Your Marketing Efforts Are Useless If You Don't Also Have This
Those that have been following me for a while know that I have just about the most unique value proposition you can have as a digital marketer in the mortgage space. Not only am I currently a producing loan officer who used my system to build my mortgage business, but I generate leads on search networks while everyone else is playing around on Facebook. It's very difficult to find yourself in the right place, at the right time on the level that I have with my lead generation business.
If you're a mortgage loan officer, chances are you don't have the same advantage going into your agent relationships and client interactions. Face it, as a mortgage loan officer your options are limited as far as how you can market and differentiate yourself.
I'm here to tell you, though, that this concept is one that you and I need equally. Unique value proposition aside, there's nothing that I've found to be more important in my ability to get clients than this. This is something that applies in all industries, on all levels of production. So what is it? What is so important, that without it, your constant efforts to market your business are borderline useless?
Yes, guys, that's it. For the past 4 weeks, I've been running a course dedicated to revealing the secret inner workings of how I build out and manage Google Search Ad funnels. Why have I done it? Because I needed more social proof. I've got clients and written testimonials, but my industry is so plagued with people who claim to be good at what they do while delivering sh*t for results, that I needed something more powerful. Could I ask for video testimonials from my past clients? Sure I could, but I was stupid and didn't set that expectation up front. Instead, I had multiple prospects call my clients to discuss their results, until there were too many prospects asking for me to reasonably expect that out of my past clients. So by the time I realized video testimonials would be a good idea, I felt like I was asking too much.
So instead I offered a free 6-week course for 100 LOs where I have been holding no details back, just so I can create a small tribe of people using my product that can speak to its power and who now owe me a favor in the form of social proof. In fact, I literally invited multiple digital marketing competitors to join the tribe, just so I could have the ability to market the group to their following and further my efforts.
But this article isn't about me. I shared those things with you so that you can see firsthand the value that I place on this concept. Social proof should be just as valuable, if not more valuable to you in your mortgage business.
72% of people in a survey performed by ZipRealty report that they searched online or were very likely to search online for information on a lender they are referred to.
Obviously, if you're generating leads online, you should know that your prospects are doing their research. After all, that is how you found them right? Even if you generated the lead on Facebook, you were able to target them because of tracking data on their computer that told Facebook they may be in the market for a home. But did you know social proof is just as valuable for your realtor referral clients? If a realtor refers you and the client does internet research on you, what are they going to find?
Seeking validation is a natural human instinct. Going back to the days of us being cavemen and women, validation from those around us was the only thing keeping us alive. This is a hardwired tendency and is not going away. So who do you think else is doing internet research on you? What about the real estate agents you're calling to try and sit down with and solicit referrals from? Yep, them too.
Alright, so say you get some good reviews on a couple different platforms, you're good now right? Now when people research your name, they'll see some positive words online about how great of a lender you are. You're now leveraging social proof as a defensive strategy. However, social proof can be just as valuable if not more valuable when leveraged as part of your outbound marketing.
Testimonials aren't only valuable for defense, they're good for offense too.
Nielsen is a global research and data analytics firm that did a study on why people across industries made their buying decisions. What they found should excite you now that you're reading this article. Their data showed that 92% of respondents trusted recommendations from people that they knew personally, while 70% of respondents trusted recommendations that they found online from complete strangers. Are you kidding me? 70%?!
So how do you leverage these statistics to your advantage on offense? Well, do you remember the article I wrote recently about that thing you can do every day to take your mortgage marketing to the next level? If you haven't read it or don't remember, read it here. The article talks specifically about the value of writing a blog. Use testimonials within your blog content and then your outbound email campaigns (both your regular campaigns to your email list and your automated follow-up campaigns when engaging with inbound leads).
Have you ever seen an ad for a "case study" in your Facebook timeline? The idea of a case study is basically a written or video account of real-life events that took place illustrating the value of your service. This goes beyond a testimonial and can have an astounding effect on your business if used properly. Create a case study with a client that took a lot of work to get to the point of qualifying, and end it with a powerful account of how great the loan process was, and you have content that you can send to all of your potential prospects and advertise all over social media that will not only advertise you and your services, it will create an emotional connection with your potential clients on an automated basis. Speaking of social media, social proof can and should also be used as simple social media posts. You should be posting on social media a few times a day, but keeping the business content you post limited. Reviews are a powerful piece of content you can use to remind people of who you are and what you do without spamming people.
