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May 1, 2024

Consistency wins: Proven strategies for local growth

with Alec Hanson
CMO at loanDepot

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Summary

In this episode of the Local Marketing Lab, Alec Hanson, the Chief Marketing Officer at loanDepot, shares his valuable insights on the power of consistency and authenticity in content creation for local growth. With over 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Alec unpacks proven strategies for local growth that have helped him and countless others achieve explosive business growth through content marketing. Alec also shares candid insights on overcoming excuses and embracing change, inspiring you to leverage new marketing channels for increased influence and local growth.

The power of consistency. Consistency is the key to building an audience and staying top-of-mind with potential customers. Even when it feels uncomfortable or like your content isn’t gaining traction, the cumulative effect of consistently showing up and providing value will eventually pay off. Alec shares real-life examples of how persistent content creation has opened up new opportunities and relationships for local businesses.

Finding your authentic voice. By finding your unique voice and sharing your expertise in an authentic way, you’ll be able to connect with your audience on a deeper level and build trust. Alec provides practical tips on how to discover and embrace your authentic style, making your content stand out from the crowd.

Overcoming excuses and embracing change. In today’s digital world, Alec challenges the common excuses that prevent people from creating content and leveraging new marketing channels. He argues that embracing these changes and stepping out of your comfort zone is essential for increasing your influence and driving local growth. Alec’s candid insights will inspire you to stop making excuses and start taking action.

With a wealth of knowledge and a contagious passion for content marketing, Alec’s guidance in this episode is a must-listen for local businesses seeking proven strategies for local growth. Increase your reach, build lasting relationships, and stay top-of-mind in your communities.

Key Takeaways

Here are some topics discussed in the episode around proven strategies for local growth:

  • The role of consistency and vulnerability in building trust and relationships with your audience
  • How to find your unique voice and authentic style in content creation
  • The importance of embracing new marketing channels and tactics
  • Learning from successful content creators and industry leaders
  • Real-life examples and success stories of content creators who’ve achieved explosive business growth

It’s amazing, the power of consistency. It’s unreal, the power of consistency.

ALEC HANSON
Strategies for local growth - Be consistent with creating content

Resources

Other shout-outs

  • Gary Vee – His content is always a treasure trove of marketing wisdom.
  • Chris Do – A master marketer.
  • Anthony Hsieh – Founder of loanDepot; serve customers the way they want to be served.

Transcript

Justin Ulrich
What’s up everyone, and welcome to the Local Marketing Lab, where you get real-world insights from industry pros to help you drive local revenue and local for growth. This podcast is brought to you by Evocalize – digital marketing tools powered by local data that automatically work where and when your locations need it most. Learn more at evocalize.com

Well, what’s up? And welcome to the Local Marketing Lab. Joining us in the lab today is a guest with over 20 years of experience in the mortgage space. He’s received numerous awards from Scotsman as well as HousingWire. He’s the host of Modern Lending podcast, as well as the author of Bypassed and the Modern Lending Playbook, chief marketing officer of loanDepot, Alec Hanson. Thanks for joining us in the lab, my friend.

Alec Hanson
Let’s go, man. Yeah, you definitely buttered me up. That was good. That was a lot of, a lot of nice words. Thank you, dude.

Justin Ulrich
Usually we like to throw, like, you know, he likes long walks on the beach, but, you know, I didn’t get that information about you, so. Yeah. Well, perfect. Well, thanks. Thanks again for joining us. 

You know, I think one of the things that was really exciting to get you on the show is just your background because you’ve been there and done that as an LO. And you kind of came up, you know, winning. Obviously, you’re award-winning in the space in terms of, like, you’ve hit the president’s club, you’ve hit the rookie of the year awards. So I think you have some really good insight. But before we kind of get into your insights, I’d like to hear a little bit maybe about your background and what your role is over at loanDepot.

Alec Hanson
Yeah, absolutely, man. So I’ve worked, I worked here 13 years. Long, long time. And, you know, absolutely love the team and love the company and love the mission. And for a long time, I was in the sales production leadership side of the house. So I was running the western United States, our branch network, and super passionate about our retail channel. That’s kind of where I came up. Boots on the ground, people. 

And then I joked that I got asked to be the CMO because I put videos on the Internet. But literally our team kind of grabbed me and said, we’d like you to consider being our CMO. And I was like, what do you talking about? Like, I’m just a sales guy. But clearly, you know, I have a ton of passion around this space. You know, I wrote a book about it. I started six years ago personally getting really, you know, deep into it. I think sales and marketing and local and digital are all blending in unique ways, and it’s becoming a new thing. 

And so, I always kind of just consider myself more of a practitioner than somebody who is like a guru or went to school or trying to figure it out that way. So, yeah, I’m just trying to make an impact and so, yeah, I’m really honored to serve in this capacity as CMO right now and help run our brand direction and help support our local pros and our digital pros and all that stuff. So it’s a blast.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, no, it sounds like a ton of fun. It’s always good to be part of an organization, too, that welcomes your creativity and allows you as a marketing professional or as a creative to shine. And you put out a ton of content. 

And what I love about it is it’s like, it’s branded, but it also is a lot of fun. And it’s not just, like, stale corporate branded content, which can happen, especially in a space like the mortgage space, which may not have, you know, the most exciting reputation from a marketer’s standpoint.

Alec Hanson
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of opportunity. You know, the mortgages are boring. I mean, I hate to say it, but, like, there’s no joke in our industry. Like, nobody wants a mortgage. And it’s true. It’s a vehicle. It’s a means to an end. It’s incredible what it can do, but, it’s a pain in the butt. Like, to get one and to deal with the paperwork and the process. 

So I think there’s a huge opportunity for education, a huge opportunity to kind of open the doors a little bit wider and let people see what’s really going on and humanize the brand, too, because it’s people here that are making the magic happen. It’s not a pure, like, you know, like, technology line. There’s humans here. So try to showcase all that.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. You know, in the mortgage industry, like, everyone who’s listening, like, LO’s out there. Like, they get it. They know that mortgages, people aren’t buying one every day. They’re not getting one every day. So there’s a long nurture cycle that you have to take your sphere through to ensure that, when it comes time for them to make a decision that you’re top of mind, but until then, you have to provide value along the way.

Alec Hanson
Mm hmm. 100%.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah. I caught a video of yours when I was digging in a little bit in your background, and it’s the one that you’ve got on your site or the “what if” episode, which I absolutely love because I’m a huge Marvel fan. But, the CTA at the end of it was something that stood out to me because it’s something that if you’ve ever listened to other episodes of this podcast, like we call out quite often and it’s just…you said specifically, turn on the lights, turn on the camera and show the world who you are. 

And a lot of times folks just get in their own way of creating the content of getting out there. Overplanning or whatever. Like, they just don’t give themselves permission to start producing. But you don’t need that.

Alec Hanson
No. You know, one of my biggest lessons I learned in sales coming up through this whole world, you know, the pre digital world where we had, you know, I had a cell phone, you know, thank you. But it was a Nokia and it had Snake on it and I had MapQuest printouts to find out where the open houses were. 

But like, in those early days of originations for me in my career, I knew that in order to have the career I wanted and the impact I wanted, I was going to have to get belly to belly with as many great agents and customers as I could in order to build relationships where they could have some level of trust in me that I would be, that I was a great resource and mortgage provider. 

And for somebody that has huge call reluctance, massive amounts of insecurity and is an introvert, that is like a nightmare. It’s like the worst situation ever is like go walk into open houses cold and meet these people who don’t want you to be there because you’re not a buyer and try to like, say hi and have small talk. Oh, my God. So it’s just, it was a nightmare. 

But I realized then that in order to get where I wanted to get, I had to put myself in those positions of vulnerability to get rejected, to get people to like, I had people hold up magazines and like, to ignore me, like straight up like this, the worst stuff, I’m like, I guess I’ll leave. But through that, you know, after grinding through it, you have these breakthrough moments where, you know, people remember your name and people don’t view you as annoying and you start to build real relationships and you start to get business. 

