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Developing a 2013-Style Communications Strategy for Your Mortgage Company By John & Pat Seroka

DECEMBER 2012  IDAHO

MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

 NationalMortgageProfessional.com

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In yesteryear, your customers had a much easier time of shopping for a mortgage because the options were fewer and there weren’t as many programs to review. Now, there are thousands of mortgage companies and hundreds of different programs to choose from. The task has become quite daunting for those who are not lucky enough to be cash buyers. So, the question becomes, how do you make sure your mortgage company stands out? For this reason, I feel compelled to make sure a digital content strategy is part of your overall 2013 integrated communications strategy. I’m focusing specifically on the digital content aspect of your plan because of the importance it plays in generating awareness of your mortgage company among both consumers and business referrers. Let’s start with a definition. A content strategy is a framework within which lenders can manage the content being published about their brand and products/services online in order to ensure that they are seen as authorities in their industries and that their content is easily searchable. Digital content development has never been more important. Your audience is in full consumption mode now more than ever due to hand-held devices like the iPad and smartphones which they go to bed with and wake up with and make it easy for them to consume information anywhere and anytime. Your audience wants to learn. They look for reasons to come to you instead of your competition … or go to your competition instead of you! Consider these statistics:  Sixty-one percent of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and they are also more likely to buy from or work with that company. (Custom Content Council)  Social media sites and blogs reach eight out of 10 of all U.S. Internet users and account for 23 percent of

all time spent online. (Content Marketing Institute)  Ninety percent of consumers find custom content useful and 78 percent believe that companies providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. (TMG Custom Media)  Blogs give Web sites 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links. (Content+)  B2B blogging generates 67 percent more leads per month on average than non-blogging companies. (Social Media B2B) Given these statistics, it’s safe to say that having a digital content strategy in place for your mortgage company is important for your brand and profitability. Recently, however, an indepth study was released by Outbrain in partnership with Econsultancy. According to this study, only 34 percent of companies have dedicated budgets and only 46 percent have dedicated individuals for content marketing. I’ll bet the stats are worse in our industry. This study was conducted during the months of July and August of 2012. What the stats should tell you is that right now is a great time to integrate a digital content marketing strategy into your overall strategic plan for 2013. It will give you a significant competitive advantage while others try to play catch-up. Here’s an overview of how to develop your digital content strategy: 1) Make sure your brand promise and positioning statement are clearly defined. Ensure that when prospects and business referrers are driven to visit your Web site, they understand exactly why you’re in business and what your company stands for. Do you stand for world-class service? Experience? Quick and easy? Or do you provide a specific area of specialization, such as reverse mortgages or FHA financing? Assistance for those who’ve gone through foreclo-

sure or have poor credit? The goal is to make sure that people who visit your website know what you’re all about.

should rank and consider to be your online destinations as well.

4) Develop a list of topics of interest to your 2) Set the objectives for target audience. There your content marketing are several good ways to strategy. The obvious do this. One is to review objective is increasing your competitors’ social originations. Of course, media destinations to that’s the goal at the end discover what topics are of the day, but as we all “ it’s a good idea to set driving the most interacknow, nothing happens interim objectives that tion. For example, from a overnight and before you quick search I discovered are measurable and increase originations, you a blog post by Quicken attainable that will need to get people to see then drive interaction Loans entitled “Is an FHA you, follow you and recLoan Right for You?” and ultimately ognize you have somereceived a lot of action. originations.” thing of value for them. Another way is to set up —Pat Seroka So, it’s a good idea to set Google Alerts for various interim objectives that topics having to do with are measurable and mortgage lending so that attainable that will then you’re constantly alerted drive interaction and ultito the latest news that mately originations. For you can then share. For example, an interim example, a recent news objective could be to start item identified that a following on Facebook Ogden, Utah is one of the with a 1st quarter goal of top 10 most affordable obtaining “X” number of cities for homebuying likes. Or, it could be to according to a recent increase the number of report on CNN Money. subscribers to your “The heart and soul of Accordingly, if you’re a YouTube channel by 30 your content strategy mortgage lender in Utah, percent. Also identify you might want to let is consumer focus.” what the mix will be of your audience know this —John Seroka business referrers, those with an update on your who’ve closed a mortgage with you Twitter stream or Facebook page and (who can provide referrals to their net- provide a link to the full article. work) and those who have yet to do business with you will be. Determining 5) Organize your hot topic list into a this mix will play a role in the type of publishing schedule spanning the content you disseminate to your respec- next three months, identifying both tive audiences and how you find them. the frequency of publishing and what venues you will focus on. 3) Conduct a competitive review of Develop this schedule on a quarterly the companies you find to be your basis and keep it flexible. This flexibilitop three to five competitors. I find ty will allow for new hot topics that many mortgage companies I work with come on your radar to be incorporated have a hard time defining this group into your schedule. because there are so many. So, here’s an idea … conduct a Google search for 6) Drive business referrers, past mortgage companies using keywords clients, prospective clients and that your target audience would likely prospective business referrers to use to find a company that “looks like” your content. This can be accomyours. Once you’ve identified these plished with a creative combination of companies, your job is to identify all of tactics including direct mail, email their social online destinations where blasts, lobby signage, handouts, content is published (Twitter, Facebook, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, banner ads blog, YouTube, Vimeo, Google +, etc.). on relevant sites, contests and more. These are the destinations that you Your signage, blasts, ads and other

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