AFG explains how brokers can build their brand

Three marketing objectives can boost growth

AFG explains how brokers can build their brand

This article was produced in partnership with AFG

In the hyper-competitive world of mortgage broking, being able to cut through and get your message across to new and existing customers is vital to ensure a brokerage business can survive, but more importantly thrive.

Devising an effective marketing plan and navigating how to use different marketing channels may seem like a daunting task for brokers, but this is definitely not the case, says leading aggregator AFG.

With the help of brand strategy and growth marketing expert Cat Nguyen, the managing director of The Empirical Agency, AFG has revealed a simple but powerful marketing strategy based on three practical objectives.

AFG’s essential marketing strategy for brokers is designed to help brokerages build their brand and reputation using social media and Google, develop a lead generation engine and extract untapped value from existing customer databases.

Three marketing objectives for brokerages  

Nguyen (pictured below) said she had worked with hundreds of different brands across industries including aviation, technology, professional and financial services.

“At the heart of most businesses, we are a sales and marketing business,” said Nguyen. “One of the realisations I had is that marketing can be so complicated to a lot of people – through the years, I’ve simplified it.”

Nguyen said in a world where businesses had so many options when it came to marketing, the playbook could be broken down into three simple objectives:

  1. How to boost your brand using social media and Google localisation
  2. How you can amplify your lead generation and build an engine
  3. How you can extract more value out of your existing database

The objectives were designed with the following goals in mind – generating revenue, retaining and growing customer bases, and driving down the cost of acquisition.

1. Building your brand through social media and Google

Nguyen said everyone used social media but the question was how did it align to business growth.

Great utilisation of social media should increase revenue and profit margins, and reduce acquisition costs.

“As you’re boosting your brand on social media, that essentially means you are beating your competition – by that factor you should be driving down your cost per acquisition,” Nguyen said.

“There’s the good, the better and the great. We all want to pursue great but there’s so much we need to do, it’s really a milestone. How do you go from zero to good, good to better, and better to great?”

Good use of social media meant accounts on LinkedIn and Facebook featuring a bio describing the business and services provided, as well as generic tips and business updates, and links back to the brokerage website.

“If you’re getting engagement, people are commenting and responding that’s good,” said Nguyen.

Reaching a “great” level of social media use meant devising monthly calls to action and offers, such as a free discovery or review, or something with financial ties to it.

Supporting the community and collaborating with others using cross-promotions was also helpful.

“There’s an opportunity to list everything we can do, and obviously afford, but let’s pick one thing we think will work,” Nguyen said.

Then it was a matter of creating the content using Canva or graphic designers, or even creating a video using a mobile phone and talking directly to customers.

Nguyen said it was important to systemise capturing and nurturing leads.

“The first time you use your social media to generate DMs you can probably manually handle them but at a certain point an engine is where you turn it on and it works. You don’t want to give yourself too much work when you have other priorities too.”

Google was also important for a lot of businesses, because “we want you to be discovered by your business name”.

“When people search for example a mortgage broker in Prahran and you come up as number one, that’s an ideal scenario.”

Nguyen said to become great at using Google involved regular posts, high-quality photos and service updates.

It also meant doing a deep dive into SEO strategies, using localised Google ads to complement organic efforts, and then “monitoring and refining your strategy”.

2. Amplifying lead generation

Nguyen said it was one thing to generate a lead but the goal should be to take it to the next level and build a lead generation engine.

“This is all about understanding how you are going to get predictive lead flow for your business over the next week, month, or quarter. Is it five leads, is it 500 leads? What do we need in order for us to one, sustain, and two, grow.”

Predictive lead flow meant predictive sales, enabling brokerages to know when they could hire and make investments. “That allows you to plan and scale,” Nguyen said.

Businesses that had good lead capture sourced leads through referrals but this was often ad-hoc and wasn’t scalable.

Leads were entered into spreadsheets or CRMs. “You’re probably networking or doorknocking to get additional referrals … you haven’t really lifted the lid on digital marketing.”

“Leads come sporadically and there’s no structured approach to consistently generate and handle them.”

Nguyen said a better approach was a lead funnel – running ads that leveraged other channels such as Google ads, Meta ads (Facebook and Instagram) and email outbound “to do the work for you and you don’t have to rely on referrals alone”.

“Your leads are captured systematically into a CRM and when they are, the person on the other end receives a message to say ‘thank you for enquiring’ or ‘here’s the guide that you requested’.”

Great lead generation featured a multi-channel approach, using lead capture techniques such as lead scoring and segmentation for personalised follow-ups, a seamless lead management system that included CRM integration, marketing automation and analytics tools, and metrics that optimise every stage of the funnel.

“Great is when you know you can dial up or down your efforts or spend and the number of leads correlate.”

Nguyen recommended businesses become highly successful using one channel and then diversify into more channels as their needs arose.

“Meta’s working really well, how do we stack Google on top of this now? Can we do Tik Tok ads?. We focus on one thing, we do it well, establish our cost per lead, do it again but with a different channel.”

Nguyen said before brokers diversified “do check you’ve truly saturated your efforts”. This might mean getting an expert to check whether the budget for one channel had been maximised.

“Or are there other things we can do to get that 1% conversion improvement such as can we make our creatives better, can we make our website better?”

If a business had mastered one channel, such as Meta ads, it was then time to consider other channels such as LinkedIn or Tik Tok, and decide whether to execute this strategy in-house or externally.

3. Unlocking value from database

Nguyen said the third and final objective was to unlock untapped value from existing databases.

“Your database is made up all the customers you have engaged with in the past as well as any leads you’ve generated or any referrals you’ve received.

“You’ve already put in so much work to get these details, are we going to let sit dormant  or do something about it?”

Nguyen said the aim should be to maximise customer lifetime value – “the number of times someone engages with you or does business through you”.

A good model meant having an existing database and some lead nurture automations or engagements in place.

“A dormant database is a gold mine, it’s now time to wake it up.”

Businesses operating a better database knew how many customers they had and how they were segmented, with some basic analytical tracking of customer interactions.

Nguyen said business with great databases treated them as a major asset.

“You look at it and say if ‘we actively grow our database by running Meta ads, I know that when we get another 15 customers’ that’s what great sounds like.’ You use your database to quantify your other marketing efforts.”

A great database also featured frequent engagement strategies, such as referrals, repricing and diversification campaigns, advanced segmentation and highly personalised communications, and comprehensive analytics to measure ROI and campaign effectiveness.

Nguyen said when planning campaigns, the question should be asked: “How do we go about automating and asking for referrals?

Referrals and repricing could be automated and businesses needed to figure out when and how often to run these campaigns.

“You want to start with one, and if this is your first time doing it you want to make sure that’s the quickest one and the quickest win. Learn, rinse, repeat – turn it into a cadence and automate it.”

To find out more about how you can effectively market your brokerage, visit here.