The mortgage industry and related verticals are competitive spaces. Do you know which marketing tactics and lead generation strategies to adopt and which to avoid?
Listen to today’s episode with guest Nate Broughton who has a long history in the mortgage industry, starting over 20 years ago in the “wild west days of internet marketing.” Nate began by creating websites for loan types that he didn’t even understand, and eventually grew his business into one of the largest private companies in Missouri.
Nate has since moved to San Diego and expanded into other lead generation verticals, such as insurance and attorney lead generation, but still maintains a close relationship with the mortgage industry.
Want more on the mortgage vertical?
This episode is Part 2 in a multi-part series on Mortgage Industry Marketing. To continue learning on this niche, visit:
• Effective Email Marketing, Communicating Brand Value, and Key Audiences in Mortgage and Real Estate: Mortgage Industry Marketing Part 1 with Erina Johnson
• Building Brands, Content, and Relationships in the Mortgage Industry: Mortgage Industry Marketing Part 3 with Jeff Kuns
• Secrets to Mortgage Marketing Success Through Mastering Personal Branding: Mortgage Industry Marketing Part 4, Marisa Carey
Watch the Podcast Interview:
A Few Highlights and Lead Generation Strategies Include:
- The digital mortgage lead generation companies, such as Lending Tree, Bankrate, MRC, and Go Banking Rates, are the top-tier providers that offer leads to mortgage brokers or banks.
- The best providers come with strong brand names, trust symbols, and association memberships, building legitimacy and reliability.
- The quality of leads from different providers varies, so mortgage brokers must evaluate and position themselves to handle incoming leads.
- Did you know you can sell mortgage leads to companies that specialize in selling mortgage leads?
- Sick of paying vendors? Generate your own leads with the right tech, marketing stack, CRM, and content-optimized website.
- For paid traffic, Facebook remains the go-to platform for mortgage lead generation.
- What are the most important ingredients for lead generation? Know-how, patience, and a budget.
- Co-registration, an older internet strategy, offers potential in mortgage lead generation, getting on the back end of flows where finding a new home signals potential financing interest. (In finance, companies like MarketBeat or Motley Fool offer co-registration for emerging stocks, crypto, or NFTs.)
- Create microsites or landing pages targeting specific niches such as relocation, military, construction flips, or biotech to reach your ideal customers.
- Boost your organic search by providing valuable content such as a relocation guide to your area, improving your search rankings, and expanding your customer base.
About Host John Bertino and TAG:
A decade spent working for marketing agencies was more than enough to know that there are too many bad agencies and not enough objective marketers within them. John launched TAG in 2014 with the mission to provide brands unbiased guidance from seasoned marketing professionals at little or no cost.
TAG advises brands on marketing channel selection, resource allocation, and agency selection to ensure brands invest in the right marketing strategies, with the right expectations, and (ultimately) with the right partners.
TAG represents 200+ well-vetted agencies and consultants across the United States and Europe.
John’s professional background and areas of expertise include: Marketing Planning, Earned Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Link Acquisition, Digital PR, Thought Leadership, and B2B Lead Generation.
About Guest: Nate Broughton
Nate Broughton, Vice President of Permanent Equity, is a seasoned entrepreneur and acquisition specialist with a strong focus on digital marketing. He has a proven track record of building and selling successful startups, including a ticket sales platform that achieved $22 million in sales before being acquired. After his success as a founder, Nate moved on to source acquisitions for private equity firms in North America. Currently, he is always on the lookout for companies and business owners who might be interested in joining the Permanent Equity family.
Permanent Equity invests with no intention of selling in family-held companies headquartered in North America. With 12 portfolio companies and a current capital base in excess of $300 million, the firm seeks opportunities to invest in and partner in closely held companies with durable value propositions. The firm’s current portfolio includes companies in aerospace, niche construction, manufacturing & distribution, consumer products, ad tech, recruitment, and niche professional services.
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Transcript of Episode Mortgage Industry Marketing Part 2
Note: This transcript has been provided to assist you in finding extra information specific to your needs and goals. We have not edited it line by line for grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Please forgive small errors.
(upbeat music) All right, so we’re back with another episode of the niche marketing podcast.
And this one’s particularly exciting for me because I get to do it with a long time friend of mine, Nate Broughton, we’re here in San Diego.
Nate, so excited to have you, man.
Thanks for agreeing to do this.
– Hey, I’m excited to see you.
It’s been a while.
So when I was thinking through relationships I have with expertise in the mortgage space and people that know how, what it takes to generate leads in the space, you were of course one of the first guys I thought of and again was so thrilled that you agreed to be on the show.
Before we get into some of the nooks and crannies of mortgage marketing, Could you first maybe talk about yourself a little bit, your exposure to the space and, you know, how you’re working with companies to help in Legion?
Mortgage is one of the verticals or niches that’s near and dear to my heart, obviously going back over 20 years now.
So it’s changed a lot over those 20 years.
I’m sure we’ll talk about that.
But yeah, it’s it’s one that I got started in when I was still in college back in Missouri.
So we started online kind of the Wild West days of internet marketing.
My mentors and the guys that I worked for, we had a ticket business that was going pretty well.
But they knew that they were going to exit that business because they probably weren’t going to last forever.
And I think one of their buddies just mentioned how he closed the loan and made five grand and how great it was.
