Let’s say that a consumer knows nothing about mortgages. In order to educate themselves, they’re probably going to head over Google and type: ‘what is a mortgage.’
The first thing at the top of the page is an ad. The expectation is for consumers to know the difference between an ad and “real” advice, but sometimes those lines are blurry, and it also makes the mortgage industry a little less transparent.
“As an industry, we're telling people we'll advertise to them, but we're not giving them the information,” said Ginger Bell, education specialist and bestselling author.
Using video has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the past year, but the reality is, it hasn’t picked up much steam. While some originators are using video on social media and others are using it as part of their outreach and drip campaigns, video hasn’t become all that popular, which is curious considering how much more engaging video is than text.
Forrester Research estimates one minute of online video equates to approximately 1.8 million written words. In addition, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Originators and lenders are falling behind by not using more video, and that’s an area where they can really capture consumers.
“When you type in "how to bake a cake,’ it's all videos. So we can talk about what digital strategies you should use, we can talk about what technology you can use, the reality is, they need to get started on it, and that's where they struggle,” Bell said.
People have their own stumbling blocks around the use of video, but rather than worrying about the medium, Bell says that originators are looking at it the wrong way.
Instead of saying, ‘I’ve got to get on video,’ and hitting record, hoping something eloquent and educational comes out, a better approach would be to start with the message and then work on translating that to the chosen medium, whatever it is.
“They need to back up and say: What problems do I solve? What questions do I answer, and what solutions do I offer? The tech doesn't really matter until you have the message,” Bell said. “[Consumers] need education. They need to know, how much money do you need for a down payment? What our down payment loan programs? If you want to buy investment property, what do you need to look at? How is that going to be different? . . . so really, it's getting started in that.”
Technology is great, and it’s undeniably useful, but it’s not everything. Bell says that even originators who work for companies that have the most robust marketing material and the highest-rated CRMs are still not doing it, Bell says. There’s a hurdle to getting started, whether it’s being uncomfortable with the best practices, not liking the way they look on video, or something else entirely.
While video is and has been a big topic for marketing in the mortgage industry for the past year, it’s not the only option available. Bell says that any way a mortgage originator can position themselves as an expert is valid, and there are lenders and companies that are helping originators figure out how to get started, through scripts, templates, and other aids. Social media is only one vehicle and it’s popular because it’s free, easily accessible, and people have had a lot of success with it, but there are more options available such as blog posts, articles, and participating in panel discussions that are either industry-specific or for the general public. Educational marketing can be extremely effective, and being on panels or even a guest on a radio program is a way to educate the public while building brand awareness.
Bell has seen many trends come and go in the marketing space. Aside from video, which continues to be a novel way of reaching new audiences and past clients, there are a few other mediums poised to shake up the industry in the months to come. One is creating a personal channel, much like the late-night offerings of public television from yesteryear.
“What better way to get a relationship with a realtor than to say, 'Hey, I have a TV show on my channel, and I would love to sit down and talk with you about decorating tips for selling a home.’ Now you're building a relationship,” Bell said. “First, as an industry, we need to get obviously started with just making the content. So that's the very beginning, but for those who are savvier, then those are good. There is one fabulous vehicle that nobody's using a lot, and that's the podcast.”
Industry leaders have been doing podcasts for months (if not years), but there’s nothing that says that originators who aren’t well-known can’t do one as well. Podcasts don’t have to be live, so they can be edited and there isn’t much risk involved. These options are prime opportunities for originators to have guests on their program of choice. Flash briefings can be set up on a variety of steaming services and another way that originators can insert themselves into the daily routines of listeners.
The medium matters less than the information being delivered. If you’re not comfortable doing video, then do a podcast. If you’re not comfortable hosting a podcast, request a spot on a local radio show. There are ways to get out there and get noticed, regardless of whether or not they’re trending.