Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Internet Is My Friend And Other Half Truths

The following story is true, this same scenario has happened to several of our clients…

This story begins like hundreds of other dreams each month, but it doesn’t end the same.

Ted had grown their mortgage business up to 75 employees over the past 8 years. His wife (Lisa) was a former lending VP for a local bank. They were both Internet savvy and spent time looking at competitors. One day Lisa turned to Ted and said, “Me and the internet, I think we are going to be the best of friends. We should put our business online.” And so the Internet relationship began…

They went online about a year ago with mixed results. They had attracted a few leads off of their web site, and while excited about the leads, they were also disappointed. They had spent over $40,000 ‘designing’ the site and felt it should be producing more than a lead every ten days; and a closed loan about once a month.

Ted and Lisa knew they had good interest rates, a specific market niche, and the expertise to produce more, much more… They were wondering, “Does this Net thing really work. I know it should, but does it?”

Just Four Months Later...

Here is how Ted and Lisa turned their web site from an ego site, stating, “Hey, we are on the net,” into a highly functioning, revenue generating asset, with loan originations averaging $250,000 - $1,000,000+ per day, every day.

But First, How The Web Site Began

Lisa took the initiative for web site. She had a bit more time available and she was far more Internet proficient. Lisa interviewed quite a few companies before selecting their first ‘web designer’. Summer (the ‘web designer’) did what she was supposed to do she created a nice web site. Ted and Lisa had said, “We are ready to get onto the Net. What can you do for us?” Then the ‘web designer’ followed the normal process.

They initially showed the “web designer” their logo, explained the history of the corporate colors, and then Summer brought back a few nifty graphic layouts. Ted and Lisa showed their secretary, the head of sales, and their father-in-law and finally decided on a web design. Then the web site was built. End result - a “pretty” web site...

They site had the full ‘wu-wu’: music, animated graphics, interactive forms and the latest flashy software.

They thought their web site was pretty cool. But then again, their site didn’t work. It wasn’t generating many new loans.

How Their Web Site Should Have Been Constructed

Lisa became friends with one of her loan clients. This client owned an insurance business and told Lisa they had a very successful web site. She asked just what successful meant to them, and they said about 100-300 targeted visitors per day. Lisa was lucky to get 100-300 visitors per month.

Lisa found out who designed the insurance site and arranged a meeting with Rell, the ‘new web designer’.

How To Really Design A Web Site

Rell was a bit different than Summer; she had an entirely different perspective on the ‘web design.’

The ‘new web designer’ stated that before she looks at a potential clients’ site, she wants to understand a bit about the client and the clients business. No logo’s, no team colors just about what the business does and what they expect to achieve on the Net.

Rell said that she had a little secret she uses when designing a web site. She said most designers ‘design around designs’, and that she ‘designs around words’.

More Than A Pretty Face

Rell went on to say, “We use the keywords your customers type into the search engines.
Gosh, I know that this makes sense... but if you look at most web sites they are nice looking. But these sites do not have the keywords they want to offer to their clients. So, the most cost-effective method to direct targeted traffic to your web site is via top rankings in the search engines.”

Subtle? Yes. Difference? HUGE! End result - a nice looking web page... that produces tremendous results. Designers may design, but we create highly effective pages intended to market your web site. Lisa was sold on this truth. Rell made other comments to the effect that the only sites that should have music are sites that sell music; and that using the latest software actually can cause problems for visitors who don’t have these ‘plug-ins.’

Lisa and Ted tossed aside the $40,000 web site they initially built, and built their site around words and the customer.

Within A Month, Visits Increased

The new design was great and highly functional. And due to the way Rell structured the HTML (underlying computer code), quite a few search engine rankings were obtained. Traffic was up to 50 people a day. And within another 30 days, close to 200 highly targeted customers visited the new site every day. 200 potential customers that are actively looking for a mortgage loan.

An Interesting By-Product From The Success Of The Site

Not only were Ted and Lisa now averaging closed origination loan amounts of $250,000 - $1,000,000+ per day, every day. But their web site was substantially outperforming the 12 person, in-house telemarketing department.

Lisa made the tough decision to layoff the entire telemarketing staff. A savings of about $28,000 per person annually or over $330,000 additional expenses were removed.

The Sales Staff Commission Was Lowered, But They Made More Money

Next, Ted and Lisa reduced the overall commissions for the sales staff. As you can imagine, there were more than a few protests from their loan officers. Except now with higher quality leads (more of them) (and even with a lower commission), the sales staff was actually earning more money in commissions.

Life at the office actually seemed less stressed. Lisa turned to her husband and said, “I told you so.”

Ted replied, “What?”

“The internet is our friend…”

For online mortgage leads please visit our mortgage leads page.

The Internet is My Friend - and Other Half-Truths
Originally published December 1999

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