Online platforms have taken marketing by storm, and marketing of reverse mortgage products is no exception. As baby boomers and older counterparts have flocked to the Internet for much of the content they’re consuming, lenders large and small have an opportunity to meet them there where they are reading, watching and learning.
But what to offer prospective borrowers? The message is simple: be helpful.
“You have to learn to build trust without being face to face,” says Jim Berkowitz, founder of Telluride, Colo.-based LaunchHawk Marketing, and a speaker at this year’s annual National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association conference in San Francisco. “And the way you build trust is by being helpful.”
Noting the roughly 2 billion Facebook users, 21 million of whom are age 62 and older, Berkowitz provided insight during the conference about how reverse mortgage companies can boost their online marketing presence—without spending large sums of money. Staring with a basic approach that includes a website, landing pages, e-mail outreach capability and a social media strategy, lenders and originators of any size can work to navigate the online marketing landscape.
Here are 5 tips:
Don’t mention the words “reverse mortgage.” Rather than bombarding a prospective customer with reverse mortgage language and terminology upfront, take a big-picture approach to being helpful, Berkowitz says.
“You might start out with a simple checklist,” he says. “Then have a piece of content comparing a HELOC with a reverse mortgage. And next offer a calculator to help them figure it out.”
Start digital, stay digital. “People in the digital realm like to stay in the digital realm until close to the end of the buying process,” he says.
Go local. It’s no longer necessary to spend big on keywords or appear on the front page of search results for “reverse mortgage.” Instead, Google recognizes the location where an Internet user is and delivers search results accordingly. For this reason, Berkowitz says, it’s important to be at the top of local pages. If a company has multiple offices, search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered for each city.
“It’s a lot less expensive and is easier to get on the top of a local page than it is nationwide,” he says.
Don’t give up the gold standard. Despite not getting as much attention as Facebook and other online marketing channels today, e-mail is still the gold standard, Berkowitz says. “Your e-mail list is your lifeline to money, revenue, business growth and everything else.”
Grab the attention of the prospective borrower via social media, offer something helpful, then get his or her e-mail address.
Just be you. “People want to know you,” Berkowitz says. “What do they want to know? Why you are doing this.”
Tell prospective customers about yourself in an about page, with information such as what brought you to the reverse mortgage industry, and your personal story for being in it. The story should be personal and should give people a sense of who you really are.
The online marketing world doesn’t have to be daunting, but it is an essential part of any outreach plan today.
“This is big,” Berkowitz says. “It’s not only big, but all of these things have to work holistically together. It’s not that difficult to understand what you’re trying to do—it’s trying to be helpful to those you’re wanting to do business with.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker