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By Molly Pastore, VP Marketing – Navigant Credit Union
Molly Pastore , NEFMA Board Member

We’re all marketers in the financial sector, so let’s be honest: when it comes to the details of the products and services we’re selling, it can be difficult to spot the difference between our offerings and our competitor’s. This is especially true in the residential lending category, where – for the most part – mortgage rates look similar across the board.

As marketers, we’re all wading through this “sea of sameness” with a similar goal,  to find new, innovative tactics to help our products stand out and resonate with prospective homebuyers in our areas. The big-picture strategy will change depending on circumstances, but here are some first steps marketers can take when promoting mortgage loans and pre-approvals.

Understand your audience.

Before we do anything, we need to understand who we’re talking to. Where do they live? How old are they? Where do they consume their news and information from? Is it from their friends, family members, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok? Once we have these answers, we can whittle down our communications platforms and ensure we are reaching the people we want to reach, where we want to reach them.

Diversify your messaging platforms.

In today’s technology-focused world, we have a wide array of marketing tools at our disposal. Of course, traditional methods like print and broadcast television advertising are still effective, but it’s helpful to bolster those efforts with more targeted, precise strategies.

Use digital and search to ensure your products are the first results your audience sees when they type a search into Google. Use social media campaigns to insert yourself directly into the newsfeeds of a hyper-specific target audience. And use email marketing to reach the folks who already know and trust you. Combined, these are all cost-effective, simple ways to ensure you stay top-of-mind as your audience is going through the homebuying process.

Host seminars or informational sessions.

Whether they’re held in-person or virtually, seminars and informational sessions are great opportunities for your lending team to meet face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) with your audience. At these events, your team can prove its value by explaining its process; highlighting products; and answering questions in real-time. You can even complete a few pre-approvals while you’re at it.

Give your team the right tools.

Your mortgage loan officers are likely always out and about in the community meeting new prospects. Make sure they’re always armed with up-to-date marketing materials, promotional items, and other collateral, so that they can take advantage of every opportunity to send a prospective member or customer home with more information about your product.

Plus, don’t forget about your network of partners.

According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly 90 percent of homebuyers rely on a real estate agent’s services. It is vital for lenders and financial institutions to build strong relationships with real estate agents throughout the community you serve. While the most important aspect of building these networks comes through personal connections, it can certainly be worth considering marketing campaigns that bring your brand directly to real estate professionals.

At the end of the day, it’s all about putting your brand’s best traits forward.

When presented with virtually identical rates, why should a homebuyer work with you rather than your competitors? Is it because of your team? Your longstanding reputation in the communities you serve? Your technological tools? Whatever the answer, that’s what you’ll need to highlight, to break-through the “sea of sameness.”

Once you have that answer, executing the above tactics is the easy part!