How to Market to Millennials

Mortgage professionals are always seeking out the right demographic on which to focus their marketing efforts. So, there is little wonder why more loan officers and realtors are now looking to millennials for new business. This generation offers enormous potential for signing new clients, as the core demographic comes of age with regard to their career, families, and future financial goals.

With a majority of millennials well into their careers, they now turn their focus to building a family and laying down roots within their chosen community. The demographic now represents the largest group of potential homebuyers in the nation.

It sounds strange, but the question is how do you reach them? Millennials grew up in the age of technology. They entered their teens during the tech boom of the 1990s. They most likely don’t remember not having the Internet available to them, and they may be the most technically diverse population in America. Marketing to this group is an entirely different endeavor.

What Distinguishes Millennials?

The millennial generation consists of people born between 1977 and 1995, and it now encompasses more than 80 million individuals ranging in age from their early 20s to late 30s. Nearly 50 percent of all jobs in the United States are held by this demographic, and that number is likely to increase by double digits in the coming decade. While more than one-third of this group holds a degree, they may also carry a heavy debt burden from their college years. Besides racking up student loan debt, millennials like their creature comforts, and most hold other debt, such as auto loans and credit cards.

Growing Up in the Age of the Internet

Millennials not only grew up surrounded by technology, but they embraced it. For many millennials, their education evolved from written books to online studies. They were immersed in the tech realm by necessity but quickly learned to succeed in today’s workplace, they needed to understand and master technology. They communicate faster and more efficiently than the previous generation, and rest assured, they are ready to take on the next big innovation.

Millennials may be the most socially aware generation. With 24/7 news cycles and a constant stream of new app or social media platforms introduced, this demographic is immersed in national and global events. However, they shun typical marketing efforts. They are a savvy bunch and understand the difference between click bait and informative content. With so much information at their fingertips, their comprehension level is high, but the tolerance for exhaustive marketing pieces is small. They value the amount of content they have access to but primarily focus on only that content that relates to them.

What Millennials Want from Their Mortgage Company

Trustworthiness-Millennials look to build trust with whoever they do business. So, pursuing trust with millennial clients from the beginning is paramount to a continuing relationship. Upfront honesty and sincerity, truthfulness in the process, and finishing what you begin, will help lock up a customer for life.

Online Presence-Millennials do everything online. They work online, they shop online, and they pretty much live online. Being connected 24/7 provides them instant access to colleagues, friends, and news. Why should mort- gages be any different? A mortgage company with a strong online presence and brand, coupled with online processing and customer service, will earn the respect and future business of millennials.

Peer Support-Based on the popularity of Yelp and online reviewers, millennials value the input of their peers on all types of services and products, and mortgages are no different. When the time comes to purchase a property with a mortgage, this demographic will research, review recommendations, and ask a friend. A mortgage company with strong performance reviews will rise in rank.

Social Consciousness-Growing up in the era of 9/11 and beginning their careers during the recession, millennials have a keen awareness of how small actions can affect world events. They seek out and do business with companies that have a social conscience. Mortgage companies that give back to society rise to the top of the list.

Exceptional Communication- Raised on technology that allows people to communicate with nearly any- one instantly, millennials want to talk with their mortgage lender regularly. More than communication, they want to be involved in the process. Providing up to date and accurate information is key to building trust.

How to Make Your Marketing Work

We have explored how millennials think and act, and what they want in a mortgage lender. Now, let’s break down how to develop a strategic marketing plan that works.

Introduction-With millennials, it is all about getting to know someone. Use your social media presence to not only promote your business and products but also to introduce yourself to prospective clients. Tell them about your company and the real people behind the brand. Ex-plain why you are the right mortgage professional for all of their needs, and why you uniquely understand their financial plan and how you can play a part in ensuring their reach it.

