The answer is YES! Figuring it out can be the hard part. Being an owner of one of the largest mortgage marketing firms, I can tell you first hand what I see working for my clients and what is not. With referrals running out and the industry full of uproar and uncertainty, you must understand that at some point in the chaos you will have to start marketing yourself to survive the storm. When starting any marketing campaign, you need to take into account the consumers? point of view. We all see ?For Sale? signs up everywhere, news stories about record high foreclosures, and home value?s dropping, etc. The point is that with all the negative publicity on TV, radio, online, and word of mouth, it builds fear in any consumer who is considering making a financial move on their home. It is causing an extra ?barrier? you need to break through when trying to reach these people. There are very few ways to break this barrier so I want to share with you how our clients are doing it to stay alive in these tough times. In the last 5 years, I have seen every marketing avenue that has worked and those that have not. In today?s market, there are various marketing methods that no longer produce high responses such as TV, radio, billboards, voice broadcasting, email marketing, and even the good internet lead providers quality has dropped off. It is getting rough and finding the right marketing avenue can be tough. In the last 8 -12 months, things have gotten so bad for the industry that we have started tracking every campaign we do for each client to see what is working and where. First things first; stay away from states that have bad home value issues. Once you find your target areas you can now focus on the states that are worth your time to work in. Lately, we have been seeing the following marketing options working? Direct Mail ? With less and less loan officers and brokers left in our industry the amount of saturation has dropped from a mail standpoint. The less mail a person gets the higher chance they have of reading your mailer. The thing that many don?t understand with mail is that there are many factors?..the print, the envelope, the mailing list, and date of drop. For most, it can be very costly to learn and if you haven?t tried mail you should seek a company that does the whole thing form A to Z. The list is the most important part of any mail piece. There is nothing worse than paying for a mailer that hits the wrong people. Having a data broker create a filtered list for you can be very helpful. Once you have the right list, make sure your letter has good content and grabs the reader?s attention. Most mail houses have graphic artists to assist you with this. Once the letters are dropped, make sure you are there to answer the phone. Each call costs money and each one you miss could cost you even more. Mail has always been hit or miss, however, responses have gone up over the last few months due to less saturation. Telemarketing ? My favorite form of marketing. The best advice I can give to any LO or Broker is to go back to the basics. Sure, telemarketing is not the most fun thing to do and you get hung up on along with dealing with rude people over the phone. BUT IT WORKS! I still have most of my clients generating their own leads doing this method for 2-3 hrs per night. It?s cheap, and only costs you your time. If you?re not the type to do the cold calling yourself, hire a telemarketer to do it for you. You know that if you make X amount of calls you will talk to X amount of people and you will get at least X amount of deals per month. Of course, the right scripts and list are very important to your success, just like in direct mail. At least with telemarketing it is much harder for a home owner to hang up on a live person thus making it easier for you to be personable and break through that ?exterior? we were talking about. In the end no matter what you do, try to do as much of it in-house and try to be very specific about who you are targeting. The shotgun approach is definitely not working. You have to target your market using filtering that can be provided by many data brokers. Reach them the best way you can (to get through that ?exterior?) and do that form of marketing consistently. Remember, the referral and social networking days are pretty much over. In today?s market, it will either cost you hard work, time, money or all of the above to consistently make money. ----- Raymond Bartreau is the President of Best Rate Referrals and a nationally recognized marketing consultant. For more marketing tips and techniques please visit Bartreau?s blog at www.loanofficerconsultant.com. You can also visit Bartreau?s homepage at www.bestratereferrals.com.