For anyone planning on being in the reverse mortgage industry for at least the next five years, marketing experts say the value of social media — especially Facebook – cannot be overlooked, as millions of seniors flock to the platform for pertinent information.
But approaching social media as a starting point for lead generation requires a calculated approach, said Jim Berkowitz, a startup growth strategist and the founder of the digital marketing agency LaunchHawk Marketing, during the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association annual conference this week.
There are several essential how-tos of developing an automated lead machine through technology and social media, he shared.
The “lead machine” is structured like a funnel, with prospects entering the top through ads, websites, social media pages, and other general points online. By developing a strategy with a clear budget and target audience, these prospects hopefully continue down to the bottom of the funnel turning into a lead so the sales process can begin.
As the online prospecting begins, social media can’t be ignored as a way to engage your audience, Berkowitz said.
“If you’re going to be in this business for longer than five years you need to be thinking about this,” he said.
Of U.S. adults aged 65 to 69, 47% use social media. Twenty-six million people aged 55 to 64 and another 21 million people aged 65 plus are on Facebook, he said.
Although some other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter are growing in other age groups, he said Facebook definitely has the upper hand with the reverse mortgage demographic.
“Older people aren’t using those technologies,” Berkowitz said. “If you’re going where your market is, you’re not going to worry about Twitter and Instagram. You’re going to focus on Facebook.”
When it comes to online advertising, $51 billion is projected to be spent in 2018 on Facebook alone, he said.
”You cannot ignore the fact that this is huge and the reason the number is so huge is because it works,” he said. “ It’s not a sham.”
Business Facebook pages should be entirely separate from any personal Facebook pages, and they should offer consistent, quality information. To constantly have material to post, Berkowitz suggests building a library of relevant content, and posting at least once every day Monday to Friday to keep followers engaged and interested.
Although creating a library can seen daunting, he said the material is everywhere if you link to quality content from reputable sources.
“You share about topics like retirement, Medicare, Medicaid and things that relate to [the audience’s] retirement concerns — there are a million of these articles,” he said.
But he does caution that all marketing material should be reviewed by a lender’s compliance department, and that Facebook is not going to offer instant gratification.
“It’s slow and steady, but they have proven statistically, people who like your Facebook page are more likely to do business with you than people who haven’t,” he said. “If you’re providing quality information consistently through your Facebook page, opportunities will arise.”
And they will arise by occasionally posting calls to action. These could be invitations to a webinar with a financial planner, or a downloadable white paper on the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage, he said.
He also offered his opinion on the popular “reverse mortgage calculator” that so many reverse mortgage professionals use to attract prospective borrowers, saying that it can be a turnoff in the very beginning when people don’t want to share a high level of personal information.
“It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the calculator, other than the fact that it’s finding leads and not prospects so you’re leaving lots of people out of the mix,” he said.
Written by Maggie Callahan