Traditionally, mortgage marketing campaigns are designed to engage the “ready now” prospect. It makes a lot of sense at the surface. Connect with those that are ready to get a mortgage, or buy a house right now, why not? The problem with this approach, as you may have already experienced, is how competitive it is to operate in this space. Practically everyone in the mortgage business is targeting this segment of the market; the 3-5% who are ready to make a purchase decision right now.
Understanding your mortgage consumers journey can place you and your brand in front of that consumer before they make their buying decision. By establishing a “Know, Like, Trust” relationship-based strategy through the 5 stages of the mortgage consumer journey, you expand your potential customer base to that 95-97% of the customers who practically nobody is marketing to.
Using the Pareto Principle, we can deduce that only 20% of those in the mortgage business are going this deep into their marketing. If you do your own research by polling those you know in the industry, you may find that it may even be closer to 5%.
5 Stages Of The Mortgage Consumer Journey
You may already be aware of the AIDA model; Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. A valid and widely used purchasing funnel. We are going to explore the consumer’s journey from a slightly more expanded perspective. If you have been in the mortgage business for more than a few months, you may have already interacted with consumers at different stages of their journey, you will likely identify with some of the stages of this model.
- Aware Of The Need
- Sold On Your Concept
- Sold On Your Service
- Sold On Your Offer
Dive Into The Stages Of The Mortgage Consumer Journey
Let’s look at each stage of the journey your potential mortgage customer travels and go through some examples of how you can craft your marketing message to connect with them at each stage.
Stage 1 – Unaware
A homeowner with an interest rate 1-2 percent above current market rates or with private mortgage insurance and enough equity to be able to get rid of it. These homeowners find themselves with more debt than they can handle at the end of the month. Due to whatever circumstances, they have not even thought about refinancing to lower their rate, do debt consolidation or get rid of that mortgage insurance. You may have talked to a few of these folks. Refinancing is a no-no for them at this point. It baffles the mind and it defies all logic.
At this point, your message needs to be educational. You need to identify their pain point and speak to that tactfully. A great lead-in message here would be a story. “How John and Mary were able to go from financially stressed to financially fit with this one simple strategy” – You dive deep into a story, walking them side by side with John and Mary, how stressed they felt at the end of the month, the fact that they had resources and options, yet had not explored them due to fear, lack of information or worse, misinformation.
Your story, which is a case study in disguise, follows the PAS formula (Problem Agitate Solution) in a story format, not a “salesy” message. At the end of the story, they should be intrigued. They are not likely to take immediate action now. This is the beginning of their journey.
If your funnel is tight and you have the tools in place, you can track engagement with your message through email open rates or ad analytics. This will give you the insights you need to walk side by side with them to the next stage.
Stage 2 – Aware
At stage 2, the consumer has arrived at the conclusion that they need to do something. They can’t go month to month with the same situation and may have arrived at this stage in part as a result of your messages to them (email, videos, posts, etc). They may have also done some research on their own, nonetheless, they are now at stage 2.
After several months of the tight financial situation, the stress and drama that comes along with that, they can’t take it anymore. Pain point. They realize their mortgage is too high or they can trim that PMI off the payment, anything to reduce that debt load. What they may not know yet is, maybe they can explore throwing in that $15,000 in credit card debt into a new loan.
“Three often overlooked strategies financially stressed homeowners are not taking advantage of to lower their overall debt and get peace of mind”
You can deliver a clearly written piece via email, video or Power Point. Ideally, multiple formats to cover the different modalities of consumption and learning styles: Visual Auditory and Kinesthetic (VAK model of learning).
Stage 3 – Sold On Your Concept
At stage 3, the homeowner is interested in doing something about their finances. They have decided: Yes, we need to explore this refinance thing now and may not yet be committed to WHO will provide the solution yet. However, if you have stayed with them through their journey thus far, you should be “Top Of Mind Conscious” with them.
They may have looked at their current payment and rate and done an online mortgage calculation of what a lower rate mortgage payment would be. Maybe even figured out their PMI payment and compared a new loan without it. Their research is still somewhat preliminary and self-guided.
“The truth about refinancing your mortgage, why many homeowners are still paying their bank every month more than they need to, and what to do about it”. Here you address some common fears, objections you have likely encountered in the past already. Some of these are unspoken fears. This is where you need to really know your customer.
A couple of these common fears hidden behind objections are: I have to start paying a 30-year mortgage all over again. I’ve been told that if you are not lowering your rate by at least 2 percent, it is not worth refinancing. These objections are uttered in conversations every day. This is your chance to put those myths to rest.
Stage 4 – Sold On Your Service
Stage 4 consumers are primed and ready to act. They have done their comparison of service providers, they have engaged with your content and decided you offer the most value. If you have executed a marketing campaign properly and with the right tools, you have done this on a one-to-many approach rather than a one-to-one. You are leveraging tools and technology such as a powerful mortgage marketing CRM. You are positioning yourself to scale your business and harvest the fruit of your efforts, en masse.
Financially stressed homeowner has found hope in your messages which provide solutions to their specific problem. You have dissipated some of their fears and given them confidence that you are the professional they need to work with. Your company’s reputation is untarnished, they are sold on you and your company or brand.
You know another fear that mortgage consumers have. Initiating contact with you. They may actually be thinking to themselves “Boy, Mary Lender sounds great if she would only call me I surely would talk with her”. Problem is, if you have 500 contacts, you don’t know which one of them is at this stage yet. Solution: If you are equipped with the right tools, a carefully crafted broadcast voice message to those who, with the aid of your CRM’s analytics, you have identified as engaged prospects, could put them over the fence and get them to “return your call”. You have taken that step they wanted from you. You reached out to them first.
Stage 5 – Sold On Your Offer
At stage 5, you have hit pay dirt. You are actively engaged with the prospect, there is conversation taking place, documents being exchanged, etc. You have crafted a refinance analysis, presented rates and they are ready to sign the loan application.
We all know the deal is far from being over though. It is not over until the loan has funded, and the security instrument recorded. If you have not had a funding pulled before recording, you have not done this long enough.
Things will come up at this stage but they will be different issues than you may have to deal with if you are working without an established relationship. You are working from a position of trust, now it is only a matter of handling issues that may come up along the refinance process.
The borrower is fully onboard but their appraisal came in low. Instead of the $650 a month overall debt reduction you had proposed, the new structure reduces their overall debt by $500.
This is where your relationship and selling skills need to be put to use. Use the tried and true principle of “Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood” coined by the late -DR. STEPHEN R. COVEY Reiterate the value of what you are doing for them. Listen, understand and re-affirm that what they are going to accomplish brings tremendous benefit to their finances.
Understanding your consumer’s journey and connecting with them at the right time, with the right message and delivering that message in multiple modalities will put you way ahead of your competition.
Consumer-centric marketing IS the new model. You need to know your consumer, understand their journey from start to finish, and cater to them as they go through their buying stages in order to win the battle, and close the deal. BNTouch is here to help you along every step of that journey, YOUR journey in marketing.
*The original idea of these 5 stages of the consumer journey originally appeared in a book titled “The 24 hour marketing miracle” by Seth Czerepak. The concepts of these five stages in the buyer’s journey have been adapted to the mortgage business in this article.