Online rate sites have called the death knell for the broker channel – but brokers are turning the tables and using the Internet to their own advantage.
“Internet is the great equalizer. It is true democracy,” says Dave Teixeira, the director of public relations and communications for Dominion Lending Centres
. “We are putting out everything from hard-hitting news to some great tips and tricks, to some fun stuff, such as brokers sharing what movies they’ve seen to their favourite summer read – and really, it allows us to share that information and get it into the hands of the public.”
Like others in the industry, DLC
started doing daily blogs, at the start of July, and has been encountering positive feedback from brokers, owners and clients, says Teixeira, by utilizing the some 2,400 mortgage professionals across Canada in its network.
The mistakes being made on Facebook, Twitter and on websites usually start at the beginning, says one marketing expert for financial services.
“The biggest mistake that companies make when social marketing is they treat it as a side project,” says Ext. Marketing Communications Manager Andrew Broadhead. “They don’t have a team in the marketing department that is focused solely on social marketing.”
The key to having engagement is to have the conversation within the broker space, but also to have it “outward facing,” says Teixeira, so that clients and potential clients can engage and participate.
That engagement stretches out to mainstream media, and having journalists do the marketing job for the broker.
“I’ll give you the example of an article by Dr. Sherry Cooper, and within about 12 minutes the Financial Post picked it up,” says Teixeira. “That’s an example of how quickly we can leverage social media and the web to our advantage.”
Beyond that, brokerages and broker networks are seizing the opportunity to ramp up their search engine optimization – ensuring that clients are clicking on their advice and products first, at the top of a Google search.
“We invest a lot in SEO, so when people are searching for the difference between a fixed and a variable rate, we want our content to come up a little higher in Google,” he says. “So it isn’t just educating the consumer, but hopefully driving business to our broker network.”