It really astonishes us that more mortgage-related businesses aren’t fully taking advantage of the wonderful marketing lever that social media can be. We see some brands spending thousands upon thousands on outdated or downright bad lists. Or sending ineffective text messages into the maw, never to be heard from again. Or spending hundreds of thousands of ads, only to complain about a negligible “return.”
Don’t get us wrong. There’s definitely still a place for advertising, sponsorship and mass marketing. But when we learn the same firms—some with hundreds of employees—have a LinkedIn corporate profile that hasn’t been updated or posted to in months or years, we have to scratch our heads.
When we do talk to the holdouts about why they don’t put more resources or effort into getting their message to the market through social media, the answers can vary. But most of the time, they amount to not truly recognizing the value of the return on the investment.
Many times, that ROI calculation, however, is very short-sighted. Either the timeframe or the goals set or the measurement itself are insufficient, flawed or incomplete. The fact of the matter is that good marketing—any kind of effective marketing—starts with going where the prospects are, and getting their attention.
If you don’t believe your prospects aren’t on, say, LinkedIn these days, you haven’t been there lately.
But it goes much deeper than a direct tie from LinkedIn update to new client.
Good branding communications don’t just bring new clients into the fold. They also help retain clients and build satisfaction. Good messaging recruits quality vendors, partners and employees…maybe even investors. And good messaging can also provide insight into the deeper brand. All of these outcomes can lead to stronger office culture; higher productivity; more plentiful marketing and partnership opportunities and, yes, more return for the investment.
In the past, if you wanted to provide that kinds of insight or messaging, it required spending just for the opportunity. You’d need to pay for advertising. Or a marketing list for a mailer or e-mail message. Or you’d need to pay to attend and exhibit or sponsor a conference. You could post great messaging to your website, but if folks weren’t already coming, just posting didn’t automatically draw prospects. And in all cases, there were no guarantees that the right prospects—your prospects—would even be there when you arrived…far less that they’d be interested in what you had to say.
But, for the most part, social media is free. It’s a fantastic forum, and maybe even a tool, that allows brands to be where their target market is and join in the conversation.
Of course, you have to update your mindset when you do enter the world of social media. The old messaging—carpet bombing, SPAM, interruption technique, chest-thumping and one-way communications—isn’t really effective in a forum like LinkedIn. It requires patience. It requires a two-way conversation—talking and listening. It requires bringing some value to the interaction.
You’ll notice LodeStar doesn’t spend a ton of time talking about our closing cost calculator in places like LinkedIn. It’s not that we’re not proud of it. But, let’s be honest, we’re among the few waking up in the morning thinking about TRID guidelines or penalties for TRID violations. Maybe folks who make a living ensuring mortgage compliance. It’s generally not the most compelling topic for many.
But we can enter the larger conversations being had on LinkedIn—just like you already do at a typical trade conference or seminar. And if we add something of value, something of relevance to the mix (and, by the way, something authentic), we’ll continue to be a part of the conversation. You won’t get anyone to hear your conversation if you’re not already at the table.
But isn’t that how we train our sales professionals to build their leads already? The good ones don’t lead an introductory conversation with a primer on their pricing. Those tend to be very short, one-way conversations that aren’t repeated. Instead, they chime in on topics of interest to all present and, in so doing, earn the right to come around to what they do at some point. Better yet, after a bit, folks ask them what they do, and how they can help.
All of this lends itself to allowing you the opportunity to expand your message, show your culture and your ideals, express your vision and, in doing all of that, possibly win leads and clients; recruit quality employees and position yourselves as mainstays in industry conversations.
If your question is still “Where’s the ROI in that?” maybe marketing isn’t your thing after all.
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