Posted on January 25, 2016
Inbound marketing has been many marketers’ phrase of choice for the last two years or so. It often gets touted as the online marketing of the future, but have you had the opportunity to get to know it yet?
What does Inbound Marketing really mean? And can it genuinely help your financial services organisation?
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound or content marketing is the process of:
- Understanding your customers’ frustrations or pain points, working out what difficulties they’re having and what situations they’d like to change.
- Creating relevant, useful content that achieves something, addressing pain points insightfully and practically.
- Promoting this content well, on your website and through social media channels
- Nurturing relationships by encouraging prospects to read this content, building trust and earning the identity of being an expert in your field.
Why is it worth it?
Inbound and content marketing takes a distinctly different approach to more traditional marketing methods such as direct advertising, direct mail and telephone marketing, in particular in financial services where we are so dependant on this.
It doesn’t need to replace your other methods, but it does offer some compelling, unique benefits.
- Timing: Someone searching for content like yours – content that addresses a particular pain point and offers solutions – is already likely to be very receptive to taking action, whether that’s purchasing something or taking a smaller next step in your relationship.
- Relationships: Customers are far more likely to buy from someone they know and trust rather than from an unknown company who’s approached them with a cold sales approach. If they already think of you as a reliable expert, and you’ve helped them before, chances are they’ll already consider you a good option and you won’t have to utilise heavy, unwelcome persuasion.
- 10/1 Rule: It’s widely considered that the one prospect who approaches you is worth ten potentials that you have to approach. Inbound marketing helps set up more opportunities for prospects to make that first step autonomously.
Sounds complicated. How would I start doing Inbound Marketing?
It may all sound a little daunting, but it’s just about making simple changes to your marketing methodology.
Here’s how you could start using Inbound Marketing:
- Create a customer persona. Who is your typical customer? What roles do they play and what difficulties do they face which your business could solve?
- Identify a pain point your customer faces and create strong, informative (not sales-focussed) content that tackles it directly and effectively. Either publish the content to your existing blog or start a new one.
- Promote the content on your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages. Approach complementary websites who have audiences which may benefit from reading your content.
- Enhance your short content piece with a white paper or industry report and offer this to your visitors in exchange for their email address and basic details. The content has to be good, though – real ‘killer content’ – and audiences should be left feeling like it was well worth their time. Advertise it on your blog with plenty of genuine, glowing testimonials.
- Create new pieces of content and repeat the process. Email existing contacts who signed up to your killer content informing them of things that may be relevant to them and start to build a relationship with these people.
- At some point, you could think about engaging with prospects who you have a growing online relationship with. You could invite them to seminars, meetups or simply drop a personal email to see if they found your content useful and if they have any comments.
That seems like a lot to manage
It is a lot to think about. You’ll need to keep on top of your blog, social media channels, your relationships with complimentary websites, juggle your email list, and everything else.
Luckily there are tools that help make this much, much easier.
Two of the most popular Inbound Marketing tools are HubSpot and Pardot. These systems allow you to manage all aspects of your inbound marketing efforts from one place through a simple, user-friendly interface.
HubSpot and Pardot allow you to:
- Easily create a search-engine friendly blog
- Quickly research blog topics
- Connect your blog to your social media accounts and automatically send updates
- Track where your visitors come from and how often users interact with you
- Schedule publishing of content and email marketing
- Flag-up hot prospects who might be receptive to further contact
- Define sets of automation rules to drastically reduce your time requirements
Where can I find out more?
Don’t get left behind, many if not most financial services companies, from insurance, consumer finance, wealth banks, private banks to investment companies have now embarked on the inbound marketing journey to success and integrated content marketing into their strategy.
We’ve published our own white paper on the basics of inbound marketing with lots more tips and strategies to get started. You can download it here: http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing