8 Best Practices for Using Triggers to Fund Loans Faster


There’s never time to coast in the world of mortgage customer acquisition. Regardless of the prevailing economy, interest rates, consumer demand and all the other factors beyond your control, you must deliver enough qualified borrowers to sustain the business.

Given the industry’s complex dynamics, loan marketers can find themselves competing on increments of days—even hours. When you have the need for speed, trigger marketing programs are the epitome of getting the right message to the right person at the right time.

The best practices outlined in this article apply to trigger marketing programs launched by any lender for any loan product. A best-practices approach to trigger marketing will help ensure that you can get to your customer quickly with your best offer (and win their business for another loan term).

BEST PRACTICE #1: Opt for Credit Triggers

Nowadays, marketers can use triggers to help them find people who are getting married, expecting children, graduating from high school, listing a home for sale and more. These always-on programs monitor extensively multi-sourced databases to identify signals that a consumer may need a loan. There’s a truly massive amount of both non-credit consumer marketing data and tri-bureau credit data available, but for loan marketers, the tri-bureau credit prescreen environment is the best option.

The in-the-market signal is based on a credit inquiry, meaning that the borrower is seriously shopping for a loan. While non-credit data can help you identify probable loan customers, credit triggers allow you to target those who are not only actively looking, but also highly desirable for your organization.

BEST PRACTICE #2: Run the trigger feed against your customer list—daily.

Deluxe receives half a million new mortgage triggers per day, meaning there’s a strong chance your customer base includes individuals who are actively shopping another lender for a loan. Targeting existing customers is both cost-effective and efficient.

  • Higher loan conversion rates: Data show the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.
  • Lower cost per funded loan: Research shows that it can cost five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Your company should have an automated system that compares credit triggers with your customer lists daily so that as soon as a match is identified, you can reach out to that individual with relevant messages and competitive offers.

To get even more from your credit trigger data, study pre-application behavior patterns to create models that recognize when someone is likely to apply for a loan soon. By adding those models to your automated daily trigger feed, you can proactively target those customers even earlier.

BEST PRACTICE #3: Access all three credit bureaus

Because of the volume of data and the short time frames associated with triggers, the credit matches from a single bureau may omit tens of thousands of matches. Having access to all three bureaus ensures you aren’t missing out on any of your customers searching for a loan.

Among our clients, Deluxe has found that engaging a second bureau provides a 25% lift over single-bureau monitoring, and engaging all three offers a total of 50% lift. Tri-bureau monitoring also allows you to cross-reference credit data to confirm qualification, which helps avoid mistakes (like frag files) that create customer friction.

Not every lender utilizes multiple credit bureaus as part of the loan-marketing process, so it makes sense to find a partner, like Deluxe, that offers tri-bureau access. In addition to excellent coverage, your partner should be able to offer you better value and a faster, more streamlined process than if you were to orchestrate tri-bureau access on your own. (Not sure where to start? Here are three things to look for in a strategic prescreen partner.)

BEST PRACTICE #4: Regularly revisit your qualifying criteria

In a trigger environment, you could have access hundreds of attributes of credit information tied to each consumer credit report. (In fact, at Deluxe, we monitor 500+ data attributes to determine borrowers’ creditworthiness based on established criteria.) So, in addition to knowing which of your customers just had their credit pulled for a loan, you could also access other usable data for your qualifying process.

Work with compliance, underwriting, your marketing partner and other key functions to determine which data could be leveraged, and how. Changes in regulations, the economy, rates or risk tolerance can make it necessary to change qualifying criteria, and additional data attributes can help ensure that targeting is in line with new criteria.

Additionally, it may make sense for your company to enhance credit and customer data with attributes from additional public and private sources. Using additional data helps provide a complete view of the consumer.

BEST PRACTICE #5: Make it omni-channel

Once that in-the-market signal is detected, marketers must quickly initiate pre-determined campaigns that are automated and ready to go. A true omni-channel experience accounts for each platform and device your customer may use to interact with you. You can use all the rich data you’ve appended to your customer files to create an comprehensive trigger campaign that includes digital components, like internet and social media display ads, as well as direct mail.

Why should you anchor your omni-channel campaign with direct mail? The numbers say it all:

And according to USPS, when you combine direct mail with digital impressions, effectiveness soars:

  • 40% conversion rates when direct mail and digital are combined
  • 68% of marketers said combining digital and direct mail increased their website visits
  • 60% of marketers said combining direct mail and digital increased ROI

BEST PRACTICE #6: Reach out with email—immediately.
Remember, this is a race. Competition for customers is fierce—lenders generated 10 billion prescreen offers in 2020 alone—and email is an effective way to get in front of your customers quickly. You can even send your firm offer of credit via email as soon as a day after the credit trigger occurs. (And if you don’t receive updated lists every day, let’s talk—at Deluxe, our typical turnaround for returning pre-qualified leads following qualified borrower activity is less than 24 hours.)

Including email as part of your omni-channel trigger campaign lets the customer know that you are aware of their need for a loan and that you are serious about continuing to be their lender of choice. The email also puts the customer in a mindset that might make them more responsive to the direct mail that arrives within a week of the trigger, as well as more likely to notice your digital impressions.

BEST PRACTICE #7: Keep the campaign going throughout the customer’s decision-making process

It may be a sprint to get to the borrower first, but once you make first contact, you must shift into marathon mode. It’s crucial that your campaign last long enough to provide a steady stream of brand impressions throughout the customer’s decisionmaking journey. Depending on the loan product, and your company’s typical experiences with borrower timeframes, a 30-, 60- or 90-day campaign may be optimal.

BEST PRACTICE #8: Continuously monitor activity and measure success

Trigger programs generate a great deal of actionable insights because they provide a steady stream of performance data. By continuously monitoring campaign performance, you can accurately identify any opportunities to improve targeting, timing, offers, campaign elements or other aspects of your campaign.

At a minimum, you should examine:

  • Digital click data
  • Landing page analytics
  • Loan application starts
  • Loan application completions
  • Funded loans

If you work closely with your data/marketing partner, you can establish the automated systems necessary to easily generate key metrics. The data gleaned will help feed a process of continuous improvement so that subsequent campaigns can reach their full potential. 

For more information about these eight best practices, or to discover how Deluxe can create and manage omni-channel credit trigger programs on your behalf, contact [email protected].