Proven tips to help you make an impact with your target audience
Whether you’re attempting to reach referral sources like lawyers and accountants or a niche like non-bank investor groups, you have an unprecedented number of commercial marketing tools you can use to broadcast messages to your target audience. Unfortunately, it’s also easier than ever for your audience to tune you out. Emails, print and web advertisements, special offers, social media posts, and commercial lender marketing collateral reach consumers at near-constant frequencies. Instead of parsing out the helpful, targeted messages from the spam, it’s easier for them to ignore everything except the most engaging content.
If your goal is to grow your referral network and reach potential clients through your marketing efforts, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from the clutter with communication strategies that speak directly to your audience’s needs. Use the following 3 techniques to ensure your brand stands out from the pack.
Don’t sell a service – answer a need
Think about the hammers, wrenches, and pliers in your toolbelt (or those collecting dust in the garage). None of those tools were created before people figured out how they could be used. Instead, the inventors of those tools started out with a specific need and then developed the tool to get the job done.
Consumers think in much the same way. While many mortgage marketers purchase expensive key words that describe their business type or run campaigns to boast about themselves, borrowers are using search engines and social media to find solutions for their particular need.
In practice, this could mean promoting yourself as a mortgage professional who helps small-business owners secure the funding they need to grow – instead of running ads that promote yourself as an expert commercial mortgage broker who provides unmatched service. The latter technique may well describe your status in the industry, but the former actually describes your skillset from the borrower’s perspective. If you can identify what your audience is specifically looking for, you can market to that need and cut through the noise created by your competition.
Consistency is key
Your brand is the combination of your industry reputation, the products you offer, the messaging you promote, and the experience you create. The key to productive engagement with your audience is consistency across each of these channels. With so many players competing for their attention, a fractured brand has no chance of building the momentum needed to make an impact.
Want to improve the consistency of your brand? Take a close look at the way you communicate in advertisements versus the way you talk to your clients one-on-one. Are you making promises you can’t keep? Promoting products you no longer offer? Even the vocabulary you use in your messaging can create inconsistencies. Give yourself a “communications audit” and make necessary changes so that those who speak to you over the phone and those who merely receive your marketing emails each week get the same impression of your business and your overarching brand.
It should be noted that consistency doesn’t end with your messaging – the design you use for your website, collateral, and social presence matters as well. Printing new product sheets and pricing matrices takes time and costs money, but if you’re handing potential clients collateral that doesn’t match the aesthetic of your website, you could lose them when they go home and research your company online. Whenever you come up with a new design for an email template or print advertisement, consider how you will be able to apply the visual to other areas of your marketing mix. Over time, consumers will be able to identify your communications before they even see your logo.
Create a customer journey
One of the main reasons for the clutter in today’s marketplace is the fact that mortgage professionals focus only on transacting and not on building momentum with potential customers. You wouldn’t marry someone after a first date, so why should you expect an investor to trust you with their mortgage after receiving one email? Consumers pass through stages before they decide to purchase a product or service, and creating content to meet them at each stage can get you more business and set you apart from others in your field.
A typical customer journey involves 4 stages: Awareness, Exploration, Transaction, and Retention. You’ve probably passed through each stage when you purchased your last automobile. The process began when you got tired of spending your weekend at the auto mechanic shop and decided to purchase a new car. You knew you wanted a sedan but weren’t sure which one to buy, so you scoured the web for information on the most popular models and compared the price on each option. Eventually, you landed on the best option and bought a new car. In order to keep you as a customer, the auto dealer then offered you free servicing for the next 3 years.
Very few people see a commercial for a new car model and then run out to purchase it immediately. The same holds true for business owners and investors with commercial mortgages. In order to get their business, you’ll need to help them realize their need for your services, provide helpful information to guide them as they make a decision, carry through on your promise after they decide to transact, and provide such a great experience that they’ll want to partner with you again in the future.
Before you share a piece of content – whether it be a blog post, email, tweet, or press release – identify where it belongs in customer journey. Then distribute it to the members of your audience who are currently in that stage. If your audience engages with the content, you can deliver new messaging that moves them further along in the customer journey. While the competition keeps trying to marry clients on the first date, you’ll be creating momentum that ultimately ends in successful transactions.
Thanks to the barrage of advertisements consumers receive every day, it’s more difficult than ever to break through to your target audience. But if you commit to telling your brand’s story consistently and facilitate the customer journey through messaging that addresses specific needs, you can separate yourself from the clutter and make lasting impressions.