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iLendingDIRECT is one of the fastest growing auto loan refinancing companies in the U.S., with millions of dollars saved through loans funded with more advantageous terms.

The company wanted to diversify lead sources to reduce reliance on expensive third parties. So, they partnered with LEAP Group for a more digitally-focused approach to achieve their business objectives.

Services

  • Research
  • Strategy
  • Creative
  • Analytics
  • SEO
  • SEM
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Content Marketing
  • Web Design + Development
  • HubSpot Management
  • Media Planning + Buying
  • Social Community Management

ilending’s main goal: drive marketing qualified leads to applications

The primary problem we set out to solve was how to consistently fulfill a pipeline of qualified website visitors through brand planning, strategy and integrated media buying across all relevant channels – accompanied with real-time channel performance evaluation and optimizations.
screenshot-mockup

Audit

audit-heatmapping
First, we conducted a comprehensive audit of iLending’s customers, sales funnel and digital and traditional assets.

Where were users engaging? Where were they falling off? What areas where they not engaging with at all? And most importantly ... why? 

Through focus groups, heat mapping, scroll tracking, analyzing their marketing data, talking with their marketing team and loan representatives, we gained valuable insights that led to simple solutions that created major results.

Personas

We believe that all strategy should be rooted in a strong, empirically-backed understanding of the target consumer.
Findings from the situational analysis directly informed consumer personas, which provided foundational building blocks for strategy, messaging and visualization. These personas were discovered through industry research, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, customer interviews, and social listening across the digital landscape.

vulnerable novice

vulnerable-novice

DTI Ratio: Low
Credit Score: 600-750
Precipitating Event: Fell for a predatory lender

“I don’t have much experience with personal finance, but I think I can do better than I am now.”

life had other plans

life-had-other-plans

DTI Ratio: Medium/High
Credit Score: 580-750
Precipitating Event: Unexpected Medical Costs

“Things were okay until the unexpected costs from my child’s medical bills."

subprime borrower

subprime-borrower

DTI Ratio: High
Credit Score: <600
Precipitating Event: Can no longer afford high car payment

“My car loan is killing me every month, but my credit is so bad I don’t know what to do.”

discovery

LEAP Agency's Discovery process quickly revealed potential customers thought the auto re-fi industry looked illegitimate. Unfortunately, iLending’s existing website, direct mail and message tone reinforced that perception. 

Another key insight: People felt their lives were hampered by their high car-loan payments and were being held back from doing things that mattered to them, like taking care of their families or going out with friends.
previous-ads

solution: creating a more credible brand

Based on the insights, LEAP created a new message and visual tone that felt more credible and struck an emotional chord with the target audience: “Feels like freedom.”

The audience’s rational need is to save money, and the feeling that comes with that is FREEDOM – the ability to spend their savings on things that are more meaningful to their lives.

clicks on the loan
application increased

27%

With these modifications, as well as
insights gleaned from heatmapping

results that
matter more

Real-time heatmapping allowed LEAP Agency to visualize behavior – understanding what the iLendingDIRECT users wanted, cared about, and actually did on their website by visually representing their clicks, taps, user recordings, and scrolling behavior – which are the strongest indicators of visitor motivation and desire.
heatmapping-1

31%

Increase in users scrolling 60% or more
down the page (in the first week)
heatmapping-2
We were able to identify that over half the site’s visitors were not scrolling far enough to click “Apply Now.” After optimizing the form by increasing form fields above the fold, we were able to see exactly where users were dropping off and increase submissions.

banner ads eliminates waste and focus on qualified leads

banner-ads
With an optimized website and landing pages and a new campaign idea, we began testing digital ads through always-on programmatic methods. We quickly learned which photos and messages were driving the most qualified leads and optimized accordingly.

We also stopped serving ads to people with low credit scores who wouldn’t qualify for refinancing. This significantly increased the efficiency of the media spend.

full funnel approach to marketing automation

awareness

Began the process of educating
the users, establishing trust and
eliminating drop-off.

consideration

Proactively introduction of services
and competitor comparison
features and functionalities.

analyzed

Driving information qualified lead >
marketing qualified lead >
sales qualified lead > closed lead.
score-chart
Sign up: 5pts
2 pages: 1pt
30-45 sec: 1pt
Came via email click: 1pt
2nd session: 1pt
Gated piece: 5pts
Monthly payment: 1pts
Phone number: 1pt
4 pages: 2pt
1-1.5 min: 2pt
3rd session: 2pt
2 pages: 1pt
Good credit score: 5pts
Signed up to be
contacted: 10pts
Score: 7
Sign up: 5pts
2 pages: 1pt
30-45 sec: 1pt
Score: 20
Came via email click: 1pt
2nd session: 1pt
Gated piece: 5pts
Monthly payment: 1pts
Phone number: 1pt
4 pages: 2pt
1-1.5 min: 2pt
Score: >25
3rd session: 2pt
2 pages: 1pt
Good credit score: 5pts
Signed up to be
contacted: 10pts

content,
email and lead
scoring

content-email-lead-scoring
CONTENT:
  • Brings customers to site
  • Fills email body
EMAIL:
  • Serves as a vehicle (based on lead score) for content distribution
LEAD SCORING:
  • Demonstrates when user is ready for next part of funnel content
  • Allows for users to increase lead score by staying top of mind

swipe up to engage a
younger audience

Instagram stories are not the typical media to promote auto-refinancing.  But if you want to circumvent the LendingTrees of the world and lower reliance on expensive direct mail, you have to think outside the mailbox. 

Instagram Stories engaged a younger target who accepted unfavorable loan terms when they first purchased their car.

ilending-ig-stories

search / pay-per-click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has always been a strong lead driver for iLending. After an audit of the PPC keywords, our campaign excluded "bad credit" keywords because people with low credit scores wouldn’t qualify for refinancing. Any time spent perusing those people would have been wasted. 

Instead, we were able to reduce poor-credit leads by 25% and increase "excellent credit" and "good credit" leads by 13%, a much more efficient use of their marketing budget.

Using LEAP’s Search Strategy:

conversions increased

145%

cost per lead decreased

21%

mattering
more.

(in the first year)

over

47K
iLD/Competitor
Pages Audited

over

12M
Digital Landscape
Mentions

analyzed

213K
Organic and
Paid Keywords

focus group with

47 
Primary Audience
Participants

 

10 
Stakeholders
Interviewed

consumed over

360 
Empirical Articles
& Case Studies

analyzed

242 
Pages of Primary
Audience Transcripts

analyzed

225%
Increase in Marketing
Qualified Leads

analyzed

248 
Minutes of Customer
Interviews

analyzed

150%
Increase in Sales
Qualified Leads

 

149%
Increase in Visits to Paid
Landing Pages

 

63%
Decrease in Cost
per Lead

 

79%
Increase in
Funded Loans

 

53%
Increase in Return
on Investment