Growing your business in the mortgage and investment banking industry will mean that you are reaching out to a predominantly well-educated and sophisticated prospect. That means that your marketing must also be sophisticated. It doesn’t mean it can’t be creative or surprising, it just has to be smart.
Here are 10 ways you can grow your business, either by accomplishing these tasks yourself, or by calling on a marketing firm to assist you in implementing them.
1. Direct marketing: Create an e-mail list that makes sense for your prospects, and update it on a regular basis. Contacting prospects on a regular basis translates into them thinking of you when they have a requirement. Consistency is a key to this process, and while you certainly don’t want to overwhelm people with e-mails, you do need to contact them more than once or twice a year. The content for these e-mails is in the second tip.
You will need to make a decision if you are going to send straight e-mails, or if you are going to send HTML messages with graphics. We recommend graphics, and most likely through Constant Contact which tracks how many are opened, allows people to unsubscribe and that you can tie in with other programs in order to automatically add people to the list.
2. White papers: As a mortgage broker or investment banker, the fact is that you do know a lot of information that your prospects would be interested to know, as well. Preparing a white paper on a timely topic will show your expertise and will make you a valuable resource to your current clients, as well as to your prospects.
Sending such a paper to your clients and prospects will be seen as a very positive item in their Inbox. Far from annoying them, it will make them feel that you value them. There are a huge number of topics you can choose from based on your geography, product types, and most importantly changes in the capital markets.
3. Case studies: Much like the white papers, case studies make excellent content for your current clients and prospects. In fact, in cases where you can explain something you did that created an easier process, better pricing, or overcoming challenges will highlight why your prospects would be well-advised to work with you. This type of content is again exactly what smart people may enjoy receiving in their emails. If nothing else, they will find this information interesting to see what types of deals are indeed getting financed and what their competitors are doing.
4. Publicity: The same contact you are preparing for your direct marketing can be the basis of publicity articles or vice-versa. If you are already doing publicity, you can link to articles achieved in your direct mail.
If you are not currently doing publicity because you are not certain what content to use there, you can utilize your content and target media who would be interested in telling their readers about these subjects. You can offer to be interviewed about the same topics, or to prepare a specific version of the information based on your already devised content topics.
In addition, you can develop content knowing that it will be useful in more than one channel. When you are developing a topic for direct mail content, be certain you consider how to publicize that information. When you are developing content for publicity, think about whether the topic can be broadened into a publicity pitch or an article for the online or offline media.
5. Speaking engagements: Some opportunities to speak at conferences require a sponsorship investment and some do not, but in either case, you are more likely to be confirmed as a speaker if you can bring a smart topic to the event organizers. Those publications and associations who put on conferences and seminars are busy with every part of the event, and are only too pleased to have someone approach them with a pre-conceived idea about a topic they can speak on that matches the target audience for the event.
If you are speaking at an event, in addition to bringing business cards, be certain that you have your public relations person with you to schedule interviews for you with any journalists who are attending.
Further, you can promote your upcoming speaking engagements in your direct marketing, both to attract prospects, but more importantly to show that you are indeed a recognized expert in the field.
6. SEO and Web site: If your Web site has become an ignored online brochure, you can revive it by adding the ability to sign up to receive your white papers, by adding links to publicity achieved into your news section, and/or by promoting your speaking engagements.
Adding new content to your Web site keeps the search engines interested in your site and increasing the ability for people to find you based upon the fact that you are adding new content. This method increases what is known as your “organic” search.
You can also increase your organic search rankings through conducting an SEO program. This is a complex activity requiring back linking to other sites, honing in on keywords and utilizing them correctly, as well as having the updated analytics to know how the search parameters have changed and how your target audience is reacting to specific keywords.
We definitely recommend that unless this is a specialty of yours, you hire a professional firm to assist you with this portion of your marketing. In a rapidly-changing technological climate, this is not a tactic you are likely able to do in-house.
7. Paid search: If you are inclined to invest additional dollars in your marketing program, you can always use paid search, which is predominantly done these days through Google Adwords. The sky is pretty much the limit on how much you can spend, but it is not terribly expensive to conduct a program that will help increase your ability to come up higher on specific keywords.
8. Social media: It is true that everyone is on social media, but you will be wise to determine exactly where your clients are, and what their mindset is when they are seeking information. For a business-to-business marketing program, it may be much wiser to spend your time and budget on a LinkedIn program than on Facebook or Pinterest. The reason you won’t want to use every social media tool available is that each of them requires content, an understanding of the best way to use that particular tool, and a way to promote those sites you do choose to be involved in so that you can attract attention.
If you are not already involved in social media, you are best to select one of the tools and build a platform for participating in a very concentrated effort. Begin by “listening” on the site, which means monitoring and reading the site, to learn what your targets and your competitors are saying.
Once you have a feel for that tool, you can devise a participation strategy that will make you a “popular” voice on the site, and will attract the attention of those you are targeting. Gaining attention will enhance your reputation through the use of your smart content, and will build awareness for you and your firm.
9. Response mechanisms: How do you turn all this activity into new clients? That must be part of your strategy. Certainly, some people will see your direct marketing and contact you, and certainly others may see a publicity article or hear you speaking, and ask you for more information.
However, in order to make this program most effective, you may want to consider adding landing pages to your Web site (specific pages that link to your direct marketing or online publicity). The landing pages should have a call to action, or an offer for more information in order to do an email capture on those who contact you so that you can continue marketing to them.
Indeed, you will find the marketing most effective if you have automated, or at least pre-planned methods through which to continue the conversation with these newly interested prospects.
10. Tying it all together: The greatest impact you can achieve is to determine your brand message and ensure that it goes out in all your communications. By committing to a marketing program to grow your business for the future, you can anticipate that the same people who are reading your e-mails will be attending your speaking engagements, seeing your publicity, and looking at your Web site, which they may have found through keyword searching.
The old rule of total of the parts being greater than the sum of each very much holds true in marketing.
Judith Brower Fancher is chief executive officer of Brower, Miller & Cole, a full-service marketing, public relations and advertising firm in Orange County, Calif. She can be reached by phone at (949) 955-7940 or e-mail [email protected]