Marketing? Where did it go? It seems to me that it's disappeared for the vast majority of originators. Now when I say disappeared, it's not as if folks have just pulled up stakes, packed up their marketing and left. No, that's not the case at all. It’s quite the contrary.
Originators, by in large, have continued with their marketing in the same old fashion manner of marketing in your local obsolete newspaper or local real estate magazine. If you’re fancy, you'll put a billboard up on a bus, or an ad prior to your movie at the local cinema, or maybe shopping carts at your "smash and grab," or an occasional canned letter with a follow- up phone call. As if anyone is driving in their car, getting ready to watch a movie, or buying a gallon of milk, and they're going to find inspiration in your ad.
It's not going to happen. Here's what you need to know: it's the consumers that have pulled stakes, packed up and left your marketing. When buyers are in the mood to buy a home, they're not at the movies they're at their computer. Over the past few years Frank & I have traveled the country speaking with thousands and thousands of Brokers, Managers, Account Reps, Agents, and yes, Originators.
Our message has been that our success can be your success if you simply embrace technology. The reason is simple; the World Wide Web is the single location where your clients are assembling. It's widely agreed upon that upwards of 80 percent of potential homebuyers begin their search for a home, or make their "home buying" intentions known, online. So you should be placing your efforts and marketing dollars where your potential clients congregate. Let’s put it this way, if you're going fishing and you absolutely must catch a fish, go fish the stock pond. It’s the same with your marketing, if you have to capture a new client, embrace marketing that is outside of your comfort zone.
Of course I'm talking about effective Internet Marketing. Now internet marketing consists of all your social sites (facebook, real estate marbles, twitter, linked, etc....), blogging, videos, and even the ever so stupid and totally ineffective "e-newsletter." One of the first and most common areas of push back we hear is “I'm just not that type of person that's going do a video.”
OK, if you’re reading The Niche Report, there’s a good chance you're a loan officer. If that's the case you're a sales person. PERIOD. Even with all the new and restrictive regulations your primary job is to secure the deal; I assume you already can close the deal. So if your primary function is sales, your focus needs to be getting your face and product in front of as many people interested in buying your product as possible.
Video affords you that option. Keep in mind that you are “the product” so putting yourself on video is the only completely effective way of allowing people to know, like, and trust you, outside of actually talking to them. You need to understand that right this moment your competition is making videos and effectively marketing to your clients. Since we both know your clients are on line, it's safe to assume that your clients are receiving that message. So, not making videos as a long term strategy is fraught with problems. Of course that was not the case 10 years ago, but like underwriting, guidelines, and the very language we use in our industry ... things have changed.
Another frequent gripe comes from those that believe social networking as it pertains to effective marketing is pointless. “Brian, twitter? Facebook? I don't care where someone is having coffee, or what someone did last weekend.” Well, my answer would be “me neither” but the fact remains that even if you don't like social sites, your clients do and they are using these sites with higher frequency every day.
How often have you called clients at the end of your day as a means of drumming up business? Probably not as often as you should; because it sucks. Nevertheless, what are the possible options of calling your clients at the end of your work day? It's also the end of their work day. Often times the last thing they want to do is have a conversation with their loan officer. Have you ever had a car salesman call you? I have and I've never wanted to talk to them.
So I can only assume it’s the same for you and your clients. With that said, how many people get home at the end of a long work day and sign-in to Facebook? The answer is a lot! For some strange reason, people are more receptive to receiving an instant message on Facebook than they are fielding a call. So even if Facebook is not your cup of tea you need to remember it's your clients. Also keep in mind, this is your job, your livelihood, so even if Facebook is like pulling teeth for you its fertile soil that you need to sew. The same can be said about Twitter.
Hell, Frank and I use to call twitter users “Twittiots!” That was until we discovered that some users have thousands of followers. In case you're not aware, if one of those Twitter users “re-tweets” your message, it stands to go to their thousands of followers. When those followers click on your tweet, it takes them back to your message and your information. Again, Twitter is another powerful tool that needs to be adopted by loan officers who want to stay relevant in 2011 and beyond. Finally the last major area of push back comes from the technology itself. “I don't know how to set up a blog, Facebook ...” whatever.
The simple answer is, you need to sit down and figure this stuff out. Honestly, if my twelve year old son can do it with remarkable efficiency, so can you. Now, he may very well have an advantage over you. That is, he's never seen a world without technology so it is second nature to him. Nevertheless, HE'S 12! Now blogs in particular is somewhat complicated. The reason is, a blog dashboard is fairly complicated. What you need to know is a blog is the most effective tool you can use as far as your online presence is concerned. So not surprisingly it’s the most difficult. The advantage is, because blogs are the most difficult it is the least adopted by your competition. Because blogging is the least adopted technology yet the most effective, blogging is the most vital component of any future marketing plan. Here's the kicker. I also realize that your highest and best use of time is actually talking with clients and not building blogs.
Though you need a blog, I am not suggesting that you should spend all your time building blogs and not closing deals. So for the solution, Frank and I have built a site called www.realestatemarbles.com that creates shortcuts and a streamlined process for you to build blogs quickly and efficiently. In the course of less than a day, you can not only create a blog but also link it to a Facebook, Twitter, and any other social sites you have. That will allow you to create one stream of information and syndicate it to all your other social sites. The system creates an immediate online presence and allows you to explore marketing tools that you are probably not using as effectively as possible. Now this article is not a shameless attempt to get you to use our product. You can use it or not. In fact you can use it for free with no strings attached.
Also there are other platforms you can use to create an online presence. Ours is not, by any means, the only option. I would only suggest that whatever your course of action is, it includes you getting plugged-in. At the end of the day, internet marketing is but a tool that you need to use. It is a tool that is intended to put you in a position to have more conversations with potential clients that want to purchase your product. I'm not suggesting you only market online, but make it part of your marketing arsenal. Technology is not going anywhere and if you don't embrace it, your nineteen year old receptionist will, and she will take your clients over a long enough course of time.
Thinkbigworksmall.com (TBWS) was founded in 2007 by a group of highly successful real estate and mortgage industry entrepreneurs. Born in the most battered market in the real estate and mortgage industry history, Thinkbigworksmall.com was conceived after decades of observing how the most successful professionals always seem to work smarter not harder. Frank & Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org