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What Mortgage Lenders Can Learn from Industry Giants

November 21, 2019 in General

The mortgage lending industry is undergoing an unprecedented amount of change. It is truly an industry where if your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. Your competition is communicating with your potential customers on many different platforms: between social media, paid ads online, email campaigns, servicing, and blog posts, they are reaching a new level of online interaction.

The competition is front and center in your potential customer’s inbox and social media feed, targeting them with proven ad campaigns to catch their attention – and they are doing it every day.

The most successful modern-day mortgage companies are actually technology companies that happen to originate loans. With all that in mind, how can small to mid-sized lenders compete with big tech and thousands of dollars of daily ad spending? Although most small and mid-sized lending companies don’t have the advertising budget to compete with the nation’s largest and most advanced lenders, you can still position your brand to grow in your markets with the right strategy.

The New Hybrid Model: Retail Meets Direct to Consumer
We believe the mortgage sales model has shifted from being either a retail loan originator or a direct to consumer originator to a blend of both. If the consumer is shopping online, you also need to be positioned on those same online platforms.

Reaching the customer where they are, even if it’s just your local market, positions your brand to succeed in this new blended model. Having a plan in place to bring your retail brand online is 80% of the work. Recruiting and retaining loan officer talent in this blended online market is more about what technology you offer them to streamline their work and generate leads on demand. Your recruits and current team want to know you have a plan in place to compete in an online world.

So what does this blend of retail and direct to consumer look like? A prime example of a blended mortgage company that uses the latest industry technology and marketing strategies is Quicken Loans. Take a look at the easy interface, clear calls to action, and variety of tools featured on the Quicken Loans website. Studying the lender that spends more than any other single lender in the country on technology, design, and advertising allows you to see what might be missing from your roadmap. Let’s look at three ways that Quicken Loans uses technology and marketing to grow their business.

Google Your Brand
The stat we all know is that around 74% of all customers go with the first lender that they contact. Your brand and your loan officers need to be easy to find online so that your company can be that first contact. When you search for your brand in Google, do the results look like the results below?

You want your website and information to be as close to the top as possible when potential customers search for mortgage lenders. Do a quick search using your company name and then less specific terms such as “mortgage lender Charlotte, NC.” When customers search these terms, will they find you?

If not, it’s important for you to put some resources into optimizing your brand’s keywords for Google. It may also be useful to promote your current rates in targeted paid ads.

The Importance of the Home Page
Next, take a closer look at the Quicken Loans home page in comparison to your own.

https://www.quickenloans.com/

The first thing you will notice on the Quicken Loans home page are the clear call-to-action buttons in green that read simply, “Buy a Home” and “Refinance.” Now consider your own home page. Do you have clear calls-to-actions to encourage visitors to start the loan process? Here, we mean a simple pre-qualification or a lead workflow, not a full application link. Most first-time visitors or those who are just beginning the search for a mortgage lender are not ready to set up an account or provide personal information like their social security number or date of birth this early in the process, but you still want to get their contact information and help them get started without overwhelming them right away.

On the Quicken Loans home page, there is also an optional “Chat” feature in the bottom right corner and the overall layout features a clean, minimal design. The header is clear and concise, and there’s not too much text or information to digest as soon as you visit the page.

It’s important to make these same features available on your loan officer landing pages as well. Your loan officers have their own unique brands to promote and need the same tools on their personal webpage to succeed in an online world. Take a look at this example of a loan officer page. Using BankingBridge’s tailored mortgage lending marketing software, this loan officer was able to add many of those same features to his own personal webpage to increase lead capture.

Give the customer different ways to connect with your business and “Get Started” with their loan. Maybe they aren’t ready for a full application, but maybe they just want to see your rates or “pre-qualification” information. Wherever they are in their mortgage search, a home page with the intuitive and easy-to-use features outlined above will help you to meet them there.

Promoting Your Mortgage Rates
For many mortgage loan officers, your rate is your most important selling point. The home page for Quicken Loans makes it easy to find their mortgage rates.

https://www.quickenloans.com/

Your mortgage rates are one unique offering that change every day. A potential customer on the Quicken Loans home page has multiple ways to get mortgage rate information quickly and efficiently. They can choose to view the current rates online, chat with someone in the chat box, or talk with a mortgage lending professional over the phone. This way, it’s easy to get your questions answered right away in whatever way you prefer.

This clear and easy communication channel builds trust and offers potential customers a reason to move forward with your brand or return to your website. Bank of America or Wells Fargo customers return to their website several times a week to check their account balance or make a payment. Your unique value is your rates and you should position them to your advantage like the example from Quicken Loans below.

https://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-rates

Customer Experience is Key
Creating a hybrid retail-direct to consumer model for your mortgage company starts with understanding how the customer experiences your brand online. Follow the example of industry giants like Quicken Loans to improve the customer experience and stay competitive with these easy steps:

1. Be easy to find online. Invest in Google ads and search engine optimization of specific keywords that include your company name or local market key words.

2. Simplify your home page and your loan officer landing pages. Provide intuitive and easy-to-use tools that allow the customer to get started with the loan process with minimal effort in multiple ways.