So they just being the entrepreneurs that they were kind of looked into that space.
And I was the digital marketing kind of young kid that was learning all the tricks and tips to kind of do whatever they want to do on the business side, find the customers or the leads online.
So we just dipped our toe in kind of without knowing where it would go.
And it went really well.
And I remember setting up websites for loan types that I didn’t even know what they were.
I didn’t know what an FHA loan was or a VA loan or a Jumbo loan, but we had websites for all those things.
And that was 20 years ago.
And it started off slow, and we started doing really well with organic SEO and generating a lot of leads.
And that led to starting our own mortgage bank and our own mortgage lead gen company.
And over the course of several years, that grew into one of the largest private companies in Missouri.
And I was the CMO of that business for some time and exited that, personally exited it.
The business is still around this day.
A lot of my friends that used to work for me or we’re interns or we’re coworkers still run that business.
And I still have a close relationship there, which I know we can talk about.
But yeah, I had about an eight or nine year run in the mortgage space there and then left.
And then I’ve always dipped my toe back into mortgage and also other types of lead gen over the last 10 years or so here in San Diego.
And in the last year and a half or so, I’ve been actively involved again in kind of just front end kind of audience generation and lead generation in the mortgage space.
And what are some of the other verticals that you playing in the lead gen space?
– We’ve done a lot in insurance.
So we had our own insurance agency that we started in Missouri that was all online.
They went really well and we sold that to a carrier.
But after that, I got into a couple different types of insurance lead gen like Medicare, term life, a few others.
And then we had eligibility.
com which did some insurance lead gen and then also a lot of attorney lead gen.
So kind of your bread and butter, highly competitive, you know, finance and attorney lead you.
– Yeah, not the sexiest stuff, but that’s how you know it’s super lucrative, right?
– Indeed, yeah.
And it kind of, it mixes all the tactics as well.
Like there’s like your standard tactics and then there’s your like mid-tier tactics and there’s a lot of like shady stuff that goes on in all those spaces just because they’re highly lucrative and highly competitive.
So you get exposed to that a bit and it’s good to know what some of those things are so you can kind of steer clear of them.
And also like maybe buyer beware a bit.
some of those places, especially in mortgage.
– Yeah, I’m glad you highlight the competitiveness of the space.
I think, you know, that just really shows that if you’re gonna step into this niche, you better be prepared for quite the fight and really know what you’re doing.
And again, that’s why we’re thrilled to have you speaking to that.
So before we start to get into some of the actual tactics that help with mortgage lead generation, let’s talk about the key players in the space.
just for those that are newer to the space, just assume relatively brand new, maybe they’ve never even actually gone through the mortgage process themselves, but they know it’s a lucrative space, maybe they have some relationships, they feel like they can play there, maybe it’s just a job opportunity they have where they found themselves in where they’re working for a mortgage company or and/or think they might be able to or want to sell leads to a mortgage company, someone wants to get in, talk us through basically the key players and what kind of the hierarchy looks like in the space.
– Okay, I’m envisioning one of those big poster boards, you know, most things everywhere, right?
There’s a lot, I mean, on the very front end, if you got hired by a local mortgage bank or you wanted to get licensed as an independent mortgage broker, I mean, you can go out and use the platforms that are familiar to you, like Google ads and Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and buy traffic or try to generate your own traffic to your own website there.
So those tools are like sign up, do your own marketing, get leads, and try to bring them in the door.
There are also historically a lot of direct mail competitive places you could go and work to get leads.
I don’t have a lot of experience in direct mail.
I don’t know how well it’s going these days, but I know there are still volume direct mail vendors out there.
So to kind of highlight a couple of those early on and say, those are options.
Start your own stuff, go to a direct mail service provider.
But I think the bread and butter of mortgage lead gen, like players and types of vendors that are out there or like the digital lead gen ones like a Lending Tree, like an MRC, which is the group in Columbia, in Missouri that I’m close with and kind of spurred it out of our mortgage bank.
So they’re kind of their own Lending Tree.
– And can you buy leads from Lending Tree in New York City?
– Absolutely, yeah.
Lending Tree, Bankrate, and then a couple other little platforms.
If you go out and just Google mortgage lead gen providers, which most people would do anyway.
You’re probably gonna be familiar with a landing tree or a bank, right?
You may not know like an MRC, but I, and there’s probably three or four other ones on down the pike, like a go banking rates or someone like that that has leads available.
And these are like the top tier providers that have a brand and you go look at their website and you’re like, I may have heard of this before.
And this looks like there’s a lot of different associations and trust symbols and things on this site.
Like this is a legit company.
Like I think there’s a handful, maybe six to 10 of those like pure top tier lead gen providers that are marketplaces and function that way where you just say, Hey, I’m John.
I’m a mortgage broker in Philadelphia.
I want to buy leads from my area cause I’m licensed in, you know, Pennsylvania, Jersey, Delaware, and I want to buy leads that are this credit type, this loan size, uh, you know, maybe in these areas, a couple other things.
And, uh, you can kind of create a goal on the menu, pick what you want and get those leads posted to you from those vendors.
And those, and those leads can come in via email.
They can get posted directly into your CRM.
If you’re using something like that, depending on how technically savvy you are, right?
Kind of not know which, how you’re going to get the leads to come in.
And there’s also a lot of like, you can just buy live transfers and direct dials these days as well.
