Mortgage Lead Generation: How to Generate Your Own Leads Online

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Welcome to HBI’s mortgage lead generation tutorial. In this guide, you’ll learn about the five components needed to generate mortgage leads online, through your own website.

Generating mortgage leads

These techniques and strategies have been proven in the real world, time and again. So whether you’re new to internet marketing, or want to improve your existing strategy, you’ll find this guide helpful.

“I Want to Generate My Own Mortgage Leads”

Through my experiences as a marketing consultant, I’ve learned that a lot of mortgage brokers reach a point in their careers when they want to start generating their own mortgage leads online.

This is a natural and logical progression. After all, if you don’t develop your own mortgage lead generation strategy, you’ll always be dependent on third-party providers. And that’s a vulnerable position to be in, especially if your marketing budget shrinks over time.

Generating your own mortgage leads online is a more sustainable approach, because it brings long-lasting results. The efforts you make today could help you generate high-quality leads through your website over the years to come. The benefits accumulate with time. 

Consider the difference:

  • When you buy leads from someone else, your lead generation strategy will disappear the moment you stop pouring money into it.
  • When you build your own lead generation channel, it will keep on producing inquiries from potential clients even if you take a break from developing it.

This article will help you pursue the second strategy listed above. It explains the five things you need to have in place if you want to start generating your own mortgage leads online, directly through your company’s website.

An ‘Organic’ Way to Attract New Clients

I’ll be using the word “organic” throughout the rest of this article. This is an important distinction, so let’s start by defining that term in the context of mortgage marketing:

  • Organic leads: These are leads that you generate for yourself, perhaps through some combination of blogging, social media, SEO, email marketing and networking.
  • Paid leads: These are the mortgage leads you have to pay for, through lead generation companies like LendingTree and Zillow, or through paid advertising channels like Google Adwords and Facebook ads.

With the organic path, you are building your own mortgage lead generation infrastructure to help sustain your business over the long term. These strategies take longer to develop but produce long-lasting results as well. You’re investing in something you own and control.

With paid leads, you’re paying money out of pocket to generate mortgage leads more quickly, usually by presenting a specific offer to a specific audience.

Some mortgage brokers use a combination of these lead generation strategies, while others might choose one direction over the other. This will largely depend on your mortgage marketing budget, business model, and the audience you’re trying to reach.

But in all cases, mortgage brokers can benefit from developing their own lead generation strategy through their own websites. This is always a worthwhile investment. So let’s pivot away from the “what” and start talking about the “how.”

Lead Generation Online: 5 Things You Need to Succeed

Here are five things you’ll need to generate your own mortgage leads online, using organic marketing strategies like SEO, blogging and social media.

1. Website Traffic

The first step is to start building a steady stream of website traffic. After all, you can’t convert visitors into clients until you actually have website visitors.

The more traffic you can generate, the better. A typical mortgage broker website will only convert a small percentage of visitors into actual leads. So you want to build up a consistent and substantial traffic stream over time.

  • A mortgage broker operating within a specific metro area will want to attract at least 100 visitors per day from within that target area.
  • A larger mortgage company operating statewide or regionally should aim for thousands of visitors per day.

Once you’ve established a steady traffic stream, you can start generating your own mortgage leads through your own mortgage broker website. But you can’t put the cart ahead of the horse.

You have a lot of different avenues to explore when it comes to generating website traffic. These include mortgage blogging, search engine optimization, social media marketing and more.

In most cases, the best approach is to include some combination of these strategies, in a cohesive and unified manner. For instance, a mortgage broker could use his or her blog to publish local real estate market reports, optimize those blog posts for search engine visibility, and share them through various social media channels. Rinse and repeat.

This kind of content-based marketing strategy can help you increase your traffic and exposure over time, while generating your own mortgage leads through your website.

Learn more about mortgage blogging

2. Lead Generators to Convert Traffic

Let’s assume you now have a good amount of traffic coming to your mortgage broker website, day in and day out. The next step is to implement some lead generators across your website, so you can convert some of those casual visitors into leads for follow-up and “nurturing.”

It’s not enough just to have a contact page with your email and phone number. If you want to generate your own mortgage leads through your mortgage website, you’ll want to give people multiple ways to communicate and interact with you.

Here are some examples of lead generators that can be used on a mortgage website:

  • Conspicuous contact information placed in the header area of your site
  • Call-to-action text hyperlinks on every blog post, just below the headline
  • An application or rate quote form placed in the sidebar area
  • Exit-intent popups to present an offer as visitors are about to leave the site
  • Specialized mortgage calculators that invite visitors to subscribe for updates
  • Live chat that offers real-time assistance from humans and/or AI chatbots

You don’t need to use all of these lead generation techniques on the same page at the same time. And it’s probably best if you don’t. My advice is to choose three of them, experiment to see how they work for you, and then test other strategies over time.

(We’ll talk more about testing in a moment.)

3. A Differentiator That Sets You Apart

There are hundreds of mortgage companies online, and possibly dozens of them within your own local area. The question is, what makes you different? Why should a borrower contact you instead one of the many other mortgage brokers in town?

