Lead Generation Ideas for Finance Companies

One of the goals of online marketing, especially financial services marketing where consumers may not be comfortable submitting personal data over the Web, is generating leads. According to LeadFusion <leadfusion.com>, the parent of Financenter, the leading financial calculator provider, there are four steps to good online lead generation:



The last step, ACTIVATE, is the key to identifying sales leads. While most major financial institutions have financial calculators available online, how many of them are used to capture leads? Since most customers will not put up with a registration process BEFORE using the calculator, you must entice users to identify themselves at the end of the calculations.

Some common methods:

  • Etrade_ratewatch_signup_1Subscribe to an information alert: Users sign up to receive email messages when certain events occur, such as rates hitting a certain level; for example, E*Trade's Rate Watch (click on inset to see the sign-up form).
  • Complete an interactive coupon: Even normally wary consumers will hand over a surprising amount of personal data if you provide a tangible benefit, such as a significant discount or valuable freebie. One of our favorite examples, which was used continuously for more than five years, was Salem Five Bank's <salemfive.com> $100-off Mortgage Closing Costs coupon. The coupon, which is no longer used, required users to enter their name, phone number, and email address. Then they could print a personalized coupon that would save them $100 on a mortgage.
  • Fine-tune these calculations: Users wishing to perform deeper analysis will be asked to register first. Registration should be brief: name, email address, and optional phone number. You can also capture inputs to the calculator, but intent to retain this data must be disclosed to the user.
  • Lock in a special offer now: A tried-and-true DM practice, the time-sensitive offer. Tell users that rate/price/discount/premium can be locked in, if they enter their name and email address now.
  • Sweepstakes/contests: It's one of the most cost-effective ways to pull a large volume of leads. The downside is the sheer volume of unqualified prospects that throw their name in the virtual hat for a chance at that iPod NANO. Make sure you include several simple qualifying questions. For examples, see the previous NB articles in the Advertising & Promotion category.
  • Set up an appointment: This may not be selected by many, but you should offer the option of setting up a meeting on the phone or in a banking office to discuss the product further.
  • Apply Now: Most importantly, ask for the order.

For more information:

Online Bank and Mortgage Lead Generation

One subject that doesn’t get enough attention, online lead generation.

Now that most bank websites get more traffic than its branches, at least if you measure total number of visits*, you should be committing resources to maximizing the number of leads generated by your website.

Most banks have the low-hanging fruit covered with prominent phone numbers and website inquiry forms. But what about those prospects less willing to initiate a sales interaction?

Amerisave_logoMy favorite presentation from the recent Net.Finance conference, and one I almost didn’t attend because I thought it would be focused on offline activities, was Evaluating Online Lead Generation and Management, from Dave Herpers, Chief Marketing Officer at Amerisave, an online mortgage originator.

If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, I highly recommend it. Previously he was marketing director at DeepGreen Bank and also did a stint at Bank of America, so he has a great background in online lending.

Besides the fascinating discussion of the methodical generation and processing of online and telephone leads, he provided a number of ideas that financial services companies can use on their website to improve the number of leads available to sales people.

Action Items
As customers research products and use your online tools, allow them to have any of the results emailed to them for future reference. Customers like it because they don’t lose all the work they’ve done and it’s serves as a reminder as to where they found all the great info.

Mr. Herpers suggested the following email functions:

  • Email me the results from the mortgage/refi/HEQ calculator
  • Email me my estimated closing costs
  • Email me the rate info I was just looking at
  • Email me info on the products I was just looking at

Any customer who uses the email functionality becomes a valuable product lead.

Other lead generation opportunities:

  • Contact Me buttons
  • incomplete applications
  • Request a Consultation form
  • Rate Alerts

Amerisave_rate_searchAmerisave reports that there best leads, other than telephone calls which are always first priority, are those from customers preforming rate searches at its website (see inset).

If you’d like to learn more about the best financial online marketing ideas, check out the Interactive Financial Marketing Database from our sister publication, the Online Banking Report.

Online Referrals for Real Estate Agents

Link: WSJ.com – Online Referrals For Home Sales Gain a Toehold.

Here's a way to gain incremental mortgage sales, new banking customers, and potentially a bit of direct fee income from your online services.

Develop an online real estate agent referral program.

Visitors would be able to query your website to find qualified agents specializing in their target neighborhoods. You could do it as a pure marketing play, with no Amexgiftcardincentives or referral fees; or you could provide eye-popping incentives, such as $2500+ gift cards from Home Depot or American Express offered by LendingTree at their realestate.com site.

In the LendingTree program, the value of the gift card depends on the size of the home purchased and/or sold (you receive an incentive for both buying and selling) as follows:

Incentive  Combined Value (bought & sold)
$250         $100,000
$500         $150,000
$1000       $250,000
$1500       $350,000
$2000       $450,000
$2500       $550,000
$5000       $1.1 million
$10,000    $2.1 million

The incentives are funded by the agent receiving the referral, who rebates a third of their sales commission to LendingTree. The consumer ends up with approximately $500 for every $100,000 in home value over $50,000.

LendingTree also tacks on an extra $100 if the buyer gets the mortgage from a LendingTree lender.

Currently, 7% of home buyers say they found their real estate agent through the Internet. (Source: National Association of Realtors study of transactions in 2003 and 2004, as cited by The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 9, 2004)

This strategy is not for the faint of heart. While consumers will love it, driving additional business to your mortgage products, most real estate agents will hate it. So you have to weigh carefully whether it's worth the potential heat. If you rely on real estate agents for mortgage leads, you might want to consider the non-incentive version, where you simply forward home sales leads to agents based on zip code.