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Value Your Data

We have heard industry veterans like Roger Gudobba and others say, “It’s all about the data.” The phrase has become so overused that it almost means nothing anymore. However, lenders and vendors alike should listen to this sound advice. Roger was talking about how data can improve the mortgage lending process, and that’s true, but I’m here to say to you that data can improve your marketing process, as well.

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In a White Paper entitled “Put Data First: Why Data Quality in CRM and Marketing Automation are Top Priority” written by RingLead, the author states that whatever your situation may be, you will quickly realize that it all comes back to data, because data is the real value in your CRM and marketing automation platform.

We don’t mean to trivialize the importance of workflows, automated processes and drip nurturing campaigns that these systems offer. These features are one of the primary reasons that organizations invest so much time and money into their implementation and ongoing administration and improvement, but many are rendered utterly useless when they come into contact with dirty data.

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Dirty data has a way of silently infiltrating your organization, creating frustration, inefficiency, and loss of confidence (eg. dismal user adoption) in the systems themselves. It can affect each department and group of stakeholders in a very different way, but unless there is a “State of Our Data” address, the problem is not brought to the forefront of the organization’s collective psyche.

One of the key requirements of a customer and prospect database is to easily segment the records, allowing your organization to interact with one set of contacts differently from others. This can be easy if you have a strict set of values for each field and the input is controlled at the insertion point.

A common requirement is segmentation by job title, but there are simply too many variations on an individual’s job title to try to account for each with a picklist value, so the standard method of insertion is via a regular text field. This creates a pretty big problem for segmentation.

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According to a 2013 Experian QAS survey, 94 percent of businesses believe there is some level of inaccuracy within their CRM systems. When you think about the time, money and focus that is put into CRM, an allowance for inaccurate and useless data is mind boggling.

Think about the time that your organization is wasting sifting through inaccurate or worse, completely useless, data. Inaccurate data leads to:

>>Wasted sales efforts on useless bits of information stored in CRM, leading to discontent and potential abandonment of the CRM system (ie. decreased user adoption)

>>Longer wait times for support while reps are forced to piece together information while on the phone with a customer, leading to decreased customer satisfaction

At Sirius Summit 2013, Jim Ninivaggi, Service Director of Sales Enablement Strategies at Sirius Decisions cited a study that found roughly 30% of an enterprise salesperson’s time is spent doing research on the Internet. If you think about that in the context of an 8 am – 6 pm workday, that means that 35 days per year are spent doing research.

In Data Driven: Profiting from Your Most Important Business Asset, Thomas C. Redman sums up the advantages of data completeness as “A moat around our business [that] gives us a unique competitive advantage.” Nowhere is this more evident than the aspect of data completeness.

Duplicate records in CRM and marketing automation platforms are a familiar aspect of bad data. The errors and frustration that duplicates cause can be felt across most departments at almost every level.

Reports are skewed, the wrong messages are being sent, and quarrels are created over one record that somehow made it into the system twice and was distributed to two different sales reps.

How are duplicate records created? Today’s CRM and marketing automation platforms come equipped with very basic duplicate identification, which is, in almost every case, based on a scan for an exact-match email address.

Many modern, technology-enabled organizations are using more than one software platform to manage their customer and prospect data. It is crucial to keep your data in sync across your email, ERP systems, CRM, marketing automation platform, and more. If your data quality plan is limited to one platform, you’re only solving part of the problem.

It’s important to remember that dirty data can be a big problem, but can be easily solved. Analyze the problem and try to hone in on the areas that are causing the most pain. Then get in touch with a team that has experience in resolving these types of issues.

For example, NexLevel Advisors is focused on companies that are looking to take their business to the next level. NexLevel Advisors assists you in elevating your results. Creating new opportunities, executable strategies, and delivering results creates an environment that promotes continual growth and business value for your company.

We add value through strategic advice specific to your company. Our team has years of experience and have been in your situation and position. These individuals possess in-depth knowledge of your complex product and service offerings, the nuances of your market segment, and the challenges of your product roadmap and lifecycle. We deliver customized differentiation in the marketplace for your organization while producing measurable results.

What this means for your business is that you get customized programs from accomplished executives who offer proven results-oriented solutions specifically created to take your organization to the next level, quicker and more strategically than you could on your own.

NexLevel’s experience has covered multiple industries including: Financial Services, Healthcare, Legal Services and Insurance in delivering marketplace results, with extensive expertise in complex technology oriented products and services. Our customized solutions help you to sell more, more frequently, to more people by clearly establishing your specific value propositions. This is where real world experience, strategy and execution deliver measurable results for your organization.

For over 20 years the advisors of NexLevel have been leading and creating market leaders in business, delivering success after success in taking companies to the next level in revenues and profitability. This vast expertise comes from real world experience in running companies, building organizations and holding the following positions of leadership: CEO, CMO, VP Business Strategy, and Director of Sales & Marketing. Our experience makes the difference in your business.

If your CRM reporting seems “off”, if your marketing campaigns are less than impressive, if your sales team is underperforming, then this is your system flashing the Check Engine light. More often than not, dirty data is the root cause.

