Why Facebook Ads Work For Me (But Not For Your Mortgage Business)
I've been running a lot of Facebook Ads lately to spread my message that marketing on Facebook for loan officers is a waste of time/money and that inevitably leads to the question when I talk to prospects: If Facebook is so bad, why do you use it yourself? To understand the answer to this question you have to have a deeper understanding of marketing and how these platforms all work than most do. In fact, when I was interviewing Facebook Ad "Experts" to run some of my Facebook Ads, there were even a couple of them that I had to explain the logic too.
Facebook advertising can be extremely powerful for many different businesses when used correctly. I think what Facebook has done with their platform to create a space where advertisers and consumers can coexist in a relationship that causes far fewer annoyances than a medium like TV or Radio Ads is amazing. To top that all off, the amount of data Facebook has on its users that allow advertisers to get their message in the hands of their target audience is INSANE. Trust me, I'm not a Facebook hater. I just think Facebook is terrible for mortgage lead generation. These are just a few reasons why Facebook Ads work for my business and not for yours:
My Product Has Very Limited Access
I've made this point before, but how hard is it for a qualified mortgage applicant to find someone to give them a loan? Not hard at all right? There are mortgage advertisements EVERYWHERE between billboards, radio ads, TV commercials, street signage, banner ads, Facebook ads, magazines, you name it! Plus, everyone knows a mortgage originator, right?
With the amount of advertising people see for mortgages on a daily basis, no matter how targeted your ad is, it's going to be very difficult to stick out when their subconscious mind is filtering your ad through a lens of familiarity. Even when they see your ad or enter your funnel, they don't have any incentive to engage with you because most will already know what you offer and know that there are thousands of other people offering the same thing (I know it's not necessarily the same, but the prospect doesn't know that).
My product, on the other hand, is unique enough to stand out in your news feed if I use the right mechanism to catch your attention. You see people marketing lead generation for loan officers often enough that although there isn't much urgency involved, if you're in the market for a lead generation system you're going to click on FB ads because you know that there are a limited number of us out there selling them and you want to know what each has to offer. Every day more and more marketers are targeting loan officers for lead generation so, at some point, Facebook may not be the best option for us in the same way it isn't for loan officers. For now, however, the message I'm putting out is new enough to make Facebook ads effective.
Mortgages' Higher Barrier To Entry Requires More Intent
For my target audience (loan officers), there isn't much of a barrier to obtaining my product. You've got to be producing at least an average level already, have a little bit of money in the bank (or room on your credit card), and you need to be willing to put in the work to convert the leads. At the point that you're in the mortgage profession, you're 90% of the way to qualifying for my product.
A mortgage, obviously, is completely different. Especially with all of the recent limitations Facebook has placed on the ability to target by demographic in the housing space, your market is essentially anyone who's shown interest in buying a house "recently" (whatever that means). That's a HUGE potential audience. The problem is, 95% of adults would love to own a house. I'm sure a large amount of those people have looked at homes on Zillow to daydream or "just for fun" even if they had no intention of ever buying. A home loan is a unique product in that almost everybody wants/needs one at some point, but it's either out of reach or too much work for a large percentage of the population while the ones who can qualify have already had the product stuffed down their throats by the time you can use data to target them on Facebook.
In order for a mortgage lead to be quality, it has to have a higher level of intent than a Facebook Ad brings with it. Even with a high level of intent, you're going to have a lot of leads you can't do anything with because everyone wants a mortgage. But at least then you can weed out the ones who aren't willing or already know they aren't in a position to do anything about it.
Curiosity Awards Me The Opportunity to Build a Personal Connection
When it comes to Facebook Ads, your goal is to move someone down the line from Attention to Interest to Intent or Inquiry. When I run an ad, my first goal is to capture someone's attention with my image and headlines. Once I've caught their attention, my ad copy begins the process of stimulating interest. If I generate enough interest, the person will click through to the landing page. On that landing page, I continue to build interest through video, headlines, a sales letter, testimonials, etc. During this process, I'm building a personal connection with that person through my content. I'm giving them a look at who I am as a person, and they're interpreting it because of their level of curiosity (or interest) in my product.
With mortgages, because of the issues I've outlined in the above two sections (everyone wants a mortgage, mortgages are everywhere), you almost have to skip the interest phase. Why? Because most of the time with Facebook Ads, as soon as someone realizes you're a mortgage loan officer trying to get their information to follow up about a home loan, they're gone. Or maybe you "hide the salesman" on Facebook and generate leads from MLS listings in your market with your agents? First off, this approach carries almost 0 intent, but second, because of the free access to the information you're offering found all over the internet, you don't really have much curiosity/interest to work with. In either of these scenarios, you have 0 opportunity to build a personal connection with your audience which makes it so you don't really have the opportunity to create intent within your funnel.
Did you catch that last part? It's what all of this really boils down to. Do the loan officers that click on my Facebook Ads and enter my funnel inherently carry any more intent than Facebook mortgage leads? Nope, they don't. The difference is, in my business, I have limited access to my product, a low barrier to entry, and the opportunity to build a personal connection, which allows me to manufacture intent.
So What Can You Do About It?
Easy. If you've been running your own Facebook Ads, stop. Do yourself a favor and click this link to pick up my free 3 step guide to start generating your own leads with Google Search Ads ASAP. The guide is very easy to follow and gives actionable steps that you can take today to start generating your own leads from a pool of people that are actively searching for mortgage-related keywords.
If you're paying someone to generate leads on Facebook for you, stop whatever you're doing and click this link to book a free strategy session. I'm not going to lie, Google Search Ads are not for everyone. The fact is, I'm the only one out there qualified to build a fully automated system using Google Ads for you but I don't take just any client on and I'm not exactly cheap either. So if you don't have the time to build the Google Ads yourself and you're only spending $500 a month on your FB ads, I'll probably tell you to keep doing what you're doing. Something is better than nothing, and I respect that people have different goals and budgets. I share this with you because I still feel it's very important for us to talk and evaluate whether or not there's an opportunity to drastically improve the results you're paying for.
If you're in neither category and you're just now getting into online lead generation, consider yourself lucky. I'm a producing loan officer myself and let me say there are a lot of people who have wasted a lot of time with Facebook Ads in our industry. I'm on a mission to change that though, and I'd love to have you on board. If having a fully automated lead generation system with leads produced with the highest levels of intent you can get, click this link to book a free strategy session. If you're still doing research, feel free to click this link to pick up my free 3 step guide or click here to check out the rest of my blog.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the top!