So kind of anything and everything that you can think of now, 20 years hence from when all this kind of started, uh, you can kind of get and do and choose from the menu.
And what would you say?
I hate to have you paint with too broad of a brush here, but what would you say the quality of those leads are?
And you know, I mean, if, if it’s as easy as just going to lending tree, putting in your filters and, you know, putting in a coin and pulling the lever and getting a lead out, why isn’t everybody doing it?
And I guess to some extent, extent everybody is doing it.
That’s why lending trees huge.
But I mean, tell me about the lead quality and how that might compare to, you know, if you were to try to do it yourself.
It’s all over the board and we can talk about how to kind of evaluate that and position yourself to deal with it.
But you know, I was going to say, you know, there’s those top tier providers and there’s also like a mid tier providers.
And these are like names that I mean, there’s, I just make them more like today’s rates.
Like I don’t, they change every three or four years.
There’s a bunch of different networks that will sell you leads that look a lot like a lending tree that we’re using kind of as our like big brand.
Um, but they are not necessarily, and they fall down that quality train.
So it’s almost hard to kind of explain in a short little audio montage here of like tier one, tier two, tier three, tier four, but they’re all kind of out there and you need to kind of evaluate them based on just your own judgment of like if you were looking at buying flights from a website or something like that or something more consumer-y like is this big?
Do they have a lot of testimonials, etc.
And oh this one seems a little interesting and maybe it’s a little too good to be true, but they said they have unique leads in my area.
Maybe I should check them out.
Like there’s probably going to be a quality spectrum that’s going to fall down pretty quickly based on things that you could probably just intuit by looking around.
But yes, lead quality is the only thing that matters, right?
Because the pricing, it can go, “I’ll pay $250 for an exclusive mortgage lead in my area.
” And that’s a big thing too, exclusivity, right?
“Am I the only one getting this lead?
Is that true?
Let’s find out.
” But that drives a lot of the pricing.
So even if you go to a vendor like a Lending Tree and say, “I want exclusive mortgage leads in the areas that we just talked about, a certain credit type,” there’s going to be kind of like a marketplace pricing on that.
That is sometimes dynamic to the point of like down to the minute when you want to bid on it.
But let’s for simplicity’s sake say, “I’ll buy $250 for a mortgage lead that’s exclusive in my area and meets all these criteria.
” Fairly standard price.
I mean, that’s probably a little high, but I mean, that’s not.
We’re talking leads are getting up into that range for sure.
A couple hundred bucks for a quality verified mortgage lead is not unheard of these days.
And I wanted to ask you about lead pricing, and we kind of segued directly into it.
So while we’re on the subject, what’s the most expensive mortgage lead you’ve ever seen sold, and why was it that expensive?
That’s a good question.
And the reason this is relevant is if you’re a marketer, and you’re thinking, geez, how much could I sell these for?
and I’m sure ultra premium leads are very hard to come by.
But let’s just assume you’re able to pull it off.
What’s an ultra premium lead go for?
– I don’t know.
I would say $300 to $500.
I’ve never seen anything beyond that.
And I think it’s, you’d think there could be the potential to be like, well, I’ll pay $1,000 for that lead.
Because it checks all these boxes.
I don’t know.
That’s like almost a task to put out to the marketplace.
Like who could create the perfect lead?
– Maybe that’s your future.
I mean, the most valuable lead is, you know, a borrow that’s already worked with you, right?
That you like that.
That’s the premium premium leads.
And that’s what a lot of independent mortgage brokers or someone starting over don’t really have.
But you can kind of do that math over time.
And there’s a lot of things to think about an approaching mortgage lesion and being a mortgage broker and buying leads that are like, I’m investing over time in this where it’s like, maybe I bought some shitty leads, but, oh, I got five decent leads and I closed one.
borrower that’s going to come back to me down the line too.
So I think that’s something a lot of people have trouble with because they look at it so transactionally where they’re like well lending tree I gave you a fifteen thousand dollars and I only closed two loans I made sixteen thousand dollars so what that that’s not gonna work for me I can’t work for two months and only make a thousand dollars a lot of people get burned out pretty quick and mortgage Legion because they don’t have the stomach or the wherewithal the approach or maybe even just the cash flow or the budget to deal with the fact that not Not only is the industry always going to be going like this, and we know right now it’s down, down, but, uh, talking today and, uh, nearly March 2023.
But um, but also like, it’s just, it’s tough to sit there and be like, I’m going to buy leads for one week and see how it goes.
And if it doesn’t go good, then this is worthless and I hate lending tree.
Like it’s, it’s very difficult to, to, to approach it that way.
So I don’t know.
Maybe we can talk more about how to do that, but that’s certainly what I see a lot of.
off the cuff unscripted question here, but you made me think of it.
If I’m capable of generating mortgage leads on my own or through my own team, can I actually sell them to the teams that sell mortgage leads?
Do you know?
I could sell leads to Lending Tree if they’re good enough and then they’d resell them.
I would think so.
I mean, they’ve certainly, that’s how they get most their leads, right?
I mean, certainly from lead gen affiliates, but also from people who are like, I don’t know, I guess you’d be like, I’m not working this lead.
Sell it to someone else.
That’s the types of nooks and crannies we like to get into on this podcast.
Speaking of nooks and crannies, let’s start to get into the marketing stack.
