As a licensed mortgage company you are competing with 20,000 other companies and 183,000 licensed individuals. Learn how to get more attention with top-quality content, and why it will help you outperform your competition.
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In today’s world, marketers are challenged in ways old and new. While the point of marketing hasn’t changed – it’s still about gaining interest, providing value, and winning business. Competition for attention has never been more fierce.
The decentralization of media, explosion of online content, and the emergence of new frontiers like VR/AR keep marketers busy. One tool that is increasingly utilized by savvy marketers is content marketing. While many companies are already utilizing content marketing, it’s important to remember what is at the heart of content marketing – good copywriting.
Why creative content and solid copy is important
Let’s start with the why. We’ll ask and answer the question of why you should care about taking the time necessary to build truly creative content that includes impactful copy.
First things first: the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) reports1 nearly 20,000 licensed mortgage companies, and over 183,000 licensed individuals. Thanks to low interest rates and a historically hot mortgage environment, company licensees were up 8.9%, and individual licenses shot up 20.9%, year-over-year.
In short, the mortgage marketplace is crowded.
Whether you are B2C or B2B, you cannot afford to miss opportunities to gain the attention of your audience. Facing hundreds of emails per day, dozens of text messages, and countless virtual meetings, individuals simply don’t have the time or inclination to respond to content that is bland or boring.
Further, you certainly can’t count on gaining the business of someone who isn’t even compelled to click a link you send them.
But wait – can’t you make up for average or poor writing with fancy graphics and images? While that may generate an initial click, your brand can’t grow if it doesn’t break through the noise, and you can’t tell your story or define what you stand for to an audience that isn’t compelled to care.
Creative content and copy is simply not optional to building effective content marketing.
In addition to gaining the audience’s attention, creative copywriting also begins the process of building trust in who you are and what you can do for a potential customer.
Solid writing helps you demonstrate your knowledge and skill in the market or niche that you serve. Mortgages are among the most complex, significant, and emotional transactions. You must have the ability to show a partner that you’re not only an expert in your space, but have a genuine understanding of the challenges facing any potential business partner.
This means answering not only the questions they have, but providing answers to questions they may not have even considered.
This gives the smart marketer plenty of runway to explore different content areas, whether your audience includes real estate agents, brokers, loan officers, or IMB executives.
The key to developing trust here is to make sure that you are truly providing value, not wasting words (we’ll get to that later). Valuable content will help them solve a problem, or reveal something they didn’t already know.
That’s the beginning of trust, an important step towards a successful business relationship.
Semrush reports that 84% of surveyed companies have a content-based marketing plan in place, up from 77% a year ago. Further research shows3 that content marketing produces three times the results of traditional marketing. That’s why 72% of companies say content marketing increases leads and more than 80% of marketers plan to spend even more on content-focused marketing efforts.
Building Creative Copy
Great writers, like painters, sculptors, and Hall-of-Fame athletes use both natural ability and hard work to hone and develop the skill.
Here’s the good news – you don’t have to be a “great” writer to build creative, compelling copy! By following a few simple guidelines and accessing some (perhaps) hidden creativity, you can begin to grab the attention of your audience, provide valuable content, establish yourself as a trusted expert, and start getting more leads.
Let’s start with where your reader starts – the headline (or the subject line in an email campaign). The most successful headlines immediately grab the reader, driving them to engage with the copy by following the 4 “U’s” – urgent, useful, unique, and ultra-specific.
Let’s take an example from a previous post I wrote: “Why Marketing Automation is Now A Necessity ─ and No Longer a Luxury.” “Marketing Automation is Important in Today’s Lending World” describes the article, but fails on several fronts – no urgency, nothing useful, boring and non-specific. “Why Marketing Automation is Now A Necessity ─ and No Longer a Luxury” drives the same point, but adds an edge, some tension, and sets up the problem/solution in a impactful way. Now the reader is hooked.
As you’re focusing on delivering great content on the topic at hand, don’t forget that you’ve got a product/service to sell! In some ways, writing good content is a balancing act – providing useful, practical, digestible information, while at the same time subtly reminding your audience that you have the solution to their problem. Make sure to treat your reader with respect, however. Don’t condescend, ham-handedly push your product, or openly talk down your competition.
Another crucial, yet often overlooked, skill of a good copywriter is the ability to be concise and clear. This is not the place for bloated, run-on sentences. Keep your copy clean and easy to understand. Best practice is to aim for a 6th or 7th grade reading level to maximize comprehension and allow your audience to read the copy quickly.
Even if you’re not the most naturally creative person, there are some practical things you can do to inspire and unlock your creative side. Start by recognizing and perhaps breaking some habits. Routine can be the enemy of creativity. So, spend time with people who work in different industries, have different hobbies, and visit new places.
It can even be as simple as visiting a museum and admiring the depth and complexity of a painting or piece of artwork.
Studies even suggest that exercise itself can boost your creativity by disconnecting you from your devices and distractions. Besides, an exercise routine prevents many health-related issues and is important for long-term brain health and functioning.
While perhaps counterintuitive, it is also helpful to not immediately dismiss your “bad” ideas. Even if an idea is truly bad, exploring it will help you recognize the flaws and point you in the right direction.
Additionally, you might find some aspects that are helpful. Or you may even discover that your bad idea is actually a good idea that just needs some polishing or input from other team members.
Speaking of those team members, designers and copywriters should challenge invite input from others to make sure they are communicating key points clearly.
You should also make a habit of studying other marketing campaigns – both within and outside the mortgage industry. Every good marketer can tell you how other brands have provided them inspiration and kept their thinking fresh. Keep it simple – even paying more attention to what captivates you in your daily life – from TV ads to social media posts. Leverage those good ideas to improve your own marketing.
Bottom line: content marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy, and copywriting can either make or break the success of your campaign. Ensure your copy is on target by following a few simple rules and unlocking your creative side.