And you fast forward that same experience to the Internet today day where it’s like, hey, you have a chance to share who you are. You know, call it showcase your brand, but showcase your personality. Showcase your expertise, showcase your passion and your knowledge to countless people as a 24 hours a day salesperson for you because the video is just running all the time. And yes, it’s very uncomfortable, and it makes you have to get vulnerable. 

And because God forbid somebody’s going to see you there and judge you, which they’re going to. But the other side of that is this access and this business growth and this explosive opportunity that just. I’m on a mission more and more to inspire as many people as possible to kind of find that and unleash themselves because they get access to so much great stuff in their life if they just figure it out.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, for sure. The vulnerability is, is very real. And, you know, it’s. It’s one of those things where you have this level of discomfort, especially in your first video, but then your second video, your second post, your third one, your fourth one, it just gets easier and easier. 

And before you know it, like, in reality, like, if I were to put out a post organically on LinkedIn today, it’s gonna be seen by 1.5% of my audience. So that garbage video that I put out there that maybe I didn’t feel so comfortable or confident about, it’s not really going to be seen by that many folks in the grand scheme of things. But the practice and the constant release of content is what’s going to get in front of folks. 

And eventually, you’ll build that momentum, you’ll develop followers, you’ll stay top of mind, you’ll continue to nurture people, and you’ll bring in opportunities for yourself.

Alec Hanson
Dude, it’s so well said. It’s the same parallel of, like, the first time you meet with somebody to try to get their business or build trust with them. They’re not just going to give you a deal. Like, they’re not like, oh, thank God you showed up today. It’s the 22nd time that you pop in or that you call them or that you mail them something. 

And it’s the same truth with video content. It’s not one video that, maybe you go viral, but nobody really does. It’s the hundredth video where they’re like, oh, I keep seeing this guy or gal pop up and they’re just doing it right, and I like them and I’m gonna call them.

Justin Ulrich
Well, it gives you the ability to allow that likability to come across. It’s a very human experience to put yourself out there and to showcase yourself on video, and it allows your viewers to connect with you in ways that typically they’re not able to if they’re just seeing a branded piece of content or a newsletter or whatever it might be.

Alec Hanson
A thousand percent. A million percent. Yeah, exactly right.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah. It’s an incredible tool. And the other piece around social media is, it’s relatively free. I mean, it costs time.

Alec Hanson
It’s wild how, how powerful it is for something that’s free. I mean, I know, you’re right. It does cost time. But, you know, we have plenty of that. You have all 24 hours, so. And if I watched you all day, you’re probably wasting plenty of it. So, yeah, it’s what’s wild that it’s just free and it just takes effort and you can scale your business into unbelievable heights and achieve things you never thought possible for free.

Justin Ulrich
And it does have a cost, but the cost is also an investment because the more time you put in, the more traction and momentum you gain. And over time, it’s going to come to fruition. A lot of times, folks make the mistake of, hey, I’m going to post a couple videos, oh, nothing happened. And, you know, I don’t want to do this anymore. That’s the worst thing you could do.

Alec Hanson
It’s the sad reality of the instant gratification culture that we all live in. And I’m just as guilty as everybody else. You know, we want to go to the gym one time and be ripped. We want to eat one broccoli and then be good. We want to do one video and then we did it. Like, no. Like, of course not. Like, that’s not how life works, and we know that, but then we just, like, ignore it when some of these things happen to us.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, 100%. So what are some things that you’ve seen done well recently? Maybe some tactics that you’ve seen work?

Alec Hanson
You know, it’s amazing, the power of consistency. It’s unreal, the power of consistency, because where a lot of people will talk about, like, oh, this hook is really catching right now, or this trend is really hot right now, so you should make a quick reel and do this trend. I’m like, that stuff comes and goes. Like, that stuff’s here and then gone. 

But if somebody’s willing to show up again and again, the amount of feedback I get from people who are like, you know, Alec, I was nervous about this. I was a salesperson, but I leaned into it and you were right. Like, I stopped getting a ton of engagement. Because you get a lot of engagement in the beginning, everyone’s really happy and then they ignore you. 