About The Author

Michael Hammond
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at mhammond@nexleveladvisors.com.

Rest Your Weary Fingers—Voice Activation Is Coming To A CRM Near You

We spend a lot of time talking to our gadgets these days. Whether we’re seeking directions from Siri or weather updates from Alexa, speech is quickly becoming a preferred means of communicating with technology. A future once at our fingertips now rests at the tips of our tongues.

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Voice activated technology doesn’t just afford us fun tools for our private lives – this technology is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the professional world, too. And that extends to the small and midsized business space. Voice activation is now helping small and midsized businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) software with more speed and efficiency. This burgeoning feature becoming a game changer in a world where the tech-savviest players win.

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Here’s how your business can, and should, use voice activation for CRM to its advantage.

Alexa, help save me time

Voice-activated CRMs have become significant time-saving tools for professionals across the board.

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They help users interact with data in more targeted ways, meaning they can bypass irrelevant information and skip directly to the data they’re seeking. A time-crunched salesman can simply say: “Alexa, open Act! and retrieve John Smith’s email” rather than opening a CRM program on a computer and manually retrieving the information.

Speech-to-text software can be a real timesaver for data entry, too. Rather than the costly and monotonous task of manually imputing data, users can rely on software to submit information via speech. This saves hours. The average worker types 50-70 words per minute. Meanwhile, speech recognition programs can accommodate 120-140 words per minute with near-perfect accuracy. And if you’re serious about saving time, forget texting. A Stanford study found speech recognition to be three-times faster than typing on a phone.

Alexa, help me adapt

As I mentioned, many people are already using voice activation in their day-to-day lives. According to a recent study, nearly 40 percent of smartphone owners use voice recognition software.

Naturally, small and midsized business owners and employees will want to use voice activation in their professional lives, too. And smaller organizations are often better positioned to test and integrate new technologies on the fly than enterprise-level companies that come with much longer approval, research and implementation processes.

Early stage voice-activated CRMs will consist of a basic integration with well-established virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod. Users can ease into this advancing technology by mastering the basic skills, and continuing to learn as voice activation becomes more sophisticated.

As businesses begin relying more heavily on voice activation, they’ll find there’s no longer a need to bring up a full-blown CRM. Instead, they’ll rely on spoken words to complete a task.

Alexa, what’s next?

The greatest advantages of voice-activated CRM technology are still to come. Though base level interaction tools will continue to pop up over the next 12 to 15 months, this technology is expected to become much more sophisticated within the next year-and-a-half.

It’s mind blowing to think about how sophisticated CRM-related artificial intelligence will become. In July, an Israeli startup called Gong received $20 million in funding to develop a tool that uses “natural language processing and machine learning to help train and suggest information to sales people and customer service reps.” How incredible is that?

Mainstreaming of such technology will allow small and midsized businesses to take advantage of the processing power that industry behemoths such as Amazon and IBM are investing into. If you can believe it, the speech recognition market is expected to reach nearly $10 billion by 2022.

It all translates into tremendous value for small and midsized businesses. Taking advantage of technological advances as they become available allows smaller organizations to adapt faster within their CRM plans, benefit from huge productivity gains, and experiment with less risk.

Soon, CRM users will be able to interact with email, set up activities, and even receive recommendations on the next best customer interaction to initiate. They’ll accomplish all this by simply verbalizing a sentence or two.

Keyboards aren’t going anywhere…yet. But CRM voice activation is coming fast and finding ways to have your small business take advantage of this new technology to drive better, more meaningful customer interactions can have a real impact on your bottom line and organizational growth. So, drink a nice cup of tea with honey because you may need those pipes at the office tomorrow!

About The Author

John Oechsle
John Oechsle joined Swiftpage in July 2012 and currently serves as president and chief executive officer. John came to Swiftpage with a 30 year track record of building highly profitable and sustainable revenue growth for emerging companies and established global leaders. John is an advocate for technology and education in Colorado and has been an active contributor to the Colorado Technology Association (CTA). He has been recognized several times for his involvement in the tech industry. In 2006 and in 2009, John was awarded the Technology Executive of the Year, and the Titan of Technology awards by the CTA. John was also awarded the Bob Newman Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community by the CTA in 2011.

The Best Of Both Worlds

In today’s hyper competitive mortgage market, with fluctuating rates, an influx of regulations and enforcements, focusing on attracting new borrowers and retaining the ones you have isn’t always the top priority. It is critical to take care of those areas without losing sight of the importance on bringing on new business.

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I was reading a recent blog by IQ Total Source titled “How to Combine Print & Digital Marketing Campaigns”. In the blog they state “To be successful in today’s marketing age, it is important to have an integrated campaign: both print and digital tactics.

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Making these tools work together can be tricky, though. As with any campaign, you’ll want to start out knowing who your target audience is. This means not only knowing the demographics and parameters of your audience, but also how best to reach them. While it is easy to assume that older customers prefer print while younger customers like digital marketing, it will almost never be advantageous to operate this way.

