Commentary: Video should be a priority when marketing to seniors

Adam O’Daniel outlines how the reverse industry can reach its pool of clients through online video

Our industry is at risk of being left behind by the senior citizens we love and serve, and you can blame YouTube. 

YouTube and similar online video platforms are largely underutilized by reverse mortgage lenders and originators, even as our primary audience — homeowners age 55 and over — increasingly embrace online video as one of their preferred ways to research and discover information. 

The good news is that it’s not too late or too expensive to catch up. The beauty of the online video explosion is that everyone can learn to be a video producer, on-camera talent, and broadcaster for a minor investment of time and money. The only thing holding most brands and loan officers back is the unwillingness to try something new. That’s within our power to change.

Video reach and reverse mortgage potential

Consider these statistics. YouTube has become an increasingly popular platform among people over the age of 55. A study by Google and Ipsos found that 68% of Baby Boomers use YouTube to watch videos. Half of them watch videos more than once per week, and they’re watching news, educational content and DIY tutorials. This represents a significant increase from just a few years ago, when YouTube was primarily used by younger generations.

Adam O’Daniel

The study also showed that most older adults watch YouTube videos on their smartphones, with 60% of Baby Boomers using the YouTube app on their mobile devices.

And they’re not just watching — they’re engaged with the content. A recent survey by AARP shows 57% of respondents age 50 and older have shared a video on social media and 31% have commented on a video. In addition, 44% of respondents subscribed to a YouTube channel, indicating an ongoing interest in the content.

One reason for the increased use of online video by older adults is the wide range of content available today. This is no longer the land of game streaming and trick-shot videos. YouTube is filled with thousands of channels offering videos on cooking, home improvement, exercise and travel. Many seniors now use YouTube to connect with others who share their interests or hobbies.

The popularity of YouTube and online video among older adults is likely to continue as more seniors become comfortable with technology and seek out new ways to learn, connect and be entertained. 

Getting the reverse industry on board with the trend

Will reverse mortgage lenders be left behind as seniors continue to embrace video content? Will we continue to rely on celebrity spokespeople on paid television commercials, outdated print flyers and cold-calling?

On YouTube today, you’re more likely to find a viral video clip of finance “guru” Dave Ramsey criticizing the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) than you are to find a credible reverse mortgage specialist educating consumers and financial advisers on the benefits, protections and options available with these products. 

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Our industry and your personal brand need to have a meaningful presence on the platform. In addition to addressing reverse mortgage loan misconceptions, educational videos can also provide an opportunity to showcase the benefits.

Creating educational videos can also help mortgage loan officers establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry. By sharing their expertise and insights, reverse mortgage loan officers can build credibility with potential clients and position themselves as trusted advisors. 

Tips for expanding an online video presence

If you don’t have these resources available to you, here are some tips on how to start using video in your sales and marketing, build a YouTube channel and gain a following:

  1. Get comfortable on video: If you’re a beginner, start by sending video messages over text to friends, family and teammates. Don’t publish on YouTube just yet. Start using video to replace text messages and emails to make yourself more comfortable on camera. You can start small. Find one message each day you could send as a video.
  2. Determine your niche: What topics do you want to cover? Who is your target audience? By focusing on a specific niche, you’ll be able to create content that is relevant and valuable to your viewers.
  3. Create quality content: Your content is the heart of your YouTube channel. It’s important to create high-quality videos that provide value to your viewers. Make sure your videos are well-produced, informative, and engaging. To begin, all you need is a smartphone. And you can find lots of great tutorials on (where else) YouTube.
  4. Optimize your videos for search: YouTube is a search engine, so optimizing your videos for search is important. This means using relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags. Make sure your titles accurately reflect the content of your videos and use descriptive tags to help viewers find your content.
  5. Promote your videos: Share your videos on social media, embed them on your website and include links to your YouTube channel in your email signature.
  6. Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, ask for feedback and encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel.
  7. Be consistent: Create a content calendar and stick to a regular schedule for posting videos, even if its once per month or quarter. Build up to more frequency over time. This will help build anticipation among your audience and keep them engaged with your content.

There are many other tools, apps, hacks and strategies to grow your video marketing practices, which might seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be that way. Start small. Start simple. Just get started.

We have a unique opportunity to reach more senior citizens and retirees than we have in the past. Today, the same amount of time and investment in an in-presentation at a lunch-and-learn can now be delivered to a limitless audience online.

As our industry and our borrowers continue to evolve, it’s important for leaders, marketers, and loan officers to adapt our marketing strategies to meet the changing needs of our clients.

Don’t be left behind.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Reverse Mortgage Daily and its owners.

To contact the author of this story: Adam O’Daniel at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Clow at [email protected]

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