HomeLoan Readies $13 Million Campaign

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To let current and future homeowners know there's a new kid on the block, HomeLoan.com is laying the foundation for a major $13 million, third quarter marketing push.

The company is completing a series of offline focus groups. To get consumers opinions about its logo considerations and advertising slogans, the site ran four two-hour focus groups late last month. Each group consisted of 12 consumers.

HomeLoan.com has its work cut out as only 1 percent of home loans are provided online, according to Bill Loughborough, CEO of HomeLoan.com, Plano, TX. This is why the site is taking its initial marketing efforts slowly.

Through the second quarter the site plans to spend a modest $700,000 on marketing. In April, it will begin keyword buys on the Flycast and DoubleClick ad networks. The site bought the keywords: home loan, mortgage and others. It is currently looking to make banners buys on real estate sites and will kick off a campaign on Realator.com next month.

Newspaper ads are expected to run in the real estate sections of numerous Sunday papers. Billboard advertisements will likely complement the print campaign.

The marketing message will be based around the concept that "we can give online approval, making the process faster and simpler than it's been in the past," said Loughborough.

Beginning in July, the site will kick off a $13 million campaign that will likely include television and radio spots.

The site targets homeowners and soon-to-be homeowners of varying demographics, ranging from consumers ages 25 to 55 making a salary of $35,000 and up.

Formerly known as Landmark Mortgage, the company became HomeLoan.com on March 1. Loughborough paid $1 million for the HomeLoan.com and HomeLoan.net Web site names to make his company easily accessible to customers and mortgage originators. The investment already appears to be paying off.

"We're getting about 50 people a day leaving applications just from the name alone," he said. "It's more business than we can handle. When you're HomeLoan.com, everyone wants to talk to you. It's one of the few names that stands out."

An important site feature is its ability to forward online applications to offline affiliate brokers, according to focus group findings.

"This is people's biggest financial decision," said Loughborough. "People really felt they needed someone in local territory to hold their hands."

The site raised $8 million in its first round of financing and is looking to raise its second round of funding in the near future.
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