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12 Elements of a Winning Mortgage Print Advertisement
When it comes to mortgage marketing, nobody can guarantee a winning ad. The only way to know for sure is to test it. But there are several elements that you can incorporate into your ad or postcard mailing to give it a better chance of being a winner. Use these elements as your own personal "winning ad checklist."
Element #1 - Smart Ad Placement
The first step in positioning your ad for success is increasing its chance of being seen by your target market. Running the world's best radio ad for commercial loans on a local hip-hop station wouldn't be a good idea.
Find out what your target market watches (i.e. sports, cooking, business), where they watch it (i.e. car, home, airport), and how they watch it (i.e. newspaper, magazine, radio). Until you know this information, you cannot make smart choices about ad placement and you'll likely end up wasting a lot of your hard-earned dollars on an ad that didn't even get seen by your target market.
Element #2 - Focus on Your Objective
You'll never get what you want if you don't know what you want. This is true in your personal goals and also your advertising efforts. You must have a specific objective for your ad if you want people to act. Is it to call your office, come to your office, call your toll free hotline or go to your website?
Whatever your objective is, gear all the elements of your ad to persuade consumers to fulfill your objective. Suppose you want readers to call your toll-free telephone number, then your call-to-action should be, "call our toll-free number now!"
Collect client testimonials and have your endorser say something like, "when I made a call to your toll-free number…" or you might include copy that says, "one toll-free phone call can change your life forever." Multiple objectives will confuse your prospect and when people get confused, they usually do nothing.
Element # 3 - Irresistible Free Offer
The reason free giveaways work so well is two-fold. First, prospects that test your service risk-free will hopefully recognize its value and want more of what you have to offer. Or even better, your prospect will get "hooked" on your service and become a loyal lifetime client.
Second, the fact that your mortgage advice was given to your prospects as a free gift will compel them to return the favor by continuing the relationship with you. This principle is called the "Law of Reciprocity," which simply states that people naturally feel an obligation to return favors as a way of expressing their thanks.
Ideally, it's best to offer free giveaways that are low cost but have a high perceived value to the person you are giving it to. Information is a great example of a free giveaway that has a low product cost and a high perceived value. This is why it's smart for mortgage professionals to use special reports containing "insider" information as a free giveaway for lead generation.
Your free information could come in the form of a written document, an audio CD, a 1-on-1 consultation or a live seminar that your target market would be interested in. Regardless of what form you choose to deliver your free information product, the key is to make it relevant and valuable to your target market. If done right, your free educational resource will instantly position you as a "trusted advisor" and "expert" in your industry.
Element # 4 - Unique Competitive Advantage
Why should your prospect do business with you over any of your competitors? Even those that have lower rates! Do you have a "wider selection of mortgage products than anybody in the area" or do you "provide personalized education to help them escape the debt-rat race"?
Often your unique competitive advantage is the biggest benefit you can offer your prospects so consider including it in your headline, bulleted copy, or your guarantee.
If by chance, you don't have a unique selling proposition for your mortgage business then you better get one…fast. Not having a unique competitive advantage with which to show value, results in competing solely on price - - and that's a losing proposition (unless you have a significant rate advantage).
Element # 5 - Advertorial Style
Studies have shown that consumers read new articles seven times more than they do advertisements. It is said that the average consumer is presented with over 3,500 ad impressions per day. We have become jaded to promotions and commercials.
Cloaking your ad in a news style editorial format will not only pull more attention, but also instill credibility, which is one of the major roadblocks to consumer response. "Advertorial" (advertisement -- editorial) type ads include compelling headlines, lots of informative, interesting text, quotes, and a judicious use of graphics.
The reason advertorial mortgage lead generation ads are so compelling is that people are tired of in-your-face sales ads and would prefer the silent, soft sell of an authoritative news article.
Element # 6 - Compelling Headline
Your headline is the most important part of all the technical aspects of your ad. 80% of the success of the headline can be attributed to its headline. A powerful headline is either: (1) benefit driven, (2) news oriented, (3) curiosity driven, or (4) how-to oriented.
The following is an example of each:
Benefit Driven Example:
"You Too Can Own a Home of Your Own With Little to No Money Down"
News Oriented Example:
"FREE Report Reveals Amazing New Loan Program Exclusively For Home Owners Seeking Relief From Credit Card Debt!
"12 Buyer Traps to Be Aware of Before Buying Your Home"
"How to Escape the Debt Rat Race. Without Penny Pinching or Working More"
Add a phone number to any of these ads. If you were interested in buying a home, would you call any of these ads? Yes you would, and so would your prospects. It's a good practice to develop a minimum of 30 variations of your headline before you select the one you'll use. Readers satisfy their interests by scanning headlines. If your headline doesn't grab attention your ad will never be read, let alone noticed.
Element # 7 - Sell the Benefits
Your prospects don't care about you. They don't care about your awards, the name of your business, how much you sell, or how good you think you are. They only care about how you, and what you offer, can benefit them. So leave out all of "me-me-me" copy and sell the benefits of your free offer.
Ultimately people only want two things, to (1) gain pleasure, or to (2) avoid pain. Tell people how your free information product will help them either gain pleasure or avoid pain by expressing them in the form of benefits. Don't confuse this with listing your rates or your different mortgage products. People aren't concerned as much with features as they are with what the features will do
for them personally.
