There’s been a lot of attention on the title insurance industry in New York lately. The Department of Financial Services' newest regulations hit the title industry hard by forbidding traditional approaches to persuade mortgage providers, real estate attorneys, and developers to work with them. Wining and dining have been mainstays of marketing costs for the industry for a long time. The worry of state regulators like the DFS is that these costs for steak dinners, Madison Square box seats, and Casino trips are being unfairly passed to the consumer.
Whether you agree with these restrictions and the reasoning of the New York DFS and other state and federal regulators or not, it’s clear that title companies have to pivot their strategies amid these unpredictable regulations. Wining and dining can get expensive. For smaller title companies that can’t keep up with the expenses of larger and longer established contenders in the industry, how can you grow your business?
What are some other marketing strategies that title insurance companies and agents can utilize to make an impact in the industry and grow their business?
By leveraging an online presence, creating and promoting educational and helpful content, and utilizing specialized tools and services, you can target your ideal clients without leaving your office. Basically, when you show that you offer value to your audience, they come to you. The best part about these tips is that after you apply them to grow your business, you can, in turn, help your clients implement these strategies to gain more leads and ultimately grow together.
Nearly 35% of all homebuyers made an offer on a property sight unseen. For millennials, that number rose to 45%. People are doing business online. Thanks to e-closing software, the entire real estate transaction is starting to become a virtual experience! And it’s not just consumers. Businesses also access information about potential partners through the internet. Not having a website or Facebook page that’s regularly updated will mean countless lost opportunities. It also creates suspicion in some consumers’ minds to the legitimacy of your business and your industry authority.
Obviously, you’re a busy real estate professional and you don’t have the time to create a website on your own. When you are prospecting a potential website developer be sure to ask yourself these questions:
- Does the website template have strong calls-to-action to capture leads?
- Does the content of your site clearly communicate what you do and provide a strong “value-add” statement?
- Is the navigation bar easy to understand?
- Is there a section for blogging/resources?
- What is the site experience like on mobile? (There are more mobile internet users than desktop internet users.)
- How easy is it to update information on the site?
Outbound methods of gaining new business like cold calling and flyers are simply not effective anymore. 84% of B2B buyers are now starting their purchasing with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions. People are avoiding sales calls. How do you get their attention?
Offer valuable and educational content to your audience
So, you’ve established an online presence. You have a well-designed user-friendly website that clearly communicates your services and value to the consumer. You’ve set up multiple social media accounts. What now?
The best way to create title industry authority is to write what you know and promote it on social media. You are the expert, so you should demonstrate how your company and services provide a solution to your clients' needs. Check out the blog at Hallmark Abstract Service, LLC about the new DFS rules on the New York title industry. The company does a great job of creating thought leadership by providing timely commentary on issues the industry faces and promoting the content on various social media platforms.
Blogging is an inbound strategy that works for every industry. Regularly blogging (at least once a week, but some marketers recommend 2-3 times a week) generates 126% more leads for businesses than those who don’t. Writing can consume a lot of time, so some companies outsource this to professional content writers. This may seem like a good idea, but many experts warn that this could result in sub-par content. It’s good to inject your unique perspectives and personality into your content. Even though people are doing business online, ultimately, people want to connect on a personal level with your business. Lots of people do what you do, show what sets you apart.
Share information from other sources on social media that’s helpful to your audience. When it comes to social sharing, it’s a good idea to follow the 4-1-1 rule. For every 1 piece of your own content like your blog that you share, you want to share 4 pieces of content from other sources that are relevant to your audience and 1 piece of sales-related content for your product or services.
Quality of engagement will depend on the quality of your content. In a study conducted by LinkedIn and Edelman, 52% of business decision-makers said that they use thought-leadership content to vet an organisation before deciding to work with it, 37% said they had added a company to an Request for Proposal list as a result of such content, and 45% said that it had led them directly to award a supplier a piece of business. But the same study also warns that content that disappointed decision-makers resulted in 30% of them removing companies from consideration.
Downloadable content offers help capture potential clients’ information so you can then engage with your leads via email. Be sure to include relevant content offers with your blog posts that your audience can use to make their jobs easier and grow their business.
Be mindful of RESPA laws and be aware of your state’s rules. Fortunately, the DFS hasn’t banned promotional material, so you can provide great co-branded content like infographics, white papers, and video for real estate agents.
Don’t forget about consumers when you are writing and creating content for your audiences. As an insightful video from ALTA shows, the general consumer doesn’t really know what title insurance is. This is a great opportunity for you to educate the consumer and gain their business. They will be asking their real estate agent for you!
Search engine optimization isn’t for the faint of heart. SEO is not a 'set it and forget it' kind of deal. Researching keywords your clients use to find solutions to their problems and optimizing your website to get eyes on your pages is an on-going activity. There is, unfortunately, no way around it. This may require you to seek outside help from a professional in SEO, so you can concentrate on what you do best.
For title companies looking to reach local buyers and Realtors, get familiar with how you can leverage local SEO and rank higher with a Google MyBusiness pages.
Tools and services to help you generate leads and grow
It’s understandable that if you own or are a part of a small company or law firm, you don’t have time to do all of these things from scratch. Fortunately, you have lots options these days to assist you in growing your digital efforts as a title company. The following are a list of some digital resources. Check them out. Many have free trials or free versions of their software to help you decide if they’re a good fit for you.
Website design and content management
Design tools for non-designers
Marketing services for the title and real estate industry
Title Tap provides digital solutions for title companies and real estate attorneys.
Be sure you’re involved with industry authorities like the American Land Title Association (ALTA) or your state title association. Building relationships with these entities creates trust in consumers.They also offer valuable resources and guides for every aspect of the title industry.
Think strategically, not tactically
Creating an effective plan takes patience and experimentation. The inbound methodology can have a slow start but the lasting impact is well worth the wait. When working with an outside team, be sure that there is a long-term strategy that’s agile. The tactics should align with the overall strategy and reflect your company’s mission and vision.
Are you blogging or using any of the tools or services we mentioned? Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions to add to the list!