What a mortgage web site really costs…

“How much for a web site?” Asks the mortgage owner.  Seems simple enough. Seems to be a reasonable question that any potential web site owner would ask, except that…

“How Much For A Web Site?” Is The Wrong Question To Ask.
This question, “How much for a web site?” is also one of the biggest mistakes any web site owner can make; and it is significantly worse if this question is asked by someone who is in the mortgage industry. And, any web designer that actually answers that question (addressing only cost) is probably not a web designer you want.

A mortgage company is on the Net to conduct business and generate revenue; they are not  there to incur expense or to just ‘be on the Net.’  A prospective mortgage site should not focus on short-term cost analysis. While the expense of a web site is an important consideration, two major factors should control your decision: the revenue a web site can generate and the market share and brand name awareness your site can create.
 
How Much For A Web Site? Last Year.

Here is a typical scenario from a year or two ago:

Potential Client: “You design web sites?”

Web Designer: “Yes.”

Potential Client: “How much?”

Web Designer: “How many pages?”

Potential Client: “Oh, 10-20 pages I guess.  Info on our company, a list of our loan products and a page on how to contact us.”

Web Designer: “Ok, that will be $x.”

Potential Client: answers  - select one or more of the following…

1. “Well, our in-house MIS guy said he could design a web site in his sleep.”
2. “My neighbor’s kid just took a web design class, let me get a quote from him…”
3. “But, we have seen complete web site pricing for less than $995” 

4. Client thinks, “I think I could do it myself cheaper,” and says, “I will get back to you.”

 
A Web Site Is Worthless…
Here is how a conversation with your Web Manager should progress.

Potential Client: “You design web sites?”

Web Manager: “Well, yes, while the actual design aspect is very important; that is just one component of the overall success for your mortgage web site.  But a web site is worthless…”

Potential Client: politely interrupting… “Worthless? What do you mean?”

Web Manager: “Let me show you how… This is how most web page designers design a web site. You tell them what you want, show them your logo, tell them your favorite color, and the web page designer brings back a few nifty graphic layouts. Your spouse gets involved, your secretary, your mother-in-law, your MIS professional, and you finally pick an award winning design. Then you build your web site. End result - a nice looking site...”
Web Sites Need Eyeballs
“But that is like creating a wonderful television commercial. The TV ad is worthless... unless potential customers see it, unless you get the commercial in front of people.  It is the same with web sites. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars designing a web site, but if no one sees it; your site is actually worthless. It  will not be generating new mortgage customers.”

For a web site to be effective, you need to get ‘eye balls’ to your site.  You may have competitive interest rates and great loan programs, but if no one knows your web site exists... your online mortgage business will be non-existent.  You will be missing a huge marketing opportunity.”
How To Build A Successful Web Site
Web Manager: “Here is how a web management company builds successful web pages. Internet studies show that unless you are a company like E-loan who spends thousands of dollars on banner advertising and real world media, most people will find your web site on the Net by going to a search engine and typing in key words to find what they want, i.e. ‘home loans,’
‘mortgage loans’ or ‘mortgage broker.’ So we first work with our clients to determine which key words we will build their web site around.”

“Because information presented on the Net is not the same information as presented in a brochure, we next determine what information to provide to your current and potential customers. People will arrive at your site seeking EXACTLY what they want.  So unlike a TV commercial that interrupts your favorite show, a web site is a ‘TV commercial’ that someone has asked to see and wants to visit. You have 5-10 seconds to entice them to stay... to make them your customer.  If you don’t ...there are thousands of other web sites that can.

“After we do that, we complete the web page layout and graphics...Subtle? Yes. Difference? HUGE! End result - a web site that produces results.  Can we make people purchase a mortgage from your company? No, but we can design your web site so that it delivers them to your site... so you can do your job.”

The Real Cost Of A Successful Web Site is $0
“That is how we turn a worthless web site into a valuable site. That is why a well designed and managed web site doesn’t cost anything; it generates revenue.  With professional web sites costing from tens of thousands of dollars, here is what is wrong with the question, ‘How much for a web site?’  A well-designed web site costs you nothing,  it makes you money.  You will quickly find out that a poorly designed web site is actually ‘costing your company money’ instead of generating revenue each month.” 

Client: “So the question is not how much does a web site cost, but how many closed loans we could generate with a well designed web site and how much market share are we going to lose by not being found on the Internet.”

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Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of  MortgagePromote.com a leading Internet based marketing provider to the mortgage industry.  Web site:

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MortgagePromote.com offers web site lead generation services, proven Internet marketing techniques, and search engine management strategies to mortgage brokers, bankers, and lending institutions.

  


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