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Forward on reverse: Fixing California's SB 1609: A conversation with James E. Veale of Security One Lending: Part II

Nov 27, 2008

Eight easy steps to increase traffic to your Web site and generate more leadsDan Gooder Richardlocal content, key market areas, blog, local promotion The "build it, and they will come" adage does not apply to mortgage Web sites. Just because you have a Web site, doesn't mean prospects know it exists, or that they will visit it. Driving traffic to your Web site is your number one job. "Promote it, and they will come" is the real mantra of the successful professional in today's mortgage Web marketplace. Once you have configured your site to capture more leads, it will. But it won't bring you more business opportunities unless you drive more traffic to the Web site. Here are eight easy steps to drive traffic to your site and generate more leads: 1. Enrich your Web site with local content Search engines that visit your site will find a "blank slate" if there are little or no inline, site-hosted, local, organic content pages. These pages are best written by you about local communities, local market conditions, local tips for buyers and other borrowers, and even biographical information about you—anything that mentions local place names and keywords that search engines reward with higher "relevance" to give your site a higher placement in the organic (read: free) results. You'll want to develop "sticky" content that will keep visitors on your site, but you must include content that will cause visitors to find the site in the first place. 2. Write information pages about all of your key market areas and loan programs Outbound links to government and information sites do not help. You must write about your own marketplace, market focus, programs and services. As a thought starter, consider going to to gather descriptive information about your market area. Be inspired to write your own original sections, rich in keywords about mortgage lending and information applicable for a buyer, refinancer, investor, equity loan borrower or other target customer market. 3. Post "about me" content Again, write an extensive biography that includes every organization, designation (abbreviated and spelled out), award, training, specialty, market area, personal achievement, hobby, life experience, etc. Another variation is testimonials from clients about your services (be sure to make each one rich in keywords). Yet another idea is to create a page that describes different types of mortgages and how they can benefit different types of borrowers. 4. Post regularly to your blog Set yourself a goal to post daily, or at least three times a week. Suggested sections on content include: •Market products you offer; •Area or regional information; •Mortgage conditions; •Categories of borrowers, such as first-timer home buyers, veterans, seniors, etc.; and •A resource center with a glossary, questions and answers, and so on. Be sure to jam every post full of keywords about mortgages, interest rates, downpayments, credit scores, etc., and add links to forms and content "for more information." Here is a tip: Every time you write a short e-mail to a prospect about mortgages or equity loans, copy and paste the text into your blog (or pay a writer to create posts). As you build an archive of posts, the search engines will give your site credit for efforts. 5. Increase your local promotion Much of mortgage Web site traffic comes from "type-in's," where visitors type-in your domain—not links from other sites ("referrers") or search marketing sites ("search engines"). What's more, local traffic is the best traffic. These are local buyers/borrowers who already know you as a prominent mortgage provider in the area. After all, 65 percent of all moves in the United States are within the same county (19 percent are within the state), according to an U.S. Census Bureau analysis of 38.7 million moves in 2006-2007. Local offline promotion, using direct mail, signs, local magazine and newspaper ads, and radio/TV, generates these sought-after leads in your service area. Include forms that will capture the visitors once they "walk through the door" of your Web site; but first, the traffic must visit the site. 6. Think of search engines as the Yellow Pages of the Internet Search marketing tends to generate leads from prospects that don't have a clue about the name of an area mortgage provider. This is especially true for "long distance" markets such as relocation destinations, second home and retirement markets (where buyer prospects don't live locally), and first-time buyers who have no prior lender or broker relationship. Content and blogs help attract these search-market prospects. 7. Consider "pay per click" search links Although search engine rankings are important, search prospects are often more interested in browsing than applying for a mortgage. They tend to be in the very early information-gathering stage rather than the later "shopping" stage. You may find that a well-placed, local, offline ad generates more leads than a high-ranking ad on Google. Search marketing and "pay per click" is a sophisticated game that only a handful of top-ranked advertisers can win. Once all the basics are in place, consider becoming an expert and investing in pay per click—such as Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search and other services—to promote your site. 8. Build your social network Don't stop with your blog. Watch for opportunities to post and blog on professional networking sites (LinkedIn or Plaxo) and even personal networking sites (Facebook or MySpace). Once you get hooked, you can update your contact networks with instant comments about your activities with Another tip: Networking can become addictive. Watch your commitment of time, and be sure to measure the number of referrals and prospects the networking activity generates. Don't waste your time if this new technique is not working for you. Dan Gooder Richard is founder and president of Fairfax, Va.-based Gooder Group. He may be reached at (703) 698-7750 or e-mail [email protected].
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