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Gettin' digi with it

digital media digital media
Tim Reid 5 minute read

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 to your website for all the world to hear.

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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 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.

The reality of digital marketing You may be thinking they’re big ideas and sound mighty expensive and complicated; they’re not for a small brokerage firm that has a modest marketing budget.

Five years ago you’d have been right. 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 broking business. And the great news is as a 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 loan for their unique circumstances and buy the property of their dreams.

And from a marketing perspective, you’ve got two choices: either hold that knowledge close to your chest and only share it with people who give you money, or 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, first take off your business owner’s hat and your broker’s hat, and simply be a human being. Reflect on the last time you were both helpful and were helped. It feels good, doesn’t it?

In fact, being helpful physiologically releases dopamine into our bloodstream – a natural 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!?

Helpful marketing is laser-focused on solving client problems by sharing the knowledge you already have, helping them make a more informed decision. It’s about out-teaching, not outspending, your competition.

Helpful marketing is 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. As a result, your prospects appreciate what you’re sharing.

In October 2013, Google made an update to its 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, even 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. Start with this simple five-step process you can get working on today:

Step 1. List all the questions you’ve ever been asked by prospects and clients about mortgages and working with a broker. Don’t judge the questions as being too simple, just get them all down. Here’s a start:

  • How much does a broker cost?
  • Why do I need a mortgage broker?
  • Should I get a fixed or variable loan?
  • How do I brief a mortgage broker?
  • What set-up costs are involved
    when taking out a mortgage?

Step 2. Now create categories into which you can allocate the questions. Examples include:

  • Working with us
  • Fixed loans
  • Variable loans
  • Insurance

Step 3. 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; tap your staff and suppliers.

Step 4. Now start answering each and every question in some detail. Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Remember, you know a lot more than those asking the questions, so be as helpful as you can. 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.

Step 5. Add a section on your website 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:

  • Answer one question per page, making it much easier for Google to rank that page.
  • As you add more and more pages to your website, interlink them to hold people on your website for longer.

Once you’ve got a really helpful website, the next step is to ensure people know about it. Share it around on social media. Email links to specific answers to a client’s question. Include references to your ‘Knowledge centre’ in your newsletters and advertising. Share that marketing love! Someone has to be the most helpful in your industry; it may as well be you.

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