Can physical advertising still generate leads for brokers?

Broker shares his marketing wins

Can physical advertising still generate leads for brokers?


By Ryan Johnson

In an industry where leads are increasingly generated online, a Sydney-based mortgage and finance broker has gone against the grain by investing in physical advertising.

Sam Gobran (pictured below) recently unveiled his silver Subaru Outback (pictured above) plastered from bonnet to bumper with a design that advertises Clearwater Brokers, where Groban is a principal broker.

“It’s not just a Subaru anymore, it’s the Clearwater Brokers car that you’ll see driving around Cronulla,” Gobran said. “The sign’s there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and it’s there for all prospective clients to see.”

“It’s all about brand awareness and getting your name out there and then hopefully over time, the rest will follow.”

As well as the artwork on the Subaru, Gobran had a large sign installed next to the main street in the seaside suburb on the outskirts of Sydney (shown in the Linkedin video below).

“Come summer when everyone is at the beach, that street is like a carpark,” Gobran said.

Far from a Luddite, Gobran has incorporated QR codes in his signage to help generate leads.

“I’m expecting people then when they’re sitting there staring at that sign to get their phone out and scan the QR code and it will take them to my website straight away,” he said.

“I love automation and I want to simplify the loan application process as much as possible. Whether it’s personal loans, car loans, boat loans, caravan loans, or even bike loans, I want people in the community to access my services even when I’m not there.”

Pivoting away from saturated digital advertising

Another reason for the need for physical advertising said Gobran, was that the digital marketing space was getting crowded.

Australia is one of the most digitally connected countries in the world and has high rates of Internet and phone usage, according to recent data.

Australia’s digital advertising market grew to $11.4 billion in 2021, as companies increasingly compete against each other for advertising space through Google or social media to reach the market of potential customers online.

For new companies like Clearwater Brokers, which was only launched in April 2023, it’s hard to get a foothold in this oversaturated space – especially in localised markets where competition is fierce.

“If someone jumps on Google and types in ‘mortgage broker near me’ or a ‘finance broker in Cronulla’ it’s going to take a long time and a lot of money for my business to appear in the search results,” Gobran said.

“My competitors have more experience is generating an online presence and it’s hard to crack into that when you are just starting out.”

But while the buzz around digital marketing reaches a fever pitch leaving many businesses to sink thousands into their digital ad spend, one fact remains – people still go outside.

“When people in my community drive or walk past my sign day in day out they are being reminded of my business and the services I provide,” Gobran said.

“Not everyone needs a loan right now but at some point, they might whether it's three months, six months, or a year down the track. Also, they might know someone who's looking to get a loan and then suddenly people are searching for my business.

“And when they start searching for you, that’s when the algorithms come in and starts picking you up and kicking you up search results because in your area that’s what people search for.”

Regaining control of advertising

Another aspect of the Gobran’s approach to advertising is that is gives him a sense of control.

Through much of digital marketing, you are at the mercy of an opaque algorithm that you’re constantly trying to understand to get the best return on investment.

But even in physical advertising, Gobran said you can lose control so it was important to choose your medium carefully.

Gobran said he thought about letterbox drops and dumping 10,000 out in his local area but this was often “hit and miss”.

“Personally, I pick them up, have a quick look through and then they're straight in the recycling bin whereas for spending the same amount of money, if not less, I'm getting these signs done and I know people are seeing them again and again,” he said. 

Gobran said he thought about wrapping buses in his advertising but found it “too short and expensive”.

“I don’t know what route it’s going to take whereas with my car, which I drive five days a week around my town, I get to decide where and when people see it,” he said.

Gobran said he planned to continue making his mark on his local community by exploring more physical advertising options and combining these methods with digital advertising.

"Digital advertising is still the way of the present and future, but it can be enhanced through physicial advertising," Gobran said. 

“It’s all about consistency and putting your brand in people’s faces even subliminally so that when the time is right, they think of you.”

What do you think of Gobran’s approach? Comment below.

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