You can set yourself apart from the competition in many ways:

  • Specializing in a niche, like VA loans for military members and veterans
  • Working harder to educate borrowers through your website
  • Offering helpful handbooks and borrower guides in PDF format
  • Streamlining / expediting the mortgage process with digital processes
  • Offering free virtual consultations for borrowers via Zoom
  • Combining two or more of the strategies above

The more you can differentiate yourself from competitors, the easier it will be to generate your own mortgage leads online, through your website. It might require some soul searching on your part, but it’s a worthwhile process.

4. Website Usability to Simplify the Path

Website usability and lead generation go hand in hand. With all other things being equal, a well-organized mortgage website that’s easy to use will generate more leads than a site with design or navigation issues.

In this context, “website usability” refers to the ease with which potential borrowers can navigate your website, find the information they need, and take the next step toward contacting you about a loan.

Here are some ways to improve usability (and generate more mortgage leads):

  • Buttons: Use prominent buttons for actions like “Contact Now” or “Get a Quote.”
  • Design: Choose a clean and simple mortgage website design to reduce distraction. 
  • Forms: Keep mortgage application forms straightforward and easy to fill out.
  • Menus: Keep navigation clear and concise. Provide one-click access to key info.
  • Mobile: Ensure the website functions well on mobile devices and tablets.
  • Speed: Optimize page loading times to prevent visitors from losing interest.

Remember, if people can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, they’ll click away without hesitation. This makes website usability a key component of any mortgage lead generation strategy.

Here’s a good way to evaluate usability. Ask a friend or family member to visit your website, coming at it from the perspective of a potential borrower. Have them write down any stumbling points, and address those issues. Were they able to find what they needed?

And most importantly: could they figure out how to take the next step?

5. Experimentation and Testing

Implementing a mortgage lead generation strategy is the first step in a long process of experimentation and improvement. But there’s more work to do, and that includes tracking and testing.

Tracking is fairly simple. You can use a program like Google analytics to determine (A) where your visitors are coming from, (B) how they interact with your website, and (C) how many are “converting” into leads via submission forms or other channels.

Next, you need to understand the concept of “A/B testing.” This can help you fine-tune and improve your mortgage lead generation strategy over time, by testing one item at a time.

A/B testing involves comparing two versions (A and B) of a web page to determine which one performs better. You test two different versions of an element, like a call-to-action button or form, to identify the version that generates more leads or conversions.

Just make sure you are only testing one item at a time, with all other page components being the same. If you make multiple changes in a single test, you won’t know which one produced the new results.

Here’s how to do A/B testing to maximize mortgage website lead generation:

  1. Choose an element to test: Headline, call-to-action button, loan pre-approval form layout, interest rate display format, etc. Anything that might impact lead generation.
  2. Create two variations: Slightly modify the chosen element in each version. Keep everything else (design, content, navigation) the exact same.
  3. Show each variation to a similar audience: Google Analytics can help split your website traffic evenly between the two versions.
  4. Track which version performs better: Monitor lead generation metrics like form submissions, phone calls, or email sign-ups for each variation.
  5. Analyze the results: See which variation attracted more leads and improved your conversion rate.
  6. Go with the winner: Implement the winning variation on your mortgage website or marketing materials to generate more leads going forward.

This process allows you to make data-driven decisions that can improve your mortgage lead generation strategy over time. Instead of guessing what does or doesn’t work, you can let the data guide you.

Key Takeaways from This Guide

We’ve covered a lot of useful information in this guide, and it’s a lot to absorb. So let’s wrap up by summarizing some of the key points:

Organic vs. Paid Leads

  • Organic: Built through blogging, SEO, social media, etc. Sustainable but slower to develop.
  • Paid: Purchased from lead generators or through advertising. Faster but less lasting.
  • Mortgage brokers can benefit from both, depending on budget and goals.

5 Strategies for Organic Lead Generation

  1. Traffic: Generate consistent website traffic (100+ daily for local, 1000+ for regional). Use organic methods like blogging, SEO, and social media marketing.
  2. Lead Generators: Encourage website visitors to contact you. Include prominent contact information, CTAs, forms, exit-intent popups, calculators, and live chat.
  3. Differentiator: Set yourself apart from competitors. Specialize in a niche, offer valuable resources, streamline processes, or provide virtual consultations.
  4. Website Usability: Make it easy for your visitors to navigate your website and find information.
  5. Track & Test: Continuously improve your strategy through data analysis and A/B testing. Track website traffic and conversions, and test different elements to identify what works best.

How We Can Help You

There’s no easy button when it comes to mortgage lead generation online. If you want to produce more leads through your own mortgage website, you have to invest some time, resources and energy.

Content marketing services graphic

But our content marketing services can give you a big head start. We offer a comprehensive package that includes everything from blogging to search engine optimization. Our content marketing services can help you steadily increase your website traffic, so that you can generate more leads down the road.

Brandon Cornett

Brandon Cornett is a mortgage content marketing expert with 17 years of experience. He also created the Home Buying Institute, one of the nation's leading informational websites for home buyers.

Brandon Cornett

Brandon Cornett is a mortgage content marketing expert with 17 years of experience. He also created the Home Buying Institute, one of the nation's leading informational websites for home buyers.