Brokers are sitting on a mountain of knowledge. Sharing it with your customers through a targeted digital marketing campaign is a cost-effective way of creating new business, writes Tim Reid
Try to imagine a couple of scenarios.
Scenario one: it’s 9:00am, you’re sitting in your office and the phone goes. It’s a journalist. He says he loved what you had to say on that show the other night. That you had valuable opinions about how to find the best mortgage, and that he’d love to interview you for an article to appear in the daily newspaper next week. The interview happens, the article appears and you get all this free publicity from it. The great news is, that show the journalist heard you on was your show, it was a podcast that you’d created simply and cheaply on your computer, uploaded it to your website for all the world to hear.
Scenario two: it’s midday, the same day. The phone goes. This time it’s a prospect with a frequently asked question. She wants to know how to determine when the best time is to fix her home loan. You answer her question, then at the end of the call, offer to email her a link to a video you’ve produced that goes into even greater detail about that exact topic. She watches it that night with her partner, shares it on Facebook because she found it so helpful, and rings you the next day to make an appointment to become a client.
The great thing is, you’ve got thirty of those videos sitting on your virtual shelf, ready to share with clients and prospects when they ask you a frequently asked question.
Now, you may be thinking, wow, they’re big ideas and sound mighty expensive and complicated. They’re not for a small brokerage firm that has a modest marketing budget.
Well, five years ago you’d have been right to think that. However, the marketing world has changed in the past month, the past six months and certainly the past 12 months, and what I can tell you is that there’s never been a better time to market your mortgage broking business. And the great news is as a mortgage broker you’re standing on a mountain of knowledge.
You know so much about the industry in which you operate, about how to help people find the best mortgage for their unique circumstances and buy the property of their dreams. And from a marketing perspective, you’ve got two choices: you can either hold that knowledge close to your chest and only share it with people who give you money.
Or you can share that knowledge openly and freely knowing that in doing so it will help you build a tribe – a group of loyal, long-term customers who love what you do and are more than happy to tell their friends about you.
Now option one (the money now option) sounds quite seductive, right? After all cash flow is critical to sustaining your business. However, it’s option two that has the ability to help grow your business exponentially well into the future. To that end, let me introduce you to the concept I call ‘helpful marketing’.
To best understand it, I want you to first take off your business owner’s hat and your mortgage broker’s hat and simply be a human being. Reflect on both the last time you were helpful and the last time you were helped. It feels good, doesn’t it?
In fact, being helpful physiologically releases dopamine into our bloodstream – a naturally made chemical that is also produced during sex and eating chocolate. Who would have thought there was a marketing strategy available to us that actually made us feel good!?
Okay, you can put your mortgage broker’s hat back on. Helpful marketing is laser-focused on solving the problems of your clients by sharing the knowledge that you already have, with the aim of helping them make a more informed decision, more often than not in your favour.
It’s about out-teaching, not outspending your competition. Way too many businesses spend money hand over fist on push marketing – advertising, direct mail, sponsorships. Now while these channels can work at generating enquiry, the nature of them is that you often only have a limited amount of space or time to get your message across, which can force you into cutting to the chase – “Buy from me”, “Buy now”, “Last chance” and so on.
Helpful marketing is different. It’s about selling more by selling less. When you share your knowledge openly and freely, it’s harder to be pushy, to adopt a salesy mentality. And as a result, your prospects appreciate what you’re sharing.
Now, you’ve already looked at this concept through the prism of simply being helpful. But if you’d like more proof of its validity, then let’s see what Google has to say. After all, we are who Google says we are, and ranking on page one of the biggest search engine in the world has to be one of your marketing priorities, right?
In October 2013, Google made an update to their algorithm (that big equation that determines who ranks where) called the Hummingbird update. Part of that update told website owners: “Google would like to see more relevant, unique, helpful content produced regularly”. So, there it is, the big G wants helpful content.
Why? Because they want the internet to be as interesting and useful as possible. That way, more people will use it more often, which means that Google can sell more advertising. So, as website owners, they’re telling us that if we create helpful content they’ll reward us with improved rankings.
Okay, so has the penny dropped? Excellent. So there’s a multitude of ways to embark on a helpful marketing strategy, but I want to start with a nice, simple five-step process that you can get working on today:
1. Create a list of all the questions you’ve ever been asked by prospects and clients about mortgages and working with a mortgage broker. Don’t judge the questions as possibly being too simple, instead just get them all down. Here’s a start:
2. You should be able to list 30 questions without even blinking; so now create categories into which you can allocate the questions. Examples include:
3. Oh, and just when you think you’ve listed all the questions, think again.
Use Google’s predictive search to see what others are asking, ask your social media friends what questions they have, look back through old emails and ask your staff and suppliers.
4. With that done, now start answering each and every question in some detail.
Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Explain yourself. Remember, you know a lot more than those asking the questions, so be as helpful as you can. And remember, people consume information in different ways, so you might like to vary the way you respond to include the written word, video, audio, charts and infographics.
5. Now, add a section on your website (you’ve got a website, right?) and call it ‘Knowledge centre’ – go as far as making it a button on your primary navigation bar, then add all this wonderfully rich and helpful content that you’ve created. Oh, and here’s two pro tips:
So now you’ve got an unbelievably helpful website. Well done. The key now is to ensure people know about it.
Sure, it will be getting found on Google and your website traffic will be increasing. But be sure to share it around on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Email links to specific answers when a client calls with that question. Include references to your newly formed ‘Knowledge centre’ in your newsletters, brochures and advertising. Share that marketing love! And remember, someone has to be the most helpful in your industry; it may as well be you.
Tim Reid is an international keynote speaker on marketing, and will be speaking at The Adviser’s Digital Marketing Boot Camp on 1-3 July. He is the host of The Small Business Big Marketing Show, Australia’s #1 marketing podcast.
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