Inbound Marketing: How Amerifirst Mortgage Generates 1000+ Leads a Month

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Our guest today is Dan Moyle. Dan is in charge of marketing over at AmeriFirst Mortgage. Dan knows how to succeed with inbound marketing in a ‘boring’ industry.

If you are in an industry that many would consider ‘boring’, and you’re not sure how you could possibly come up with enough to write about, this interview is for you. Dan shares the strategy he’s used at AmeriFirst to produce a lot of content that has produced fantastic results.

Listen now and you’ll hear Dan  and I talk about:

  • (01:30)  Introductions
  • (05:00)  What results has AmeriFirst achieved from inbound marketing?
  • (08:00)  What kind of content do you publish?
  • (09:30)  How did you get started 4 years ago?
  • (14:30)  How did you develop your buyer personas?
  • (17:10)  How did you relate your content to your desired audience?
  • (19:00)  What is peripheral content and how did it play a role?
  • (22:30)  What is another way to come up with content ideas?
  • (25:00)  How has video played a role in your content and strategy?
  • (28:00)  What’s involved in video production?
  • (32:53)  What do you use social media for?
  • (42:00)  How long should people expect it to take to get results?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Trent:
Hey there bright idea hunters. Welcome back to episode number 166 of the Bright Ideas podcast. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast where we help marketers to discover ways to use digital marketing and marketing automation to dramatically increase the growth of their business.

If you are a marketer and you are looking for proven tactics and strategies as opposed to theories and untested ideas for ways that you can increase traffic, capture more leads, and land more customers well guess what; you are in the right place. So how do I make good on that promise?

Well I like to think that I am a smart guy but let’s be honest, I don’t know everything about everything so what I do is I go out and I find proven experts to come on my show and share with you and with me the results they have achieved, and then all of the tactics and strategies that they used to get those results.

So it is pretty awesome because it is really an opportunity for both of us to look over the shoulder of people who are getting the results that we’d like to model and kind of getting their recipe to get there. And in this episode it is exactly that. My guest is a fellow by the name of Dan Moyle, Dan is in charge of marketing over at AmeriFirst Mortgage.

I first met Dan when I was at Hubspot’s inbound conference in Boston here in I think it was September 2014 and he gave a talk to a packed room on how to use inbound marketing to succeed in a boring industry. So I am not saying the mortgage industry is boring, Dan says it is boring. He says, “Hey, it is interest rates and payments, how much can you write about that stuff.”

Well it turns out if you follow the strategy that Dan follows and explains in this episode you can produce a lot of content and you can get a lot of results. The results that Dan achieved is impressive to say the least. And we are going to cover those at the very beginning of the interview so that you can immediately determine, “Hey should I actually listen to this interview or not, is this worth it?”

Then once we got the results on the table I asked Dan a series of questions to, as I promised earlier on, to just really reverse engineer the entire process. How they got started? What kind of mistakes were they making in the beginning? What kind of realization did they make as a result of those mistakes? How does buyer personas play a role? What is peripheral content? How does that play a role? And a whole bunch of other stuff.

So if you are looking for a proven story, a proven strategy to follow this interview is going to help you with that and I would encourage you to grab a pencil and paper and make sure that you’re ready and able to take notes because Dan is going to share with you some really terrific stuff.

We will welcome Dan in just a second, my only quick announcement is: We have a number of free resources for you available if you’d like to increase you education on inbound marketing. And you can get to all of those at GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/resources. So with that said please join me in welcoming Dan to the show.

Hey Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan:
Thanks Trent, I appreciate you having me here sir.

Trent:
Yeah, no problem, well after seeing your talk at Inbound about how to make inbound marketing work in what you described as a boring industry and seeing the results that you guys got I knew that I had to have you on the show so I’m pretty excited about doing this episode.

For the folks who haven’t yet had the privilege of seeing your presentation or even knowing who you are, let’s start with that, who are you and what do you do?

Dan:
First of all I am not sure if I should ever be offended that people call what I do boring or just if it is helpful [laughing]. My name is Dan Moyle and I am the director of marketing at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Certainly mortgages are a boring industry. So we all kind of think that we are in industries that don’t speak to everyone out there so they must be boring. But at the end of the day what is really exciting is that we get to talk about the home and how much that matters to people and how helpful we can be in that.

So that is what we do. My background actually is that I came from a TV news room. I was a TV news producer for almost ten years. And AmeriFirst saw the need for content and storytelling and audience development, all of this kind of stuff that we inherently call marketing, and decided to hire a TV news producer to do it and here I am; almost four years later.

