Oftentimes, loan officers ask me for suggestions about apps for increasing mortgage business. The ever-increasing rise and popularity of mobile marketing strategies forces marketers and loan officers alike to reconsider how we can effectively broaden our reach to be relevant to key demographics, like first-time homebuyers. For example, 58% of smartphone users don’t go one hour without checking their phones; 68% of them are ages 18 to 34. [i] Use of app-based technology is one way you can be more mobile-friendly, improve your social reach and increase business opportunities.

In 2014, mobile devices accounted for 55% of all internet usage, and 47% of that traffic came from apps. [ii] This should not be a surprise, since mobile apps provide an improved user experience over mobile web browsing. Mobile apps are a valuable tool for loan officers. With increased digital technology improvements, you have the ability to easily take snapshots of the industry at both macro and micro levels. This shift in value that apps and app-based technology bring to the marketer got me thinking about which apps can be helpful for increasing mortgage business for loan officers.

As discussed before on this blog, to be effective as a loan officer, you should focus on optimizing your personal brand to increase mortgage business opportunities. This is in part because of how the key first-time homebuyer demographic digests information, as it relates to the home-buying process. With that understanding, here are a few apps to consider when working to maximize the effectiveness of your personal brand through app-based technology.

IFTTT: [Discover]

IF This Then That (IFTTT) is one of my favorite apps for streamlining the discovery of content across multiple apps. Developed in late 2010, IFTTT allows for the use of two apps together to create a desired outcome through what the developer calls, ‘Recipes.’ There are thousands of existing recipes to choose from based on what you are looking to accomplish, or you can easily create your own. There are a few IFTTT recipes that should garner your interest as a loan officer seeking to increase your mortgage business.


Receive an email or mobile notification on breaking news

What I find of value with this IFTTT recipe is the ability to see a macro view of the mortgage industry. Using this recipe lets you receive an email or mobile notification when a news publication like The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), or BuzzFeed tags a story as “breaking news” or “trending.” Given this ability, consider monitoring sections of these publications that can help shed light on the mortgage industry you serve. The options are endless. This approach to content curating is an excellent way to discover valuable content from reliable, trustworthy sources and improve your social media marketing efforts by having a constant, inbound stream of content to share. Staying informed is one of the keys to increasing mortgage business.


If new real estate is listed on Zillow, then send me Gmail

This recipe will work in conjunction with TrackIf.com. You can specify one or a variety of regions via search queries through sites like Zillow, Century 21, ReMax and more. When the recipe runs those specific TrackIf.com search URLs, you will be notified with details of the newly listed property via Gmail. Creating this type of recipe to monitor new local real estate listings allows for a micro view of the market and the opportunity to engage home sellers directly. Consider using this information to send a homeowner marketing materials, such as a co-branded mortgage infographic about the value of working with only pre-approved potential buyers. Being the first to know allows you to be the first to act, and as a result, you can build relationships that increase your mortgage business.


Save tagged Feedly articles to Evernote

Full disclosure, to now use Feedly with IFTTT, you must upgrade your Feedly account to Pro ($5/mo). In brief, Feedly is a news aggregator application for various web browsers and mobile devices (iOS and Android). It compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources that you can customize and share with others. There are many variants of this type of recipe. To find the most amount of information on a specific topic, consider using this recipe.

A relevant example is specifying a Feedly topic like ‘mortgage.’ Meaning, Feedly will compile a list of all the content currently available across the web that it has access to and has been tagged as a topic about ‘mortgage.’ Once compiled, based on the recipe, Feedly will send that content to your Evernote app. You could modify this recipe so that Feedly sends the content to you via Gmail or Google Docs, for example. The takeaway is, with minimal setup and cost, you can receive a regular supply of mortgage-related content from one app directly to the app of your choice. This content is what keeps you informed about a variety of topics and can be the spark that inspires you to write your own great content to share with customers via blog posts. It also acts as another form of inbound content stream to help with simple social sharing.

