Mortgage

Marketing matters: How to stand out in a challenging mortgage environment

Originators must prioritize building strong relationships with real estate agents

The economic trifecta of rising interest rates, persistently high home prices and record undersupply is making homebuying increasingly challenging.

Every loan on your book matters more than ever; the next lead you have is your most important. The current business environment has left originators scratching their heads and trying new things.

Luckily, the mortgage industry is cyclical, so let’s take a look at how you can turn a negative into a positive and grab clients’ attention through effective marketing, ultimately growing your book while others’ shrink.

As a pioneer in the non-qualified mortgage space, Angel Oak has seen firsthand how some of the best originators market their business when prices rise and volumes drop. Below are a few ways originators can best present themselves to real estate agents and stand out in a saturated market

Recognize the value of lunch and learns

When every loan matters, the value of in-person meetings can’t be overstated. Right now, people are craving face time, so why not offer real estate agents and networking peers that opportunity?

Some of the most effective mortgage originators are differentiating themselves in the crowded market through “lunch and learn” sessions. These impactful one-hour gatherings leverage the intimate setting to provide a lot of value, both for your business and for your referral network.

Lunch and learns serve as more than just a networking event. They are also a chance to exchange knowledge and demonstrate innovative non-QM products, which can sometimes be a daunting experience for the uninitiated.

Through these roundtable discussions over lunch (or even dinner), you can help demystify non-QM products while also establishing your credibility in the industry. Think of the cost of the meal as an investment in deepening your relationships, fostering a sense of community and delivering valuable information to help your clients.

Meeting in person adds a level of trust and rapport that virtual meetings simply can’t match. Face-to-face interactions often lead to more open discussions, giving originators greater insight into real estate agents’ specific needs and challenges — and more opportunities to present valuable solutions that can help you stand out from the crowd.

Explore old and new social media platforms

While Facebook, X and Instagram remain staple platforms, branching out to newer social media avenues can yield impressive results.

TikTok, for example, has rapidly emerged as a powerful tool for businesses and presents the opportunity to connect with a massive audience of younger generations eager to learn about home buying.

Crafting engaging video content and putting your brand in front of an audience of real estate agents shows that you are adaptive to a changing client demographic (yes, “Realtortok” is a thing). A short, lively, well-executed video can quickly demonstrate an originator’s know-how and present complex information in a digestible way, making it an excellent way to stand out.

LinkedIn is still an excellent way to connect with Realtors and other real estate industry professionals through targeted, thoughtful posts and outreach. It is the most efficient way for mortgage originators to expand their network and target their message to a very specific audience.

Being active and engaged on LinkedIn allows you to share insightful articles, market trends and expert analyses to position yourself as an authority in the mortgage space. If you’re willing to invest a bit more in your educational posts, you can even develop marketing campaigns directly targeted at professionals in your specific territory, ensuring that you’re highly visible to the right audience. 

Prioritize — and personalize — educational content

Starting a blog or contributing to an existing platform can further solidify your position in the industry as a professional educator and resource for real estate agents. A well-researched blog post can resonate with those who seek insights on the latest trends and products, serving their needs while also making you a go-to source of information.

Real estate agents may repost an originator’s content piece that can help them market more effectively to clients, which means just a little writing from you can go a long way.

In this difficult mortgage landscape, originators must prioritize building strong relationships with real estate agents. Meanwhile, the increasing use of generative AI means content is quickly becoming depersonalized and bland, so it’s important to zig when others are zagging.

Going beyond the high-level stories already covered in the press and digging deeper to focus on a specific niche or geography lets you cater to the unique needs of agents in different areas, with content that is more relevant and actionable. Effective marketing strategies that lean into the people connection and personalized content are essential in order to generate traction with your audience.

In a high-stakes environment, building credibility and deepening relationships can go a long way toward supporting your marketing efforts. Try incorporating the ideas described above as you plan your 2024 marketing strategy.

By mastering these tactics, you will be able to navigate the current market challenges, foster genuine partnerships and differentiate yourself from the competition to ensure long-term success.

Tom Hutchens is the executive vice president of Production for Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions.

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