Online Presentation-Today’s social media platforms and an endless supply of virtual marketing resources pro- vide companies an opportunity to market to thousands in the blink of an eye. Also, in our data-driven world, there is a wealth of information for the asking. Targeting your marketing with accurate demographic data that includes education, income, financial wherewithal, and the market history of potential clients can help focus your online energy toward this group. Getting a reaction from your posts, building a strong online presence, and following up with the millennial generation through online, speed- of-light mechanisms will help drive more new business faster and more consistently than with traditional forms of
marketing.

Education-Although a majority of millennials are college educated, some may not have insight into the benefits of owning a home, as well as the responsibilities that come with that obligation. By developing marketing pieces that spotlight insightful information and then sharing this information with thoughtful and enthusiastic copy, you will engage your audience and deliver enthusiasm with a call to action.

Brand Creation-Use the information you have learned about millennials to build a brand around what is important to them. Homeownership is a big step, and they want to work with knowledgeable, trustworthy, and tech-savvy individuals to help guide them through the process.

Follow Through-You created the marketing plan, hit the social networks, and broadcast your message to the world. Now, it is time to live that message. Be familiar, be consistent, and follow through on your promises. Building that initial trust was key to earning millennial business, but living up to your commitments and proving your dedication to your client’s best interest will earn you their loyalty.

Millennials will become one of the largest real estate buying demographics over the next decade, but marketing to the group presents its challenges. While millennials are near the top of wage earners for their age group, they also carry too much debt. In a housing market that is near or at the peak of all-time highs, designing a mortgage solution around current obligations could be a delicate endeavor.

However, millennials present a tremendous opportunity to capture a major portion of the future home buying market, while building the type of loyalty that only comes around once in a generation.

What do Customers Look for in a Loan Originator?

Mortgage originators are always looking for the best marketing techniques to earn more business. However, with so much competition in the marketplace, it is no longer enough to have slick advertising materials or a strong social media presence. Originators must understand what today’s borrowers expect from a loan officer.

Here are seven actions that help you earn the respect of home-buyers, home sellers, and the average borrower.

1.Walk your borrowers through the entire mortgage process.

Most borrowers understand the broader points of obtaining a mortgage, such as how their credit, income, and assets are the key underwriting criteria used to qualify them for a loan. However, many are confused by loan-to-value calculations, debt-to-income ratios, amortization schedules, and other mortgage terms. A good loan officer understands how to prepare a borrower for a mortgage application by walking them through the requirements.

2. Ask questions and welcome feedback.

From the time you entered the mortgage business, you probably heard the best way to sell a loan was to ask the borrower what they want in a mortgage. This simple approach still works. Most borrowers, even if they have bought or sold real estate before, value a loan officer who understands their expectations. Likewise, loan officers should take heed of the feedback they receive. Asking a few simple questions and listening to their concerns will help you develop a firm grasp of your borrower’s expectations.

3. Ensure you are always communicating.

While some borrowers need more attention than others, most want the same thing from their loan originator: responsiveness. Returning messages promptly and keeping them informed of the process is the best way to build trust and gain referrals. When a loan originator is not responsive to a customer’s concerns, however trivial, they risk alienating them, or worse, slowing the loan process to the point of cancellation.

4. Provide exceptional organizational skills.

You have likely run across some disorganized borrowers. However, they still demand organization from their loan officer, and that is probably the reason they are seeking a loan originator. To be successful, you must be organized in your approach to disclosures, locking rates, and the closing. By letting borrowers see your organizational skills and their benefits, their confidence in you will build and help seal the deal.

5. Always be honest and direct with your clients.

Always be upfront and forthright in any communication with your clients. Questions should be answered truthfully and without hesitation. Honesty is one of the most important qualities to offer, because your client will respect your suggestions and feel confident in the integrity you bring to the transaction.

6. Be educated and well-informed about the products you offer.

Many borrowers are confused and unsure of what loan product may be best or even appropriate for their fi
nancial situation. A firm understanding of the products you sell builds their confidence in your ability and will reassure them they made the right decision.