And then, but then all of a sudden people would come up to them and be like, hey, dude, I see you all the time. Or hey, can you come coach a class with my real estate agents to teach them what you’re doing? Or hey, and all this, like, the consistency wins over time. And just having those experiences over and over again where someone’s like, yeah, this worked and it just took time, is such a validation for all the times I’m yelling at people to keep going and don’t quit and all that stuff. 

But to kind of complement that. The other area that I just love is when people find their authentic and unique voice more and more. Meaning like sometimes it’s YouTube or podcasting or Reels or long form content or written word or whatever. And as they find it and they kind of get on fire with it, they find their uniqueness and they let it out more. They get so empowered. 

You can really see it when they’re just now becoming who they want to be on these platforms and they’re stopping. So it’s because there’s a lot of copying happening, which is fair. You see somebody do something, they get a lot of success and you’re like, I’m going to do that too. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it’s like when you find your own style and strategy, you become, you become alive and people can just see you differently.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah. It just flows, it flows organically.

Alec Hanson
Yeah.

Justin Ulrich
And like you said, people can tell.

Alec Hanson
Yeah.

Justin Ulrich
They love and appreciate the authenticity that comes through. One of the things that you mentioned copying others, that kind of sparked a thought in my mind. 

A lot of times I think I hear it quite often where people are, and I even actually am guilty of this myself. When I started doing like the podcast content, it’s like, oh, I know I have to do this thing. I see that it’s gaining traction with others. It’s like, but that’s not really me. Like, that’s not really my thing, you know, and I found myself just putting up the barrier on my own, preventing myself to do it. 

But, I’ve come to find out that not only is it super effective to have something like a podcast, because you could generate tons of content and stay top of mind, but it allows you to get in front of people consistently over a long period of time. Like, you’re talking about that consistency then leads to quality, and no longer are you faking it because you’ve made it. 

And if you look at content, probably, I think on LinkedIn, specifically, 3% of LinkedIn active LinkedIn users are content creators. The other 97% are just there engaging with other people’s content. So if you think about the opportunities is incredible.

Alec Hanson
It’s wild. And I’ll give you my analogy for this, because I’ve heard this before, which is like, oh, social media is not for me. Video is not for me, whatever the excuse is. So here’s what’s hysterical, right? If you wanted to be really good at basketball, you’re like, I want to be really good at basketball. Okay? What you’re going to do is you’re going to start watching how other people shoot the ball. 

I mean, you notice how people that shoot basketballs all have, they all look the fricking same. They’re all shooting the ball the same. Right? It’s the, it’s one, they’re not shooting two hands, it’s one hand guide arm follow through. Like it’s the same shot. Now I get it. There’s slight variations with some people on release strategies and all this stuff. But, like, you go to a shooting coach and what do they do? Here’s how you shoot the ball. 

And so, of course you’re going to copy that. Of course you’re going to emulate, of course, because that’s how the game’s played at the highest levels. And so if you’re going to be in sales or marketing and you’re going to, and your job is to increase your influence and increase your sales and increase your opportunity in your career, all that stuff, then we’re playing the same game, guys. 

So you don’t, you don’t get to say, oh, it’s not for me. That’s like, it’s so ridiculous. It’s like somebody saying like, oh, I don’t meet with clients. Like, what do you mean? It’s not for me? It’s not my stat. I never talked to clients. You never talk to them? No, it’s not for me. Of course you talk to clients. Like, of course you do. What are you talking about? 

Now, inside how you talk to clients, you’re going to incorporate different nuances and strategies, and then you’re going to bring your personality and you’re going to bring yourself. So it’s so weird for me that people are like, well, that’s not for me. I’m like, no, of course it is. All you’re doing is limiting the amount of success you’re capable of by putting these fake walls up to say, this is not for me. 

I’m sorry the world changed. I’m sorry that were staring at screens all day. You know, it sucks that you got to put out video content now because it’s uncomfortable. And you built your career for 20-30 years and now. And you went through the uncomfortable. 

