How to master marketing mortgages in the 21st centuryMark Anthony McCrayInternet, MySpace, Facebook, your own Web site, professional photos
It's fall 2007. Quick! Hand this article to anyone who last
updated his business cards when Bill Clinton was in the White
House. On the other hand, if that applies to you, keep this
checklist and treat it as a survival guide for 21st century
marketing techniques that will help you stand out from the crowd,
attract the prospects that you really want and grow your business
in unexpected ways.
The way effective marketing and advertising is done is changing.
Nowadays, everyone mails postcards, attends networking mixers and
posts classified ads. What are you doing to help differentiate
yourself and appeal to a market of homebuyers that are becoming
younger and younger than you? You can't just think outside the box.
You've got to throw the box away! If you aren't using every one of
the four avenues listed below, many of which didn't even exist when
a lot of us got into the real estate business, you likely are
leaving money on the table.
1. Free Internet communities
MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and craigslist (among others) are
becoming great places to meet new partners and clients all over the
country and the world. Heck, sometimes you'll meet people online
who work two blocks away from you. While these sites might have
launched for the hip crowd and the college students, they really
have a number of worlds within them with room for you and me. Many
established professionals are now using these sites to let people
know about themselves and their loan programs. Don't look now, but
MySpace has more than 200 million users as I type this and has
become the most visited Web site in the world--over Google and Yahoo! If you don't know what I'm
talking about or think it's just for kids, you're missing
2. Your own Web site
I'm not talking about just a company Web site, even though that is
a good start. You need to work on branding. Go find a college
student or one of your kid's friends to design a custom site just
to tell the world about you. If you don't have much to say, just
put a page up. You can't let this responsibility fall on your
broker or company information technology guy. They aren't
responsible for your success, you are. Oh yeah, make sure you have
developed your unique selling proposition and use your site to tell
everyone about yourself. For example, far more people will remember
you as "Duplex David" than will remember David Lowenhauser, and
"Mortgage Molly" has considerably more cachet than Molly McLaren. A
good Web site with a good name and really unique loan program
information can do a lot for your business.
3. Smile and say "cheese!"
Do you have recent, professionally shot photos of yourself? If
not, get some. There are plenty of starving photographers out there
who can do a great job with a small budget for you. Once you get
some shots (don't wait until you've lost that extra 10 pounds to
get them taken), put your picture on absolutely everything you can
find. When people see your picture, they will begin to feel as if
they know you. They will think about you over the rest of the
nameless, faceless masses. (Now you know where that expression
comes from.) Besides, you're going to need some pictures for your
Facebook page. All your other marketing, such as your business
cards, works better with pictures, too.
4. Ego surf more often
Believe it or not, your clients do it before deciding whether to
work with you. You should do it, too. Ego surfing is when you go to
a popular search engine and type in your name. What do you see?
Anything? If you don't get Web hits on your name or your company's
name, it's time to take drastic action. You have to be online to be
seen, so get up and get going. Register and run a 5K race. Write an
article for a well read publication. Volunteer for a favorite
community group or join a bowling league. Do things that get your
name online somewhere. That normally only happens when you get
outside your office, so get to it. After all, you'll attract a lot
of business by being known as the mortgage person in your local
Repeat the above often. They work. You'll be surprised how much
business there is out there for you now that people know you exist.
Once you've done each of the steps above, don't rest. Circle back
and improve your MySpace page often and search for new friends,
update your Web site with details about your recent closings (most
of us don't even remember our URLs) and get new photos, once you've
changed your hairstyle. Here's an idea. You might even e-mail your
prospect list, asking them which photo of you they like the best.
People will gladly give you their opinion, and what could be a more
subtle, fun way of reminding them that you're out there serving
Finally, pay attention to what people outside of your industry
are doing to capture new customers. It is said that true marketing
genius lies in taking successful practices in one field and
applying them to another. What do restaurants do to announce their
grand openings? How do newspapers get new subscribers? What can you
learn from the Girl Scouts with their annual cookie drives? Keep
pushing the envelope. You'll discover an approach that works well
If you do these things, you'll stand out, grab more attention
and customers and close more loans. I wish you all the best. By the
way, my MySpace page and Web site can be found at www.markanthonymccray.com.
I'll see you online!
Mark Anthony McCray, author of the upcoming book, "The
31 Rules for Succeeding as a Mortgage Broker," is the founder
and CEO of Houston-based First
Capital Mortgage Company and McCray Capital Partners. He
may be reached at (713) 267-4040 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.