Reverse mortgage industry advertising has had a prominent presence on television, particularly from large lenders with national presence. However, there are a lot of opportunities for advertising on television beyond the national stage, and targeting your local community with paid advertising slots on programs that have a senior viewership could be a beneficial exercise.
This is according to Jarred Talmadge, western sales manager at Simple Reverse Lending, the reverse mortgage division of Addison, Tex.-based Click n’ Close, Inc. In a recent episode of The RMD Podcast, Talmadge sat down to discuss some of his forays into TV advertising and how it helps to drive business.
How well local TV advertising works
Generally speaking, when asked to appraise the effectiveness of advertising on TV, Talmadge believes it’s been very effective.
“And I think the difference is when I go on local TV and I start talking about the reverse mortgage — the true secret to it, if you want to call a secret at all — is I go on there [see it as a win] if I can educate one person who’s watching this show,” Talmadge says. “If I can get just one person to really think about this as an option, that is the thing where I think most people fall down on.”
The reason he feels that way is because some people may feel pressured or intimidated by the television medium to go as broad or as big as possible, and to really sell the product hard. That tends to be counterproductive, Talmadge says, and the personal approach is far more beneficial.
“Saying, ‘hey, let me tell you about what it is that we do,’ or ‘let me tell you about how we’ve helped people,’” he says. “[You don’t want people to think it’s] just another sales pitch. I want to be the educator behind it, and to be able to provide [them] with information. […] To me ultimately, the end-all-be-all is that we have to educate people about this product because the more we educate people, the less pushback we’re going to get as an industry, which is good for all of us.”
Measuring success in TV advertising
One key thing to keep in mind, Talmadge has found, is that a local TV appearance does not tend to translate into an overnight influx of inbound calls. It tends to be a bit longer form in terms of what the success looks like, however there are occasionally viewers who are particularly zealous who may stop what they’re doing while the appearance is airing to call in.
“When it comes to success on TV, I look at it as a long tail process,” he says. “We’ve had people where we make an appearance and literally the phone will start ringing as soon as we make the appearance, and then I’ve had other times where it maybe takes two or three days after they do it.”
It’s also generally helpful to look at the full process stemming from TV advertising as a cumulative one, where Talmadge will look at whether or not the expense is immediately justifiable or if it’s more of a longer-term prospect.
“My first measure, honestly, is asking if I can at least get it to pay for itself,” he says. “And almost all the time, it always pays for itself. It’s the local tweaks that you have to do that will really change it. I mean, I’ve been doing this for about a year, and I’m just now getting to the point where I can tweak it and know what to say.”
Tweaks and presence
Those tweaks are often made to create a bit of individualized attention to the markets he will be making an appearance in, but determining the best ways to make those approaches involved a lot of trial and error, he says.
“Because a lot of it we don’t control,” he says. “I don’t control when on the segment I’m going to be on, or what day of the week I’m going to appear. I simply say when I’m available and what we’d like to do, and they call me up and [with a day and] time to show up.”
Some of those tweaks he mentioned could be tailored to a particular interest relevant to seniors in the local community, or it could be in response to broader, national news and how it can affect the retirement prospects of people within the reverse mortgage demographic, he explains.
For Talmadge, another key to being successful comes from being genuine and having a degree of stage or screen presence in how information about the reverse mortgage product is related to viewers.
“I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve watched where the person is just flat,” he says. “And you could tell that they’re reading bullet points. The truth is you have to have a personality on TV or people don’t pay attention to you. And once I figured that out, that’s when it really kind of took off.”
Listen to the full conversation with Talmadge on The RMD Podcast.