Article by: Delbert Laird

Jay Conrad Levinson, best-selling author of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books, in an article co-written by David Garfinkel, stated "...sending out a shoddy direct mail piece is like taking postage stamps and pushing them down the drain. Or, even worse, it's like giving the postage to your competitors. And saying, "Here. I'm really a fine business. But I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to mail. So please, send out a mailing and tell the market what a fool I am." Not an appealing scenario."

As loan originators, whether officer, broker or lender, you have clearly defined goals when it comes to using direct marketing for yourself and your business:

* Get the prospect's attention.
* Deliver an effective message.
* Receive the call.
* Build rapport.
* Close the loan.

Traditional loan origination practices attempt to overcome these obstacles by adding personalization (prospect's name, current loan amount and lender) and/or "selling" the mail piece through the use a fake check viewable through the envelope's window.

The inherent problem with these methods are their widespread use. This same format is used by credit card companies, medical plans, dental plans, vehicle insurance and even the long distance telephone industry.

Consumers are rapidly becoming desensitized to the volume of direct mail pieces filling their mailbox. This is where the power of postcard marketing comes in. Postcards are universally-appealing.

Getting the prospect's attention

One of the greatest assets of postcard marketing is that there is no prospect reluctance in opening the piece. It's already open! Two sides ready for their curious eyes. And by customizing the image and message targeting an identified market segment, the ability to promote benefits and overcome mental objections becomes ever so much more obtainable. Add to this an immediate call-to action such as phoning a toll free number or visiting a specific website, and the mailing piece becomes the ultimate direct response vehicle.

When planning your direct marketing campaign, think about who your ideal prospects are, and additionally, their underlying motives. What would drive them to you? What goals and dreams can you help them reach? What problems and difficulties can you assist them in overcoming? Start your message with a strong headline tying into their emotional state.

For instance: If your primary target audience is the debt consolidation market, the message might start with, "Pay off your debt with these 3 easy steps." Obviously, this headline would require additional well-worded copy that gains the reader's trust and gets them to call your firm. But the point is that your message has identified and appealed to the target market; prospects that have too much debt and need a way to pay it off.

Here's another example: If you're an individual loan officer looking to solicit home renters, a winning opening sentence might be, "Stop paying your landlord's mortgage!...When you could be paying your own instead."

With the remaining space, you need to provide information that leads them to a conclusion; an action. To do that, you ideally need to continue the focus on the emotional state of your prospect. If you were in the market to do business with someone, why would you choose them over another party?

Sometimes it's price, but most often, it's the level of service we see or expect to receive. Your mailing piece should reflect that. Put yourself in the prospect's place. What reassurances do you need to feel confident in the person/company? What key points SELL you? What arguments do you need to overcome?

I don't have much money.
"0 down programs available. No out-of-pocket-loans. Finance a home with $500 down."

I can't afford a home.
"Let us show you why home ownership DOESN'T have to be a dream."

I've got bad credit.
"We can help those with poor credit and prior bankruptcy."

I have lots of debt.
"Use the equity in your home to consolidate or pay off your debts and put cash back into your pocket."

I don't know you.
"Since 1980, we've helped thousands of homebuyers find the perfect loan for their perfect home. Come, be part of our family."

Once you've helped the prospect understand who you are, what you do and what you offer, you need to give them specific instructions as to what to do next. Tell them to pick up the phone and call one of your highly-trained loan officers who are eager to help. Tell them you offer a FREE prequalification/approval. Tell them to visit your website. Make sure your prospect knows what to do. Use simulated hot buttons or bold statements to make that point clear. The effectiveness of your mailing piece, and the size of your pipeline depend upon it.

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Delbert Laird is the Chief Visionary of, a company dedicated to providing direct mail postcards and greeting cards exclusively for the mortgage industry. Their website can be found at: Phone: 877-925-5551 | Fax: 925-685-0344

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