2 Parts

9 Robust Marketing Strategies to Grow and Scale Lending Business Exponentially

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Scaling your lending business should not be that hard as long as you follow proven strategies directly responsible for its growth.

It is really not rocket science. In order to grow your lending business you need to take care of the following two things:

  1. Be able to generate qualified leads on a consistent basis.
  2. Be able to effectively convert those leads into clients.

In this in-depth guide, I’ve outlined 9 of the most effective strategies as well as some of the essential tools that will help you take care of the mentioned above two key aspects and ultimately help you take your lending company to the next level.

Part 1: Lead Generation Strategies

Industry Websites

Industry websites are a great place to generate qualified leads to grow your lending business. But what do I mean by industry websites?

Generally speaking, an industry site is any website that caters to a specific audience within a particular industry. One of the main reasons why industry sites are so valuable is because they have access to the audience that you target.

And as you know, when you put a relevant offer in front of a qualified prospect, magic happens! So how can you generate leads for your lending company on those industry websites?

Here are a few options:


#1 Business Directories

What are business directories? Business directories are websites that list different types of businesses in various locations. Their goal is to satisfy their visitors’ needs by presenting them with a list of relevant companies that offer a service/product those visitors are searching for.

For example, let’s say a real estate investor is looking for a loan for his next deal on a business directory website. That directory presents him with a list of five private money lenders to choose from.

Do you think our investor will initiate a contact? You bet he will!

Business directories can be a holy grail for business owners. However, not all business directories are created equal. You need to make sure you sign up only to industry-specific business directories and ignore the general ones.

General business directories are too generic. They list any type of companies on the planet making themselves too broad and untargeted.

As you probably know, when you target everyone, you target no one.

Therefore, to maximize your return on investment, concentrate on identifying business directories within your particular industry and sign up to them.

Usually, business directories let you create your company profile on their websites. Many lenders miss out here by partially filling out their business profiles. They just add a few details here and there and leave.

Don’t be one of them.

Since each directory will most likely have many businesses like yours, you’ll need to stand out to get the attention of your prospective clients.

The best way to do that is to fully utilize provided functionality such as filling out every field of your business profile, submit client reviews, engage with other users, etc.

Here I’ve listed all the industry-specific business directories you should consider adding your lending business to:

  1. Real Estate Bees lenders directory
  2. HouseCashin private money lenders directory
  3. BiggerPockets hard money lenders directory
  4. HardMoneyHome hard money lenders directory
  5. Private Lender Link private money lenders directory
  6. Private Lenders private money lenders directory
  7. REIClub hard money lenders directory
  8. Zillow lenders directory


#2 Forums & Communities

Similarly to business directory websites, industry-specific forums and communities can be an incredible mortgage lead generator for lenders.

What is even better, most of the time it is completely free to use compared to business directories that often require payment to get greater visibility on their platforms.

The key to succeeding on those forums and communities is to be helpful by answering questions. You need to avoid trying to plug in your company in every answer.

The goal here is to answer other users’ questions in the best possible way to demonstrate your industry expertise without self promotion.

After a while of being active, people will start asking you about your business on their own. It is all about providing value by answering questions on the subject of your expertise.

This positions you as an industry expert making your prospective clients trust you.

As you probably know, trust is one of the most important considerations when it comes to consumers making a decision who to do business with.

So, don’t underestimate the power of industry-specific forums and communities. They work if you provide value on a consistent basis without self promotion.

Here I’ve listed all the industry-specific forums and communities you should consider joining:

  1. BiggerPockets real estate investing forum
  2. Connected Investors real estate investing forum
  3. REIClub real estate investing forum
  4. RealEstateInvesting.com real estate investing forum


#3 Sponsored Opportunities

Most of the industry websites, be it a business directory, forum or a community, offer various sponsored opportunities to lenders to get higher visibility on their platforms to reach more prospects and ultimately help them scale their private lending business.

These sponsored opportunities for finding real estate investors come in different shapes and forms. Nevertheless, the most popular ones are:

  • Premium business listings
  • Native ads
  • Email blasts
  • Sponsored posts
  • Banner ads

It is worth allocating a portion of your marketing budget to one or more of these sponsored opportunities and see what ROI each brings.

