alternative lender marketing tips

Alternative Lender Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business

Are you wondering how you’ll grow your mortgage business with so many mortgage brokers and loan officers entering the industry?

Maybe you worry that you can’t stand out in the competition because you have nothing special to offer.

Spoiler alert: you do!

The key is knowing the top alternative lender marketing tips to get the organic traffic you desire and to end the need to spend money buying mortgage leads constantly.

Why Alternative Lender Marketing Tips Are Important

Thanks to the internet, borrowers can find alternative lenders anywhere, not just in their local area. That’s why knowing all the top alternative lender marketing tips is crucial so you can set yourself apart from the competition and be one of the top mortgage lenders for your niche. Using as many digital marketing strategies as possible gives you a greater chance of getting more potential clients.

39 Best Alternative Lender Marketing Tips

You don’t want to be just any old lender. Your mortgage marketing efforts should show potential borrowers you are above the competition. It should tell them why they should choose you over anyone else.

Here’s what to consider when marketing your alternative lending firm.

Alternative Lender Marketing Tips

1. Solidify Your Target Audience

As an alternative lender, you cater to a specific audience, and your mortgage marketing efforts should portray it. For example, it wouldn’t do you any good to market to borrowers with great credit and straightforward income. They could likely get conventional financing, so your advertising efforts would fall on deaf ears.

To avoid wasted time and money, narrow down who you want to focus on or who could best use your loan programs. This is the audience you want to focus your marketing strategies on because they are potential customers who would go to another alternative lender if they didn’t come to you.

2. Build Your Brand Strategy and Identity

It’s important to have a brand for customers to recognize no matter where they find you, whether it’s your website, social media posts, or a flyer. Your logo, colors, and all other branding details must remain consistent across the board.

Think about McDonalds. You could likely spot the golden arches anywhere and immediately know what they stand for; that’s what you want for your brand. When your audience sees your branding, you want them to be able to recognize that it’s you.

3. Identify Your Short and Long-term Goals

Effective marketing strategies require you to identify your short and long-term goals. To build the mortgage business of your dreams, consider following the SMART goals framework.

  • Specific: Make your goals as specific as possible. For example, don’t say, ‘I want more mortgage leads.’ Of course you do, as does every other mortgage business in existence. Instead, give yourself deadlines and put numbers to your goals, such as ‘I want 20 loans in the pipeline per month,’ or whatever is realistic for your business.
  • Measurable: When you make your goals specific, they can also be measured. Using our example from above, you can measure your progress by seeing how close you are to your 20 loans in the pipeline per month.
  • Attainable: Don’t get crazy with your goals. It’s a good idea to dream big, especially in the mortgage industry, but make your goals attainable. You can always level up after reaching your initial goals but don’t make them so far-fetched that you miss your chance to grow your mortgage business.
  • Relevant: Make your goals relevant to your business by stating specifics, such as the type of customer you want to attract. For example, I want to add 20 borrowers per month looking for bad credit mortgage loans or FHA loans. Make your statements specific to what your business offers.
  • Time-bound: Give each goal a deadline. It’s okay if you don’t reach it and need to adjust, but it lights a fire under your team to reach the goal rather than being disappointed.

4. Ensure Your Offers and Services Are Clear and Concise

The mortgage process is overwhelming for most borrowers, and anything that would make them more confused will turn them away from your business. Your offers must be clear and concise, letting prospective homebuyers know exactly what you offer.

For example, if you cater to borrowers with bad credit, your offers should clearly state that so borrowers with bad credit don’t overlook your company as a possibility because they don’t think they will qualify. Mortgage content can get overwhelming, especially for first-time homebuyers, so making it as clear and concise as possible is key.

5. Conduct a Competitor Analysis

Chances are you aren’t the only mortgage lender in the area, so doing a competitor analysis will help you understand what you’re up against. This isn’t to say that you should copy your competitors. Instead, you should see what they do well and what they don’t and then see how you can do even better.

The key is to do one better than your competitors, a.k .a. fill a void they aren’t filling, so you get more prospective homebuyers than your competitors. To do this, you should:

  • Evaluate the keywords they use
  • Use and rate their website, determining what’s missing that your target audience may want
  • Consider their pricing and offers
  • Look for any shortcomings that you could fill
  • Determine what marketing strategies they use

6. Nail Down Your Marketing Budget

Getting carried away with paid marketing ideas is easy, but that isn’t always necessary. The key is to get as much organic traffic as possible, so nailing down your marketing budget is key. When you know how much you have to spend, you can carefully spread it out in the different areas.

7. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website

Of course, the best digital marketing strategies require a solid website, but focusing only on how it looks online is a mistake. You must have a mobile-friendly website, too, as many people check websites on their phones when making important decisions, such as which mortgage professional to consider. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly will turn away potential customers. A mobile-friendly website also increases your visibility, brand identity, and lead-generation capabilities.

8. Optimize for SEO

One of the most important alternative lender marketing tips is to optimize for SEO for alternative lenders or search engine optimization. This is what makes your website visible to your prospective customers and how you increase your business.

When you optimize for SEO, you do the following:

  • Do keyword research: Using the right keywords is the best way to reach potential customers. You want to use words they search so you come up in the top few Google results, increasing the chances of borrowers clicking your website to learn more.
  • Create an SEO strategy: Your SEO strategy is unique to your business. No two companies have the same strategy; you want to beat your competitors! Your strategy must include on-page and off-page SEO tactics, including local SEO, to attract clients in your area.
  • Website optimization: Slapping together a website doesn’t mean your customers will find you. You won’t get the views you anticipated without proper keyword usage or a good content marketing strategy.

9. Start a Blog

You might not think anyone would read a blog from someone in the mortgage industry, but this is a key factor in your search engine optimization! Google looks for regular updates, and what better way to do it than with a blog? Content marketing for alternative lenders is key to building your online reputation.

When you have a blog about the mortgage market, you show yourself as an authority in the industry. Your blog posts can include:

  • Helpful tips
  • Definitions of difficult mortgage topics
  • Comments about the latest mortgage industry news

10. Send Regular Email Newsletters

Email marketing is a great way to reach your target audience and provide value. Email marketing campaigns are another way to build your online reputation by providing your audience with news, tips, and promotions.

The difference between email marketing and content marketing is that you can get more personal with your audience, making them feel as if your email was specifically for them and not your entire audience. Making this a consistent part of your marketing efforts can help you build a larger audience,

11. Network With Other Professionals

Don’t be afraid to network with professionals in the real estate industry. Some key players include real estate agents, appraisers, financial advisors, bankers, and real estate attorneys. Think of anyone in the area that comes into contact with people interested in buying a house.

Let other professionals know what you do and what you specialize in, whether reverse mortgages, bad credit mortgages, or mortgage programs for the self-employed. Give them an idea of who you cater to and how you can help them, and let them see how helpful your company can be in helping their clients.

12. Print and Direct Mail Marketing Is Still Helpful

Despite all the talk about digital marketing, don’t give up on print and direct mail marketing. There is still a time and place for it, especially when targeting a particular geographic location. Again, ensure your printed and direct mail marketing has the same branding as your digital marketing to keep a cohesive front.

13. Sponsor Local or National Events

Attending local events is one of the best ways to get your name out in the community. You can sponsor a local sports team, host a booth at a trade exhibition, or be a speaker at local conferences. The key is to share your expertise and show that you care about the community.

14. Get Involved in the Community

Getting involved in the community doesn’t mean only providing your mortgage expertise. Sometimes, it means getting your hands dirty and volunteering to make the community a better place. Showing your community that you care gives prospective customers a better idea of what you stand for and that it’s not just to make money.

15. Provide Helpful and Informative Downloads

Showcasing yourself as a leader in the industry is easy when you provide your audience with helpful and informative downloads. These freebies could be a quick PDF, chart, ebook, or video that helps prospective customers learn more about the mortgage process. The more education you provide, the more you show your audience that you care and aren’t just trying to get more leads.

This lead generation strategy helps you get a larger list of potential clients you can continually market to. The more you engage with your audience and nurture them, the more likely they will eventually turn into a paying client.

16. Code Interactive Website Tools

Interactive website tools keep your audience engaged. Tools like mortgage calculators, down payment tools, or early payoff calculators help your audience learn more about the mortgage process without talking to a loan officer.

While the ideal goal is to have your audience talk to a loan officer to close the deal, you want to provide them with as many helpful tools as possible so they remember your company over others when deciding who to use.