Trent:
Interesting, so from what I recall, the results that you guys have achieved in that period of time have been pretty spectacular. Do you want to just run us through? Folks, here is what we are going to do, I want Dan to share with you the results as he is about to do and then we are going to reverse engineer the whole thing as best we can in the time that we have.

So my goal hopefully is that after you have listened to this podcast you will be able to go, “Wow I could actually do that in my business and here is the recipe for success.”

Dan:
Yeah absolutely.

Trent:
So with that said let’s talk about results Dan. What has inbound marketing helped AmeriFirst achieve?

Dan:
We started off about for years ago with a website, kind of what everybody has; a brochure on the internet. And we just kind of hoped that people would find it. We hoped that they’d call us, we have no idea how it is working, we have no way to track people that come from the website and become leads or customers. We had about 3000 views per month coming to our website.

Before I started we (I say as a company) used Google Analytics a little bit. And then when we signed on with
Hubspot we noted that we had about 3000 views per month coming to our website and no discernible trackable leads that we could really tell were coming; so no value to it that we knew of.

We turned that around and within the first, within a year we got up to about 20,000 views per month. And we were driving about 3% to 5% of those views were becoming leads of some kind. Now when I qualify a lead it is not just a,
“Hey they are talking to the sales team.” It is they are now receiving our information; it is more of a marketing qualified lead, some of them are definitely sales qualified leads. But I like a general lead score better than very specific, have to make a sale now.

So with that said we were driving about 2%-5% of the traffic was becoming leads. Now a couple of years later we have; our average traffic is about 40,000 views a month or more. And it is about a 2.5% conversion rate for leads.
And that is pretty consistent.

There are months, obviously it is more, sometimes it is less but generally about a 2.5% conversion rate in the leads. We’ve grown our audience, of our blog readers, we’ve grown our social media audiences basically from zero to anywhere , we’ve got over 4000 on Pinterest, we have 2000 on Twitter, over a thousand on Facebook; good numbers for a regional mortgage banker.

Trent:
No kidding, and something that, as you pointed out in the very beginning, I think that a lot of people struggle with, “Well I’m not in an industry where it is very exciting. People are not going to want to read about my stuff.”

And mortgages, that one of the reasons why I was stoked to do this interview because I wanted to kind of eliminate or mythbust it as it were, because that necessarily isn’t true.

So your business is a perfect example of that. If you were to be just thinking about, “Well how much could we write about mortgages?” it wouldn’t be very much, would it?

Dan:
Right, it is “Here is an interest rate, here is a down payment article, here is a couple of mortgage options.” Boom we are done. But we have been doing this for four years and 1600 to 2000 articles we’ve written; untold amounts of social media posts. We’ve got a dozen and a half buyer’s guides that we have produced, published; a lot of content.
The thing is everyone thinks like I said earlier, like you just referenced, “Well not everybody wants to read what I am writing.”

Okay, that is fine, there is nothing wrong with that. The people who want to read it are those warm leads/prospects. People who are interested; if you give them the information they’re hungry for and you help them, they find you attractive, they find you helpful. They will come back to you and you develop that relationship. That is what is so important.

We can all do a Gangnam Style video and hope that it goes viral but at the end of the day is it really helping anyone, is it really creating a relationship?

And so it doesn’t have to be viral or I use the example of sexy versus helpful; and when we look at car commercials or super bowl commercial or all these things where that is really an exciting commercial, we find it sexy; whether it is sex appeal or not we find it attractive. We could do the same thing and quit being helpful.

It doesn’t have to be boring. We have had this success that we have had just by creating that helpful stable of content.

Trent:
Alright, so there is take away number one, helpful is the new sexy [laughing].

Dan:
Amen [laughing].

Trent:
Alright so let’s go back to the beginning when you first started. Did everything go well right from the get go? And if not, what kind of mistakes did you make?

Dan:
I would say it went relatively well. We started from zero and building up so there’s only one way to go really in my opinion. But there were some stumbling blocks, my very first article that I wrote, I actually wrote it on December 7th. Of course that is Pearl Harbor day. What better tie in to Pearl Harbor than the military and we do VA loans. So I thought here is a perfect opportunity to create that, you know David Meerman Scott calls it News Jacking or contextual marketing or whatever you want to call it; real time marketing.

I though this is great, this will be our first post, it will get some shares; we may not get a client out of it but I’m going to get an audience. And it got about ten reads. I think that was mostly my mom refreshing it [laughing].
But it was the point of just starting and the point of thinking not just numbers and money and interest rates and whatever. It’s telling a story. And “Hey it happens to be Pearl Harbor day, we appreciate our military, did you know that there is a zero down payment option called a VA loan for veterans and military members?”