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There are various advantages and disadvantages to both print and digital media that you should research. Most likely you’ll find that a combined print and digital marketing campaign is the way to go. Digital media is a great option because of its ease of change and the fact that you are not so strictly limited in space. You can use links to your advantage in this capacity, giving your customer an easy path of simply clicking to learn more information or even purchase your product then and there. However, print offers its own set of advantages. Information is much more easily digested in print and people like and trust something tangible.

Through both your print and digital channels, you should have a consistent look. It’s quite possible that a customer will come in contact with both your print and digital designs. Your campaign will be made stronger and clearer if your customers can easily connect the two. Make sure that the efforts you put toward your campaign can be used in as many ways as possible. Information from a newsletter can be organized in a print pamphlet or poster, used as a basis for an online banner, and expanded on for a web page. Consistency is key when managing a combined print and digital strategy.

Don’t rigidly separate your print and digital information. As we’ve already covered, it is not as black and white as assuming you’ll generate one set of customers from print and an entirely new set digitally. Including twitter handles, an invitation to visit your website, or even an online code within your print campaign can compel your audience to your digital channels and vice versa. Always make sure all of your marketing is contributing toward your desired result.

Print is not dead and digital marketing is fast growing. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but combining them can mean the best of both worlds.”

To succeed in today’s mortgage market you need a multifaceted marketing approach to attracting, engaging and eventually bringing on new borrowers. This includes the use of both print and digital.

About The Author

Brandon Perry
Brandon Perry is President at The Turning Point. Brandon oversees all operational and administrative activities of TTP. Brandon brings over 16 years of experience in various financial services industries to TTP which enhances the Company’s ability to maintain it’s position as industry leader in providing customers with an advanced marketing solution.

Email Marketing Isn’t Dead

As a lender you are constantly looking for ways to attract new borrowers, engage with them so that they stop shopping around and ultimately get their new loan from your organization.

I just read a wonderful article from Josh Brown of Infusionsoft, titled “6 Email Formats that Attract and Engage Customers and Reduce Churn”.  In the article he states” I can hear you now: I thought email marketing was dead… I don’t blame you for thinking that way; I definitely ignore 99 percent of the emails that come through my inbox on a daily basis. But I don’t ignore them because I hate getting email. I ignore them because, quite frankly, they don’t really offer much value at all. But the 1 percent I do open almost always gets me to engage further with the sender, whether it be an individual or a company.”

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He makes a great point that “email marketing isn’t dead. But it’s not 1997 anymore, either. The novelty of receiving email has worn off.” Therefore, if you want to attract and engage new borrowers, your email marketing approach needs to change with the time.

“In 2017, you can’t just slap together an email blast and assume everyone on your mailing list is going to immediately stop what they’re doing to read what you have to say—unless you give them something worth checking out.

Before we get into discussing the email formats that are most successful in engaging customers, here are some of the hard facts:

>>The conversion rate of emails is higher than that of direct mail, social media, and most other forms of marketing

>>81 percent of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase after receiving a targeted offer through email

>>Email open rates increased to 34.1 percent in 2016 (click-thru rates, however, decreased)

That last statistic tells you one thing: Consumers are still willing and eager to receive correspondence through email, but you need to follow through with value when sending them.

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So, now that we know email marketing is still alive and well, how do we effectively implement it to build and grow a business?

Let’s take a look at the six types of emails that work best to get your customers on the hook and ready to engage further with your brand. I’ll also provide best practices for creating these emails, and give prime examples of companies that have mastered the art of email marketing.

  1. The welcome email

Perhaps the most obvious email to add to your arsenal is the welcome email, to be used immediately once a prospect or customer has interacted with your brand for the very first time.

Your welcome email should simultaneously represent your brand while also treating your customer as an individual. If your brand is fun loving and quirky, your welcome email should have some whimsy. If your company is more serious, tone your welcome email down a bit. But, above all else, remember to write the email as if you’re writing to a friend—that’s what your customers will notice.

A welcome email is also a great way to “set the stage” for what’s to come for your new customer as well as help with the onboarding process.

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Use it as an opportunity to explain exactly what your company is all about, how to get started with your product or service, and to gather insight and feedback from your customers. Then, follow up with an offer and a call-to-action that lets your new customer dive right in and see for themselves what you can do for them.

Len Markidan, head of marketing at Groove had the following to say about their welcome email: ??“Like most welcome messages, this email thanks the user for signing up and lets them know how to get started with Groove. But most importantly, it asks a critical question: Why did you sign up?

With this question, we’ve been able to transform our messaging based on what we learned is most important to new customers, and we’ve been able to build deeper relationships with those customers by helping them with whatever unique goals or challenges drove them to sign up.”

  1. The post-purchase email

Once a prospect has officially become a paying customer (or a return customer has made a new purchase), you have a ton of options for how to reach out to them and spur further engagement with your brand.

First and foremost, take the time to thank them for their business. After all, if it weren’t for your paying customers, you wouldn’t have a successful business in the first place.

You can also use a post-purchase email to provide further instructions for how to use the product or service in question. Or, at the very least, let your customers know your support staff is only an email, phone call, or tweet away.

