What strikes us about lead generation in the mortgage industry is not so much how it is created (though the model could use some refinement) or the follow-up (which is decidedly interesting across the board). Rather, we are struck by how far the industry is actually behind in cultivating leads from past data and re-targeting leads on sites to build brand awareness and remind them to apply for home loans.
We teach digital marketing to our customers, and one of the “scariest” things for them is typically just how much data is out there to draw from and how “weird” it feels when they see an ad on one website that features something they were scoping on another site. Simple re-targeting of leads works. Not only does it capture attention, but when done subtly and artfully — two things that are always the most important part of marketing that involves data — it can be incredibly effective.
Intent founder Kelly Yale often tells a story in training with mortgage processionals and real estate agents about two years ago when she was building her dream house, which just happened to contain her absolute dream closet. Kelly was at Target enjoying a coffee and doing a nice, slow meander down all the aisles to consider what she would need once she and her family moved in.
In one of those aisles, Kelly spotted something she had never seen — TANK TOP HANGERS. Who knew such a thing even existed? She paused for a moment and considered picking up a pack or two but thought better of it and decided to wait until they had the house completed before filling her closet with every conceivable organizing product.
Ten minutes later, Kelly hopped in the car, opened up Facebook and found an Amazon ad for tank top hangers that was front and center in her News Feed. How could a picture of something she had never seen now be following her around the internet? Although Kelly is someone who truly understands much about how data is collected and marketed to, this simply blew her mind.
It was then that she thought about all the possibilities. Kelly had her Target Cartwheel app open when she was shopping. Had Target geo-tracked her around the store, noting where she stopped the longest? How did it pinpoint where she was looking? Did her buying behavior indicate she was looking into closet organization? Or was it possible that it just randomly happened that Amazon happened to target her with that ad?
Very little these days is unknown. We don’t fly under the radar nor do we live off the grid. We have all been stunned when a kitchen conversation turns into an online ad an hour later. It’s easy to be freaked out. It’s harder to accept that data collection is real.
But re-targeting is actually one of Kelly’s favorite things. She can’t tell you the amount of time and energy it saves her to be marketed to with ads on Instagram for things she likes and wants to buy, based off of her spending habits. Kelly happens to love when she forgets something in an online shopping cart and sees a little ad featuring the exact shirt she was buying. And if she was considering a home purchase and felt unsure of the next steps or wanted more information, she would be looking to have a branded experience built on trust and education.
Times have changed. Modern marketing is required in the mortgage industry, and it goes far beyond creating opportunities based on past databases. Loan originators should instead focus on creating the best buyer experience based off all data. If mortgage professionals want to find new business, they need to start looking outside their comfort zone and find homebuyers before those buyers are ready to offer up their data in a lead capture form on someone else’s website.