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
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
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 Wikipedia.com 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
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;
•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
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 Twitter.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.