Common sense marketing: Know your resources and put them to work for youSharon Marie Katzsales tips, motivation, marketing tips, consistency,
The sales force at our 20-person, two-branch mortgage company
has an unusual resourcea centralized marketing department, or, in
other words, me. Small companies normally do not centralize
marketing, yet the benefits of doing so can be tremendous when you
consider the need for advertising compliance, consistency and
overall quality. Still, these essential items can be present when
marketing is left to individual loan officers since the same
To get the job done, I find tools that enable me to work
quickly, easily and cost-effectively. The mortgage industry reaches
a broad segment, cutting across culture, income and lifestyle. With
a dozen loan officers, we hit upon a pretty broad audience.
For loan officers who do their own marketing, the biggest
challenge is staying consistent, regardless of business flow. Peaks
and valleys often become the normwhen business is good and you're
busy closing loans, marketing efforts drop; when business slows,
marketing efforts increase. This only perpetuates the cycle. With
some of the tools and techniques described in this article, you may
be able to smooth out those peaks and valleys, provide for a
steadier stream of business, and still have some time (and money!)
to enjoy yourself! Let's get something straight before we go on:
Working with a limited budget does not mean that you have to
sacrifice quality or impact. Period. There are many ways to present
a professional, polished image without blowing your budget. Trust
me, I do it every day.
Data is king
Do you have a database of your past, present and future clients?
No, not a pile of sticky notes or scraps of paper stuffed into your
desk drawer (you know who you are); I mean a searchable, able to
merge, expandable, living, breathing database. While it may be an
initial time investment to build it, maintenance is easy and it
will result in a significant savings of time in the future. And
time is money.
Those who utilize a database know how effective and essential it
is. Do you want to send a letter to clients who closed their loans
eight-12 months ago with an LTV of 80-85 percent? A database can
query the records meeting those criteria and merge them to print a
set of personalized letters and envelopes in minutes. The database
does most of the thinking for you. If the data is in there, you can
sort and pull information out. It's that simple. Just remember,
your end result is only as good as the quality of data youve
Do your printed materials need an extreme makeover? Even on a
budget with limited design resources, you can present a neat,
clear, consistent image that looks professional. Letterheads,
brochures, note cards, postcards, giveaways, and even return
address labels should be consistent and make a strong
Let's start with the basics: Keep it neat. Have you ever
received a copy of a copy of a copy that wasn't properly lined up
with the paper, had a fax imprint across the top of the page and
copier battle scars? Put it next to a clear, professional-looking
piece and it doesn't take a sleuth to figure out which will get
Consistencyhaving a "look" and a messagecan be achieved without
hiring an agency. Do you send a clear and consistent message about
your company and its services? Can people look at something and
instantly know that it's you? Is there something distinctive about
your company that you can tout? Consistently incorporating your
look and message will create clear "branding" for your company. Put
your logo on everything. Often, it's the first thing someone sees.
Do you have company colors? How about a slogan or tagline? Use them
all to create a cohesive look across all of your materials. What's
more, you can actually implement color and design on a budget
without being a designer.
Low-cost, high-impact, little effort
Postcards. Brochures. Sales sheets. They can be colorful and have a
high impact, yet still be low-cost and easy to produce. They also
work. Postcards, for instance, are eye-catching. Postage is low,
there is nothing to fold or stuff, and you don't have to rely on
someone to open an envelope. Furthermore, they are economical
enough to customize a short print run for a specific event,
product, person or office. Use a brochure or sales sheet to get
more detailed information into your clients' hands.
Use the Internet to find a company that can help you design a
variety of materials with a cohesive look. If you don't have a
creative bone in your body, some companies offer free custom design
services and hundreds of professional templates (try an Internet
search for "business cards" or "postcards"). To make it even
easier, you may be able to build and maintain an online portfolio
of images, your logo and fully designed pieces, allowing you to
mix, match and customize, with the end result being a high-quality,
high-impact, glossy, full-color piece all done with a few clicks of
the mouse. A few days later, they're at your doorstep. Once your
marketing materials are designed, you simply point and click to
Clients need to see youconsistency is
Consistency again! This time, I'm referring to communication. Do
you have a plan, regardless of your workflow, for consistent
communications throughout the year? Whether it's e-mail, letters,
postcards or greeting cards, grab your calendar, create a plan and
stick with it.
As your efforts expand, build different plans and campaigns for
different groups. Pre-approval candidates may receive one set of
communications, while past customers may receive another. Your
database makes all of this a snap!
Your strategy doesn't need to be complex. Stand out from the
crowd by sending a card for a holiday when they wouldn't typically
receive one. Partner with businesses to send coupons to your
clients for their services. Your clients appreciate it, and the
other businesses will appreciate the additional exposure and do the
same for you.
They're right under your nose
A mortgage isn't tangible; much of the transaction is based on
trust and teamwork. More than 70 percent of my company's business
comes from referrals and repeat business from clients and
colleagues who liked working with us. Your client and colleague
base should be filled with these people. Use them to grow.
To start, you must provide clients with a trustworthy and
exceptional experience or you won't hear from them again. People
who have worked directly with you are your best marketing tool.
They will refer others to you, but you have to ask them for these
referrals. If you need a soft sell, start by thanking them for
their business and let them know that you will be thrilled to
provide the same experience to anyone they refer. Stay in front of
them throughout the year so they always have you in mind. And for
heaven's sake, if they do refer a client, write a thank you
Be sure that your colleagues and other referral sources have a
supply of your business cards handy. Boxes of business cards do you
no good if theyre sitting in your officeget them out there!
There is no substitute for networking when it comes to expanding
your customer base, and it doesn't have to be formal or contrived.
Always tell people what you do for a living; someday, they or
someone they know will need a mortgage. Have your business cards
handy at all times, but don't lead with your card. Let it happen
naturally in the course of a conversation. For a more structured
setting, getting involved with industry associations offers the
opportunity to meet people with whom you share a common interest.
The most structured setting is a networking group. Find one that
offers exclusivity of industry so that you will be the only
mortgage rep involved.
You can find an abundance of cost-effective tools and methods to
streamline your efforts and improve your results. Success comes
from consistency, clear branding, and finding ways to stay in front
of your audience, combined with common sense and good planning.
Developing your database will streamline your processes and your
efforts will begin to take less work. You don't have to be a
marketing pro to act like one. Now, go out and do it!
Sharon Marie Katz is marketing director for the Mount Vernon
Mortgage Corporation. She may be reached at (800) 869-5882 or visit