It's May - school's letting out, summer's just around the corner, and data shows moving is on the rise: May marks the start of the seasonal increase in home purchasing and selling. Starting in May, the upcoming season accounts for 40% of an average year's total home-selling volume. For some parts of the region where the home buying and selling increase sees a significant increase starting through June - such as the Northeast, May is the month that mortgage applications jump, with mortgage applications increasing right before the influx of home sales.
This year, another factor may influence the housing boom for the summer months, as the benchmark 30 year fixed-mortgage rate falls from 4.36% to 4.30% during the first week of this month. March also marked the first increase in pending home sales in 15 months, as the index jumped to 105.8%, up from 101.9% in February. In order to take advantage of this, consumer behavior data triggers and modeled analytics can help boost your marketing efforts this month to take full advantage of the market's upswing.
Which Data Matters
There's an overwhelming amount of data out there - from consumer to credit segments to modeled analytics. It can be hard to know which data makes the most difference in certain marketing campaigns. You definitely don't want to miss out on a valuable audience, but it's also important not to waste your marketing dollars on data that misses the mark when it comes to identifying key traits in consumer behavior based on your offer, product, or service. Home buyers differ from refinance prospects, which differ from reverse mortgage purchasers and so do the data sets relevant to identifying them. Here are three data sets you should take into consideration while going into the busiest mortgage application time of the year:
While marketing to consumers who are actively in the market for mortgage inquiries, and are applying for home loans is an important and successful strategy that we'll discuss, you also want to be sure you're not too late when it comes to reaching your prospects. That's why it's important to be sure you're marketing to pre-mover leads. This segment allows you to take the first step before your competition does, in order to build familiarity and trust with your brand while they're preparing to apply for home loans.
Your pre-mover leads should be multi-sourced and consistently updated so that your marketing efforts land during the correct time frame to make the most impact. The most important strategic trigger point is when a home enters the market, signalling that a prospect has moved into the pre-mover phase and will be a prime prospect for a new loan. Market research shows that this stage of the move is when a prospect moves from casually seeking information about loans to actively applying.
The next time-frame to capture actively applying movers during this spike in mortgage applications is while prospects are shopping around for a new home loan. By using tri-bureau triggers from all three major credit bureaus, you'll be able to pull the largest prospect universe of in the market leads. Use in-depth segmentation to identify new home buyers by loan type, such as military, and send personalized, targeted offers by email, direct mail, and phone to make the most impact.
Triggers identify in the market prospects who are actively shopping with competitors for services and products you offer - since these are such time-sensitive inquiries, you'll want to be sure that you're receiving your tri-bureau lead pull daily in order to market to those who have actively applied in the past 24 hours. This active shopping window closes quickly once a prospect makes a decision, but a prospect at this stage is weighing all of their options so reaching them during this window means you can be sure that you're reaching the right person, at the right time, through the right channel.
In Flight Alerts
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you're paying close attention to identifying and protecting your at-risk accounts throughout the upcoming busy months, when competition is fierce. Utilizing tri-bureau In Flight Alerts means that you'll be empowered to monitor your portfolio on a daily basis and receive alerts within 24 hours letting you know who from your custom audience or client file has inquired with a competitor for a home loan that you could provide them instead.
By monitoring your own portfolio to extend offers to your current clients when they're actively looking to buy a home, you have a higher chance of retaining their business, while providing a valuable offer and opportunity to continue your established relationship. During this time, it's important to stay in front of your clients and provide them with the best offers to maintain their business and loyalty while searching for a new home.
It's important to have fresh data, accurate leads, and target all timing windows in the home buying cycle, but it's also important to attract and retain prospects by increasing brand awareness and positioning your company well in the marketing pieces you distribute. A great mailing list can lose its value if your mailing piece isn't correctly identifying, targeting, and addressing the needs of the prospects it represents. When it comes to prospective home buyers, some information and content matters more than others.
Prospective homebuyers appreciate shared knowledge
Prospective mortgage borrowers want to be provided trustworthy information and usually this segment has more questions, concerns, and want more information than prospects for home equity and refinance loans. Marketing pieces such as checklists and to do-tracker mail pieces listing what needs to be done, documents needed, steps of the home-buying process, etc. do exceedingly well in this market, as it positions your brand as a trustworthy source of information, as well as an expert in the market.
These can be distributed through multiple channels, including an email following up an offer mail piece, a boosted blog post, or on social media. By staying in front of prospects with valuable information, you're not only creating a lasting impression, you're also swaying them to think of you first when they're ready to make a decision. You can also use your data to analyze what's working, test different versions, and let the data drive your topic choices and delivery channels to find the most effective content strategies.
Personalization powers decisions
When it comes to marketing response rates in the financial industry, 77% of consumers are more likely to take action if they were offered personalized experiences. The channel matters too, with 61% preferring email or mail for offers. Using data-based personalization increases accuracy, and can include using PURLS on your mail piece; variable data printing to version based on interests or segment; pre-filling forms with consumer data such as name, address and email to encourage ease of completion.
More and more lenders are using these methods to attract and retain home buying prospects, and it makes sense why. The increase in response rates, loyalty ratings, and positive brand perception can often be due to insightful personalization.
May is going to be a busy month, so be sure to update, refresh, and closely monitor your data management, including using the most accurate, recent, and consistent leads to capture a larger share of the increased mortgage prospects in the coming months. This is the time when homebuyers are listing their homes and preparing to shop and apply for loans - so be sure to segment properly, monitor your own portfolio for any at-risk accounts, and target pre-movers as well as in the market prospects with personalized, informative pieces.