Um, tech stack marketing stack, essentially the, the, the things you need to have in place to start to do this again, if you’re, let’s, let’s assume that you’re a mortgage company, you’re sick of paying the lead gen providers and you at least want to start to generate some leads on your own.
And I guess there’s the usual suspects and you touched on this a bit earlier, but again, you know, what are the foundational elements I need to have in place before I start getting fancy?
It’s a very common situation that you just described.
I mean, every mortgage broker out there is like, I’m sick of these vendors.
I’m sick of paying for them.
These leads aren’t I’m not closing them.
I want to generate my own from the largest mortgage lenders in the country to the mom and pops for sure.
So I think this is something that people debate a lot and want to know how to do.
Most of them, if you’ve been buying leads from anyone, you’ve probably got a somewhat decent tech stack to manage lead flow.
Like, and that’s, I think it was important because you have to have like a CRM of some type and you can’t really be a mortgage broker these days without having some sort of like digital like loan processing system, but also, and most of those like integrate with kind of a CRM lead management system.
So I’m going to assume you probably have something already where you’re like, I can get leads from somewhere, someone, even if it’s my referral now.
And they’re coming in and they’re getting piped into the CRM and we know how to work them.
And they’re getting called and they’re getting passed on to the loan management or a loan processing system.
So I assume you probably have some sort of CRM-y place where leads they’re posting into.
But if you want to go out and start generating some of your own, most of that comes on the front end.
So the tech stack and the marketing stack is more, it’s more your own website, your own ability to go out and A/B test content, ads, buy and manage ads, if you’re doing paid traffic, and then also just write content and test it and track it as far as how it’s performing against competition.
So if we’re talking about kind of front end digital marketing then, launching a marketing campaign, You need to have probably a couple of SEO tools to like go out and research and plan.
So I’m sure SEMrush or Ahrefs are some that you’ve mentioned here on the podcast.
Um, you need to have at least, oh, I assume you have a website that you’re able to put content on, but you need to have a website, um, that’s decent looking and has the ability to create content because you want to track search traffic.
Um, and then from there, it’s more just kind of the know-how of knowing what to write and how to write and how to research it.
It gets back to that SEO.
And I’ve had this conversation with many mortgage brokers.
I was at a conference last summer and talked to a lot of them and there’s, there’s successful groups out there that are like, you know, I’ve got a $20 million company.
I’ve got 20 mortgage brokers and I only buy my leads from the vendors and I’m frustrated by that.
I feel beholden to them.
Even if the quality is decent and the ROI is positive, it’s still like they could just turn off this bigot, right?
So I need to generate some of my own and I know how to get agent referrals and that’s kind of happening and maybe I’m like a regional player but what can I do to go out there and compete against the guys that have their own websites that are generating traffic or are getting leads piped into them from those sites that are already out there and to do that I mean it’s gonna take some investment and you’re gonna need some tools like I mentioned.
You’re also gonna need more just the know-how and the patience I think that’s that’s what really I think is important is know-how patience budget.
– All right, so you’ve got the site, you’re creating content, you’ve got some ad dollars.
Where are you putting the ad dollars to drive traffic?
– I would think most of them are going to Facebook still.
– And do you endorse that?
– Yeah, I think it’s maybe the only place you can go.
I mean, I think you can’t compete in like top tier search Google ads, you just have to be really smart and if you’re a regional player, you certainly cannot compete with the top tier people for FHA loan rates keyword on Google right now, you will get destroyed.
– And you’re competing with the same people you’re buying the leads from.
– Right, yeah.
And they’re buying them from three other guys that are selling to them.
And then you’ve also got banks, some big mortgage banks competing against you that can lose money, like they don’t care.
Or even like affiliate, I mean, there are some affiliate groups out there, like the guys down in Puerto Rico, which, you know, they don’t pay taxes, so you’re fucked there too, you can’t compete with them.
Sorry about cussing on your podcast.
– ‘Cause it’s in flavor.
– There we go.
But yeah, you’re competing against people where like the deck is stacked against you in some of those places.
So you gotta find little nooks and crannies where you can compete.
And I think it’s a little bit easier on Facebook ’cause you can target the individual and the consumer and like likes and interests, and or maybe you have an audience that you can upload to either of these platforms, but to Facebook more specifically, customers who’ve already engaged with you.
So that gives you a little bit of like, all right, let’s go out and try to find some of these same people.
– And when you say Facebook, you’re implying Instagram as well?
– Yeah, for sure.
– And you see those as more or less of equal value when it comes to.
– Facebook’s a little older, so maybe.
– That’s true.
I would think Facebook more likely the place where you’ll find actual quality mortgage leads.
– No, no, but both.
– Yeah, for sure, Instagram.
I mean, of all the independent mortgage brokers I’ve talked to in the last couple years, I think most of them are finding success on Facebook and with just long tail local organic search.
That’s their best bets.
And/or partnerships with local real estate agents or groups or the local paper.
I don’t know.
I think there’s some cool ways we can maybe talk about trying to find buckets of traffic that exist where your customers are hanging out, where maybe there’s not already a mortgage lead form or someone’s maybe not thinking about going after that because it’s too small for the big guys.
Well, while we’re on that, sure.
Let’s talk about that a little bit.
I mean, I think that’s an interesting little corner to dive into.
Where might the big guys be ignoring opportunity where you’ve seen it in the past?
