Mandeep Sodhi is the CEO and founder for HashChing — a platform that connects people directly to verified mortgage brokers. Despite garnering a lot of initial media buzz, Mandeep was having difficulty converting that attention into real revenue. Once he partnered with AdRoll, he immediately saw results; seeing a lower cost per acquisition (CPA) and from a relatively low base, a 700% increase in new leads.
We sat down with Mandeep to hear his #DareToGrow story and to find out the secret behind his success.
AdRoll: Can you tell us a little bit about HashChing?
Mandeep: HashChing is an online marketplace connecting borrowers to local mortgage brokers. To build trust within the community, homeowners rate brokers that they’ve worked with.
AdRoll: Why did you start the company?
Mandeep: Back in 2014, I was looking to buy my first home, so I reached out to the bank I was working for and asked for a discounted loan rate. I caught up with a friend sometime after that and found out he had secured a loan from my bank at a better rate than I had simply by working through an outside broker. After that experience, I realized that banks will often put profit before the betterment of their own employees. With this in mind, I decided to quit my job and start HashChing.
AdRoll: What were the early days like?
Mandeep: Early on, we were getting significant traction through local media coverage, which led to a large audience of people visiting our site. However, this traffic wasn’t leading to a large increase in sales, and our drop-off rate was high. Even though there was initial interest, we knew it would take awhile to gain trust from our audience; especially when we’re selling a home loan product.
AdRoll: What were your biggest challenges?
Mandeep: When we began scaling the business, we noticed most of our messaging wasn’t working; people weren’t returning to the website at the rate we hoped. Our unusually high bounce rate had become a real problem for us.
We were focusing too much attention on converting first-time visitors instead of creating programs that focused on building brand recognition among our highest intent audience members. As a result of not having a retargeting strategy in place, we had a very high CPA. It was becoming abundantly clear we needed to create better customer journeys, where we would always be top-of-mind.
AdRoll: How did you turn things around?
Mandeep: Once we looked into possible solutions, we reached out to AdRoll. They explained retargeting and A/B testing. At first, it was all going over my head, but once they went over the concepts, it all began to make sense why we needed to utilize digital marketing.
We learned that retargeting would engage people who had visited our website and bring them back with ads. And A/B testing would help us compare two versions of say an ad or webpage, and see which one was performing best.
This all sounded great, but I always thought that this would be an expensive exercise. My concerns were all for naught. As soon as we began retargeting with AdRoll, the number of quality leads driven to our site shot up by 700% and, in the process, lowered our CPA dramatically. The outcome was so great that we managed to raise another big round of funding after that.
AdRoll: If you could do it all over again, what advice would you give yourself?
Mandeep: The one piece of advice I’d give myself is to focus on how we’re telling our brand story to our target audience. If you can’t craft your messaging well, you obviously won’t have much engagement online. To this day, we utilize A/B testing to optimize web and ad content for our audience. We test and measure everything and are constantly tinkering. It’s helped us to ensure that we are effectively articulating our benefits in a digestible and engaging manner.