17. Encourage Referrals

The mortgage process may feel like a one-and-done scenario, but you can use your past clients to help you get more mortgage leads. Encourage your clients to pass your name along to those they know who are considering buying or refinancing a mortgage.

You can politely ask that they send referrals your way or even make them your referral partners and offer incentives to do so, such as a small gift card or gift in exchange for a successful referral.

18. Implement a System for Requesting Reviews

Reviews are an important part of your alternative lender marketing ideas. While it might feel awkward to ask for reviews, they are integral to your business! If you haven’t claimed your Google business profile yet, use this free resource. Your Google My Business page is a great way to ask for reviews from past clients to show future customers what you offer.

19. Respond to Reviews

Every time you receive a review, take the time to respond to it. Thank the customer personally. This not only makes your past clients feel warm and fuzzy, but it shows potential clients how much you care about your clientele. It proves that you treat your customers as people, not just another number.

20. Record Company Videos

Video marketing is a key component of your alternative marketing techniques. Implementing keywords in your videos and providing valuable content can help you rank higher in the search engines. You can post videos to YouTube, your website, or your social media platforms to increase your views and get more customers.

21. Add Chat to Your Website

Customers today like instant gratification. They want answers as quickly as possible and don’t want to wait for you to return a voicemail or answer an email. Online chat allows instant access to your business and is a great way to grab the potential client’s attention while they are strongly considering finding an alternative lender.

22. Invest in Marketing Automation

You might think all these alternative lender marketing tips will take up too much of your time, but investing in marketing automation is the key to ‘setting it and forgetting it.’ Of course, this doesn’t mean your marketing efforts are ever put on the back burner. However, setting certain tasks up to be automatically carried out can alleviate your stress and ensure your marketing ideas are carried out.

23. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Take full advantage of social media platforms by creating optimized social media profiles. Stick to the same branding, but anyone who visits your profile should immediately recognize what you do and offer. It should be apparent that you are an alternative lender and the type of clientele you cater to so that you get the right types of mortgage leads.

24. Livestream on Social Media for Q&A

Social media is free, and you should take full advantage of it! This is a great avenue for live videos where you host Q&As, providing your audience with free answers and knowledge so they can make informed decisions about their mortgage needs. Providing these clips is a great way to alleviate the stress borrowers feel about talking to mortgage loan officers, allowing them to get their questions answered easily.

25. Host a Webinar or Seminar

Seminars or online seminars, called webinars, are also a great way to use your marketing resources. Let your audience hear you talk about important topics to help build trust in your business. As you show your expertise, it’s much easier for your audience to consider you their mortgage person versus another company.

26. Land Speaking Gigs

You may find opportunities to speak at other events as you network with other business professionals. You don’t always have to be the event’s host to be the speaker. As you build more relationships and show your expertise, more businesses may look to you for your mortgage loan officer experience and want you to speak at their engagements.

27. Get Press Coverage

Press coverage is easier to get than most people realize, especially with the internet and social media today. Try to get recognized for your awards, community service, or mortgage services. Most people will lean toward the companies that get good press when they need someone they can trust, so the more you show up in the press, the better.

28. Build Authority With Guest Posts

Guest posts are like the online version of speaking engagements. You may be asked to provide guest blog posts as you network with other business professionals. This is a blog post you write, but your business referral partners post on their blogs. This helps you get in front of not only your audience but also the blog owner’s audience.

29. Participate in Podcast Interviews

Podcast interviews are another form of ‘press,’ just not in print or video. No one will see your face when you do a podcast interview, but they will hear what you have to offer and form their own opinion of your company based on what you share. This is a great way to get in front of a larger audience and have more people learn about alternative lending and all it offers.

30. Stay Active on Alternative Lending Forums and Facebook Groups

Community forums are a great way to stay engaged with your target audience. They offer a way to get personal and discuss concerns with potential borrowers where they are comfortable. You can help keep the record straight about alternative lending, provide tips, and offer consultations to help people in the group with their mortgage needs.

31. Run a Giveaway

Running a giveaway is a great way to get more attention. Consider it a part of your marketing budget and run a small giveaway that attracts attention and helps you get more mortgage leads. Of course, you’ll ask for the contact information of anyone who enters, allowing you access to your audience in the future.