I was just looking at something yesterday where I was surprised no one had gone to.
And this is in like the VA loan niche where like the mortgage bank that helps grow is is like the largest VA loan bank in the country.
And I still have a relationship with them.
I’m like buying up a bunch of sites, but there are a bunch of like VA housing and base housing websites.
I found a network of them.
There were probably 50, there could be a hundred.
And I just found them by, I was poking around, looking at like pay rates for military folks and housing.
And I just started seeing all these URLs for like xxxbasehousing.
And you can tell that these kind of, These are stamped out for every single base around the country.
But they just had a link for like advertise, find a real estate agent.
And it was clearly just ran by some guy who built these sites 15 years ago.
No Legion going on on them.
– And hoping someone like you would come knocking probably, right?
– Probably, especially today more than ever, I think.
I’ve seen this a lot in the last handful of years where site owners, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, I don’t know why necessarily they would be more adverse to this, but I definitely have seen it more in the past handful of years where it’s like, let me help you monetize your site.
Like I, you know, I’m a local mortgage broker.
I’ve been around for five years.
Here’s my licenses, here’s whatever.
I’ve got a system in place where you can just pop these leads over to me.
I know I can pay you 50 bucks a lead.
Let’s do a little test.
Let’s add it to these pages of your site.
Let’s create 10 new pieces of content for xxxhousing.
com that explain like, what is a VA loan?
how, you know, how do, how, what is the, the loan limit in X County next to X base?
Like maybe he doesn’t have content for that yet.
You could author that content as local mortgage broker B and place that on his site that have a, that would have a good chance of ranking organically for long tail organic search.
And then you’d have your little lead forms on there and post that over little things like that are out there.
And it doesn’t have to necessarily be a housing site specific to the military.
could be like just a local, I mean, it could be San Diego.
I don’t know.
Like these, these things are out there where if they’re, if they’re not like out there buying traffic themselves, if they’re not a site that gets a hundred thousand visits a month, like the bigger guys aren’t really paying attention to these and, um, and I think you can go out and kind of strike up those partnerships.
Um, the same way you would strike up an old school partnership just by reaching out and saying you’re local and saying you can help and, um, and pick up your little crumbs that way, um, that’s certainly a way to like, if you, if you were buying a thousand leads a month.
Well, that sounds like a lot.
If you’re buying a hundred leads a month from a vendor and all you need to do is, you know, get 30 leads a month from somewhere else to like, you know, spread yourself out a bit.
Now you can 30 of your 130 leads are not coming from the vendor.
That’s going to hold you hostage.
It’s little things like that.
That’s good stuff, man.
Um, I, you, you eat, sleep and breathe this, but probably a lot of, I think it’s subconscious.
I don’t think about it that much.
– There’s a lot of mortgage companies out there going, who’s this guy?
That’s Nate Broughton in San Diego.
– We may have met at a bar in Michigan.
– If you met Nate, it’s probably at a bar.
– All right, so some of the things you’re touching on there with the independent content sites, makes me think of this topic that we bat around through email.
I believe you referred to as code registration.
Could you define that a little bit, explain what you mean by that and how that strategy works?
– Sure, and this is an older internet strategy, I would say.
So it’s one that’s been around and is not specific to mortgage, but the concept of it I think is helpful for sure.
And like thinking about how can I scrape together mortgage leads from places that are unique.
So co-registration is, fundamentally, it’s like you go to a website, you sign up for your local paper.
So it was like, well, enter your email.
You wanna be a subscriber?
You’re like, John D’Apertino at theagencyguy.
And they say, all right, thank you.
you’re subscribed and oh John are you also interested in you know free wings from Chili’s or you know early access to Eagles tickets like those offers yes of course I was trying to think of a chain cuz I don’t know any Philly dirty birds dirty birds I almost wore a dirty birds t-shirt today but I do have to go all black for you but yeah it’s that concept if you sign up for one thing and then you kind of get shown some other offers and then sometimes it’s a little like sleazier and you’re like, I don’t want, you know, coupons to this or check boxes.
How do you make it not sleazy?
That’s got to be a big part of this.
I would think I think it depends on where you are and how relevant it is.
So like a big example, a relevant example might be like a parallel example would be like a market beat.
Uh, it’s a, you know, stock newsletter.
Uh, and this is big in finance.
I know a guy that owns a big co-reg network in finance because it’s like you’re signing up for the Motley fool or market beat.
And I’m like, well, would you also be interested in like, you know, coverage of, uh, you know, South American emerging stocks and crypto like that?
I mean, that was the big one, right?
You’re like, Oh, you’re interested in stocks.
Well, don’t you want to follow crypto or you’re shooting NFTs like checkbox, checkbox, and you’re co-registering for that company or websites email list basically.
So now you’re just saying, yes, raise my hand.
I’m down to get emails about crypto and NFTs, et cetera, after I just signed up for MarketBeat.
And the color registration part is like you’re opting into their terms, now they have the opportunity to market to you, and they’re paying either, well, they’re paying MarketBeat in the end, but there’s usually a middleman network involved that’s kind of providing the technology and saying to crypto folk, if you want to get new subscribers, I have access to MarketBeats.
Thank you, Paige, and someone else’s thank you, Paige.
You pay me $3, I pay MarketBeat about $50, and you’re going to get people all day long that sign up here.
And is it something that you feel is, is, is gaining in gaining steam, gaining momentum, or it’s just always been there and it’s underutilized or.
Co-reg is as like, you know, it’s just a fundamental thing.
I think it’s just kind of static and doing its thing.
But I think what we were kind of talking about a bit over email is I’ve seen it in mortgage lead gen and I think this could be applied to other verticals as well grow in the last handful of years.
So that’s a good example might be a real estate, like a home search site.
You’re looking for homes for sale and Philly under $400,000.
You’re probably going to end up at like a Zillow or realtor.
com, but they’re on down the list.
Like there’s only a few of those big brands on down that list.
com a couple of names that we’re just making up, right?
You end up on those sites and they’ve got listings and they’ve got inquiry forms and their main business model is to sell like buyer and seller leads, primarily buyer leads to agents.
So agents are going to Homeownership.
com and they’re saying, I want to work with buyers in the area, you have listings, put me up there and/or when they fill out the form, they come to me, I give them a call and I say, hey, you need help finding a house.
I saw you were searching on Homeownership.
I’ve seen a lot of mortgage lead gen where they’ve just gotten on the back end of those flows similar to Co-reg.
So as we were just kind of describing signing up for Market Beat, that shows interest and intent in investing and therefore you’re more also likely interested in crypto and whatever else depending on the seasons and the markets.
If you’re interested in a home, finding a new home, you’re most definitely going to be interested in financing that in some way, shape or form, the IEA Mortgage Lead.
So there’s opportunities to find home search sites and say, “Hey, Mr.
Home Search Site Owner, if you’re selling leads to real estate agents for $25 a pop, why don’t we get on the back end of that flow, checkbox, checkbox, or answer question, answer question.
And if those things light the lamp in the right way, I’ll pay you another $25 because now I’ve got a borrower that’s potentially interested.
And you’re throwing the ball to where the receiver is going.
So how do you get these publishers to be interested?
Is it simply a financial incentive?
Are there other things you have to offer them?
And I think there’s probably also an art and a science to reaching out to them in the first place.
Is it something you have to do at scale?
Talk me through some of the trials and tribulations with getting these publishers to opt into the co-reg and become your strategic partner.
– It depends on who you are.
If you’re kind of starting from scratch, I mean, hopefully if you’re an independent mortgage broker, and that’s kind of example we’re giving.
I mean, hopefully you got some credibility as like a local business owner and a track record of servicing borrowers.
You’re gonna lean on the fact that you’re, you know, a legitimate company that has helped people and you’ve got relevant experience of X number of years.
But I think that’s mostly, and then the example I was describing earlier, maybe I’ve bought leads online for 10 years from these vendors, right?
So I know how to bring leads in and work them.
I think that’s really important in making partnerships work ’cause they wanna know if they’re gonna spend the time to like integrate with you and set up a partnership that two months later you’re not going to call them back to lead stock buy.
So I think showing some sort of like staying power both as a business and as someone who has worked online leads before is probably the best approach.
I’m not saying all the publishers are necessarily savvy enough to even know these things, but that’s the way to go into it and say, I know the space a bit, you know, and I want to be scrappy and inventive and interesting.
And if you want to work with me, like it’s better than working even with a lending tree because I’m going to call these leads myself or my team is local or regional and we’re going to do a better job.
And yeah, I can match the dollar amount that they’re going to pay potentially, which may not always be the case, but I think it’s more just a kernel of an idea and seeing it work or at least me describing it and maybe going out and seeing it work.
And I’ve seen it work many places.
You know that it’s possible and it’s more just kind of finding the little nooks and training is a place to approach and set up that relationship.
There, I don’t think there is necessarily a playbook other than good old fashioned deal making.
So if you were the marketing lead gen provider, uh, once you get the form fill and sell that lead, uh, I suppose ultimately your job is done, but if you were the, uh, the mortgage company and you’re generating these for yourself after you’ve generated the lead, you still have to nurture that opportunity.
So could you speak to that a little bit in terms of what you’ve seen work or best practices or just how to increase your conversion rate ultimately from a form fill to a qualified lead that you’re ultimately servicing?
– That’s a really good question actually, an insightful one because a lot of people mess that up.
And part of it is like, well, I bought the leads, the leads suck, leads go in trash.
It’s like, “Meh, you bought those things.
” There’s a lot of things you can do with those, not just in providing your primary service, but also just try to re-monetize them or continue to incubate them and nurture them.
But the primary answer to your question is, what can you do to compete with an online lead gen and make sure to convert that lead from a inbound lead to a qualified lead?
It’s speed to call.
It’s always gonna be number one, and versions of that and derivatives of that that have come up.
So it’s like, lead comes in, better call as soon as possible.
Be obsessed with that.
You have to be.
Um, even if it’s an exclusive lead, you, that exclusively just means it came into a website and it’s coming to you through there and they’re not selling it somewhere else.
It doesn’t mean Joey consumer didn’t go somewhere else 10 seconds later and fill it out.
So they still looking around and you need to get them on the phone.
You need to, I don’t know if you, I know texting is always iffy, but like, if you can text them right away and like, we’re going to call you, we’re, we’re calling you right now.
We’re texting you right now.
Like if you got that machine in place and we’re emailing you, get all up on them very quickly.
Uh, that’s always going to be your best bet.
