Home prices are surging and record low interest rates are driving more demand for financial products – it’s a great time to be a mortgage broker. Even in these good times however, brokers should be operating with the expectation that easy opportunities won’t be around forever.
This is where your mortgage broker website comes in. With more Australians heading online for their research and purchasing needs, mortgage brokers need to recognise how a website can either strengthen or impair business.
Here’s how a bad website could be hurting your business:
Bad first impressions last
The first impression you have of someone is an assumption created in the brain about the person the moment you meet them. It typically occurs within a few seconds and can even come from a glance. Crucially, it happens only once, and cannot be taken back.
Interestingly, the same psychological factors can be applied to websites, where the first impression your audience has of your website can dictate their perception of your entire business.
According to a Harvard study of communication, it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression. Therefore, websites that do not consider the ‘above-the-fold’ of each landing page as the first thing a user sees, runs a great risk in presenting the wrong image at the best possible time. Even worse, if your website is slow to load you are most likely losing customers to other competitors.
Data taken from a sample of over 100,000 user sessions over a 1 week period by Section.io revealed that the bounce rate of their users increased dramatically as page load times increased. For users with an average page load time of 2 seconds, the bounce rate sat at 9.61%. However, an increase to the average page load time to 7 seconds brought the bounce rate much higher to 32.3% – ⅓ people were leaving the website before even engaging.
Books are judged by their covers, houses are appraised by their appeal, and people are evaluated on how they dress and behave. You need to consider what a bad first impression could be worth to your business.
Lost mortgage leads and low conversion rates
In the early days of the internet, simply having a website gave a business an advantage over others. Today, a bad website could be damaging your business in ways you cannot imagine.
In the case of a lead for example, any person who visits your website should be considered a warm prospect. That person is either actively searching for information relating to getting a loan or more information on you, and is therefore extremely interested in your services. Consider then, how your website must respond to this prospect.
Firstly, it should provide this potential customer with the credibility and confidence that your business can service their needs. Imagine if a friend recommended you to one of their work colleagues that is looking to purchase a home. The first thing this new prospect is going to do is search your name or business name using Google. Even if you come highly recommended, if your website doesn’t give a good first impression, they might decide to go with your competitor down the road.
Secondly, your website needs to have detailed information about the services you provide to give the customer extensive knowledge of your process and value-add. And finally, you need to facilitate a means for the customer to get in touch with your business in as simple a way as possible.
For the latter, forms are a great way of capturing not just interest, but also contact information. Yet, often we find the form is the least considered part of a website. Requesting too much information on a form, for example, can easily intimidate prospects and lower conversion rates.
Inversely, having no form or a form that is not functional, could mean you are missing out on valuable leads. The type of value proposition and form format you have on your website therefore plays a big role in strategically working prospects and opportunities through a sales funnel.
Once you get a potential customer to fill out a form, you have to also consider the after-submission process. According to a study by MIT, the odds of qualifying a lead reduces by 21 times if contacted after 30 minutes versus after only 5 minutes. Thus, it is imperative that you consider the entire process of lead generation from the time a visitor enters your website, to the moment they get in touch.
Ineffective marketing spend
While your marketing campaigns may start across other platforms or mediums, it is likely that the audience you are engaging with will eventually visit your website, whether it be to find out more information about you, or learn more about the services they desire.
Ask yourself how many mortgage leads you are generating from your website, and what is your conversion rate as a percentage. If the answer to both these questions are low, then there may be an opportunity to improve your lead generation efficacy.
A conversion rate of 3% of website visitors to mortgage leads is not bad for most, but it still leaves 97% of your traffic as untapped potential. Furthermore, if you are running advertising spend across social media or other channels, it means that if it costs you $10 to drive a user to your website, your 3% conversion rate is costing you $330 per lead.
Now think about how much a sale is worth to you. With both upfront and trail, $330 may very well represent a tidy profit. However, by reducing your cost per lead you can greatly increase your bottom line. Furthermore, if your conversion rate is less – say 1% – your cost per lead suddenly becomes $1,000.
The same concept applies to other lead channels. You may have several very strong referral partners that consistently provide you with quality mortgage leads but if your website isn’t convincing these prospects that you are the right person, you could be leaving money on the table.
In a study by Adobe, it revealed that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content and layout is unattractive. A similar study by Formstack found that 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile. Both sets of studies inform businesses of the importance of having a professional looking website that works across mobile and tablet devices.
While a bad website can tarnish a company’s reputation, a quality one can help a business extend its sphere of influence and create mortgage leads. By focusing on improving your own website, you can directly improve the performance of your marketing efforts and increase your bottom line.