And it was a nice little helpful article, it tied into the day and it was okay. I guess I didn’t get much of an audience but it was a beginning and it was a beginning of a strategy of creating content and telling stories. It took us probably three months to fully break that 5000 view mark that I set for myself to begin with. “We got 3000 views, let’s double it and go more than 5000, hopefully 6000 to truly double it.”

And it took us a couple of months. I learned then that it is not a sprint, it is a marathon, it takes time, it takes effort. Fortunately I am a marketing person, not just a part-time marketing person, like “Hey I do office management and sales and reception and I have to do some marketing on the side.” I am dedicated forty hours a week to creating content and that I think was of my first lessons, was have someone dedicated to doing it.

Trent:
So what would you tell, I know that there are going to be people listening to this interview who, because of their traditional background in marketing, might get hung up on the fact that everything has to be perfect from the get go before you can ever publish anything. And you just said your first post got read ten times. So I am kind of getting at something. What advice would you give to the people who are not yet started about their need to be perfect before they roll it out?

Dan:
Don’t let that blank page and the idea of perfection scare you. Certainly bad writing can turn people off but you can’t be afraid to just start and even if you get very little to begin with you will learn from those mistakes. Was it Babe Ruth that said, “Every strike gets me closer to my next homerun?” So they can’t all be homeruns. It is not all going to be gold. The best stand-up comedians have some flops out there.

Don’t be afraid to just start and the other thing is people think of, “I have to write so I have to make this novel.” A blog post of 400 words isn’t that long of a post and while it may not be the ideal SEO sort of thing, it is something.

Trent:
Better than nothing.

Dan:
Absolutely and honestly you look at some of the folks out there, like a Mitch Joel or somebody, they can write 200 words and get found on Google instantaneously; quickly they have a following etc. But it is not always about the hard number of it has to be 600 words or 800 words it is about content and if it is helpful and shared it gets that kind of traction.

So don’t be afraid to just start.

Trent:
Plus when you are just starting if you are not publishing the most epic content yet, there is barely anybody reading it yet either so it is really not going to be a big deal. Alright, I’ve talked with other guests about the importance of really understanding their audience and we use this term Buyer Persona to describe the various people that are in anyone’s given audience. And you can have more than one.

Why do you think, was that something that you thought about in the beginning and if it wasn’t in the beginning, when did the light bulb go on? And when you started to get really focused on those personas what was the impact of that?

Dan:
You know in the beginning I thought like TV. And I thought okay if I am writing for someone to read this, write for a specific person so I would write let’s say for my mom. And say okay would she be able to read this, would she understand it, this kind of a thing. So that worked out okay for a while but I also knew that I was writing for let’s say first time home buyers. Well that is not my mom obviously, she owns her own home.

So I needed to start to get away from that. I think the light bulb moment was really when I began to combine my old school TV thoughts of demographics with the buyer persona side of it with first time home buyers or current home owners looking to renovate kind of a thing.

It was a couple of months in and it was because of my training and learning from Hubspot, they are a great resource for this, I kind of went, “You know what, it is more than just females 25-35.” It is specific people who have this age range but these pain points; this is the way they look at technology, this is the way they do their research and it began to become a narrative in my mind. I didn’t write down my buyer personas for a while after that. You know my advice about just starting, I had the same fears.

I didn’t just start with my buyer personas, it took me time to develop them in my head and then once I put them on paper it really made sense. If you’ll indulge me for just a moment, my friend Tom who runs Goodbye Crutches, they are based in *inaudible* where I am but they are also an ecommerce site and he is a big proponent of inbound marketing. He has some of the best buyer personas that I have ever seen; and the best use of them.

He actually has four posters of his buyer persona up on his wall at work where his employees walk by and they get to see them, they get to understand who their personas are, they talk about them in their meetings, when they do content development strategies they all talk about them.

Customer service knows who they are. It is a great system and I try to model mine after that. So my marketing team knows who our personas are, I am trying to continue to educate our sales team on who we are writing for.

So it took a little while but once you buy in it is a great strategy tool.

Trent:
Now what was the process that you went through to develop these buyer personas? Was there extensive market research or did you simply say, “You know what, I have a very strong feeling that home buyer Heather (just to use a fictitious name) is one of our key personas and I think that she is this, she is that and she is the other thing so we are going to make sure that we write our content specifically like we are writing for Heather.” Do you understand the question I am asking?

