for your organization to invest in a compliance officer and legal team to create a policy manual and ongoing training that details the correct procedures for online marketing.
Best of luck to you!