7. Refrain from placing too much pressure on your clients.

Many borrowers feel highly stressed when considering important financial decisions. Don’t add to their consternation by placing more pressure on their decision-making process. You will always need to address time-sensitive matters, but when offering a loan solution, demanding the borrower make a decision may leave them second guessing if they made the right choice in their selection of a loan officer.

Of course, there are other factors that play into a borrower’s decision-making process, but focusing on these seven essential actions will better prepare you as a loan professional and help you focus on what matters most to your borrowers.

Focus your Marketing Efforts on What’s Important – Only What’s Important

It’s all about the marketing, right? Every business owner understands this underlying principle. Whether you are selling a clothing line, flower arrangements, or a service, like say, mortgages – marketing is the key to your success.

The digital age has ushered in a wealth of marketing opportunities, but with it comes certain challenges. For mortgage loan originators, digital marketing can be a daunting and sometimes frustrating endeavor. While some excel and relish the digital marketing space, most originators would rather be, well, originating.

Marketing requires some market savvy, a little bit of imagination, and time and effort. Loan originators can probably think of better ways to spend their time rather than creating a new marketing plan. However, developing a good mortgage marketing campaign is worth the effort because marketing works. Not any marketing, but smart marketing. If you are going to spend time and resources on promoting yourself, stick to the techniques that are
proven to work.

Getting Started

Before beginning a new digital marketing campaign, you need to change your way of thinking about lead generation. Digital marketing is more about business development rather than simply generating new mortgage leads. People go online looking to learn, to investigate, and to understand how the choices they make will affect them down the road. View your marketing campaign as a way to engage an audience and familiarize them with your business. Social media is perfect for this type of communication and makes it easy to get the word out and remind followers exactly what it is that you do. It does not always have to be about selling. Sometimes it is as simple as reaching out with an interesting story or engaging article.

While reaching out to the public, keep your eye on the prize. Find referrals and focus on meeting other parties that can refer you new business. Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn all have groups for virtually every type of business. Joining these groups and engaging members with a conversation about topics you are familiar with is a good way to get your feet wet. Not only will you converse with like-minded individuals, but you may learn something about your industry and your client base that you may have never considered otherwise.

Developing Relationships

Marketing has always been about developing relationships. Digital marketing is no different, and with the mortgage industry, the best way to grow your business long-term is to build business partnerships. A new business relationship provides much more value than a loan lead. Sure, leads can convert to applications and result in a closing, but a partnership, say with a referring realtor, adds more value to your business in the long run.
Building professional relationships with builders, accountants, realtors, business bankers and others is
an excellent way to grow your business. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to stay in contact with your partners and take in interest in their business as well as personal lives. It is always a good idea to seek opportunities where both parties can benefit. Look for openings that will allow you to refer your clients to their businesses as well.

Target Demographics

Marketing is as much about demographics as it is anything else. Know your target audience. Whom do you want to speak with directly to sell your services? Sure, most loan originators would like to reach out to everyone who owns a home or is planning to buy one, but that is not very realistic. Instead, define your target business partner and go after that base. You have a much better chance of garnering new business by reaching out to a select group of realtors, rather than blasting the entire real estate market in your area.

Another concern is how to make yourself stand out to realtors and other professionals in your area. One way is to specialize. Every loan originator has a niche they like to work within. Be it VA, FHA, purchase money, construction financing or hard money loans, whatever it is, show your business partners why they should pick you. Many lenders choose to market for business that is most profitable, but still, it is smart to consider other options, such as fastest to close. Whichever product suits your taste, be specific, offer clarity, and demonstrate that you excel in providing that product to borrowers.

Digital Marketing Platforms

When developing any good marketing plan you want to focus on delivery systems that work. For years, originators relied on direct mail to reach out to potential clients. The problem is, that approach still requires your potential lead to open your letter and read it. In the digital age, several platforms allow you to get your message out and reach a far greater audience. For loan originators, there are seven leading digital marketing tools you should focus on when developing your marketing campaign.

