An eye on the mortgage industry from a direct mail view

It’s known that the economy has taken a hit, so let’s not belabor that point. I’ve been saying that it is time to quit buying into the doom and gloom and get on the ball with promotion. The reason is simple. Those that continue to promote during slow economic times are the ones that will win out in the end.

The renowned advertising guru Ogilvy said it best when he cited American Press studies in his book Ogilvy on Advertising, showing select companies over the last 6 recessions that had cut their marketing budget – in each case they suffered lowered sales and net income several years after.

Those businesses that continue to promote will pick up all customers and prospects from their competition that has cut their marketing.

What does this have to do with mortgage brokers? Well, you may be in apathy. You may have given up the ghost. But most likely, if you are reading this article, you haven’t. There’s hope. As you know, the FHA made effective on March 6, 2008 temporary loan limits from $271,050 to $729,750 which will give nearly 240,000 additional homeowners and homebuyers a safer, more affordable mortgage alternative.[1]

You may already know as well that the housing agency will relax its underwriting rules to allow borrowers who have had up to two late mortgage payments in the last year to qualify for a new federally insured loan, at a maximum of 97% of the home’s current value. Even 3 months’ delinquency could potentially qualify for a loan up to 90% of their home’s value.[2]

That news is worth repeating. Which is why it is an excellent opportunity for you to help people who have been negatively affected by this housing bust. Promote it from the rooftops and get the word out to your existing customer base and prospects. There are people that need your help – potentially 240,000 of them.

I have die-hard promoters as clients that never stop promoting despite any crash… one is tripling his promotion – 2/3rds of it will be on this new FHA change. Another big customer (and one of the reasons why he’s “big” is because he markets no matter what) is adding on a second mailing having to do with the FHA loan limits.

If you want to buck this slump, you will have to buckle down, work harder, get smarter and continue to promote.

I’ve got 7 tips for you. Be wise. Use them.

  • Market like crazy – pick up the customers your competitors will lose by cutting their marketing budgets;
  • Look for terms where you can pay for your marketing when your income starts rolling in – this staves off the bite of having to spend money before the sales come in;
  • Make better use of your own database – marketing for new customers is expensive but marketing to your existing customers has a higher return on investment. So step up your marketing to your existing customer base;
  • Don’t “agree” – don’t buy into the fact that you can’t control your business’s outcome.
  • Stop messing around – quit doing defeatist-type actions that keep you in the mud… like saying “it’s no use anyway,” or not getting on the horn and doing every thing you can possibly do to improve your business.

You know what you should be doing, you know which employees are not pulling their own weight, and you know what activities will improve your customer service – so do them! No excuses.

I will give you a real-life example. I always considered it to be a bit tacky to proselytize for my own business in social gatherings or at fundraisers or any kind of event, really. I have my marketing and sales set up so I really didn’t need to utilize those contacts or events. I enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t always figuring out how to turn everything I did into a networking affair. When someone approached me and asked me to help them, of course I would but I didn’t seek these opportunities out. However, I’ve had a change in viewpoint. I have a fairly large staff and their livelihood rests on my shoulders. I simply made the decision that it was time to talk it up and use the contacts I have to bring in orders. This is a major change for me. It’s actually going really well! I’m not even doing anything different really- I mainly just stopped resisting it and making the decision has created all kinds of interest toward me for my services, by business people I know. It’s actually kind of bizarre, but exciting!

  • Cut out waste – there’s an old saying from John Wanamaker that “I waste half my marketing budget, I just don’t know which half.” If you improve your tracking methods you can get more out of your marketing dollars. At my company we are already total analytics nerds, but we’re even getting more persnickety and digging deeper to understand more. Say you have two different ways that you advertise – you promote in the newspaper and send out postcards. You get a bunch of calls and you think “Wow, my advertising is really working.” You spend $10K a month and you make $50K off that, but you do not know which avenue is producing more. The more precise you get, the higher the return on investment you will get. Then you can increase your marketing budget to the channel that is getting you the most ROI and ditch (or at least lower) the other. Modernizing your marketing will help you stay afloat in a recession.
  • Make sure your customer service is at its all time high by solidifying your core personnel. Get the eternal slackers slacking somewhere else. And make sure your entire team is on the bandwagon to beat this slump.

Remember. You can make a difference in your business. And by doing that your business can make a difference in the recession. And if enough companies do this we can make a difference in the economy.

Promote the FHA limits. It’s time to get back in the game.

 

About Joy Gendusa:
Using a powerful, simple, extremely cost effective way of communicating with customers has earned Joy Gendusa Inc Magazine’s recognition as the nation’s fastest growing direct mail postcard-marketing firm with year 2007 revenues at nearly $19,000,000. Gendusa began in 1998 with zero investment capital. Today, her Clearwater, FL firm called PostcardMania, employs over 160 people and prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards representing more than 28,000 customers in over 350 industries each week. Visit www.postcardmania.com


[1] www.hud.gov

[2] New York Times: White House Offers New Housing Plan, by David M. Herszenhorn, Published April 9, 2008.

Joy Gendusa

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998 with a phone, computer and no capital investment. Since then, she has grown the company into one of the nation's most effective direct mail marketing firms, specializing in postcard marketing for small to large-sized businesses. Over the years, she expanded to offer mailing list acquisition, website development, email marketing–all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice.

She has been named Tampa Bay CEO of the Year, Business Woman of the Year in Tampa Bay and has been featured on MSNBC's "Your Business." PostcardMania is an Inc. 500 and 5000 company and has won awards for creativity, best business practices and leadership.

If you would like to interview Joy or book her as a speaker, please email joyspeak@postcardmania.com or call 1-800-628-1804 ext. 281.

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