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Inbound Marketing for Financial Services Companies

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Though not completely extinct, marketing strategies like door-to-door sales, cold calls, high-gloss mailers, and expensive television ads are significantly less popular than they once were—and for good reason. They require a lot of time and energy and yield minimal results.

In fact, many sales representatives will say that outbound marketing is a numbers game. The more people they talk to, the more people will eventually buy the product. But it’s a small percentage.

For instance, if a door-to-door salesman talks to 100 people, they won’t all buy the product or service he’s selling. With any luck, 10% or 15% will pull the trigger, which means he has to knock on a whole lot of doors to hit his quota.

That’s why Inbound Marketing for Financial Services has become so popular. It’s more strategic, connecting businesses with the right types of customers who will benefit from particular products and services. In theory, 100% of the potential customers who visit your website through inbound marketing will at the very least be interested in the services you provide, which increases their chances of signing up.

This article will examine why inbound marketing is so important for businesses within the financial services industry and provide key inbound marketing strategies to bring more organic traffic to your website.

Inbound Marketing Basics

Let’s begin with a simple definition. As the name suggests, inbound marketing strategies bring potential customers to you. It’s a way of clearly identifying the needs and interests of the target audience and then making information available to that audience on multiple channels that all lead back to your website. Customers are the ones to initiate contact based on their genuine interests.

In contrast, outbound marketing focuses on a large general audience, utilizing strategies to reach out to as many people as possible—most of whom are probably not interested and won’t pay attention. Cold calls, television and radio ads, mailers, and billboards are all examples of outbound messages that are largely ignored.

Because inbound marketing focuses on content that will engage specific audiences, it often requires more work on the front end to better understand the online habits and thought processes of the ideal customer. Which platforms are they using to find information? What search terms are they using? What type of information are they looking for? How should the website be organized so they can easily find that information?

Inbound marketing answers these questions in order to attract customers and facilitate a positive user experience that will move people through the marketing funnel from “awareness” to “satisfied, loyal customer.”

What does this mean specifically for financial institutions? It means developing content that demonstrates your expertise, reliability, transparency, and genuine concern for the well-being of your customers so that they feel informed about your services and secure in the decision to entrust you with their financial future. 

Building Your Brand

In today’s competitive market, inbound marketing is crucial to your brand because it builds audience awareness about your authority in the financial sector. Customers are increasingly going online to research the products and services that they want. So, the better your content strategy, the more likely potential customers will visit your website and develop a positive impression of your institution.

Even a simple Google search about the advantages of an annuity or the differences between a Roth IRA and a 401K is an opportunity. If users land on your webpage—because you’ve taken the time to develop useful content and to improve your ranking on the search engine results page—they will begin to identify you as a trusted expert, which increases their chances of subscribing to your newsletter or scheduling a time to speak with one of your financial advisors.

At its best, inbound marketing provides several important advantages:

  • It increases traffic to your website.
  • It generates valid leads to potential customers who are interested in the services you provide.
  • It helps you think more strategically about people’s needs and how your business practices might be more customer-friendly.
  • It strengthens your brand as people increasingly become aware of your expertise and core values.
  • It provides value to users who require important information.
  • It strengthens your relationships with existing customers and helps you exponentially develop new relationships in the years to come.
  • It increases your customer base—and your bottom line.

Inbound Marketing Challenges

While the benefits of inbound marketing are well worth the time and energy, there are a few challenges. For one, it’s a fairly time-intensive process to develop useful content. It requires research to understand your target audiences and develop a list of keywords that will increase your ranking.

However, it’s not as easy as simply plugging in keywords. The content itself has to be meaningful so that it truly aligns with your company’s services and values and provides information that users need and in a navigation system that they understand. All of that requires a lot of careful research, planning, and execution.

Another challenge is that successful inbound marketing requires constant upkeep—to add blog articles and social media posts that will attract new audiences and keep your business at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s a lot to think about, especially when you consider the different platforms that you could use to reach your target audience.

Also, inbound marketing might require some trial and error, and figuring out what types of adjustments to make can be tricky. Businesses often use varying metrics to determine their keyword ranking, click-through rates on email campaigns, social media engagement, the quality of lead generation, and so forth.

Finally, inbound marketing requires a holistic approach in order to coordinate messaging across multiple different channels. Keeping track of every channel for each campaign, while also evaluating analytics and making necessary adjustments, can be difficult to manage. 

Many financial institutions hire a marketing partner who is responsible for researching, planning, implementing, and updating content, so that their inbound marketing campaigns receive the attention and expertise they need to be successful.

Key Strategies for Financial Services

Four phases of inbound marketing can be applied specifically to financial service providers:

  • Attract. While it might sound easy enough to attract an audience with reduced fees or enhanced services, this initial phase requires a lot of strategic thinking, especially when you begin to pinpoint who your target audience is and what their interests, values, and needs are when it comes to financial services. Creating buyer personas is a great way of bringing your potential customers to life and trying to get a deeper insight into their major financial challenges and motivations.

This phase also includes website optimization, which means developing content that is helpful and relevant to your target audience and implementing keywords that will make it easier for them to find your website when they browse online. For instance, you’d provide information about costs/fees associated with your services, guidance that explains financial terms and discusses investment options, insights into industry best practices, and so on.

This might also be the phase where you get more active on social media or initiate email campaigns that will further increase traffic to your site.

  • Convert. Once people are on your site and have found the information that they need, the next step is to convert them into marketing qualified leads that allow you to develop a relationship. The better job your website does of providing useful information and establishing yourself as a trustworthy financial institution, the more likely users are to provide their contact information. 

One strategy for obtaining this information is to give users something in return—a guidebook, for instance. Visitors fill out a form requesting the guidebook, which is then sent to their inbox. In the meantime, you’ve collected a point of contact.

You’re also more likely to obtain contact information with appropriate CTAs that prompt users forward. For instance, “Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our financial advisors.” This is a clear and easy next step to establishing a connection and getting more personalized information. 

  • Close. In many cases, once a potential customer has the information that they need and have established a connection with the financial institution, they’re ready to close the deal—open an account, make an investment, take out a loan, etc. 

Some strategies make it easier to close the sale. For instance, lead scoring is a method of ranking the perceived financial value of a potential customer and their likelihood of committing. Another strategy is to automate some aspects of email correspondence to respond promptly to leads and help move people through the sales process. 

  • Delight. Inbound marketing is not just about making a sale. It’s about establishing a relationship and continuing to provide value to the customer. Once potential customers become actual customers, the goal is retention, which requires ongoing communication and timely response times.

This ongoing engagement can take many forms: social media interaction, updated blog posts, and targeted emails. Not only does this help establish deeper connections with existing customers, but it creates opportunities for word-of-mouth advertising that will produce new customers.

How Oak City Inbound Can Help

Oak City Inbound specializes in inbound marketing to help you increase traffic to your website and grow your business. We help financial institutions just like yours optimize their websites, increase their Google rankings, develop useful content, nurture qualified leads, and grow their customer base.

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with Oak City Inbound today to optimize your inbound marketing strategy.

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