Uh, find the ones that have high intent that have just felt the form, get them on the phone, get them before someone else does speed to call, speed to contact, uh, most important.
And you’re not, there’s a bit of a chicken and egg when it comes to these types of things of like you talk about, um, you know, or at least you allude to the fact of, uh, concentrating your time into the leads that are most valuable, right?
so you’re not wasting time, but there’s this chicken and egg factor of, well, you don’t want to ask a lot of questions up front on the initial form fill because then they’re not going to fill them out.
They’re going to go, what is this crap?
They’re going to exit the windows.
So it’s almost like you asked them less to get the information in the first place, but then you have to qualify it somehow to decide it’s worth your time.
It’s a pretty nuanced question.
I don’t know if you have any insights.
Well, uh, yeah.
In most mortgage lead providers and generators and networks, you’re right.
They are coming through with only X fields.
have been kind of a will down to intentionally name credit score sort of interest.
Like you’re right.
Yeah, you don’t get a ton.
I mean, there are some tech– I mean, there’s like instant– there’s like an experience and some similar platforms where you can like verify credit like instantaneously.
And all these CRMs and these lead management systems have like scoring tied to them as well.
So if you start to compete in this and get a little savvy, hopefully your scoring leads the second they come through too.
And that can be like kind of your own secret sauce.
And it probably is.
You need data from like loan closes to the loan officer that worked them, to the other, you know, the size of the loan, the credit score, like the time it took from the lead to the close, and you’re starting to learn and kind of creating an algorithm that’s gonna score these leads the second they kind of hit your system.
And if you’re operating at scale, that’s certainly a thing because you wanna get not only speed to contact, but you wanna get the right person on the phone, right?
So you want to make sure A plus lead goes to A plus mortgage broker, uh, and, and two seconds and, and yeah, that’s certainly a thing too.
Well, so, and you talk about speed to call.
Um, is that as simple as like, you just have to have your reps on standby or is, is, is cost call centers are the name of the game in the space, right?
I think for most it can be, yeah, you’ve got an outsourced call center to qualify and pass over.
So that’s where your qualification happens.
Or you’ve got like new trainees that are not licensed yet or maybe recently licensed and they’re kind of sitting there working the phones to get their reps in.
You’ve got maybe people on a different compensation scale that are not licensed loan officers, but they’re like all qualifiers in-house, especially if you live in like a small town, like a Columbia, we had a lot of that too.
But yeah, one way, shape or form, you got to staff that, have that person on the line outsourced or something doing qualification.
I ain’t chance any recommendations or favorite, you know, you mentioned some of the CRMs in the space, or I don’t know if there’s other tech that you’re often bolting on, not to put you on the spot, if you don’t have any tech that you are adamant about, but if you do, I’d be curious to know.
– I don’t really.
We kind of had our homegrown solutions a lot over the years, both in my projects and at the mortgage bank for a long time.
I know that as they got larger, they had to switch to something else for compliance, and I struggle for the name, ’cause a lot of them sound the same.
On the front end, like lead gen side, like leadspedia is a good vendor.
There’s only a few, and that’s like, if you want to ingest leads, figure out maybe how to score them and or have like a routing system before they come into your CRM, that might be a place or a piece of software you would need.
I like them a lot.
They’re still like a privately held company.
That’s fairly small.
Bobberdew is one that’s very popular in the insurance industry that I know still is used in mortgage, bit of a goofy name.
They’re pulling in first and third party data to layer on top of the well.
No, they’re more just like a, you can post from a vendor and they’re like a leads PD and turn it a bit to decide if you want to post it into your CRM.
Like, I don’t know.
I, in some people like the leads PD is almost if you want to have more of your mortgage lead gen business, uh, if you want to manage leads, spit leads out to different places, that’s how first helpful for that.
It’s almost more like a clearing house for that data.
But yeah, I would say just mortgage specific CRM software that you probably are required to have is likely going to be a place where you could do a lot of this stuff.
But sometimes those marketing platforms work like some of the scoring that we were talking about.
Maybe that’s easier and a leads PD versus some of the platforms.
Yeah, at this point, I’m not sure what advantages some of those platforms provide, just because I haven’t played with them.
One last area I don’t think we really dug into too much is this idea of basically micro So microsites are kind of one of the older tricks in the book at this point.
But do you see those as absolutely necessary?
Do you have any tips on how to throw up quick microsites or landing pages?
How to not make them look too low quality or untrustworthy, which is certainly going to be key in this space.
is certainly going to be key in the space, but just curious to get your quick take on a micro-strite or niche landing page strategy.
I think that’s what a lot of small independent brokers are basically putting up, beyond maybe even just their own company site.
Maybe you want to do a couple of derivatives of that where you’re going after, I don’t know, some niche in the market, like construction flips or relocation.
That might be a good one.
So you’re a local mortgage broker in San Diego, you know that a lot of people move to San Diego as opposed to maybe even moving in and around it.
You wanna go after the people that move here, or at least they used to and so they all started to leave.
Or the military component, right?
There’s always gonna be people moving to San Diego because of that, or biotech.
Like they’re hiring a shit ton of biotech people.
So like maybe a microsite might be like san diegorelocationguide.
com, san diegobiotechhomefinder.
– And just as viable as ever then.
– Absolutely, yeah.
I mean, I think it’s less likely to like immediately show dividends like it did back in the day.
