For small businesses, we know marketing to existing clients consistently generates repeat business—it’s an essential and cost-effective growth strategy. And for mortgage companies and lenders—since a customer can only come back so many times—prospect marketing has huge benefits. However, it can be tricky to get people to pay attention when they have no idea who you are and why you’re contacting them.
Fortunately, there’s a smart solution in the middle of targeting an existing client base and prospecting for new business: It’s referral marketing.
Referral marketing is marketing to potential customers by nurturing your relationships with current customers and business partners—leveraging the credibility of your existing connections. In the mortgage business, nurturing relationships with realtors, builders, other business affiliates and customers helps ensure that when the time comes for them to make a recommendation, your name is at the top of the list.
Referrals Come with Built-in Trust
Let’s look at the home-buying process. It’s one of the biggest purchases people will make, so they want to get it right. Whether they’re looking to buy in a brand new city or their hometown, picking a mortgage company is a vital part of the purchasing process. A strong online presence with positive reviews and testimonials is a great starting point for a mortgage lender or broker, but enlisting those who already know and trust you to sing your praises is even better.
Just as you have a group of people you trust, potential clients are more likely to trust that you are the right mortgage company for them if they hear it from a trusted realtor, family member or friend. Once you’ve delivered a great product and service, these satisfied customers may give you your next referral. Referrals are the gifts that keep on giving.
In It for the Long Haul
Establishing credibility with clients and affiliates will help your business flourish long-term. Just as it’s important to have connections within your community and among clients, it’s important for realtors to know that when they need to refer their clients to a mortgage office, they can count on you to rise to the occasion. Building relationships within the community and establishing trust with realtors helps grow your business and benefits everyone. Referred customers are much more likely to stick with your business long-term.
The Bottom Line
Referral and affiliate marketing can help you find the sweet spot between marketing to your existing customers and prospect marketing, but to be effective you’ve got to have the time and expertise to do it right. In Part 2 of this post, we’ll review the best practices eRelevance uses to generate maximum responses and revenue from the affiliate marketing campaigns it delivers to its mortgage industry clients.