It is important to note that some opportunities will require a longer time frame to be able to objectively evaluate the results while others will provide an instant outcome.

For instance, if you invest in an email blast to a targeted list of subscribers offered by one of the industry websites, most likely you’ll be able to evaluate the results within 24 hours.

On the other hand, if you decide to invest in native ads on one of the industry websites, you’ll need to commit to at least several months to a year to objectively judge the results.

Lead generation via sponsored opportunities certainly works. You just need to try different options and see what works best for you.

Here I’ve listed all the sponsored opportunities on industry-specific websites you should consider investing in:


Email Marketing

Email is still one of the best ways to reach people. And so, if you want to scale your private lending company, email should definitely be part of your marketing arsenal.

In order to start marketing via email, you should have a list of target email addresses first.

So, how do you get an email list of your prospective clients? There are quite a few ways. Below I’ve listed the three most common ones:


#1 Build Your Own List

Right off the bat, I can tell you that building your own list is a must. And the sooner you start building it the better. There are various ways to build your email list.

You can come up with a valuable offer that you will give away for free in exchange for a visitor’s name and email address.

That said, for lenders who work with real estate investors, there is a better way to build an email list. Since investors are always on a lookout for good deals, you as a lender, can offer them to join your buyers list.

Investors will fill out a form providing you with their buying criteria so every time there is a new property matching that criteria, an automated email will be sent out.

Not only do you get to build your email list but you also stay in touch with your audience making yourself the lender of choice once they find the right property.

I expanded on this whole process in the “Follow Up System” section below. Make sure you read it carefully because this feature alone can take your lending business to the next level!


#2 Rent Someone Else’s List

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have your own email list, because there are workarounds. One of them is to rent an email list from someone else who has one.

Of course, depending on the size and engagement of the list, the rental price will vary greatly.

However, it is a viable way for you to get in front of your target audience without owning your own email list. In fact, you can start building your own email list by renting other people’s lists.

But this is a completely different topic that I won’t be covering here.


#3 Purchase an Existing List

Another way to get started with email marketing is to purchase an existing email list. This could be a really nice shortcut.

However, oftentimes this route isn’t worth the trouble unless you really trust the list seller and are confident about the way it was assembled and maintained.

You see, even though purchasing legitimately assembled email lists for B2B purposes is not considered illegal practice, there are still a lot of technicalities that nobody talks about.

These little details can potentially destroy your email deliverability rate and damage sender reputation unless you know how to properly handle purchased email lists.


Search Engine Marketing

Marketing your lending firm via search engines should be one of your top priorities if you want to build a sustainable flow of highly-targeted and qualified visitors to your website.

In general, you can attract search traffic to your website through the following two ways:


#1 Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an art and a science at the same time. In simple words, SEO is a process of understanding the requirements of popular search engines and then applying them to your website.

Of course, in reality there are a lot of things involved behind that statement. But it is in a nutshell what SEO is.

What I want you to take away from here is the importance of your lending company being able to be found in search engines’ organic results in one of the three first spots.

Organic traffic from search engines is one of the most valuable traffic sources due to its nature of being highly targeted and highly converting.

Therefore, as I mentioned previously, if you want to build a sustainable flow of highly-targeted and qualified visitors to your website, reserve a portion of your marketing budget for real estate SEO.


#2 Paid Ads

Paid ads is an advertising platform offered by most of the popular search engines in order to help advertisers reach highly-targeted search engine traffic.

Regardless of whether your lending website is already crushing it in search by dominating the top organic results, with paid ads you’ll be able to get greater market share and attract more borrowers.

At the same time, if you don’t have any organic visibility in search engines yet, this is your chance to get in front of those highly-targeted visitors by utilizing paid ads programs.

Either way, investing in paid ads can help you drive targeted traffic to your lending business.


Social Media Marketing

Social media can be another great lead generation tool for lenders. One of the major advantages of social media is its enormous user base.

According to various sources, around 60% of the total global population use social media. This is a huge number and it increases each year.

This means that your future clients are on social media. If you properly utilize this channel for your lending business, you’ll be able to build an additional source of predictable revenue.