32. Apply for Local Awards

Pay attention to any local awards your community offers, and apply for them. The more ‘good press’ you get, the easier it is to build a larger audience. Your awards could be for your mortgage business and what you offer or even for doing good within the community.

33. Sign Up for Marketing Directories

Get your name on as many marketing directories as possible, especially if they are free, like Clutch. Be sure to complete your profile on the directories as much as possible, giving your audience as much information as possible about your business to encourage them to contact you when they need mortgage financing.

34. Initiate Co-Marketing and Joint Ventures

If you have a company you work well with, consider combining your marketing ideas and efforts. This helps increase your market share and profits by keeping costs down and playing off one another’s ideas to maximize your marketing strategy.

35. Experiment With Paid Ads

If you’ve exhausted all organic marketing strategies and use them consistently, you may consider paid ads. We caution you not to go overboard with them as they often don’t provide the same results as organic marketing strategies, but they can be a good complement when you want to fill in with more leads.

36. Try Influencer Marketing

You might not think of influencers when you think about loan officer marketing, but it can be a solid strategy for building your clientele. Influencers who talk about using your company and how you helped them or who boast about your services may help get your name in front of audiences that otherwise may never have known you.

37. Optimize Your Marketing and Sales Team Communication

Your marketing and sales team must work together. Your marketing team identifies leads, and your sales team is responsible for following up with them. Communication between the two teams is essential to capture new business and close the deal.

38. Upsell and Renew Existing Clients Through Funnels

You can gain loyal customers by providing an excellent customer experience and maintaining a good customer relationship management strategy. While a mortgage isn’t something people need often, there are definitely times when borrowers need repeat services, so constantly marketing to your past clients and nurturing them, whether it’s months or years down the road, can turn them into repeat clients.

39. Monitor and Measure Results Monthly

You could try every one of the alternative lender marketing tips here, but the only way to see how they work for you is to monitor and measure your results monthly. There are many ways to do this, such as:

  • Watching sales metrics
  • Monitoring the number of calls/inquiries
  • Measuring the email open rate vs. click rate
  • Paying attention to your email unsubscribe rate
  • Monitor your social media analytics, including likes/follows/comments
  • Use Google Analytics or Google Search Console

Which of These Marketing Tips for Alternative Lenders Should You Try First?

The key to proper alternative lender marketing is to go slow. Try several marketing strategies at a time and measure your results. You may find that some work great, and others aren’t your cup of tea. Choose the strategies you are most comfortable trying and will use consistently. Any marketing strategy is a slow and steady game. You won’t see results overnight, but with consistency, you may be surprised at how much it grows your mortgage business.

Marketing Tips for Alternative Lenders

Mistakes To Avoid With These Marketing Tips for Alternative Lenders

When implementing the alternative lender marketing tips, there are some key mistakes to avoid:

  • Not hiring a professional: Let the marketing professionals handle your marketing strategy while you focus on running your business. Everyone has something they do well; if marketing isn’t it, let the professionals do it for you.
  • Relying on a single marketing channel: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your marketing strategy to ensure you maximize the return on your investment.
  • Focusing on too many marketing channels: Diversifying too much can make getting each strategy the necessary attention difficult, leaving you with less than desired results.
  • Not tracking results: It’s impossible to tell which marketing strategies work until you track the results and see which provides the greatest return on your investment. The professionals can track them for you, helping you understand what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Not making adjustments to strategy: After reviewing your results, it’s important to adjust, especially the strategies that aren’t providing the desired results. If you don’t, you continue throwing money at tactics that don’t work.
  • Not knowing what the competition is doing: Always watch your competitors. See what they are doing, changing, or not changing so you can make sure you do better than them and capture a larger part of the market share.
  • Not setting definable targets: Setting your SMART goals ensures you know what you’re trying to achieve and how well you’re doing. You can’t measure your progress or understand what is/isn’t working without a target to reach.
  • Ignoring online marketing completely: If your business doesn’t exist online and you don’t use SEO and other digital marketing strategies to get a larger audience, your competition will get all the business while you sit and wonder what you did wrong. 

Implement These Alternative Lending Marketing Tips With an Expert

These alternative lender marketing tips are the key to a successful mortgage business! But as a busy mortgage professional, you likely don’t have enough time to implement and monitor these strategies. Partnering with a rock-solid marketing company with the experience and results to help your company grow is the key to making your marketing strategies work for you.