Personally Branded Website

A website is an excellent way to provide a “digital business card” to the world. Many originators work for a company that provides a corporate website where they can direct customers to for advice, questions, or information about the types of products and services you offer. However, a personally branded website sells you. This is a site that you can personalize with information about your expertise, the types of products that you specialize in, and type of service customers can expect. Loan originators do not always stay with the same company. A personally branded site will also move with you as you further your career. It provides a way for your business partners and previous clients to keep track of where you are and what types of financing you continue to provide.

Blog

A personal blog is also a quick way for a mortgage professional to get their message out to the masses. One misconception is that you have to know how to write to have a blog. That’s not true; you don’t have to be a good writer or even know how to write interesting content to have a blog. Many bloggers just post links to articles that they think their customers would find interesting or educational. Blogs are quickly becoming the medium of choice for marketing firms. Besides offering insightful information, a blog can be shared on social media over
and over and reach an incredible amount of readers in a short amount of time.

Email Marketing

As we indicated before, email branding was one of the first digital marketing tools used by the industry, and even after all these years, it still works. While spamming has become a global scourge, email marketing to business partners or your existing customer base is still a good way to communicate. However, people’s time is valuable. Instead of sending out boring messages, many email campaigns contain only a few lines of information and then a link to a blog or website. Remember – keep it short and sweet if you want to make sure the recipients will read your content.

Facebook | www.facebook.com

Facebook recently surpassed 2 billion users worldwide. It is the undisputed champ when it comes to social media. In fact, some marketers only advertise on Facebook; it is that powerful a digital tool. Facebook is similar to a blog in that you can post articles, photos, and other content that your contacts may find interesting. Like your blog, you only want to post information that you believe will attract potential clients or business partners.
Some business users make the mistake of posting chain mail, political content, goofy videos, or other content that
may turn off many prospects.

LinkedIn | www.linkedin.com

Think of LinkedIn as Facebook for business. You can create a profile page. Share and upload information about
yourself. You can even create discussion groups and interact with other business professionals across a variety
of industries. In this manner, and the fact that LinkedIn has over 500 million worldwide users, LinkedIn is perhaps the best relationship building digital platform for industry professionals. LinkedIn provides a unique profile page whereas your contacts are allowed to give feedback on your skill sets. So, adding contacts with whom you have personally done business or those who understand your business, will become your referral base for other users that may be considering using the services you provide.

ActiveRain | www.activerain.com

ActiveRain is a website community designed around real estate and real estate professionals. The site allows users
to post relevant articles, blogs, and other information and promotes the community to comment and share the content.

Opportunity | www.myopportunity.com

Opportunity is the newest business platform to emerge that provides an interesting way for professionals to network. Opportunity is a network of business professionals whom each builds a profile detailing the services or products they provide, along with indicating what professional services he or she is seeking. The platform then allows users to reach out to others who may be in need of their services, and vice-versa. This feature is a great lead generation tool and offers users the ability to reach out to customers all over the world.

Content and Consistency is Key

As with any marketing campaign, content is king. Creating the right blend of interesting articles, updated list of services offered, and call to action is essential to your digital marketing success. With the amount of information bombarding consumers daily, finding and posting content that will have people not only take notice but actually read, is key to generating new leads and building strong business relationships.

If you are not an experienced marketer, this is the hard part – consistency. Marketing is most successful when done on a regular basis. The good news is that digital platforms make being consistent easier. To stay on your marketing task, you simply need to block out a little time each day, perhaps in the mornings or evenings, to post to your social profiles. Posting regular updates and new content will keep your profile popping in your contacts’ timelines and remind them that you are ready and able to help them.

With a little effort, some creativity, and dedication to making a difference in your business, you can be on your
way to becoming a master of marketing.