Dan:
Yeah absolutely, intuition is a great starting point, no doubt about it, if you have a feeling about who you think your persona is, who you think your typical customers are. And if you have a few that is great, you have home buyer Heather, home buyer Harry, renovation Randy, this kind of a thing.

That is great, start with those and build a model of it. My market research was mostly talking to our sales team and saying, “Okay listen, you’ve been doing this for ten years now, five years, twenty years, what do you see as your typical buyer? Is there a gender difference or not? Is there an income level that you typically work within?
Are there certain question they ask?”

And I really did research on that through the sales team. So often sales and marketing butt heads, and we still do, we still have our different ideas on things, no problem. But they’re such a valuable partner in this because they deal with the customers on a daily basis. They know what they are asking. Not only are they a great resource for personas but for content.

That is how I did it. I know there is market research out there that you can do. You can buy market research or buy a service that does it for you and get demographics and other surveys. The issue to me comes down to cost and how many of us want to take a survey. “You just got a mortgage AmeriFirst, great! Now take this hundred question survey.” [Laughing] Nobody wants to do that.

Trent:
[Lauging]No

Dan:
I feel like it wouldn’t have been a great ROI, no. I haven’t talked to those companies, they might be great. I don’t know. I found that my research was best done with the sales team.

Trent:
Okay, so now you know who you want to write for, you know you can’t write about mortgages all day long so when you talked, you talked about peripheral content and you kind of alluded to it earlier in the interview. But I wanted to make sure that we don’t miss this because it is incredibly important. Why don’t you talk about what you mean by peripheral content and why it has been so incredibly beneficial in the particular industry that you are in?

Dan:
Once you know who your personas are, you can begin to understand them better and know what other things they are looking for, talking about, searching for, what they are interested in; this kind of a thing. So if you know that your first time home buyer, who maybe is the female demographic, they’re probably going to be looking at things like, and I don’t to gender stereotype here and sound completely sexist but, let’s be honest, guys are different than girls, right?

So you get to see how your personas look at different things. If we are talking about a female buyer persona buying a first home, they may be thinking of things like how to decorate it, how to have a housewarming party to wow your friends.

Whereas the guys are going to be looking at, “Where to put my motorcycle” or “How to make a man cave for my Sunday football marathons” or whatever; it is a little bit different. You look at that peripheral content of it is not just how do I buy my home with a mortgage. It’s “How do I make a house a home?” Or it is “How do I look towards investing in real-estate”; all these other things that happen around the home.

“How do I keep my house safe?” If you are a pet owner, “How do I find a home or make my home more pet friendly?” Or the Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Home as a Dog Owner or something like that. We don’t have that yet, maybe I should write that. But it is that peripheral content of it is not just a mortgage, it is the home. And for that one it is kind of an easy transition.

If you are in a business that maybe talks about industrial shuttering you may not have a ton of peripheral content off the top of your head but if you think about who is buying your product, what problems you are solving with it, whatever problems they have they that you might be able to help them solve where they keep coming back to you as that information hub. So that peripheral content is really cool.

And that is also where you get into the fun stuff; that might be a little more, let’s say viral. With AmeriFirst, talking about the home, maybe we do instead of just a Harlem shake video we do one with a bunch of people in front of a new home or something. It is something that you can do; one of the things that we did is long before The Walking Dead was popular, I did Zombie First-time Home Buyers.

So it is things like Why Zombies Make Terrible First Time Home Buyers [Laughing]. “Don’t be a zombie, do your research because zombies don’t think,” or whatever. If you Google Zombie First Time Home Buyers you find several of our articles on Pinterest pages or whatever. But that is where you can have a little bit of fun, it is that peripheral content and that is where your readers then have fun as well.

Trent:
The interview I did before this one was with, and you might know her, a woman by the name of Krista Kotrla from Block Imaging.

Dan:
Oh Krista, yes.

Trent:
It is a fabulous interview which you can get to at BrightIdeas.co/165 and they are like you are in, I wouldn’t call it the sexiest industry in the world, they sell reconditioned imaging equipment at a very high price point to hospitals and one of the things that she told me, there was three words that really radically changed the results that they got from their content marketing. And that was Questions Equal Content.

And so rather than talk about peripheral content, and maybe she did but we didn’t talk about that in our interview. But what they did put a lot of effort into, and I am wondering if you did this which is why I am spending the time explaining it; is they just made a long list of every question that; again talking to the sales team and the customer support team and the technical team. They just made a long list of every kind of question that anyone has ever asked about their stuff.