Lastly, if you're generating leads for yourself online, you should be including a testimonial on your landing page. You can use these as content that your prospects can read when they scroll down below your call-to-action, or you can place it right next to your CTA to improve the likelihood of someone taking the action you're trying to solicit. We put a testimonial on every landing page we create for our clients and have found including this to have a profound effect on our landing page conversion rate.
Great, reviews are important. How do I get them and keep them updated?
Well first, you need to understand that there are multiple venues where you can have reviews. The most popular and most important for loan officers as I see it are (in no particular order) Zillow, Facebook, Yelp, and Google. So which one should you choose? Well ultimately that depends on a couple factors, but the most important one being whether or not you already have traction on any one of the sites. If so, and you're going to choose one, just key in on the one you already have traction on. But in today's digital age, you don't have to choose if you're willing to spend some money.
There are multiple platforms that you can integrate with your CRM to send an automated survey out to your clients as soon as they close a loan with you. The surveys are designed to help you identify clients that are good sources of testimonials. Most of them will send out a survey, and if a positive review is left they may invite them to push the review to one or all of the review sites themselves, or some of them claim to even be able to post these reviews for you/your client. A few companies that I identified in my research as offering something in this arena are eendorsements, TestimonialTree, and SmartZip. By the way, I have no affiliation with any of these companies and have nothing to gain by including them in my article.
If you're not willing to spend money though, you still need to be leveraging social proof in your business. When someone Google's your name, the top search results are going to be determined by a multitude of factors that are way too complicated for purposes of this article. The point I want to make when it comes to this though is that the more reviews you have on any one site, the more likely that site is to rank near the top of the search results. So if you don't have a software that's doing this for you automatically, what I recommend is a 2 step process that keys in on ONE REVIEW SITE.
Step 1, go through your past client list and identify anyone that you know will leave you a 5-star review. You can also call and ask all of your past clients if they'd consider your service to be a 5 star experience, and gage their responses to determine who to send review links to. Get commitments from as many people on your list as are willing, and then send these clients a direct link to leave a review on the platform of your choice. Make sure that you follow up with these guys every couple days until you've tapped out this list for as many reviews as you can get.
Now that you've got a decent amount of 5-star reviews, you want to make sure that this site stays current with fresh reviews, as recency is definitely something that prospects are going to consider when doing their online research. That and every review you get is fresh content for your blogs, emails, and social media posts. So why not rack them up? So in order to do this, which is step 2, you need to add a manual or automated system to your loan closing process. Ideally, you're already making a check-in call or sending an email within a couple days of closing to check in and see how things are going. If you already send an email, just include a couple questions asking about their experience and whether or not they'd be willing to refer their friends and family to you. Don't ask immediately for the review, or about your 5-star service. Almost every client, even if they had a less than perfect experience, will SAY that they will refer you to friends and family even if they never do. Once they've answered in the positive to your question though, the transition is easy:
"Great, I sincerely appreciate that and will take good care of anyone you send my way! By the way, since you're willing to pay me the highest compliments of sending your friends and family my way, I imagine I can trust you with leaving a simple positive online review for me? Referrals are the best, and I appreciate you committing to keeping me in mind. But I know from experience that identifying people in the market to buy a home can be tough. An online review is an easy way you can help me out immensely in the meantime."
Or something along those lines. Don't just copy and paste this, make it your own! But include a link with that response and you'll see your engagement rate skyrocket when asking for reviews. Continue to leverage these new testimonials moving forward in your outbound and inbound marketing efforts, and not only will it help you win deals and bring in new ones, it will increase the results of your other marketing campaigns dramatically.
We don't offer reputation management at Empower Funnels, but we do help fill your pipeline with leads to send your new testimonials to. If you're looking to step into the digital age, and partner with a company run by someone who's in the trenches himself, look no further. Empower Funnels offers fully automated lead generation and follow up systems for Loan Officers that are looking to create the business of their dreams. Check out our home page at www.empowerfunnels.com for more info. Or, if you'd like a 100% free strategy session to assess where you're at with digital marketing for your mortgage business, click here to book a time.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the top!