See, this is the other thing. People, successful people, typically went through the uncomfortable phase of their career. They did it, they grinded, they earned it. When they had no relationships, they built it. And then they’re like, I don’t want to do that again. It sucked. It was painful. And then they’re like, but now Alec yelling at me and telling me I have to do all this new stuff that involves things I don’t understand and I don’t like and I’m not comfortable with, and I’m like, yeah, it changed. 

So I’m done with that excuse. Kind of like, it’s not for me. And I’m like, all you’re doing is putting limitations on your success. So just call it what it is. You’re afraid. You’re afraid of the new stuff and so you don’t want to do it. But if you could reframe it a little bit and just say, man, I am afraid and I am uncomfortable. This is new, and it is awkward. And then just go, well, I tackled awkward stuff my whole life. Like, I can handle hard things.

Justin Ulrich
Like puberty.

Alec Hanson
Yeah, you survived that, and it’s like, these are the same people, though, when the iPhone came out, we’re like, oh, no, what are we gonna do? And, like, it’s terrible. It has no buttons, and now they can’t live without it.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah.

Alec Hanson
So, you know, it’s the same stuff, man. And I just want it more for people because it’s…that’s opportunity.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah. The crazy part about it, too, is, like, the pie that’s out there is, you know, it’s not finite. It’s a massive pie, and in order just to get your slice, you just got to start doing it.

If you go back to that 3% piece, it’s like, well, let’s consider the pie 3% taken. Like, look how much is left for you to get out there, get your content out there before others start doing it. And there’s so many tools now that are like AI-based that can help you create the content, whether it’s video or you’re creating video out of still images or you’re creating blog posts, newsletters. It all can be automated fairly quickly.

Alec Hanson
Yeah, just stop making excuses. If you really want your career to grow, if you really want more sales and more relationships and that’s true, and you’re in that, then just stop making excuses and embrace how the world has moved and go after it.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, go get it. Go get it. Who do you think are some folks that you’ve seen that are doing it really well?

Alec Hanson
I mean, like, my buddy Neil Dingra is an originator that went all in on social and absolutely changed his life. Like, you just watch and look at his career trajectory and what happened to him and he just took control and radically changed his life. 

This is the other thing that I love about this world is going back to my basketball analogy. Like, there’s coaches, right? There’s great coaches. If you want to be great at basketball, you’re probably going to get a coach. And even if you’re not willing to invest in coaching for yourself right now, the amount of free opportunity to listen from exceptional people on a regular basis is astronomical. 

And so, like, I joke all the time that, like, I listen to Gary Vee often. Yeah, but I started my whole journey six years ago in this because I was listening to a podcast where he was saying the same thing he says all the time, it’s nothing new. And I was finally like, yeah, why am I not doing this? I totally agree with this. I’m not doing it. It’s bizarre. 

And then, like, Chris Do is a master marketer and, I watch him and he’s putting out all this content. I’m just like, God, that’s so good. That’s so right. Like, what can I do? So I just think that even if you’re not looking at these icons and you want to zoom down, because even, like, Neo can feel too far out of reach. Like, he’s doing too much. He’s got all these followers now. 

It’s like I don’t even relate to him anymore, but even just following your friends that are on the same journey or colleagues or frenemies or other people in the industry that are on the same journey and watching what they’re doing, the amount of ability to learn and be coached just vicariously is insane. 

And so that’s what I love about this stuff is. And again, copying, emulating is okay in the sense that, like, shooting a basketball is okay, like, learning how to shoot by watching Steph Curry is okay, but you’re probably gonna have to go put in 10,000 reps to get some level of your own uniqueness inside it.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, yeah. But you never will if you don’t try.

Alec Hanson
Yeah. If you never plan, you’re never, if you’re never out in the water, you’re never gonna learn to swim.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, exactly. So you gotta try and you gotta try new things. Cause that’s the other part too, is like, especially if you’re starting, there’s so many options, so many things you could do. Just start trying and start gathering data points. Do as much as possible as quickly as possible, accelerate your learnings and, and then take those learnings and replicate and go from there. 

