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How to master marketing mortgages in the 21st century

Dec 11, 2007

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 out. 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 Toastmasters group. 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 them? 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 for you. 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 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 [email protected].
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