Reverse Mortgage Marketing – Newspaper Column

One of the key parts to marketing is using the right media. While many people and businesses are getting out of using print media such as newspapers. The reality is that for loan officers that specialize in reverse mortgages, newspapers are an excellent media for us to utilize.

Take a look at the chart below created by Alan D Mutter

reverse mortgage marketing and advertising in newspapers, using newspapers to advertise reverse mortgages

I am guessing here, but I am probably right, that over 50% of readers of newspapers are 62 or older. That means at least 1 of every reader could potentially get a reverse mortgage. As a marketer, you have to love those kinds of numbers.

But these numbers get even more exciting when you take a look at the home-ownership rates based on age.

I found this chart from an article on Forbes. This is a combination of data from the census bureau and data collected by RealtyTrac.

marketing to senior homeowners, ownership rates of seniors

Is that amazing or what? Almost 80% of seniors own a home. You have a media that you can use, where over 50% of the users of that media, are your targeted age and 80% of those targeted readers own a home. This is highly targeted advertising opportunity for your reverse mortgage business.

There are multiple ways that you can use newspapers to advertise for reverse mortgages.

  1. Display Ads – Personally I am not a fan of display advertising. However, your newspaper sales rep will try and sell you on the power of “branding”. And how people might not call today, but when they need a reverse, they will remember your ads and call you. NOT! Display ads are expensive, hard to track and more often than not, you end up wasting money and make the conclusion that newspaper advertising does not work. Which you are right in this case.
  2. Advertorials – I love advertorials. An advertorial looks like an article but it is truly an advertisement. The thing you have to remember is that people do not buy newspapers to read advertisements, they buy them for the articles. If you write an article, it will get read.Now, the proper way to use an advertorial is to offer some sort of free information to generate a lead. AAG is by far one of the best companies at doing this. They offer free DVD’s and other information in order to generate leads. I would highly recommend using a call tracking service like CallFire that you can use to drive your leads to. I would also recommend setting up a squeeze page on your site or a separate website to drive leads to in order for them to fill out their information in order to get the free DVD, report, book, booklet etc. that you are offering.
  3. Write A Column – I just started doing this. Last month was my first article. However, there was a bit of a problem which I will talk about in a second.The paper is a monthly and covers the southwest part of the state where I live and am licensed. There is a distribution of about 30,000 papers. It is a freebie paper that gets distributed at restaurants, bingo halls, hospitals and grocery store stands,  etc. And it is targeted at seniors.I am getting a half page “article” for $300 a month. My column in the paper looks just like every other column in the paper. There is no “advertising” vibe about it.

    I am usually able to get about 500 to 550 words in my article. In the beginning is my name, picture, name of my column and title for the article. At the end is my company contact information, logo, MLO, NMLS and other compliance information.

February was my first month being in the paper. I got exactly 0 calls. However, there is a reason for this. The editor sent me an email at 9:40PM the night before with a proof and a message stating they were going to press the next morning.

I freaked out when I saw it. It was totally non-compliant. I told both the sales person and the editor that I had to have my compliance department review the ad, article, what ever you want to call it,  before they could run it.  Anyway, I sent him all the stuff needed to make it compliant, he made the changes and then I had the secretary at my corporate office running around trying to find someone from compliance. They approved it. Phew!

The paper gets printed. They drop some off at my office. And that is when I realize they put in the wrong number. I was so focused on making sure it was compliant that I did not even look at the number and check that it was right.

They did the right thing and did not charge me for that month.

So, March will be the first month it is running with a “working” phone number. I will update this blog post at the end of March and let you know how it is working.

Now, some things for you to know. First, most of the daily “City” newspapers are going to be very expensive to run advertising in on a daily basis. If you want to try this method, I would pick one day of the week and give it a go. Also, more than likely, they will require you to put “Advertising” at the top of your article.

I much prefer the smaller and privately owned papers. They are much more flexible and are willing to work with you and your needs.

Don’t forget to negotiate. The newspaper business is on a serious decline and they are desperate for advertisers. Just because their rate card says they charge X for Y space does not mean that is what you need to pay. I was able to knock 25% off my advertising. My article / column / ad or what ever you want to call it should have been $400 a month. It is only costing me $300. I could have probably got it for even less if I tried.

I honestly think there is going to be a massive ROI on my newspaper advertising. I won’t be surprised if I am getting at least 2 to 3 deals per month from it.