For further engagement, you might choose to include any of the following:

>>Cross-sells and supplemental offers

>>Options for customers to share the purchase with friends via social media

>>Options for customers to provide feedback to your company

By providing all of this after your customer has already given you their money, you prove that you’re goal is to make them happy—not just to make a quick buck.

  1. The newsletter/announcement

Your customers are busy people who have a lot going on in their lives. So it’s entirely forgivable that your brand isn’t always the first thing on their mind.

But, by sending them an occasional newsletter, you can remind them not only that your company exists, but also that you’ve provided value for them in the past—and that you continue to value them as a customer.

Newsletters can be used to provide the following:

>>New product releases or service offerings

>>Improvements and other changes made to current products or services

>>Special offers and discounts

A quick caveat regarding newsletters:

Sending out recurring newsletters for the sake of sending an email doesn’t work. Simply put: Your customers don’t care about the goings-on at your company unless it affects them. There’s no point in wasting time and energy putting together a newsletter unless you have something important to tell your customer base. This approach will most likely be ignored, and it might end up getting future emails sent straight to your customers’ spam folders.

  1. The educational email

It’s no secret that producing educational content can help you position your brand as an expert in your industry. But simply producing such content is useless unless your customers actually see it.

By sending out email blasts that either include or link to such content, you increase the chances that your customers will not only see your content but that they’ll take the time to engage with it.

Such educational emails could include blog posts or videos that you’ve created in-house, or they could include curated roundups of valuable pieces of content others have created.

The main goals of educational emails are to deepen your customers’ understanding of your industry, and also to make them even more aware of how your company could be of service to them. Or, as mentioned above, you might just provide further instructions for how to get the best use out of the products you offer.

  1. The celebratory email

Want your customers to be happy? Give them something to celebrate!

Celebratory emails can be sent on occasions in which the customer didn’t really have to do anything (such as birthdays and brand-related anniversaries). Or they can be sent after a milestone has been reached (either on your customer’s end or your company’s).

You might also choose to share the success of other customers with the rest of your customer base, as well. Such success stories can keep customers motivated, and also provide real-world proof that your services are, in fact, incredibly valuable.

  1. The re-engaging email

Email marketing allows you to re-engage with potentially lapsed customers in a non-intrusive, but still attention-getting, manner.

Re-engaging emails need to be ultra-personalized in order to be effective. The typical “We miss you!” email doesn’t work, as it offers little to no context to remind customers of what your brand has to offer, or why they engaged with you in the first place.

Instead, such emails need to refer back to previous interactions and purchases a customer has made from your company—and then provide incentives for them to re-engage. Perhaps you’ve made improvements to (or completely revamped) a product they purchased in the past, or maybe you’ve developed a new product that goes hand-in-hand with a past purchase. As long as you can provide more value to your ready-to-churn customers, the re-engaging email could be a lifesaver.

A quick note on saying goodbye

Sometimes, there literally isn’t anything you can do to get a churning customer to change their mind. But you can squeeze one last drop of value from them by giving them the chance to fill out an exit survey once they’ve “officially” decided to sever ties with your brand.”

Josh ends with, “going back to what I said at the beginning: Email marketing isn’t dead.

What is long gone is the assumption that your customers will check out your email just because you send it to them.

But, implemented correctly, a proper email marketing strategy can do wonders in terms of moving customers along the buyer’s journey and keeping them within the customer lifecycle loop.”

Email marketing can be a very effective tool when looking to attract new borrowers; the key is implementing the right email strategy that engages today’s borrower.

About The Author

Brandon Perry
Brandon Perry is President at The Turning Point. Brandon oversees all operational and administrative activities of TTP. Brandon brings over 16 years of experience in various financial services industries to TTP which enhances the Company’s ability to maintain it’s position as industry leader in providing customers with an advanced marketing solution.

Email Marketing Success

I recently read an article from Cassidy Milder of Marketo, entitled “3 Steps for Successful Email Marketing Campaigns in a “Post-Email” World.”

Once you learn these three key steps, you’ll be able to send emails that sweep recipients off their feet—or at least get them to read past the subject line.

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Cast a Wider Net—But Keep Your True Blue Subscribers Front-and-Center

A lot of percentages go into email communication: the percentage of opens, click-throughs, and—most importantly—what percent converts. Naturally, those numbers get smaller and smaller as you get closer to achieving ROI, so you need to make sure you’re sending to a large enough database that by the time you get to final conversion, you’re still seeing the results you want. And that means growing your email list to get those coveted percentages.

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The Best Things in Life Take Time to Develop; Your Database Is No Different

We tend to hear about the one or two stories where marketers were able to capture lightning in a bottle, but here at, our most successful marketing campaigns rely on careful testing and thoughtful adjustments. There’s even ample evidence that data science and progressive profiling will heavily play into email campaigns over the next few years, especially as home automation devices like Echo and Google Home start to capture more and more behavioral data.

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Testing with different samples and subsets of your subscribers should become more important than ever, which means you’ll need to be patient and nurture your database in order to see the results you want.