Like there used to be just like Google search suggests you go in and you type in FHA loan and you’re like, Oh, it’s saying FHA loan requirements.
Well, I’ll just get FHA loan requirements.
com, put that up.
And now I’m going to show up pretty high for that search suggested search.
That’s a little bit less likely to work, but I think like things like a relocation guide could be really helpful.
And that’s something if you’re a mortgage broker, a real estate agent, like it makes you’d be able to write a 10-page relocation guide to your area and mention your services and like key in on all the things that you know someone would be searching for.
You’re gonna put an ad budget behind that?
You’re gonna rely more on organic search with these?
I would likely more rely on organic but that’s not a bad angle to take if you’re like trying to figure out like well how can I go in and every time I search San Diego homebuyer like it’s all these big brands and it says it’s $40 a click like What about relocating to San Diego next fall?
What does that cost?
I have five bucks a click, four bucks a click.
Maybe you are going after that keyword set, and you’ve got your San Diego relocation guide.
com, local trusted mortgage broker, XX award in the ad, comes to that side, it’s got your face, got your guide.
Download the guide, text me, fill out my form, and I’ll call you.
I’ll take care of you.
I specialize in helping people relocate to the area.
Here’s how, here’s why.
I think that’s a good one to bring up.
(laughs) Any specific examples of things that, you know, stories in your past that you think are worth covering or do you feel like we’ve covered it all pretty good already?
– I think we’ve done a good job.
I mean, this is a really hard thing to talk about a small amount of time.
– Although you’ve done a great job of it.
– Like because it’s, I mean, so many of these things we learned over several years and like, it’s not an easy business.
It’s a lot harder than insurance to just pop, or even real estate.
Mortgage in particular is difficult from licensing and compliance, and all the things you have to do to provide the service is part of the reason why there’s a big check at the end.
But it’s a hard thing to compete in, and you could throw up an insurance site tomorrow and probably get someone on the phone and flip a term life policy.
But mortgage is equally as hard to market and know the nuances of as it is to run a business.
So I see a lot of mortgage brokers who are like, That example I was talking about earlier, I’ve got a $20 million company with a bunch of agents.
I know this stuff, I nailed, like 15 years.
He’s like, I don’t know anything about marketing.
I’m stuck, I’m beholden to these vendors.
You could tell that the group would be so smart if they just had the time and the bandwidth to focus on this.
And some of the things we’ve discussed right now, I think, exemplify how difficult it is to do that without having that kind of in-house knowledge or hiring it somehow or finding an agency that has that sort of expertise.
This is not something where you’re just like, I’ll just hire a dude or an agency.
And they’ll do the same thing that they do for my gifts website that they do for my mortgage website.
It’s just not gonna work.
Some of the tactics are similar, but there’s just so much nuance to the mortgage space and competitive wise and then also compliance.
We haven’t really talked about that at all.
I’m sure they would know, a mortgage broker would know this.
You gotta be really careful about what you publish and where and like as you have your NMLS number on it and on your ads.
And I mean, just recently as we’re recording this, like the CFPB came down with this big ruling that like is limited and or restricted completely.
Your ability is to say things like top or best.
So you can’t be like, I’m the best mortgage broker in San Diego or top VA loan lenders in this country, in this area.
Like you’re not allowed to say that, or maybe we get caught up in a class action lawsuit or lose your license.
Like these things happen a lot in the mortgage industry.
There’s a lot of eyes and a lot of scrutiny on them.
And that it bubbles over into the marketing as well.
And I mean, I’ve seen mortgage companies in big trouble for seemingly innocuous things on their websites related to like their forms or the ads that they put out there, et cetera.
So to add another layer of compliance, I mean like the compliance side is serious as well.
– Yeah, which is exactly why you really wanna find somebody that knows the space and can help you navigate it so that it doesn’t all fall on the brand themselves.
– And then to that end, Mr.
Broughton, if somebody’s interested in seeking out your talents and needs a little assistance with lead generation, whether it’s in Mortgage or some of these other spaces you’ve worked in, like Attorney Lead Gen or Solar, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?
– Text me?
No, I don’t have a company website right now.
So I don’t know, Jon.
Maybe either through this episode, I’m sure my contact information will be there, or Google me and find me.
– I’m out there, I’m out there.
We’ve talked about professional exit recently, but the last handful of years after we sold one of our sites and I was doing a podcast thing for awhile and just been kind of consulting.
I do kind of have like an agency with a bunch of, like we’ve got web dev and content and SEO and design and we do a lot of stuff, but we just haven’t like given it a name.
– People are seeking you out, is the truth of the matter.
– I guess so, yeah.
I mean, we’ve got plenty to do already, but we’re always interested in new projects especially like via referrals or come in through finding us through ways like this.
So I’m happy to always help and always if not help directly provide direction on some of this stuff where it’s like steer clear of that corner of the universe and talk to this person because as much as I can talk intelligently about this and from experience, I mean there’s 10 other people I know that know more about the nitty-gritty and the day-to-day of this right now than even myself.
So I rely on them a lot and checking in with them and they’re usually and ride quite folks when they’re curious.
– I guess I know where I’m finding my next guest for.
– mortgage lead job.
– I’ve got him for you.
– Great name.
Thanks so much for being on our show.
– All right, well, I really appreciate it.
– All right.
– And it’s just great to see you, man.
– Fuckin’ it.
– All right.
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