Very cool. So, you know, one of the things that I like, when I’m thinking about the guest, I like to take the things that I come up with and put it into an AI tool. And Alec, you have so much marketing, like, so many cool video examples, so many insights. You’ve got the book, the podcast. Like, to me, you’re a marketing madman. And when I think of, when I think, because you’re such a Marvel fan, I wanted to show you off as the mad titan, Thanos.

Alec Hanson
Oh, it’s perfect. Josh Brolin’s, rolling in his grave, bro. Just coming at you. That’s so classic, dude.

Justin Ulrich
This is.

Alec Hanson
I have that glove too, so it’s perfect.

Justin Ulrich
I saw it. I saw it on one of your thumbnails. That’s what I thought of it. But then I do know that you also are a big Captain America fan, so…

Alec Hanson
Yes.

Justin Ulrich
I wanted to show you some more love there.

Alec Hanson
Yes. I look very worried looking at Thanos right now. That’s all this says is he’s about to stomp me.

Justin Ulrich
Very fun. But we’ll get you over these NFTs that have no value.

Alec Hanson
Yeah.

Justin Ulrich
Over to you as soon as possible. But before we let you go, how can folks follow you? Follow your brand?

Alec Hanson
Oh. So I prepared for this question. Cause this is the normal question that people ask at the end. And I’m like, now I’ve prepared. Every time anyone asks me this, I have my answer. And the answer is tongue in cheek, but it’s designed to hopefully inspire somebody because the answer to any question to that question should always be Google. It should always be Google. 

Because here’s the deal. When Anthony Hsieh, who’s the founder of loanDepot and is an icon and someone I look up to immensely, said something very astute a long time ago, and he said, you have to serve customers the way they want to be served. And the second you tell a customer that they have to go down the path that they don’t want to go down because you better have a damn good product or something because they’re just not going to go. 

They’re going to go where they want to go and be served how they want to be served. And isn’t that the truth? And so when you talk about how do you contact somebody, how should someone follow you? How should they follow up with you? If you don’t give them multiple opportunities or ways to do that, you’re alienating the audience. 

And so for like a salesperson, right, like, how do I contact you? You should be the first frickin person on Google. What do you mean how do I contact you? Any way you want. Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, text, WhatsApp. Like, if I can’t find all that on the first page of Google, then all these customers have no chance of finding you at all. So I’m always like that in Google.

Justin Ulrich
Very good point. So you can find Alec on Google. Also find him on all the socials, follow on LinkedIn, like solid, solid, solid content. I can’t say that enough. Check out his Modern Lending podcast, Alec. It was a ton of fun having you in the lab. Thanks for all your great insights for our audience.

Alec Hanson
Awesome, man. Thank you.

Justin Ulrich
As always, thanks for joining us in the Local Marketing Lab. This podcast was sponsored by Evocalize. To learn more about how Evocalize can help you grow your business, visit evocalize.com

If you learned something from today’s episode, don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook @Evocalize. That’s Evocalize and on X at Evocalize. 

And remember, keep innovating and testing new things. You’ll never know what connects with your customers best unless you try. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

Alec Hanson headshot photo

Alec Hanson

CMO at loanDepot

Meet Alec Hanson

With over 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Alec Hanson started as a top-performing loan officer and now serves as the CMO at loanDepot. Alec’s drive, conviction, and deep understanding of the industry have allowed him to guide countless loan officers and branches to new heights of success.

Known for his authentic and outspoken personality, he is a true brand evangelist who connects with people on a personal level. Alec’s passion for the business shines through in his work, inspiring enthusiasm and helping others unlock their full potential in the dynamic world of mortgage lending.

Host of the Local Marketing Lab podcast, Justin Ulrich - Headshot

Justin Ulrich

VP of Marketing at Evocalize

Meet the host

Justin is a seasoned marketing leader known for his creative expertise and innovative go-to-market strategies. With vast experience spanning both B2B and B2C landscapes, Justin has made his mark across a spectrum of industries including software, POS, restaurant, real estate, franchise, home services, telecom, and more.

Justin’s career is steeped in transformative strategies and impactful initiatives. With specialties ranging from channel marketing and brand management to demand generation, his strategic vision and execution have consistently translated into tangible results.


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