They literally in a half day period came up with enough questions for four years’ worth of content, four years’ worth of ideas and then proceeded to answer all the questions, one blog post per question and the results were absolutely amazing. Have you taken a similar approach?

Dan:
Absolutely yeah, they ask, we answer. Krista and I, I know are also both friends with a guy that came up with that idea. Probably not the first but the first to put it into words, Marcus Sheridan; they ask, we answer. Absolutely a perfect strategy to start with for content marketing and to continue with. Even though we answered a bunch of questions, the questions are asked differently by other people searching for you.

So you could go in to your sources report and look at your organic SEO and answer questions people are asking to find your content already. You might have something that talks about, let’s say for mortgages, “How do I buy my first home with no down payment?” Well somebody else might come in and ask a similar question about, “I don’t have a down payment, what do I do?”

You could write that. And so it is similar but it is a different kind of way to ask it. It is every question that anyone would ever have about buying a home, we are trying to answer it; on an ongoing strategy. It’s huge. And again like you said, you go to your sales team, your tech team, your customer services people, anybody, the owner of the company who started this company; with the same kind of questions were they asked twenty years ago are they still being asked today.

It’s a great strategy, I love that. We do it yeah.

Trent:
And your sales team obviously has no lack of data about the questions that are being asked.

Dan:
Oh yeah.

Trent:
Alright, so in your case I also remember from talking with you that video and YouTube have played a fairly significant role in your content production. You want to tell us a little bit about that?

Dan:
Yeah, I’d love to. Again, I came from TV, my thought is always Video. It is such an integral part of our lives as consumers yet as marketers we kind of brush it off so often and go, “Well it is expensive” or “I can’t do it” or “I’m not a good TV person so we just move on and we write everything.” Well certainly blog articles are great, ebooks are great, we do them all the time. But we have found that one of the most valuable things that we can do is to connect with someone face to face whether it is in person or through video, it feels very face to face to people.

Think about it this way, when I used to work in TV I was behind the scenes, I was a producer so nobody knows who I am. I am just the guy that writes the stories and then goes home. But the anchors or the weather guy who are on TV all the time, people feel a very personal connection because that anchor is in their house every morning or every evening. They are always there, they are talking to them right through their TV even though they are talking to 100,000 other viewers they are speaking right to them in their home.

It’s very personal. If you think about it that way, when I go to lunch with my friends who are on camera and somebody will come up to them and talk to them as if they knew them, I always had to remind myself that, “Oh that’s right, Keith isn’t being talked to because this person knows him, he is being talked to because they saw him on TV this morning and want to talk to him about the weather.”

It was an AHA moment at a time a few years ago where I thought, “You know what, video is very personal.” So even before I was in marketing I realised that. When I came here that was one of my goals, to build a video department, so to speak, in the marketing department and create videos, whether it is every day, every week, whatever we can do that speaks to home buyers.

And it can be the same content that we have already written. I can take an article and turn it into an interview or a video tip of some kind and it is different content. It is ingested differently by the consumer. It is shared differently by the consumer. But it is the same content, though it may feel duplicated at times, it’s all being taken in by different folks and by different buyer personas.

So yeah, our video department has grown, I actually hired a photo journalist from the TV station, over twenty years’ experience; so he is helping me tell stories. We create two videos a week, every week right now and we are working on to increasing that to four; plus an extra one here and there where we can. So many of our videos are home buying tips or housing market news. I’d like to create more stories that tell the home buyer’s story from the home buyer’s point of view. So that is one of our next goals.

We have over 350 videos now on our YouTube channel, over 500 subscribers. So it is growing definitely. To get to the analytics part of it, to get to the hard numbers, our conversions, when you come from YouTube to our website (we track that of course) that traffic converts at a higher rate than any other traffic source out there for us.

Trent:
I am not surprised. I use video extensively in my own business and I would echo everything that you said. I get people call me or they even listen to the podcast and they call me and they say, “Trent I feel like I know you, it is kind of bizarre to talk to you because I’ve been listening to you for X amount of hours.

Dan:
Yeah.

Trent:
Now for folks who are thinking, “Okay, I’d like to video and oh gosh that has got to be expensive and complicated.” What would you say?

Dan:
Much like the writing thing, just start, don’t be afraid. I will put kind of a caveat on this, we buy high definition TV’s, high definition phone screens, high definition computer screens, we like good video. And we are used to that, we are used to film and etc. But the thing is it doesn’t have to be the next Steven Spielberg production, the next Micheal Bay production.

