Marketing in the lending/loan space? A topic rarely discussed in conjunction, yet very essential to the success of relevant companies. Marketing is a crucial strategy in ensuring the growth of the business, so why shouldn’t it be embedded in every aspect of society?

Alameda Mortgage is a small successful mortgage company, with loan officers in various states, amazing reviews, and a hardworking and effective marketing team. From home buying to refinancing, the company hasn’t failed to satisfy its customers. How did they do it? In this interview, Anna Pryor, Director of Marketing at Alameda Mortgage, shares her knowledge of digital and marketing in her company, and how important it is in the financial sector.

How is your marketing team at Alameda changing this space?

“Our marketing team at Alameda Mortgage is quite small actually. There is me, the Director of Marketing, and we also have a marketing manager who handles our online web presence, updating our website, making sure everything is optimized, and helping with SEO not only with the website but with each individual loan officer as well.  Essentially, I handle all the other aspects of marketing, including onboarding several services like FunnelAmplified, social survey, etc. We are in the process of growing our team because our leadership really believes in the power of marketing and how important it is. We are also in the process of on-boarding several programs and software to enhance our marketing team.”

How has FunnelAmplified helped you accomplish your goals?

“With FunnelAmplified’s software, Alameda’s marketing team is able to create social posts for employees company-wide through a dashboard, allowing each employee to become a social ambassador of the company. 

Not only does this give us the ability to tell our story, but it gives our loan officers and our team members that ability as well. As I said, we are a smaller mortgage company, we are very family-oriented. And because of that, our team members share our values and are eager to share our story as well. You don’t see that a lot with a lot of other companies. We have the ability with FunnelAmplified to leverage the collective voice of our organization and that is super important to us.”

What do you believe the role of social media should be in the financial industry?

“Social media, in general, is so undervalued. It is essentially free ad space. Free brand awareness. Right now I think a lot of companies are just starting to get educated on where marketing fits into their goals.

What I think they don’t know is that digital is the biggest part of growing any business today, especially for the finance industry. We’re a mortgage company, a smaller mortgage company. Therefore, after the financial crisis in 2008, the financial industry ever since hasn’t had much trust from the American consumer. The major benefit of social media and building a presence online is the ability to rebuild that trust and establish brands and team members as thought leaders. This is where FunnelAmplified comes in with their apps. Allowing our entire team to be a part of our marketing strategies really do it for us. That will really help us to re-establish ourselves as a whole and as an industry. We are able to leverage our team member’s social media channels to really establish ourselves as a brand that is authentic. At the end of the day, we can’t just say we’re authentic and that we want to build trust; it really has to be a collective effort.

A lot of brands, and not just in the financial industry but across the board, Think that social media should just be the return on investment in getting leads immediately or making cells or whatever it is important for their industry and I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it. I think the correct way of looking at social media is that the return on investment is brand awareness. And that is what we get with FunnelAmplified too. Because we have not only our followers across social media channels, we have that times the number of loan officers we have. There is really no price we can put on that.”

How important is internal marketing in the service industry?

“Marketing starts at an internal level. I think a lot of people think of marketing as external to the company, which it is, but it is also internal. We have started a lot of internal marketing programs like employee incentives, and employee reward program, that has increased the morale; You see this translate into how people operate for the business. When your team isn’t happy, your brand will not succeed. 

We have also seen internally, the positive response when loan officers know that we are bringing in all these services (FunnelAmplified, Social Survey). They see that we’re here, we care, and we’re keeping them in the loop.”

What is an example of how you have used social to grow leads?

“One of the biggest things that we have done is starting to feature the reviews that our loan officers are getting. Turning those into graphics they can use. 

I had someone just last week… I made them a graphic based on a review they got and they posted it on FB. Within 10 minutes they got a comment from someone looking to refinance their home and they emailed it over to me saying ‘Look at this big return on investment just for posting this one comment.’

So I would say the reviews are working, and really starting to be a community lender. We can’t compete with chase bank, quicken loans, and rocket mortgage, we can’t compete on that national level. And I think most mortgage companies can’t, and that’s where I think it’s more important to start being more local and community-oriented and that’s where the reviews come in. Leveraging the voice of the consumer: When I go to a restaurant, I look at the reviews ahead of time, so why wouldn’t I do that with a mortgage company.”

What do you think lending companies should do more of?

“Build trust. In this industry, it is more important than any other. Not only do we have the bad taste still left in people’s mouth since the last recession, but we also have all these different companies competing for that top space. We have Amazon, Zillo getting into the industry. And I think a lot of people are starting to get a bit scared about that. But I don’t think they need to be scared. I think they need to start being local, building that trust in their community. This will be the way these companies not only survive, but thrive. We have seen such a huge return on investment from our loan officers that go out and they market to their communities. Establishing themselves at events and in their communities, and these are the officers that are the most successful. Just building that trust and really establishing your company and loan officers and team members in the financial industry as an authority on what you’re talking about.

I also think most companies including ours, just aren’t doing enough video. That is something we need to rectify. Right now we are rolling out all these services, but in the future, we do not to be rolling out more videos. Everyone needs to be doing more

We have to build trust and tell our story, and video is the best way to do that. A picture can speak a thousand words, video can speak 10X more than that. In the financial industry, we have a lot of knowledge that the general American needs for purchasing a home. And in that, we could be creating videos that are educational. 

That is a huge opportunity missed. But we are planning on doing it, and advise companies alike to do the same and see that anticipated return on investment.”