Below I’ve listed three main methods to generate leads through social media:


#1 Organic Reach

You need to remember that even though social media platforms have billions of users, they come to those platforms for completely different purposes.

Unlike search engines where people come to find answers to their questions, social media users come to socialize and have fun on social media platforms.

Therefore, you need to take a different approach when marketing your lending business on social media. Since people generally use social media to pass time and have fun, you need to create engaging content that will capture the attention of your prospective clients.

It shouldn’t always be about how you closed a loan here and loan there. Besides that type of content, try to provide value that your target audience would appreciate.

Maybe it is a monthly market update, a warning about a certain mistake that one of your clients almost made, or anything educational that your prospect clients would benefit from.

By creating engaging content on a consistent basis, your organic reach on social media platforms will expand.

Over time you’ll get a bigger following, which will ultimately help you grow and scale your lending company.


#2 Groups & Communities

Almost every popular social media platform has an ability to create public and private groups and communities.

Similarly to industry websites, these groups and communities are often created around particular subject matter making them very targeted.

So, your goal is to identify groups and communities on various social media platforms that either fully or partially consist of your target audience and then join them.

Once joined, similarly to industry forums, become active and start answering questions of other members.

The idea here is also to be helpful to build your credibility and establish trust. Stay consistent with that and people will start reaching out to you on their own.


#3 Paid Ads

Most popular social media platforms also offer paid advertising opportunities.

Even though it is more challenging to target specific audiences with paid ads on social media, it is usually significantly cheaper than advertising on search engines.

That said, leads generated via social media ads are usually of lower quality than leads generated through search engines, industry websites and other sources.

However, if you properly set up your ads campaign, the leads can be of a similar quality to other channels as well as the amount of those leads can be remarkably higher.


Lead Suppliers

Unlike other lead generation sources that require you or your team to be directly involved in the process, lead suppliers are a made-for-you service.

In other words, you pay these companies to generate leads for you without your involvement.

On the market, there are many lead providers and mortgage broker tools that sell leads among other functionalities. Some of them are good while some are not that good. In addition, lead suppliers operate with different payment models.

Three of the most common models are:


#1 Pay-Per-Lead

With the Pay-Per-Lead payment model, lenders pay a set amount for each received lead. In other words, you pay only for what you get.

Lead suppliers can charge lenders either immediately after each lead has been generated or once a month for all the leads received during that month.

Even though this model can be more favorable for the lenders, you usually will pay a higher rate per lead because this method involves more logistics and customer support from the lead supplier’s side.


#2 Fixed Monthly Retainer

With the monthly retainer payment model, lenders agree to pay a fixed amount per month to a lead provider that is not directly dependent on the amount of leads they will receive.

Usually lead suppliers will estimate the amount of leads a lender can expect to receive per month with this payment model.

On average, cost per lead in this model would typically be lower than with the Pay-Per-Lead model.

However, you’ll need to commit to a monthly fixed investment with a lead provider compared to a flexible monthly budget offered by the Pay-Per-Lead model.


#3 Partnerships

Some lead providers would agree to send leads to lenders without upfront payment in exchange to a certain percentage of the transaction when it closes. Such models are quite rare but they do exist.

That said, lead providers don’t just give away for free their leads to everyone.

Usually, they look to partner with lenders who run well-oiled internal systems and processes capable of predictably converting leads into clients.

So, if you don’t have your internal systems and processes in place in your lending business, perhaps this is not a good avenue for you to pursue.


Public Relations

Public relations, or simply – PR, is perhaps one of the oldest marketing strategies to grow a business of all those listed in this guide.

Nevertheless, it is still going strong and pulls phenomenal results. It did evolve over the years however.

Below I’ve outlined three most popular ways to promote your lending company by utilizing the power of public relations.


#1 Traditional PR

Traditional Public Relations (PR) tends to focus on more conventional media channels such as TV, radio, printed publications and general press. It can be quite effective if done on a consistent basis.

However, usually it requires a significant investment that most of the smaller lending businesses simply cannot afford.

