November 1, 2022 — While many are slashing marketing budgets, a select few plan to TRIPLE theirs in these tough times. The belief is they will stand out more than ever, delivering much improved ROI.
There is another segment of mortgage lenders and vendors that have reduced traditional sales and marketing spend, replacing it with what we refer to as the ‘IV drip’ of content marketing. Further yet, some market leaders have adopted a more permanent ‘content first’ marketing approach, for bad times and good, largely de-prioritizing traditional advertising and related activities. Theirs has become more of a feeding tube than a drip!
According to the Content Marketing Institute, the definition of content marketing is as follows:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Noticeably absent—focusing mostly on your own products and services. Stop just trying to sell stuff. The focus is no longer about you. It’s about that ‘clearly defined audience,’ better referred to as ‘FOLLOWERS,’ should you be producing value-added content to their liking. Vendors... Millennials and subsequent generations are highly influential inside lenders, if not the actual decision makers. They consume vast amounts of content every day, all day. Your advertisements are not likely included—not delivering relevant and useful content to help them solve their issues.
It goes without saying social media is a critical component of your plan. Informative and educational content are leading methods, always recommended WAYS TO BUILD TRUST—which is your primary objective.
- Compliance vendors may write an article on recent updates from GSEs and/or regulators
- eMortgage and/or title vendors might produce a video on what to consider when implementing remote online notarization (RON)
- QC/Due Diligence vendors might publish an eBook on trends with audit findings and buyback reasons
- A mortgage lender might educate consumers on mortgage insurance, or maybe preventing wire fraud
If followers like your content, they will absorb it, or at least portions thereof. You will likely remain on their radar should a vendor need arises. However, should they love what you consistently produce, followers will eagerly anticipate your future content as well as SHARE it with others within their spheres of influence. Followers ultimately evolve into revenue generating clients thanks to your continual brand awareness and loyalty building.
Why characterized as an IV drip? A strong content marketing plan is a steady flow and mix of quality content, such as blogs, articles, press releases, eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, videos and more. Further, slow continuous drips introduce solutions intravenously (a drop at a time), and in modern medicine they are amazingly effective, often with an absorption rate between 90% to 100%. Aspirational for content marketing success, yes, but the analogy drives the point home. Effective from both a cost and results standpoint. Your mission is to attract, engage and retain followers. Get them started on the IV bag. (Just be sure to find that vein the first try. You may not get multiple chances.)
We are evangelists on content marketing primarily because of what it has done for our Vendor Surf search engine. We built a content marketing plan and stuck to it for a few years now, making adjustments as prudent.
Today, 54% of Vendor Surf visitor traffic is referred by Google—yet we do not pay for ads.
Google puts so much value on our original and organic content, they want their searchers to be exposed to us. We can go for months without spending a dime on traditional ads and still know Google will send us several hundred unique visits every month. Google and their competitors use ‘web crawlers’ to dissect your website, trying to understand your purpose, content, quality, authority in the space—applying algorithms to rank you—and either send Google visitors your way, or maybe bury you on page 100 of search results.
Vendor Surf’s remaining 46% of traffic usually comes from our content on social media, CRM email campaigns and other efforts followers find helpful.
We found that ads run for a day (or short period of time), but awesome content—if done well—can drive traffic for a long period of time and plays a cumulative role among all other content produced.
Ads (and traffic) get sunset the moment they stop running, without residual value. Not true for your content marketing. Google is watching as you continue to build your authority in your specific arena, and more importantly, so are your followers. You need to be top of mind when followers need a vendor. We generally propose an annual plan, broken down by quarter, with a diverse mix of content type and topic, often equal to about three pieces per month.
Roughly half of the content we produce these days is for clients, not for ourselves. There are mortgage vendors (and lenders) out there whereby nearly every blog, whitepaper, eBook and/or article was written by us as a ‘ghostwriter,’ published under someone else’s name. For reasons unknown, there are just not many content development options in our industry. The need, opportunity and urgency is certainly there.
Here at Vendor Surf, we doubled down and made content development a professional service because we know the value, we are very good at it and we like engaging in efforts that produce tangible results. We are insanely passionate about the success of vendors in this industry. We want them to win, not merely survive.
Traditional advertising has its place, but the prominence of content marketing is everywhere, much more so outside of mortgage… which has not been the bellwether of early adoption in most respects.
For the entire duration of my professional existence, I focused on passion and hard work as the two dynamics for success. Effective content marketing has now made the list as the third component. Old dogs can learn new tricks.
Thanks for reading.
Scott Roller, President