When marketing efforts are not successful, many title companies wonder why. They sent out direct mail, refreshed their website, or attended a trade show, but are left disappointed and frustrated with languishing sales and underused resources. Why isn’t the phone ringing? What went wrong?
The high level answer to this question is that title company marketing efforts must be more than a disconnected series of tasks. Effective marketing is not a single activity, but a well planned effort that takes thought, consistency, and fortitude to accomplish. The deeper answer comes from analyzing the top three biggest marketing mistakes I’ve seen title companies make. Are you making one or more of these? If so, consider our tips on how to recover:
#1: Marketing Without a Marketing Strategy
Common Mistake: Just go off and “do some marketing” without first taking the time to strategize.
Rather than doing nothing when you’ve been stung by continuous marketing failures, you go off and do some marketing – any marketing. You buy some promotional products and pass them out, buy an advertisement in the chamber of commerce newsletter, and visit an office a day for a month. And still no more business. Every prospect has 147 free pens on their desk, only about 3% of your target market reads the chamber newsletter (that means you wasted 97% of the cost of the ad), and 17 of the 20 offices ate the doughnuts and threw away the information you left the same day.
Recovery Plan: You need a strategy—and fast. Stop all marketing activities immediately and take the next month or so to plan your new approach. Think about what (your message) you should say, how (your medium) you should say it, and who (your target market) you should say it to.
The who is easy. Who is your target market? In most areas it would be real estate agents, mortgage lenders, attorneys, builders, etc. I always ask clients who they feel is the market they have the greatest opportunity to grow their sales. If it makes sense – we start there. It’s relatively easy to obtain lists of these prospects from trade associations and list firms. Lists of real estate agents can be purchased relatively inexpensively.
The how isn’t too tough either – ask your target market where they go to get information about title companies when they are interested in changing companies. Often it’s through a referral. When is the last time you asked your good customers for a referral? Other places would be trade publications, direct mail, and the Web. Recognize you can’t afford to market to everyone and define your target markets by grouping and categorizing the characteristics of your current customer base. Then choose marketing vehicles that only cater to that defined group of potential buyers. Money spent in other media will just be wasted.
What you should say may be the toughest assignment. Analyze of each of the services you offer, including features and benefits—concentrating on what differentiates you from the competition. Survey your competition and document their service, pricing structure, strengths and weaknesses, along with your competitive advantages. Once you identify your key advantage over the competition, make that the key message of your marketing. Build the case for using your services as an attorney would build a case for a client.
One point to bear in mind when you are creating your message – most of your prospects – real estate agents and mortgage lenders – are motivated by money. They are in the business they are in because it offers somewhat unlimited income potential. Use headlines and copy to convince your target market if they come to you, you will help them close more deals, save time, and create much less heartburn in the settlement process.
You want every marketing piece you create (direct mail, postcards, Web site, ads in trade publications, 60-second elevator speech, message on hold) to contain these four elements:
Finally, create a calendar of events and associated budget (the tactical plan) that will act as your roadmap to success!
Watch your sales begin to climb! But don’t congratulate yourself yet; effective title company marketing takes patience and persistence. Your journey is just beginning! Stick with it and soon you will see business coming out of the woodwork.