This is your time to test the waters and see what types of content and calls-to-action (CTAs) work with your new audience. It’s often helpful to warm up your audience with content and bonus offers before asking for your conversion. Your audience should feel like they’re gaining value from your emails. If you can capture their attention with top-of-the-funnel material, you’ll gain their trust (and boost open and click-through percentages!).

Get to Know the Most Engaged Members of Your Audience

Every concert audience comes to a show armed with different expectations: from the avid fan who has all of the albums to the significant other who just got dragged along with their partner. Your database is no different: some members are just more into your content than others. But in order for your emails to accrue value, you must be able to identify and empathize with the needs of your email VIPs. Who’s opening your messages, downloading your content, or even contacting you directly?

Drilling down into these kinds of details offers a more well-formed definition of your ideal client, and it lets you target them with stronger CTAs. Once you’ve gotten them to subscribe and earned their trust with top-of-the-funnel content, they’ll finally be ready to convert—and you can watch this all unfold right from your engagement platform. When you see someone fall into this sweet spot, you can start segmenting them for more direct asks, which all translates to ROI for your company. That will certainly breathe life into your marketing campaigns!”

Email is not dead, your approach might need to change if you want to attract more borrowers in today’s mortgage market.

About The Author

Brandon Perry
Brandon Perry is President at The Turning Point. Brandon oversees all operational and administrative activities of TTP. Brandon brings over 16 years of experience in various financial services industries to TTP which enhances the Company’s ability to maintain it’s position as industry leader in providing customers with an advanced marketing solution.

Optimal Blue Partners With Leading CRM Player

Optimal Blue has partnered with Media Center CRM to offer a seamless and powerful prospecting tool that can be used by both mortgage professionals and their Realtor partners. Here’s why this is significant:

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The Optimal Blue/Media Center CRM partnership is a logical and timely collaboration. Borrowers and homebuyers need access to real-time pricing information to make informed decisions; which is an unparalleled strength of Optimal Blue’s technology. Likewise, mortgage professionals need a vehicle to provide this information to their customers and Realtor partners in a consistent and compelling format, and that is where Media Center CRM shines.

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“As a premier marketing CRM provider, it’s imperative that we remain at the forefront of emerging technologies,” said Dan Harrington, CEO of Media Center CRM. “Though we generally build our own system enhancements, there are instances where the smartest thing to do is partner with a firm that has the experience and is the technology leader in their space, so that our customers can enjoy the benefits of our individual strengths. Our partnership with Optimal Blue is a perfect example of that.”

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“Borrowers are demanding a more streamlined and simplified experience in every aspect of their lives, and dynamics of the mortgage process is no exception,” said Bob Brandt, Vice President of Marketing & Alliances, Optimal Blue. “Well-designed integrations between leading technology partners is the fastest and most efficient way to bring the best-of-the-best directly to the consumer.”

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Reaching Borrowers

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There is always talk about how much the mortgage industry has changed over the last twenty years. Most of it revolves around the flood of new rules and regulations, technology shifts, borrower expectations and the list goes on and on. One area that doesn’t get as much attention— but is just as critical to a lenders’ success— is how marketing to potential borrowers has changed. Julie Quinn, Vice President of Operations at TTP Enterprises, sat down with our editor to talk about how marketing to potential borrowers has evolved over the years and what it takes to drive business to the point of sale.

Q: You were involved with marketing automation before people even knew what marketing automation was. How would you define marketing automation?

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JULIE QUINN: I think it helps to begin with a quick overview of what marketing automation is before we discuss how it has evolved over the years. Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels (such as print, gifts, email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

“At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.” Hubspot.

Q: How has mortgage specific marketing and more specifically marketing automation evolved over the years?

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In the early days of mortgage specific marketing, lenders started primarily with gifts to prospective borrowers through the use of printed items like calendars, and gifts of cookies, etc.

The next shift or advancement was for lenders to realize that past borrowers where a great source for repeat business and referrals to family and friends.

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JULIE QUINN: In the early days of mortgage specific marketing, lenders started primarily with gifts to prospective borrowers through the use of printed items like calendars, and gifts of cookies, etc. The basic concept was to gain mind share so when the prospective borrower was ready to make a decision, the lender who was marketing to them would be the first lender that they would contact.

The next shift or advancement was for lenders to realize that past borrowers where a great source for repeat business and referrals to family and friends. This is what caused the advent of print post-close loyalty programs. These programs are typically 3-5 year nurturing programs that would send printed materials such as Thank You cards, loan anniversary cards, birthday cards, recipe cards, etc. throughout the year to remind the borrower of the great job that the lender had done so that when the next opportunity arose they would continue to do business with them.

Then came the introduction of digital marketing (emails, and then social media). With more and more borrowers gaining Internet access, lenders realize the power of the Internet through email marketing. This is still a powerful tool in the arsenal of mortgage marketers. The key is knowing when and how frequently to use this tool. The natural extension of this was the use of social media for the exact same reasons.

While digital marketing was gaining traction, innovative lenders introduced Pre-Qualification and In-Process marketing to the fold. The right marketing automation solution automates engagement with prospective clients and provides relevant updates for in process milestones while developing and enhancing partner relationships.

