PERSON OF THE WEEK: Do you Tweet? Are you blogging? How many Facebook friends do you have? Are you even using the Internet to expand your visibility and build your bottom line?
This week, MortgageOrb.com chats with Dan Green, a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage, author of The Mortgage Reports blog and founder of Bring the Blog, a blog-writing service for mortgage professionals, to discuss his experiences on the Internet and teach how mortgage bankers can go further online.
Q: When did The Mortgage Reports begin, and what was the inspiration for you to start this site? Also, what is your current Web traffic, and where do your readers come from?
Green: The Mortgage Reports started in late-2004 as a means to stay close with my clients and to circulate important news to the world-at-large more quickly. More than 300,000 people have stopped by The Mortgage Reports in the last calendar year. Fifty-nine percent of my readers come from search engines, 4% come from Twitter and the rest come from direct marketing (i.e., RSS feeds, customer newsletters).
Q: The Internet is overflowing with data, news and opinions. How do you manage to differentiate yourself from other mortgage-related sites?
Green: The Mortgage Reports succeeds for the same reason my mortgage practice does – it reflects my core personal finances philosophy. Present a person with complex information in a simple-to-understand format, and he'll almost always make the ‘right’ financial choices for his household. The Mortgage Reports breaks down the mortgage market in a way that everyone can follow. It's plain English.
Q: You are also posting videos on YouTube. How have you been able to use this popular video site to spread your message?
Green: Video is a tricky medium, especially in the mortgage space. Mortgages and mortgage-related talk are inherently boring, so unless your video is Visual Candy, the audience is going to click away before you've ever made your point. I've been experimenting with different styles and haven't found the formula, but the videos I've made are getting good feedback.
Q: What is your opinion of the effectiveness of sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn for reaching current and potential customers?
Green: Any social network can be effective for your business if it's ‘worked’ right. It just takes time and attention. You don't have to be everywhere, but everywhere you are, you have to be.
Q: What are the most common mistakes that mortgage officers make when using social networking media?
Green: Marketing of all kinds is about delivering the same message over and over and over. Don't give up too soon. It took 18 months for The Mortgage Reports to throw off its first legitimate lead. In its fourth year, it helped me close $37 million in business.
Q: What advice would you give to loan officers who want to stake out a place online?
Green: If you're not marketing to your clients, somebody else is. A good blog builds a fence around your database and helps bring new clients in. Your readers want quality content, so give it to them as often as possible – every day is ideal.