To do this, list each of the features of your free offer and then determine the benefits, both the potential of gain or the avoidance of pain, your prospects will receive as a result of each feature. Hint: Studies have shown people respond better to the fear of loss (pain) then they do to the promise of gain.
Element # 8 - Make it Risk-Free
Consumers are naturally skeptical. With all the scams, rip-offs, and untruthful ads consumers have experienced, who knows what to believe anymore? You must make your ad credible and risk-free. The good news is that it's easy to do. Using a combination of these three strategies will provide a powerful risk-free offer.
* * Strategy # 1 -- Use Testimonials
Testimonials from real people are powerful. People don't like to be guinea pigs. If they've seen that someone else has received the promised benefits, it provides instant credibility.
* * Strategy # 2 -- Offer a Strong Guarantee
Provide as strong a guaranteed as absolutely possible. If you can't provide a strong guarantee for your offer, perhaps you shouldn't offer it. Unfortunately, too many mortgage professionals fear that clients will take them up on it. Let me ask you, when was the last time your took somebody up on their guarantee?
Seldom do guarantees get exercised. Use a powerful guarantee.
Real Estate Example: "Your Home Sold At a Price Acceptable to You or I'll Buy it For Cash!"
* * Strategy # 3 -- Use a 24 Hour Recorded Message Hotline
What's the biggest fear a prospect has when calling your cell phone directly? Believe it or not, they are afraid of being hit with a high pressure sales pitch. Remember you are a stranger to them at this point. They've had bad experiences in the past and they afraid of it happening again.
The best way to eliminate that inherent fear is to ask the prospect to call your hotline with a 24 hour free recorded message. Now all of a sudden there is nothing to fear, they can go at their own pace, which results in higher response rates.
Element # 9 - Call to Action
When someone tells you that they don't like being told what to do - - don't believe it. People do want to be told what to do. In fact, people need to be told what to do and when to do it.
Phrases such as, "call now", "call today", "request your free copy right now" trigger emotional response mechanisms that get your prospect to take action. Make your call-to-action explicit and clear, so your prospect knows exactly what to do.
Element # 10 - Urgency
Admit it, the vast majority of people are naturally lazy and are inclined to procrastinate. Without a real or perceived sense of urgency your prospects will drag their feet. To compel your prospect to act immediately you must inject a feeling of "scarcity."
Scarcity is felt when the supply of either time or product quantity is limited. For instance, placing a limit on your offer makes your prospect feel as though they have to take advantage of your offer before they lose the opportunity. An example of this tactic could be an "extra bonus report for the first 35 callers". or "free shipping for the first 15 callers", or "while supplies last", or "only 50 available, first come, first serve."
If you use scarcity tactics (and you should), make sure that you hold true and keep your word by rescinding the offer when you say you will. If not, you will lose credibility and the tactic will backfire on you.
Element # 11 - Graphics
Using a graphic is the first step in a three-step system for getting your audience to read your ad. The first step is to attract your reader's attention with an exciting graphic, step two is to pull them into your ad with a gripping headline, and the third step is to persuade them to take action with your copy.
A good graphic can attract the attention of your prospect and draw them in to your message. However, a common mistake advertisers make is to add graphics that overpower the copy, leaving little space to tell their story.
Although a picture is worth a thousand words, it can also be interpreted a thousand different ways, sometimes causing confusion.
Graphics should draw attention and add to your message. Exciting graphics showing action are always an eye pleaser. Including someone in your graphic from the target market you're trying to reach, actively benefiting from your service, is also a good choice that will add to your message.
Element # 12 - Accountability
Mortgage professionals don't have a lot of money to waste on advertising and; therefore, must hold their advertising dollars accountable. Without knowing what ads are pulling better than others, you could be wasting a lot of money.
To avoid this, you need to track the response rates of your ads. Instead of asking your clients where they heard about you, get definitive proof by implementing a process by which you can track your ads.
For instance, using a call capture hotline with different extension numbers for different ads can help you determine the source of the inquiry. Another tactic may be to use a unique landing page on your website for different promotions.
If you are using radio or television as your primary medium, offer the audience a special report whether it is a paper report, audio CD, or a DVD. This not only helps you track your response rate but give your prospect a good reason to respond.
As you track your ads, keep the best pulling ads as your "control" piece. Vary the different elements of the ad to determine if your new ad pulls better than your control ad. If it does, make that ad your new control ad.
Although, none of these elements alone can guarantee a successful ad, the combination of these elements will increase the potential for your ad to be a solid winner. Offering free giveaways to prospects and clients is a powerful business building strategy that can result in a flood of new and repeat mortgage clients.
It may seem counterintuitive to give away your advice to build your business; however, people can't resist the lure of receiving something for free. The word free, as worn out as it may seem, is still the most powerful word in marketing and has a hypnotic effect on people.
About the Author:
Doren Aldana, the nation's leading Mortgage Marketing Coach, is dedicated to helping mortgage professionals attract more clients with less effort. Aldana is also the author of a Mortgage Marketing CD, "21 Secrets of Superstar Mortgage Brokers and Loan Officers!" To get your free copy click here.
To access the proven mortgage marketing resources and profit producing tools discussed in this article visit our webstore or join our mortgage marketing coaching program.
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