It just has to be video that is watchable, that you can hear, that you can get through. So to just start, don’t be afraid, use your phone camera, iPhones and Galaxies and everything else have great camera phones now. Use that to at least start and get comfortable in front of the camera. Or if it is not going to be you doing it find the person that is going to be and get them comfortable in front of that camera.

Watch some tutorials or watch some interviews and pick a style that you like and try to emulate that and use that.
Now with that said hopefully everyone begins to see the value of it and begin to buy some equipment that is higher quality than just a phone camera, right? Consumer grade video cameras, $300 – $700 maybe, is not that bad of an investment.

A tripod to keep it stable so it is not that shaky and makes everybody sea sick; a tripod is maybe $40 – $50 bucks.
If you buy a nice external microphone which you should do, whether it is a lapel mic or a shotgun mic that someone can hold or have a mic stand that is near the subject; good audio is very important. But a microphone is maybe $50 – $150.

And then as far as lighting goes, you have to be able to see the subject if you are doing video, it is not radio, you have to be able to see it. You don’t have to have a lighting kit necessarily. But do good lighting practices, for instance don’t put a window behind your subject because that will blow out your subject and you won’t be able to see them; it will be too dark.

Have lighting above them or in front of them that lights them up so that you can see them in the view finder. There’s some elementary tips that you can do that is kind of common sense but we forget about it when we are shooting video in the beginning. Because we don’t think about the viewer watching it later, so equipment is definitely important but you don’t have to have a $50,000 budget for video equipment.

Trent:
No you definitely don’t and I want to point out a free resource, one of my sponsors of this show is a company called Wistia. They are where I host all of my video and they have a wonderful learning library which you can get to, I’ll upload it in the show notes but it is Wistia.com/learning. And they have twelve videos on video production, eight videos on video strategy and concepting and six videos on video marketing.

The total amount of content; they take an hour and twenty minutes to watch all of those videos. So they are all very short. Once you watch them you’ll know exactly what to do, you’ll know exactly what equipment you’ll need in terms of lighting, mics, cameras, backdrops, everything. It is not nearly as complicated as you might think it is, in my particular case whiteboarding videos, which are super simple to produce have had a nice impact.

And I learned that from Rand Fishkin over at Moz.com with his Whiteboard Friday. He’s become quite well known as a result of whiteboard videos every Friday that are very helpful, so helpful is the new sexy, and super easy to produce.

Dan:
Yeah. All good points, great resources there.

Trent:
Alright, let’s talk about how social media has played a role in your inbound marketing. What do you use social media for?

Dan:
It is hard to separate social media, personal and work. I just saw the Fast Company magazine this week has Jared Leto says, “My work is not my work, my work is my life.” I just realised that is kind of what I do. I use social media for a lot of different things. When it comes to work, our company accounts, I use them for sure for promotion. Now social media has become a place to promote your stuff, whatever it is. So that is certainly it.

But I also use it to connect with current customers, with prospects, with customer service issues. Let’s face it, no company is perfect. So if we have someone complaining about something I handle it immediately. I use push notifications on my phone and email notifications to get mentions or posts or whatever online immediately so that we can handle that.

So I love that side, the customer service side is huge for me. As a consumer when a company fails at that I get extremely irritated. There’s a particular company that I was trying to use for something and they just failed again and again and again. And I kept whining basically on Twitter about it and never heard a word from them and it was so frustrating. And I will never do business with that particular company again because of that.

And it is so silly that they didn’t tweet me back but truly it’s like walking into their office saying, “I have a question, excuse me, I have a complaint, excuse me can somebody talk to me and they just ignore you [Laughing], right?
You wouldn’t do that.

Trent:
No [Laughing].

Dan:
They do it on social media. But anyway, off my soap box. Company wise we use social media to make that connections, I use it as a mortgage bank our business has always been based on relationships with real-estate agents. You as a buyer go to your realtor or your real-estate agent and they then say, “Okay you need financing so here is a bank that I work with.” That is how it has always worked in the past.

So we use social media like LinkedIn to connect with those B2B referral sources, not necessarily partners, there’s no agreement there. But we become a resource to them and a connection to them in a relationship there that they then use our material hopefully to educate their buyers.

So I use it for a few different things, I also use it personal / professional to connect with guest writers or opportunities like your show, Trent, to help spread that word; use it to connect with, again, realtors or real-estate agents in order to; you know I’ll retweet their stuff or I’ll like their page and share their content and it just creates this ecosystem of connections.

