Most long-standing banks have a marketing plan in place that includes a variety of online marketing activities. However, the progress being made towards maximizing the use of online bank marketing with inbound-specific activities is slow to progress. As Bain & Company states, “Most banks have barely scratched the surface in learning how digital marketing and communications can effectively engage customers.”
Today, many banks continue to focus on seller-centric marketing activities. Activities that are often perceived as intrusive or disruptive, versus an engaging and delightful consumer experience. This perception rings true for the 18-34 range of millennials more accustomed to instant streaming and seamless experiences. Heck, by now the older generations are probably fed up with interruptive marketing still used today.
Millennials Want Inbound Experiences
Consider this regarding millennials, the currently largest generation: “only about 1% of millennials claim that a compelling ad influences them”.
In other words, 99% of people ages 18-34 claim they are not influenced by a compelling ad! This is a critical statistic that unfortunately doesn’t match up with many online bank marketing decisions – Particularly the effective planning and integrated use of marketing methods that fall under the inbound umbrella.
Inbound Bank Marketing Methods:
- Online competitive research, content research. keyword research
- Business blogging
- Search engine optimization
- Content distribution
- Social media activities
- Analytical insights
- Smart message automation and
- Related platforms
When used strategically and synergistically, inbound marketing methods and tools can build more of your ideal relationships in the same way you are used to but in the online space rather than face to face.
Even if millennials are subconsciously influenced by ads to a certain extent, this massive base of potential and existing bank customers is clearly requesting new, engaging, and contextual forms of marketing through a smart inbound approach that caters to their wants and needs.
As Accenture states, millennial shoppers spend $600 billion each year in the United States. Shoppers looking to spend their money on great experiences – on offerings and services that support both offline and online inbound experiences.
If a bank is striving to maximize both online marketing return on investment and brand exposure, millennials are the generation to really listen to, care about, and think about. They’re asking for more creative and engaging inbound experiences that market themselves.
Understanding the Inbound Marketing Approach
For bank marketers unfamiliar with inbound marketing, here are a couple of definitions.
Inbound marketing is defined by Wikipedia as “a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization.”
And defined by Hubspot, a leader in full-stack inbound marketing software and methodology as “Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.”
Of course, planning and implementing an inbound strategy for your bank goes much deeper into each inbound channel and the buyer’s journey.
In general, the inbound marketing methodology refers to 4 phases or stages with the ultimate goal being to turn strangers into visitors, leads, customers, and promoters.
- Attracting more of the right customers with relevant content at the right time.
- Converting visitors into leads through their preferred method of conversation.
- Closing and transforming leads into customers.
- Delighting visitors, leads, and customers with a wonderful experience.
Alongside this, there are 4 stages of the buyer’s journey that should be considered by bank marketers, briefly described below – the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service.
- Awareness Stage – Prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity.
- Consideration Stage – Prospect has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity.
- Decision Stage – Prospect has now decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach.
Now you might be wondering what kind of activities are utilized as part of an inbound game plan – A game plan that tackles the 4 phases and effectively caters to the buyer’s journey. The majority of them were introduced at the beginning of this article. Here they are again for your convenience:
Inbound Marketing Activities
- Online competitive research, content research, keyword research
- Business blogging and optimized website content
- Search engine optimization practices
- Content distribution across the right channels at the right times
- Social media activities to engage people and expand brand
- Analytical insights into traffic metrics, interactions, and behavior
- Smart email and message automation
- Use of platforms for research, integration, and productivity
To go alongside the inbound activities most often used by successful inbound marketers, here are the many benefits a bank could be receiving when utilizing these inbound marketing activities through internal efforts or by partnering with an inbound marketing agency.
Inbound Marketing Benefits
- Increase visibility of web content
- Maximize brand awareness online
- Generate valuable marketing assets in the process
- Reusable assets for strategic promotion and distribution
- A more seamless experience for prospects and customers if done right
- An educational, engaging, and joyful experience for prospects and customers
- A compounding effect on ROI and results through consistent efforts
When a well-researched and effective content strategy is planned out, content publishing is consistent, and the content is distributed wisely, inbound marketing activities can provide an impressive combination of compounding benefits for banks and other financial institutions.
Target your Ideal Relationships with Inbound
While banks and bank marketers may find the idea of implementing additional inbound activities overwhelming, a specialized inbound marketing agency can be a valuable asset, by providing experience in consulting or offloading many of these activities.
For banks who’ve been sticking to more traditional or seller-centric routes of marketing, the inbound approach is at least worth implementing and testing for at least a year with a knowledgeable partner. After all, based on data from Demand Metric, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an advertisement.
Curious about the potential inbound opportunities available for your bank on a more personal and customized level? For an inbound bank marketing plan, contact us at HONE Marketing today for a free assessment.