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Lenders looking to stand out from their competition in today’s mortgage market must realize that these marketing tools are not mutually exclusive. The most dynamic marketing programs, the ones that produce the greatest results, have circled back to incorporating gifts and post-close print marketing into their digital efforts. It is the right combination of all of these marketing approaches that delivers the greatest ROI. The consistent communication with the potential borrowers, past borrower and referral partnerships in a highly professional and dynamic way shifts the relationship to one of a “trusted advisor.”
Q: There is so much talk in the industry about everything going digital including marketing to prospective borrowers. Why does the best marketing automation solution need to include the right combination of print and digital to produce the greatest marketing ROI?

JULIE QUINN: The key is for lenders to understand that there isn’t one proven approach, which reaches all prospective borrowers. Combining digital and print marketing increases the odds in your favor of potential conversion.

A digital only strategy certainly comes with a lower initial investment, but lenders need a much larger and higher quality prospect list. Remember that almost 85% of your email targets do not even open your marketing and a fraction actually acts upon it. Direct print marketing can see a response rate of 3-4% whereas Email is about 0.1%.

One of our customers specifically implemented mixed marketing approach utilizing both print and digital that generated over 60 new loans in less than six months of campaign. (With the average home price close to $200,000 x 60 loans= $12,000,000 in this campaign alone, that combined both print and digital).

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Our customers that have consistently had the greatest success have combined both print and digital to truly stand out in a highly competitive marketplace.

We are seeing a greater interest in establishing loyalty programs for older loans in lenders’ databases. We are also seeing increased interest in post closing gifts.

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Q: What are some of the pros and cons of email marketing and print marketing?

JULIE QUINN: Pros and Cons of Email Marketing: Pros – Good ROI, Low Cost, Easy tracking, low time investment (assuming you have a good database); Cons – Very competitive, easily discarded, SPAM filters.

Pros and Cons of Print Marketing: Pros – High ROI, Less competition, Personable, enhanced delivery, Great for relationship building, increased trust; Cons – Varying costs, more difficult to track and measure (although including some digital related call to action can help)

Q: With print still being a critical component of marketing automation can you provide some examples of how lenders are incorporating print into their campaigns?

JULIE QUINN: Our customers that have consistently had the greatest success have combined both print and digital to truly stand out in a highly competitive marketplace. For example, upon a prospective borrower reaching Pre-Qualification status, we are notified by the LOS system of this milestone and a personalized 12 page “Homebuyer’s Guide” is generated and mailed directly to the prospect. This book walks the prospect through the entire home buying experience and is branded to Lender and Loan Officer.

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We are seeing a greater interest in establishing loyalty programs for older loans in lenders’ databases. We are also seeing increased interest in post closing gifts.

Lenders are combining both methods by creating print campaigns to drive a prospective borrower to a certain online or digital activity (web application, engage in social media, download something) to gain traction and drive conversion.

Q: What can lenders do to drive new business to the point-of-sale?

JULIE QUINN: The first step for lenders is to get off the bench and make marketing automation a high priority. Remember that marketing automation is so much more than just an email blast or printed post card.

In addition, lenders need to tailor their program/materials/approach to the needs of their prospective borrower. No one approach works for everyone.

A combination of prospect marketing, in-process communications and post-close marketing will deliver the greatest results.

Q: Why is Marketing Automation important to lenders if they are serious about driving new business to the point-of-sale?

JULIE QUINN: In order to survive and thrive in this mortgage environment of constantly changing rules and regulations, heightened competition for borrowers and extreme pressure to produce results, you must realize the need to identify high quality business opportunities. It is critical to identify leads quickly and efficiently and then drive them to the point-of-sale with compliant communications for converting them into clients. It’s equally important to retain these clients and to maximize their on-going value through repeat business and referrals.

Engaging these prospective clients in real time across a multitude of channels such as the Internet, email, social media, print, video, and mobile devices highlights the importance of working with a proven marketing automation solution that can illuminate or emphasize the best in your marketing while easing your compliance burden.

That’s where marketing automation comes into play. Lenders focused on driving new business and attracting more borrowers are turning to advanced marketing technology to attract more borrowers in today’s highly competitive and regulated mortgage market.

Q: What role does compliance play in the right marketing automation solution?

JULIE QUINN: Regulation. It’s everywhere these days. And on the marketing side of every mortgage company’s operations, as much as any other, it means that management has to take a much more active role in ensuring its brand and its products are correctly and compliantly represented in the marketplace. Communications with prospects, customers and even referral partners – whether driven from the center or by loan originators – must be controlled, but without inhibiting genuine creativity and individual initiative. The right mortgage specific marketing automation establishes a controlled environment in which ingenuity and enterprise are able to flourish.

It does this by providing management with five levels of control over the players in the marketing process. All you have to do is decide what degree of control you want to exercise in relation to each of the system’s key functions. For example, you can make sure that Loan Officers are unable to edit company information or upload unacceptable graphics or run on-demand campaigns that breach corporate guidelines.