So as all kind of unicorns and rainbows as that sounds, it is because I have found (for me anyway) selling on social media is not just difficult, it is nearly impossible at times; depending on your industry. If you think about it, if you are tweeting about needing to get out of your apartment because your neighbours are too loud or something and a mortgage bank hits you up and says, “Hey you should buy a house.” Come on now.

But if you would talk to them and say, “Owning a home is so much better because those rental nightmares are terrible” and we share a video with you that is a funny *inaudible* video, there is your plug. We have one of those then it might be more of a relationship type of thing and it may not turn into a sale right away but it builds that holistic, organic audience that build your leads eventually.

So that is social for me. I don’t spend a lot of time on social media trying to sell. I try and make connections and relationships, and deepen relationships with our existing customers. That drives our SEO. Of course as we all know, social affects SEO so that audience that I’ve built helps our SEO which is where I then try to sell.

Trent:
Okay, you mentioned a minute or two ago about the importance of getting referrals from realtors and I am curious as to whether or not, as I think that there are probably a large percentage of realtors that maybe aren’t the best marketers in the world. Have you ever experimented with creating helpful content to teach realtors how to do inbound marketing, so as to be helpful and build a relationship with them, so as to get more referrals?

Dan:
Funny that you mention that today, I am developing a strategy right now to do just that. Realtors need continuing education credits to keep their licenses. And I was invited last week to teach at my local board of realtors, they had a day long event where they had two hour sessions of teaching where there was legal updates or inspections or something else where realtors could get CE credits.

They invited me to come talk about social media and inbound marketing. And so I did, and it got me thinking; exactly what you just said. Not that they are not great marketers, they just don’t have the time. Or they’re a one person shop, it’s them and their receptionist and nobody doing actual marketing for them. So they just hope that their material works or they think their door hangers might work and these open houses are going to bring buyers and this kind of thing.

So instead of not necessarily teaching them how to do marketing, I don’t want to become preachy and say, “Hey here is what you should do.” Because at the end of the day we’re a mortgage bank, we are not a marketing firm, right? We had success with what we do but our end goal is to help our consumers finance their homes.

I want to instead help them do some marketing, give them ideas for maybe guides, share our information as a resource, “Hey if you don’t have time to tweet, here’s twenty tweets that help home buyers figure out their financing that you are welcome to use from us.”

I think those are the resources that speak to realtors because they are busy, they have their spread too thin, they don’t want to necessarily figure out Twitter so they would be able to use information like that. And then from there begin to teach them inbound marketing as a strategy. Not that we get any money out of it. I don’t sell Hubspot or I don’t sell any other software. But if I teach them the strategy it is a good karma thing for the whole marketing world.

So we thought about it a little bit, I don’t have the material yet, other than what I taught the other day which is on SlideShare and it was a fun two hour session. I think it is important for us to consider that.

Trent:
Here’s two ideas for you if I may?

Dan:
Yeah.

Trent:
One of them is PLR, Private Label Rights content; so you could kind of what Hubspot does for its partners, create unbranded content, ebooks and so forth that they could use to offer downloads on their website to capture leads.
Things like, maybe you do really well with video, maybe some video where they could insert their own branding just before or just after but they don’t actually have to make the video.

Stuff like that I imagine they would find some value in. The other thing is why not start your own podcast and find successful realtors and interview them and get them to explain what they did to become successful. I got to think that other realtors would like to listen to that.

Dan:
Ooh, that is a good idea. I’ve tinkered with podcast, you guys that do the podcasts are great talents and I keep thinking there has to be a venue for that. But you know, what home buyer wants to listen to a podcast [Laughing].

Trent:
Yeah and maybe the home buyer doesn’t but you might have a channel that is dedicated to the realtors because they could be such a great source of referrals if they were to have affinity for you brand.

Dan:
Yeah, that is great. I love that idea. Thanks for that. I learned something today, I love it.

Trent:
[Laughing] You’re welcome. Alright Dan, before we wrap up here, what have I not asked you about that if you were listening to this, and of course you already know what you know, what have we missed or have we missed anything?

Dan:
I don’t feel like we have. And certainly if we have I would love to see some questions after your shownotes in the comments or whatever and be a part of that conversation. I think, looking back on that presentation at Inbound that I did, I think we basically covered it. Buyer personas are huge, content obviously is huge, whether it is written or video or social.

To me marketing is becoming less about shouting at people and holding the power ourselves until they get to our sales team, and it is more about making those connections that the consumer has all the power nowadays it seems like right?

Trent:
Oh absolutely.