3. Display your rates on your website. Your rates are your unique content and should be front and center.

If you are ready to grow your business in a quickly modernizing industry, BankingBridge provides the technology and tools your mortgage company needs to stay up-to-date in an online world, including rate displays and apps to customize your home page. Reach out to schedule a demo today!

Why Should Mortgage Lenders Use Google Data Studio to Track Leads?

September 23, 2019 in General

First, what exactly is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is a dashboard and reporting tool that is easy to use, customize, and share. It allows mortgage lenders to transform their data into appealing and informative reports for their audience. It automatically tracks key performance indicators that support your business objectives and generates periodic reports. Think of it as a high-powered Google Analytics tool with fewer limitations and more customization.
When you partner with BankingBridge, you will have access to your own Data Studio dashboard to track analytics from not only your co-marketing tools, but also your digital embeds across all websites and landing pages. Whether you are spending $100 or $100,000 a month on digital ads, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of each ad dollar spent. This means tracking the performance of each ad, landing page, and embed so you can concentrate your marketing money on what is actually working to bring you more clients.
This might sound like an enormous task, but getting some basic reports on performance metrics set up is actually pretty easy. Let’s take a deeper look at the lead capture analytics of a customer using our lead workflow with Google Data Studio analytics.

Optimal Website Design

Before we dive into the data, let’s first review one of our customer’s websites with live embeds so you can get a feel for how to set up a website for optimal lead conversion. Then, we are going to look at the client’s actual dashboard you can get a better feel for how Google Data Studio works for mortgage lenders.
First, let’s look at Blue Spot Home Loans. On the lender’s website, they have one BankingBridge embed on the front page in the form of the “Purchase Loan” and the “Refinance Loan” buttons, as well as one BankingBridge embed tied to the call to action button that says “Get Live Quote” in the header.

These two embeds each have a unique name inside of the BankingBridge platform. “BlueSpot HomePage | Lead Workflow” indicates the “Purchase” and “Refinance” buttons on the home page. The other embed is titled “Get Live Quote Button | Lead Workflow,” indicating the call to action button in the header. BankingBridge customers can choose a specific name for each embed that works for them.

Each embed uses the BankingBridge lead workflow, and the calls to action on different parts of the page make it clear to webpage visitors where they can begin the pre-qualification process. Once you click on the homepage’s “Purchase” or “Refinance” buttons, it takes you through the BankingBridge lead workflow designed to convert potential clients into paying customers. The seamless embed is built into the page so that it offers an easy way to begin the process and increases lead conversion. BankingBridge also supports mobile embeds. With so many people starting their mortgage search on their phones, making sure your site and embeds are mobile-responsive is a must!

In the screenshot below, you will see the simple landing page for the “Get Live Quote” button which uses the BankingBridge embed with the non-transparent background. A simple landing page design allows the user to move quickly down the lead funnel.

How Google Data Studio Works for Mortgage Lenders

Now that we understand how the layout of the website supports lead conversion with embeds and straightforward calls to action, we can take a 30-day snapshot of this lender’s Data Studio dashboard to get some insight on how those embeds are performing. You can see that their website has generated a total of 303 leads, 215 “unique leads,” and validated 241 of those leads with a valid phone number or email. All of this information came from the 6 BankingBridge embeds on their website.
As you move down to “Title,” you see the names of each embed they are using on their website and the number of leads that have generated from that unique embed. One thing that the client noticed when examining this data is that the “Get Live Quote” button in the header of their webpage outperforms the “BlueSpot Home Page” purchase and refinance buttons on the homepage.
This kind of information about where new business is coming from is incredibly important for continued growth. Without that knowledge, the client might have taken out the most effective embed from their website in the future and lost out on potential clients. Another takeaway is that adding a simple call to action button in the header greatly increases lead capture.

Numbers That Matter

Of the total 303 leads, 194 (64%) were generated from the “Purchase” and “Refinance” buttons and the “Get Live Quote” button. It shows you the importance of using lead workflows to gather data vs standard website forms. You can track lead traffic across all of your digital marketing campaigns in one easy to understand dashboard. You may have embeds located on loan officer websites, realtor websites, homebuilder websites, or other landing pages, and tracking all of that separately can become a chore if you don’t have the Data Studio dashboard. With BankingBridge, all those embeds will automatically generate simple, effective reports to help you know where your ad money is best spent.
You can also see the performance of other embeds being used and where they rank on numbers of leads being generated. You can even see how many leads were validated and whether they were validated via SMS/text or email. By looking at these numbers on a regular basis, our clients know if any increase in ad spending or a new piece of content worked to increase lead traffic. Utilizing this data allows you to maximize your marketing campaigns and lead conversion from all the platforms and websites your mortgage lending business is featured on.
As a mortgage lender, being able to intelligently track your lead traffic with real time data is the future of your business. Not having to build out your own complicated tracking mechanics saves you time, money, and allows you to adjust ad spend quickly so no dollar goes to waste. Utilizing BankingBridge embeds within your mortgage marketing roadmap is the edge you need to keep growing.

Schedule a free demo with BankingBridge today!

