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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   September 2019

Make Your Marketing Count

Know how to make the right promotional purchases to optimize growth

Successful commercial mortgage companies spend money on marketing, but it can be difficult to feel good about that line item — especially when you have thrown money into past efforts that failed to get a positive return on the investment.

In order to make wise decisions about where to focus advertising dollars, you must identify your place in the market and determine where you need to go. You have several different marketing options. And there are pros and cons associated with each.

Print and digital

Traditional print advertising is the most familiar  marketing option. Examples include billboards, mailers  and inserts, and advertisements in newspapers or magazines. These formats fall into the broader category of interruption marketing — a type of promotion that compels viewers to stop what they’re doing and pay attention to your message.

If a company has a strong brand identity and a clear picture of what sets them apart from the competition, traditional marketing can be incredibly powerful. On the other hand, many print formats are saturated with ads and the space also is also priced aggressively high. The advertisement-to-content ratio in magazines, for example, typically hovers around 40% to 50%, with fluctuations that reflect the overall economy and the popularity of individual markets. This number continues to fluctuate as magazines cease operations or increase their digital presences.

Other cons associated with traditional advertising have to do with the difficulty of calculating a return on investment. You have to be willing to stick with a campaign long enough to collect meaningful data and observe the effects of different ad variables. In order to find success through traditional marketing, advertisers must have a clear understanding of their business niche and be able to accurately identify the right audience for their message.

Websites can be outdated, unresponsive, slow to load or look bad on mobile devices. All of this can be a big turnoff to potential customers.

Digital marketing is another robust and flexible option for businesses of almost any size. Well-produced digital campaigns can produce an impressive return. From online display advertising and lead generation to pay-per-click marketing, digital advertising done right means lots of traffic and a good number of leads for business owners. Smaller companies can make the most of a tightly restrained budget using digital marketing, and can easily track results. This makes scaling an organization’s growth much easier to navigate.

With the many positives of digital advertising, however, come some significant negatives. A company’s online presence is only as good as its website or app. Websites can be outdated, unresponsive, slow to load or look bad on mobile devices. All of this can be a big turnoff to potential customers. Furthermore, a well-developed website can be a huge investment. Meanwhile, even though digital advertising may generate a lot of leads, they are not always high-quality leads.

If you are thinking about digital advertising, here’s a takeaway: Digital marketing investments must be made in the right order. A great ad with a bad website only produces disappointment.

Building relationships

So-called relationship marketing is true to its name. It involves forming long-term relationships with your clients as a strategy to foster brand loyalty, and it can produce great results. You often get your strongest leads via referrals from satisfied clients or from personal relationships. Generally, these leads do not require any financial investments as your customers are directly referring people by word of mouth or by sending you leads via e-mail or text messages.

The pros of relationship marketing include the high quality of the leads and the accompanying high closing rate of these borrowers. One unavoidable con of relationship marketing, however, is that the leads are generally limited and inconsistent. Another potential pitfall is that your newly referred customers may have overly high expectations. If the business relationship fails to perform according to the client’s high hopes, it can sour quickly. You can lower the chance of this happening by setting clear expectations right away, then managing them throughout the course of the working relationship.

Relationship marketing also may sometimes lead to an uncomfortable situation in which the referring party wants something in return for the referral, such as a kickback that violates regulations. This also can be avoided through clear communication and solid adherence to business policies.

The key point is that relationship marketing requires communication. Make sure the client’s expectations are clear and navigable for all parties.

Event marketing

Sponsored-event marketing is another category of advertising. It takes two general forms: corporate sponsorship of a major community event, or a company- funded social event where clients are encouraged to extend invitations to their social circle.

Large community events have clear benefits. These reach a broad group of people and generate a lot of company exposure via banners, media walls or emblazoned giveaway items. The downside is that the costs of these events are significant and your return on investment is almost impossible to calculate. This type of strategy works best for big players that already have name recognition.

A company-sponsored social event can be a more affordable option and it can produce good results. Well-planned and properly executed social events build brand loyalty and strengthen client relationships, as well as provide a natural platform for companies to share their products or services. Watch out, however, for unexpected costs associated with entertaining large groups. Also take care to appropriately schedule your events to ensure each occasion stays special and feels sincere.

Sponsored events can yield big returns on equally big investments, but only when companies choose wisely. Have a clear understanding of your typical customer’s identity and your market niche before committing, and make sure your corporate involvement feels genuine.

• • •

Marketing dollars spent foolishly have led plenty of companies to ruin, so it’s critical to have a clear understanding of where the dollars are most effectively spent before any line items are added to your budget. The same consideration is true when helping clients identify wise investments. If too many eggs are loaded into a volatile basket, results may fall far below an acceptable threshold. Choose your marketing methods wisely. It is the first step to a well-developed plan for organizational growth. 


 


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