Dan:
So if we’re able to give them the information in a transparent and readable or digestible way, we win as a business. And it is not about the bottom line to the penny, it is about creating a hub of information and resources and the people will come so to speak, right? Build it and they will come. And I think that is kind of my overall thing, that it is not about shouting and closing sales, it is about building a world in which you are the hub.

Trent:
I think before we wrap up, I just thought of something that we would be remiss if we didn’t include, and that is I want people to have proper expectations when they decide that they are going to embrace inbound marketing. How would you describe this, crock pot or microwave?

Dan:
Oh definitely a crock pot.

Trent:
“So I am going to start today, how long until I start getting leads Dan?”

Dan:
It took us probably three months before we actually saw decent leads. For us, for mortgage it is a long sales cycle. I have got loans that I have just closed last month that first found us three years ago. And that is like no laude so it is crazy how long the sales cycles can be. It could be a month too though, it can be short for us now that we’re established. But yeah it took a good three months before I saw the views begin to really increase. There were some little wins, from month one to month two I went from 3000 to 4000, I went, “Whoa sweet.” But that may not necessarily happen.

It might be 3000 to 3500 or you might add a hundred each month for the first few months and then all of a sudden boom. But that tipping point comes when you are creating content, in my opinion, when it is relevant but also every day, if that makes sense. There is an argument whether you should create a blog article every single day and publish.

Well if you don’t have anything to say then no you shouldn’t but I would venture to say that you could find something like Krista did for Block Imaging. If you sat down and said “Here’s all the questions that everybody asks” you’ve got content for four years. Every question everybody ever asks you is an article. So if you can publish every day and then begin to build out landing pages and offers, that is the tipping point of driving leads; so minimum three months.

It could be more likely six months. Well let’s face it, if we throw up a billboard for $30,000, are we really going to see any customers in the first six months? So it is an investment in time rather than expenditure.

Trent:
And that is a very important point that you made, the billboard versus content because when you stop paying for the billboard they take your ad down and it is over. But when you create content, they don’t ever take it down. It is on your website, it stays indexed.

And if it is good quality, relevant evergreen content it can have a very long shelf life. Krista talked about that and she actually pointed out that they had blog posts that were created over a year ago that now deliver more leads each month than they did in the entire first year that that blog post was published.

Dan:
Wow.

Trent:
So one of the things that I really want people to understand is that advertising is an expense and it is like becoming a customer of the crack dealer, whereas content creation is an investment and a long term asset that can create a sustainable competitive advantage. And I don’t know that that is immediately apparent to people who aren’t yet doing this, hence my pointing it out.

My little quick commercial folks, we run an agency called Groove Digital Marketing. We help customers do all this stuff that Dan and I have been talking about. We can help you develop a plan, we can help you with a workshop to create buy-in across your organisation or we have complete Done For You Programs where we literally do everything.

Feel free to give us a visit at GrooveDigitalMarketing.com. We’ve got all sorts of free ebooks that you can download if you go to the resources page which you will find on the navigation bar. My pricing is on the site and if you want to give me a call it is 208-391-2057. So with my commercial out of the way Dan, if people want to get a hold of you to ask you questions, what is an easy way for them to do that?

Dan:
I am definitely on Twitter @DanMoyle. AmeriFirst.com is our website. I don’t sell anything but I do a little blog, TheInboundEvangelist.com, that I do a little bit of writing and just spread the message. But Twitter is probably the best way, you can certainly email me but trying to get an email out there is always hard so just DanMoyle on Twitter and you’ll find me.

Trent:
Alright Dan, thank you very much for making some time to come and talk with me it has been a pleasure to have you on the show.

Dan:
Thanks Trent, I appreciate it, take care.

Trent:
Alright, to get to the shownotes for this episode just go to BrightIdeas.co/166. And if you enjoyed this episode I would love it if you would take a moment and head over to iTunes and left a positive feedback or five star rating at the store. That would be absolutely wonderful.

So that is it for this episode, I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid. Again if you have questions or you want to know more about this stuff either visit GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/resources or just give us a call at 208-391-2057. That is it for this episode, thank you so much for tuning in. I look forward to having you back for another one soon. Take care, bye-bye.

About Dan Moyle

Dan Moyle is the Creative Director of Marketing and Communications for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. A former TV news producer, content creation and audience development (lead generation) comes pretty naturally to Dan. An advocate of inbound marketing, Dan launched TheInboundEvangelist.com to help spread the message.  In his spare time, Dan is a blended family dad and a founding board member of Talons Out Honor Flight.

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