For anyone who is contemplating making a big purchase, a car or a home, knowledge is key. The folks at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage understand that buyers want useful information, in their case, about buying and owning a home. Their thoughtful and creative blog posts have helped their business grow exponentially. Earlier this year while attending the Inbound Marketing Conference we met Dan Moyle, Marketing & Communications Specialist at AmeriFirst. He was one of the presenters and spoke about ‘Making Boring Industry Content Work for Your Business.’ We were intrigued about how AmeriFirst is taking modern marketing to the next level. We’re both former journalists and had some common ideas about what makes blog posts engaging from a marketing perspective. These are some of the topics we discussed.
Tell me about AmeriFirst?
AmeriFirst Home Mortgage is a community mortgage banker. This means we help people finance their homes with different mortgage options. We’re a banker, so after you close on your mortgage you stay with us. We service our own loans. One of the keys to the AmeriFirst philosophy is education. Because we’ve always focused on helping first time home buyers, we believe it’s vital to educate buyers with the best, most accurate information so they’re a more powerful buyer.
How is AmeriFirst a modern company?
AmeriFirst is a modern company in how serve our clients. Rather than unsolicited selling and old-school fliers, radio, TV and billboard ads screaming about interest rates and deceptive advertising to get buyers in the door, AmeriFirst focuses on education and honesty. We create content to educate the housing market and everyone involved in the home buying process, so the entire adventure of buying a home can go more smoothly.
We also use technology to help make life better for our clients and our prospects. Our newest addition is a great servicing platform to help our borrowers have more knowledge and control over their mortgage loan accounts. We also use social media and other internet platforms to help potential home buyers better understand the home buying process.
Who is your typical client?
A typical client is an average American first time home buyer. Mid-20s to late-30s covers much of our client base. They’re middle-class, hard-working folks who have the dream of owning a home. They’re hungry for information rather than another sales pitch, and really dive deep into our website in order to better understand the home buying process.
The AmeriFirst blog offers home buyers and homeowners a wide array of information related to buying or owning a home. Our focus is to share information with everyone about financing a home, buying a home and owning a home. From mortgage loan options to decorating ideas, we love to talk about the home on the AmeriFirst blog. Since I came from a journalism and storytelling background, our blog is full of content to help people make an informed decision when buying a home.
Of course, we also like to have fun. As serious as the home buying process is, we feel that life needs a little levity as well. Whether it’s a satirical look at why you should avoid buying a home or why zombies make terrible home buyers, we hope to brighten someone’s day from time to time as well as offer helpful information.
What are some of the reasons the blog has become so successful?
I believe our success is due to a couple of factors. First, we answer the questions people ask when buying a home. Whether it’s how much down payment a home buyer needs or what a specific mortgage loan option covers, we answer every buyer’s question our mortgage consultants have heard over the years. With that said, I believe the reason our answers resonate with readers is that we write in an understandable, readable manner. We avoid jargon and long-winded pieces of content, focusing more on the average reader.
Another reason our blog is successful is that we do our research. Because I’m a full time marketing / content creator, I have the time to invest in our articles and content. I’m able to talk to our “sales team” and our clients, as well as scour the Internet for information, ideas and the questions people want to know.
What has content marketing done for AmeriFirst?
Before inbound marketing and content creation, our website was just a brochure on a computer screen. Our website visitors topped out at about 3,000 each month. Of those visitors, we had no idea how many became leads or clients. Now we’re up to about 40,000 visitors per month, with around 1,000 of those folks becoming some level of lead. Because we can track conversions, we know what kind of content resonates with our leads and clients.
Content marketing has helped us at AmeriFirst position ourselves as thought leaders in a saturated industry. We get requests for our eBooks and videos on a regular basis. We have developed relationships with industry folks like real estate agents, builders, HUD consultants and others.
What part does social media play at AmeriFirst?
Social media plays different roles in the AmeriFirst world. We use SM to help spread the message of education to home buyers, of course. We post our articles on the various SM platforms. We also use SM to connect to our peers and related industry friends in a more meaningful way. This leads to opportunities to contribute to other publications and blogs. Another benefit to social media is finding out what people want to know. We can see what questions people are asking, what struggles they’re having and help them find solutions.
What is the future of marketing in your opinion?
The future of marketing is “power in the hands of the consumer.” We no longer pay attention to TV commercials (for the most part). We have DVRs and other distractions. So many formerly-effective means of getting a message to our prospects have lost their luster. For the vast majority of businesses, the old route of going to radio, TV, newspaper and billboards have become too pricey for very little return. Technology now allows us to track so much of the buying process.
I see the future of marketing as a combination of old storytelling techniques coupled with the power of a connected world and analytics to tell us how it’s working. This means businesses can use more cost effective ways of reaching and building a qualified audience rather than the old “spray and pray” expensive advertising methods.