Grow Your Mortgage Lending Business with Online Rate Display

April 25, 2019 in General

Online Rate Display & The Future of Mortgage Lending

The mortgage lending industry is changing rapidly. The line between “online lenders” and “retail loan officers” is becoming increasingly blurred, and most successful and growing mortgage companies are embracing both an online and a brick-and-mortar presence.

With 90% of prospective home buyers using the internet to research the mortgage process before even speaking with a mortgage lender, a successful mortgage lending company is going to meet their customers where they start their journey: online.

When a potential customer visits your website, chances are they want to see your rates. As a mortgage lender, your rates are arguably your biggest selling point. Along with realtor recommendations and reviews from past customers, showing your rates to potential customers before they even step foot in an office or make a phone call is crucial.

Online, real-time rate display is the pinnacle of transparency for mortgage lenders and helps build trust with potential customers so they can begin the mortgage loan process with confidence. For some lenders whose interest rates are locked inside a complicated pricing engine, this may seem like a stretch. How do you get those rates onto your website and update them in real time?

The transition to online rate display isn’t as hard as you think. With BankingBridge, you can easily add rate card embeds to your website, your realtor partner’s website, or a company page. These embeds are equipped with our signature RateFlow API to make sure that your rates stay up-to-date no matter where they’re displayed.

What Makes a Good Rate Display

Although many industry leaders are incorporating real-time rate displays into their websites, not all rate display designs are created equal. The best rate displays have a few things in common:

  • They are simple and easy to use
  • They utilize clean, streamlined design to make the information clear and easy to read
  • They are fully customizable, allowing for adjustments in the loan period, type, and monthly payments
  • They are mobile-friendly, making them accessible for users on any device
  • They include an effective call to action button to capture more leads

Let’s keep these principles in mind as we take a look at the different layouts for online rate displays across some of the mortgage industry’s largest players.

How Major Companies are Using Online Rate Display

A quick look at platforms and websites across the mortgage lending industry will reveal that industry leaders are embracing real-time rate display.

Major lead generation sites such as Bankrate.com and business intelligence sites like Informa.com are positioning mortgage lenders’ real time rates into high traffic websites. Both sites promote competing lenders to help consumers make an informed decision by showing the rates and cost of each type of loan. The screenshots below show how Bankrate.com allows the user to customize the scenario in an easy-to-use format.

Bankrate

https://www.bankrate.com

Bankrate.com utilizes a table layout for real-time rate displays that compare rates between multiple lenders. It is fully customizable, even including a credit score option, but there is no clear call to action button included and the number of options might be overwhelming for some visitors.

Informa

https://www.realtor.com/mortgage/rates/

Informa.com rate tables position lenders on real estate or finance websites such as Realtor.com, MSN, and mortgage101.com. They have a similar layout to Bankrate.com with clear, upfront rates and a customizable scenario.

Bank of America & Wells Fargo

https://www.bankofamerica.com/mortgage/mortgage-rates/

Bank of America also uses rate tables on their website, but the filters are limited to purchase price, down payment, and zip code.  It’s important for rate displays to give a clear description of the loan program being offered. This particular rate display allows you to scroll over “Rate,” “APR,” “Points,” and “Monthly Payment” to see a quick explanation of each category which keeps the design clean without sacrificing clarity.  Adding in the monthly payment is a nice addition to keep the user engaged and increase the time they spend on the page.

https://www.wellsfargo.com/mortgage/rates/

By comparison, Wells Fargo offers a similar table layout but doesn’t offer much in terms of customization.  However, the user can toggle between “purchase” and “refinance” rates, which is a plus. Another downside is that the call to action button to “get started” is positioned off to the side where it is more likely to be overlooked.

 

Better.com


https://better.com/

Better.com is an online lender looking to streamline the entire mortgage process. Their rate table designs and call to action buttons are some of the best on the market.  The use of color grabs the user’s attention and a clear breakdown of cost creates transparency.  They include both “basic” and “custom” scenarios to cater to a variety of needs. The “Better Price Guarantee” is a great design feature that encourages the user to shop around and come back for the best offer.

 

Mountain American Credit Union

https://www.macu.com/loans/home-loans/conventional-mortgage

Finally, let’s take a look at a more innovative rate display on Mountain American Credit Union’s website.  They use rate card design as opposed to a table display.  Rate cards are more mobile-friendly because they don’t pack as much information into a small space like some table designs.

The program titles, rates, and APR are clear and easy to understand.  Each rate card has a built-in call to action button with the “Apply now” and “Learn more” links.  The information “i” icon adds the disclaimer directly into the rate card while keeping the design clean and simple.

Real-Time Rate Solutions for Every Lender

Whether you prefer the traditional rate table layout or are looking for a more modern rate card design, BankingBridge has real-time rate display solutions for every mortgage lender. Our online rate displays are fully customizable, mobile-friendly, and feature effective call to action buttons and clean, modern design.

In today’s market, customers expect to be able to access your rates online. Don’t leave your rates locked away in your pricing engine – request a demo at https://bankingbridge.com/products/ and upgrade your mortgage lending business today!