Pocket: [Save]

Originally created in 2007 under the name ‘Read It Later,’ Pocket was developed as a way for users to save and read content later. Today the app offers you the ability to save and digest a variety of media when you want to, where you want to — regardless of internet connection availability. Pocket, when used in conjunction with IFTTT, acts as a middle ground to read, evaluate and determine whether you want to share the story you just read, schedule it out or delete it. Pocket also allows you to keep an organized archive of all of the great content, images, text and videos you have found. This means you can reference the material saved from any device to easily service future marketing needs.

Pocket brings you value because of its ease in use. Currently, Pocket is integrated with more than 1500 other apps on the market, which means when you find a great piece of content, chances are you can save it to your Pocket app, read it later and share when you’re ready.

Buffer: [Schedule]

The social scheduling app, Buffer, was founded in 2010. Initially, Buffer’s sole purpose was to improve how you schedule tweets. Since then, it has grown to be one of the most popular social scheduling apps on the market and has expanded its scheduling offerings to include a variety of social media. I have often talked about the value Buffer can bring you in my speaking engagements, mortgage webinars and blog posts, specifically, its ease in scheduling your curated or created content.

I know you’re busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to share content you have created or found. Consider the value Buffer brings when it allows you to schedule out a recent blog post you have written across multiple social media profiles for an extended period of time. Now imagine that those crafted social posts are pushed at the optimal time that your social following is most engaged. That’s what Buffer can do for you: Maximize content you have created or found so that the greatest number of people are exposed to the content you find of value to them.

Next Door: [Community]

I love the Next Door app. Conceived in 2011, this nifty little app offers you the ability to stay informed in the area that matters most to you: your local neighborhood. The micro view of what is going on right in your own backyard helps you to stay engaged and in touch with this most valuable demographic. I have seen an explosion of real estate professionals grab onto the use of this app, and I believe you can do the same. As we know, the first-time homebuyer market is made up of primarily savvy Millennials. And what we know about this generation is that Millennials like to do initial research themselves, but they also value word-of-mouth referrals and speaking with an expert to confirm their findings.

That being said, the Next Door app is a great place for you to tune in to questions or conversations that may be happening around the topic of real estate, mortgages or home loans. Listening for those instances and acting in a timely manner will help validate yourself not only as a trust agent on important topics, but as a local voice of reason and support. Which means regular app use could increase your exposure to the micro view of mortgage-related questions in your own neighborhood. Listening to these conversations and offering insights (not sales pitches) is a safe way to increase your local mortgage business.

There are scores of apps to choose from that can help you achieve your mortgage goals. For me, the trifecta of app use is really the combination of using IFTTT to find the content that informs, married with the Pocket app — as a way to save those findings, and once you have a collection of great content to read through, using Buffer as a streamlined way of pushing out those articles you want to share with your audience at the optimal time is easily possible. All three of those apps (IFTTT, Pocket and Buffer) work seamlessly with one another. There are lots of apps you can choose from for increasing mortgage business, but consider the beneficial effect of using those I’ve mentioned above to get started on the right path for mortgage success.

Have an app for increasing mortgage business? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

i. http://lookout.com

ii. http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/28/technology/mobile/mobile-apps-internet/

Ben Smidt, MA

Ben Smidt - Former MGIC Digital Strategy Manager

Ben Smidt served as MGIC’s Digital Strategy Manager. He led corporate development and management of MGIC's digital marketing strategy across the enterprise. This included establishing a clear vision for all digital marketing initiatives and providing strategic direction for the company's digital and social media marketing efforts. His primary goal is to increase brand awareness and improve user experience (UX). Additional responsibilities included PPC budget strategy and management of ad spend.

In addition to the insurance industry, Ben has a combined 10 years of experience in computer software, education and publishing industries. His focus has always remained in the area of education and digital marketing for media and technology.

He holds an MA from Marquette University in media channel effectiveness and digital communications, as well as a BS from UW-Madison focused in communications. He resides with his wife, daughter and son in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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