The levels of management control that should be available in the right mortgage specific marketing automation are as follows, working down from the most to the least restrictive:

Prohibition: Different types of users can be prevented from accessing a system function, or even an entire page, by means of the systems “permissions” capability.

Authorization: Marketing materials created by users at lower levels in the corporate hierarchy cannot be implemented until approved at the center.

Alert: A defined set of fields is monitored and changes are reported via a feed on the systems Home page, enabling quick action to remedy any departure from company policy.

Oversight: Users at higher levels in the corporate hierarchy can “impersonate” users at lower levels, giving management an instant window on the activities of Loan Officers.

Reporting: The solutions “My Reports” function provides information that allows management to hold users at lower levels accountable for their performance.

Q: As the market continues to shift and adjust to constantly changing condition, can you discuss how marketing automation can deliver a competitive advantage for lenders?

JULIE QUINN: Over the last 10 years more and more lenders are utilizing marketing automation. The key now is to differentiate yourself from the “standard content”. Working with your marketing automation solution provider, your marketing team can separate from the pack with unique messaging and materials.

Q: What should the ideal marketing solution include?

JULIE QUINN: The ideal mortgage specific marketing automation solution must include:

>>The Right Mix of Print and Digital

>>Automated Loyalty Marketing

>>On-Demand Campaigns

>>Extensive Content Library

>>Comprehensive Marketing Compliance

>>Ability to Recruit & Retain Top Talent

>>Strong Partner Relationships

The ideal mortgage specific marketing automation solution delivers:

>>Increased Sales revenue

>>Increased Lead Generation

>>Improved Lead Nurturing

>>Improved Marketing Productivity

>>Improved Campaign targeting

The ideal mortgage specific marketing automation provides lenders with the ability to increase market share, stay legal and compliant, grow profitable relationships, protect corporate branding and attract and retain top talent within the organization.

INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS

Julie Quinn thinks:

1.) Lenders that best utilize the combination of print and digital will receive the greatest ROI from their marketing efforts.

2.) Consistency is critical to gain mind share of potential borrowers.

3.) Nurturing past borrowers will deliver referrals and repeat business in 2017.

INSIDER PROFILE

Julie Quinn oversees operations for TTP Enterprises covering the collection of client data through fulfillment of output. A significant portion of her duties include sourcing and implementing state-of-the-art print production equipment, software and processes. Julie has over 20 years of experience in commercial print, on-demand digital print, design, specialty binding, mailing services and all aspects of technology-based production. As a certified color and production design specialist for digital and commercial print, Julie brings TTP Enterprises the unique ability to provide high quality and consistent print production to our customers.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

5 Keys To A Full Pipeline

In today’s ever-changing mortgage market, with the influx of new rules and regulations, fluctuating interest rates, and rapidly changing market conditions it is difficult for many LO’s to maintain a full pipeline of potential borrowers. Therefore, it is critical for LO’s to have a system in place that helps ensure that LO’s have a full pipeline of potential borrowers to work with.

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So what do lenders need to do to ensure a full pipeline? Here are five keys to a full pipeline:

>>Clean Database

>>Quality Content

>>Combination of Print & Digital

>>Mortgage Specific Marketing Automation

>>Consistency

So, let’s briefly discuss each item. While having a clean database of prospective borrowers seems commonsensical you would be amazed how many lenders are prepared for this first step. For the marketing to be successful, you can’t just throw some spreadsheets or prospect list together and think that you are prepared. The database needs to be clean and reviewed prior to starting marketing campaigns. Do you have all of the prospects information: name, address, phone number, email address and any other pertinent information that you will use to segment your prospects.

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Once you have a clean database, you need quality content that will resonate with your prospective borrower and cause them to take action. The content needs to be much more about “what’s in it for the prospect” and less about how awesome your company is. The content should also be personalized to the specific prospect and where they are at in the lending process if you want to break through all of the noise out there in the market place.

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In today’s market many lenders just want to send digital campaigns. In their mind it is cheaper and quicker. While those two statements may be true, if the goal is to fill the pipeline then the proper mix of digital and print is required. People get so many emails these days and sometimes just tune out that a properly timed and personal print piece can help you stand out in the crowd. The key is that neither print nor digital should be mutually exclusive to your campaigns. The combination of the two will help differentiate you to prospective borrowers.

In today’s fast moving market place with fewer marketing and administrative resources available it is wise to take advantage of technology in the form of mortgage specific marketing automation to handle many of these critical yet redundant tasks. Often referred to as “set-it and forget-it” technology which will automate many of these marketing functions, which leads me to the final piece of a full pipeline.

The final piece is consistency. You must gain mind share with your prospective borrower by consistently send them (both print & digital) marketing campaigns so that when the timing is right they look to you as a trusted advisor and quit shopping around for a mortgage.

About The Author

Brandon Perry
Brandon Perry is President at The Turning Point. Brandon oversees all operational and administrative activities of TTP. Brandon brings over 16 years of experience in various financial services industries to TTP which enhances the Company’s ability to maintain it’s position as industry leader in providing customers with an advanced marketing solution.