That said, if your lending company has grown to a point where you have, at the very least, an extra $10k per month to spend on marketing, engaging a traditional PR firm can be a not bad idea.


#2 Digital PR

Digital PR is very similar to traditional PR except that the Digital PR tends to focus on other, cheaper yet no less effective, media channels.

Digital PR mostly concentrates on web-based media channels such as general and industry websites, blogs, social media platforms, search engines, video portals and influencers.

Besides its proven effectiveness, another remarkable advantage of Digital PR is that it is quite affordable to an average lender. Nowadays you can find agencies offering Digital PR service starting at $2.5k per month.

What even more exciting is that we came up with a 100% free of charge Press & Media Coverage Publicity Program exclusively for the members of Real Estate Bees platform.


#3 Press Releases

Press releases are often used to announce various news or events that are happening in an organization.

This media tool can be effective when it comes to PR since many reporters monitor the latest press releases and if they find something of interest, they can potentially cover it.

However, the vast majority of press releases stay unnoticed by reporters, thereby serving lending companies primarily as a news outlet.



A good old-fashioned networking never goes out of style. In fact, with the rise of the internet over the last few decades, networking only got extended from a typical in-person setting to a digital space.

Networking is certainly a very effective way to grow a business. However, at the same time it can be a big time waster if you invest your time in a wrong networking opportunities.

You need to focus your time on those networking opportunities that will benefit your lending company on the long run. Below I’ve listed a few opportunities you should consider incorporating in your business.


#1 Physical Events

What can be better than bonding with your potential clients face-to-face without having to sell them on your services?

How about networking with other, non-competing, real estate professionals who market to the same target audience as you do?

All that is easily achievable when you physically attend various industry seminars, conferences, local meet ups or other in-person events and build relationships with other attendees.

In-person events are a great way to acquire new clients, establish new strategic partnerships and ultimately grow your lending business.


#2 Sponsorships

Alternative way to find potential clients is by sponsoring industry events.

Whether you lend on owner-occupied properties, non-owner-occupied properties, business or something else, there are numerous physical events being held every month.

So, if you want to reach your target audience attending those events and have the opportunity to introduce your business, consider becoming a sponsor of one or more of your local industry events.


#3 Online Communities

Similarly to physical events where you can meet potential clients and partners face-to-face, online communities also provide that benefit of networking with other like minded people but digitally.

There are numerous industry-specific online communities available on the internet. We already discussed some of them in the sections above.

Among them are forums, blogs, social media groups, communities on platforms like Reddit, Slack, Tumblr and many more.

Part 2: Essential Tools

Website Solution

It is true that once you start diligently implementing my recommendations from the first part of this guide, you’ll begin seeing prospects reaching out to you through whatever platform you are using.

However, I’d highly recommend directing all your prospects from those different traffic channels straight to your own website.

The goal is to take your prospects sourced through 3rd party platforms (not controlled by you) and direct them to your own website (100% controlled by you).

This is an essential step to take in order to make your business independent of any 3rd party platforms.

There is a caveat though. If your own website is not optimized for conversions, directing your prospects to it won’t make much difference.

Below I have outlined two types of websites where one will serve as your 24/7 lead generation machine and the other simply take up space on the web with little to no output.


#1 Specialized Website

A specialized website is a website that is developed not only by digital marketing and technology experts but also by professionals from within the industry.

Professionals who run a lending business day-in-and-day-out know very intimately what their target audience’s needs are.

Therefore, a website that has been strategically created with industry professionals’ insider knowledge in conjunction with digital marketers’ expertise is a winning tool to convert visitors into leads.

Even though there are plenty of marketing agencies specializing in marketing lending businesses, there is not a single decent website solution created specifically for lenders.

This is why my team and I, along with a select group of lending industry experts, took on ourselves the responsibility to develop a one-of-a-kind, innovative website solution specifically tailored for lending businesses!

The product is still currently in development but if you’re interested in being the first one to know when we release the Beta version to a limited number of lenders, feel free to join the waiting list here.


#2 Generic Website

A generic website is a website that is solely developed by digital marketers who don’t have any industry-related insight of what the specific target audience’s wants and needs.

Unfortunately, most of the websites on the internet today fall under this category.

