Small shop reverse mortgage lenders, while they may not have the expansive marketing budget to rollout a national TV campaign, must consider a variety of advertising strategies, including those born in the digital age and even some of the traditional “old school” techniques, according to several loan originators and brokers during a recent industry conference.
Whether it’s investing in local newspaper content, radio spots or social media, there are a variety of ways for smaller reverse mortgage lenders to get their marketing messages out there via a platform seniors and their stakeholders identify with and access best.
But before lenders can discover what marketing medium works best for them, they need to consider what type of senior they plan to target through these efforts.
“It’s important to go after the segment of the demographic that’s in a mindset where they’re ready to make a decision, or at least contemplating it,” said Darius Aram, marketing and business development director for The Aramco Group in Carlsbad, Calif., during the NRMLA conference in San Francisco last month. “I don’t really want someone who’s passively interested in their finances or passively interested in their retirement. I want someone who’s already looking to enrich themselves. And so when I target, I’m using that to select my platforms.”
Aram tends to be an old school media buyer, he said. This includes a little bit of TV, radio and print spots in the local newspaper. The problem with that strategy, he said, is the marketing investment tends to be more expensive in that particular order, with print being the most costly. While newspapers might be considered a dying media, that may not be the case for older adults in their 50s and 60s who still read the paper everyday.
The Aramco Group publishes a piece of content in the business section of the local San Diego Union-Tribune. The piece, which runs seven days a week, is not considered a paid advertisement. Rather, it is meant to look, read and feel like content, which is simply there to support the fact that reverse mortgages need to be talked about more, Aram said.
“There’s a conscious decision that needs to be made as far as content being separate, yet a collaborator to your actual advertising,” Aram said. “The point here: content is king.”
The same point holds true on social media, where more aging adults have been establishing their presence in recent years on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. And lenders have already been taking advantage of this digital buzz.
Senior Security Funding, a division of Western Ohio Mortgage Corporation in Sidney, Ohio, utilizes Facebook in its marketing through the use of blog posts on its company page. The demographic the company aims for in its social media blogging “boosts” is typically younger than eligible reverse mortgage borrowers.
“We generally go down to age 50 because a lot of people who are answering and wanting to get more information [about reverse mortgages] are doing so for their parents,” said Teresa Rose, president of Senior Security Funding. “You can’t eliminate that demographic from your boost because you want to get those people as well.”
While social media like Facebook can be a valuable platform to reach a wide pool of potential borrowers and their key decision makers, Rose cautions that lenders consult with their compliance departments before getting online and writing marketing posts.
“You have to be very careful about how you post and make sure your NMLS numbers are there, but it is effective,” she said.
Although there are many marketing devices at lenders’ disposal, diversifying one’s strategy to incorporate a variety of different approaches is a more holistic way to look at reverse mortgage advertising.
“We always talk about diversification in the financial world, especially in retirement or investments,” Aram said. “Think of your marketing as your investment into the future of your business. If that marketing budget is diversified and you find a few different platforms you can be successful in, you want to be picking advertising that is somehow going to catch the demographic you’re looking for.”
Written by Jason Oliva