Optimal Blue Integrates With CRM Player To Drive Efficiency

Optimal Blue has partnered with Total Expert Inc. to further increase productivity and drive revenue with robust contact and database management tools for every facet of a user’s business. This integration allows enterprise lenders that utilize Total Expert’s Marketing/CRM platform to increase efficiency and time savings by eliminating the need to navigate between multiple systems.

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In addition, users can further enhance marketing campaigns – including single property websites, pricing flyers, email campaigns, and more – with dynamic, real-time product eligibility and pricing data down to the loan officer level. LOs will also have access to their specific pricing across the country and be able to run various unique scenarios. The seamless connection between Total Expert and Optimal Blue’s new API also empowers lenders to deliver dynamic marketing content that is easily created, deployed, and tracked within Total Expert’s central system of record.

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“Optimal Blue is focused on developing technology partnerships with leading-edge companies equally determined to shape the future of the mortgage industry,” said Optimal Blue CEO, Scott Happ. “The CRM solutions provided by Total Expert allows for true end-to-end management and aligns perfectly with Optimal Blue’s vision to enable an ecosystem of technology innovators serving Optimal Blue customers.”

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“Many of our customers are considered ‘gamechangers’ who demand technology built for the future of the industry. The functionality enabled by the Total Expert-Optimal Blue partnership is a perfect example of how API based integrations will provide companies new ways to optimize their business through innovation. Total Expert is committed to integrating with best-in-class solutions like Optimal Blue as we continue to aggressively enhance our platform based on the needs of our customers,” said Total Expert CEO, Joe Welu.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Personalized Borrower Communications

As a lender, visualize a mortgage market where you can spend less time launching marketing campaigns and more time actually engaged with your prospective borrower. Through their interactions with your website, email campaigns and mailings, potential borrowers are telling you what they are looking for and when they need it, but are you paying attention?

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With so much talk about the digital mortgage experience, borrowers’ expectations regarding personalization and the type of brand experience that you are delivering have significantly changed. This is where personalization through data analytics and advanced marketing automation come into play.

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So let’s discuss how personalization helps you stand out in a highly competitive mortgage market and deliver on the type of brand experience borrowers are looking for. In a competitive mortgage market borrowers are getting bombarded with messages and offers.

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Personalization is about delivering relevant and timely content to the potential borrower at the exact stage of the buying journey that they are currently in. Lenders that can deliver personalized emails increase both transaction and revenue rates by more than 5X. They also experience higher open rates and click-through rates.

That’s where advanced mortgage specific marketing automation comes into play. Mortgage specific marketing automation helps manage the potential borrower data and the specific interaction that they have had to trigger relevant marketing content on their buying journey.

The right mortgage specific marketing automation combines print and digital marketing automation that allows lenders to progressively reach potential borrowers with personalized messages and effectively drive new business and retain current borrowers.  This automation also offers on-demand marketing with thousands of individual multi-media pieces to choose from.

So what are some of the ways that you can personalize your email and print marketing pieces for the greatest ROI? Here are 20 ways from Amy Saunders, who is a content creator at Infusionsoft:

20 Ways to Personalize Automated Emails

An automated email can be sent to hundreds or thousands of contacts, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Use these tips for sending automated emails that read like personal correspondence between you and your customer.

Add a personal touch

>> Send occasional non-branded, plain-text emails from you, not the company

>> Write as if you’re talking to a single customer

>> Use a subject line you’d send to a friend

>> Include a headshot in your signature

>> Change “click unsubscribe” to “let me know if you don’t want to hear from me anymore”

>> Mix up marketing messages with funny videos, personal photos, and holiday greetings

Make magic with merge fields

>> Call contacts by name, i.e. “Hi, [First Name]!”

>> Name-drop other contacts, like the customer’s spouse or child

>> Show you know who’s who, i.e. “Knowing you’re the [Job Title], I thought you might be the best

>> Person to talk to at [Company Name]”

>> Reference the current day, i.e. “Have a great [Day of the Week]!”

>> Make old content new, i.e. “The [Month] [Year] Newsletter”

>> Talk up a contact’s town, i.e. “How’s the weather in [City] today?”

>> Reminisce about the first time you met by referencing an event or meeting place

Write at the right time

>> Respond quickly—but not too quickly—by putting an automatic reply on a delay timer

>> Win at phone tag by using an automated email to follow up on a missed call

>> Check in on a downloaded resource with a personal message

>> Wish every customer a happy birthday (or anniversary or holiday)

Send them what they want

>> Use segmentation for personalization by tagging customers based on their interests and behavior

>> Personalize the next offer with automation

>> Ask what they want through a web form”

If you want to gain the attention of today’s borrower, you must be able to deliver personalized, relevant and timely content to the potential borrower at each stage of the buying journey through mortgage specific marketing automation.

About The Author

Brandon Perry
Brandon Perry is President at The Turning Point. Brandon oversees all operational and administrative activities of TTP. Brandon brings over 16 years of experience in various financial services industries to TTP which enhances the Company’s ability to maintain it’s position as industry leader in providing customers with an advanced marketing solution.