Consumer Direct Mortgage Marketing: An ‘Inbound’ Strategy for Growth

Consumer direct marketing is all the rage within the mortgage industry right now. It will probably be one of the most ubiquitous buzzwords in 2015 as well.

Truth is, consumer direct mortgage marketing has been around for a long time. Smart companies have been using it for years, while others are just getting on board with the idea. In this article, I’ll explain what this strategy is, and how you can use it to grow your business in 2015.

Definition of Consumer Direct Mortgage Marketing

Different people have different definitions and ideas of this concept. Here’s how I define it: Consumer direct mortgage marketing is when you speak directly to consumers in some way, in order to support your business goals. Examples include direct mail, email, online advertising, etc.

By way of contrast, indirect marketing is when you are not speaking directly to consumers. Getting referrals from real estate agents is a form of indirect marketing.

The downside of the indirect strategy is that you will always be dependent on someone else. You will always need leads from some third-party provider, because you’re not connecting with consumers directly.

Two Types of Consumer Direct: Outbound and Inbound

So now we have a basic definition of consumer direct mortgage marketing. Let’s take it a step further and divide it into two primary types. When marketing directly to consumers, you can do it in one of two ways.

  • Outbound: You can “push” your message to them through direct mail, e-mail newsletters and the like.
  • Inbound: You can “pull” people toward you by using such web-based strategies as blogging and social media.

I typically encourage my clients to incorporate the inbound form of consumer direct marketing, or the “pull” method. Instead of shoving your message in front of people who might not be receptive, it’s much better to bring those consumers to you. Attract them to your website. Invite their questions. Start a dialogue. This is the ideal form of consumer direct.

Blogging to Connect With Loan Shoppers, Researchers

This has all been theoretical up to this point. Let’s look at a concrete example. Blogging is a great way to engage in inbound consumer direct marketing. Modern blogging programs like WordPress greatly simplify the publishing process. This allows you to publish a high-volume of content online, fairly easily. Do this on a regular basis, and you’ll eventually start to attract readers — lots of them.

Many of these readers will be consumers who are shopping for a home loan. Some of them will contact you about the information you have published on your blog. When this occurs, you have essentially generated a new lead with the inbound form of consumer direct mortgage marketing.

Instead of pushing your message out to a list of strangers, you have generated an inquiry from a specific person. You didn’t contact them — they contacted you. As a result, that person will be much more inclined to hear your message and seek out your services.

A Real-World Example

Let’s get even more specific. Here is a real-world example of consumer direct marketing in action, based on the experiences of a former client (name withheld).

Earlier this year, we developed an internet publishing program for a loan officer who specializes in FHA. One of the many topics covered on the blog was mortgage insurance. We wrote an article about the different types of mortgage insurance that are typically attached to FHA loans (i.e., upfront and annual). The article was published under our client’s name, because we work in the background.

Long story short, a young couple was in the market for an FHA loan, and they had questions about mortgage insurance. So they researched the topic online and found our client’s website (that’s how it is supposed to work). The blog post answered some of their questions, but not all of them. So they emailed the loan officer directly with some follow-up questions. They ended up becoming clients.

Now multiply that scenario by 500 inquiries per year. Or 1,000. Or any number you want to use. This is an unlimited strategy that has vast potential for generating new business. Here’s why…

Blogging is just one example of consumer direct mortgage marketing, but it has some clear advantages over other techniques. It is cost-effective, easy to manage, and virtually unlimited in scope. Consumers research many thousands of mortgage-related topics every day, using search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. That’s how people research and shop for home loans in the modern age. They don’t go directly to lenders at the start of the process. They spend a lot of time online, researching the different aspects of mortgage loans.

You can develop a consumer direct marketing program to capitalize on all of this online activity. You could essentially align your website with the internet research behavior of your target audience. (We call this “aligning the spheres.”) When done correctly, this can result in a steady stream of inquiries from mortgage shoppers.

There is no limit to how far you can go with this strategy. Want to expand it? Just publish more content, more often.

Questions? If you have questions about consumer direct strategies, particularly those that involve blogging and digital publishing, I invite you to schedule a consultation call.

About the author: Brandon Cornett is a full-time real estate blogger and creator of the Home Buying Institute. He provides blogging services for mortgage and real estate professionals across the U.S.