In fact, this is also true for the vast majority of marketing agencies who specialize in a particular niche.

The websites these companies build are slightly more targeted compared to those built by generalist agencies.

They may have important features integrated such as customer support tools and lead capturing forms. But they are still lacking some of the essential elements appealing particularly to a specific audience in a given niche.

There are quite a few agencies saying they specialize in real estate. But most of them have only worked with agents. You may be offered a website solution designed for agents, with some adjustments made for your lending business. It may be built with real estate website design rules in mind but miss particularities of a lending business.

When choosing a website design and development agency to hire, try to find one who truly caters to lenders. My article about 9 essential components of a lending website will help you understand what to look for.

Nevertheless, regardless of the industry, business owners tend to hire generalist marketing agencies to handle their digital marketing needs. This also includes building a company website.

As I already mentioned, the problem here is that generalist agencies don’t understand the specific industry a particular client is in.

They have no idea how to tailor a website to the target audience of that client. So they just build a generic, cookie-cutter website like they do for the rest of their clients and expect it to work!

Sure, it will convert some prospects here and there. But it is like night and day in comparison to the specialized website.

It is like having two salespeople in your organization trying to sell the same product.

One salesperson is overall good in sales yet doesn’t fully know all the intricacies of your particular product while the other knows the product inside out and can address any objections raised by potential customers.

Which one do you think will land more clients?


Follow Up System

It is a well established fact that many of the deals are lost due to a poor or a complete absence of follow up after a lead has been generated.

This is why you need to make sure you have your follow up sequence in place for different scenarios that can occur in your lending business.

Below I’ve listed some effective follow up mechanisms that you might want to consider implementing, if haven’t already implemented, in your business.

Without a doubt it will help you grow your lending business to the next level.


#1 Property Alerts

Property alerts is an undercover, non-threatening and automated follow up mechanism that every real estate lending company must utilize in their business.

Whether you offer owner-occupied or non-owner-occupied loan products, many of your potential borrowers are still in the stage where they are looking for the right property to purchase.

This gives you an opportunity to capture this segment of your target audience and keep following up with them until they are ready to purchase a property.

Here is how it works. Your prospect visits your website to inquire about your loan products. But in that stage they are still not ready to take a loan because they haven’t found the right property yet.

So you will offer them to either join your preferred buyers list (if you target real estate investors) or sign up for property alerts (if you target home shoppers).

They will fill out a short questionnaire asking them to provide their buying criteria.

Once they’re done, your follow up system will start sending them automated email/text notifications whenever a property matching their buying criteria is available for sale.

Such functionality is essential for every real estate lender because it achieves three very important goals:

  1. It will help you build your own email list of prospects actively looking for properties to purchase.
  2. It will make your prospects constantly return to your website to browse currently available inventory making your company a valuable resource.
  3. It will help you build trustworthy relationships with your prospects making your company their go-to lender.


#2 CRM System

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is another crucial technology tool you should have in place in your lending business.

Mortgage CRM software is used to perform various low, moderate and high importance activities on autopilot to streamline internal processes of a business.

For example, it can be integrated with your real estate AI chatbot and send automatic follow ups to users who have interacted with it.

There are numerous CRM systems on the market today. Some are better than others. However, most of them have all the necessary features every lender needs to support and grow their business.

It doesn’t matter which CRM software you use as long as you use one.

Though the initial setup of CRM software for mortgage lenders can be challenging, most of the CRM providers offer custom setup for an additional, one-time fee. This is a minor investment for what you’ll get in return.

Think about it: they will set up and automate your particular workflow you use in your day-to-day operations.

So, if you are serious about growing and scaling your lending firm, you must have a working CRM system.


About the Author:

Oleg Donets is a serial entrepreneur, technology and digital marketing strategist with a solid track record. Since 2013, he has been successfully helping numerous startups and established companies from a wide range of industries to launch, grow and scale their businesses by utilizing his innovative technology solutions and progressive marketing strategies. Oleg is a founder of Real Estate Bees, a cutting-edge technology & marketing platform for the real estate industry. Oleg is also a proud business mentor at SCORE, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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