Modern marketing practices and approaches applied by financial services organisations have always shared a number of interesting parallels.
Now more than ever though, inbound marketing for financial services makes good business sense, and financial services organisations could benefit significantly by incorporating the practices and principles of it into their long-term business strategy.
Read on to learn why financial markets professionals might have some untapped inbound marketing potential, and how they can use this knowledge to grow their business and prosper in tomorrow’s marketplace.
Inbound marketing explained (in 200 words or less)
Remember cold calling?
This kind of marketing is what we would refer to as outbound, meaning it involves the marketer proactively going after prospective customers and pitching their product or service to them directly.
Modern marketing practices – and the ones we use to help our clients grow and increase their returns – are inbound.
Contrary to outbound marketing, inbound works on the basis of pulling customers in to make a sale.
Think of outbound marketing as a megaphone, and inbound marketing as a magnet.
After attracting prospective customers, inbound marketing processes then focus on continuously engaging that customer until they can be considered a sales-ready lead.
This is achieved mostly through the astute creation and distribution of content across different digital channels.
Or in layman’s terms, by getting the right marketing messages in front of the right people.
The parallels between inbound marketing and financial services
So how does this relate to the finance industry? Or the business approach of financial services professionals?
There are 3 key parallels between the way that inbound marketers grow businesses and traditional financial services organisations grow businesses…
1. A relationship-based approach
Inbound marketing is all about adopting a customer-first approach.
It’s about getting to know them, understanding their challenges, and then figuring out if and then how what you have to offer can help them.
A relationship manager or new business executive at a financial services organisation will often support their clients in the exact same way.
For both of these roles, supporting a client often means educating them. Whether that’s on market conditions, technical terminology surrounding a particular issue, or the best available service options for fulfilling their specific needs.
While a financial services professional might work on building this relationship in person, an inbound marketing specialist can achieve these goals from a distance – perhaps by publishing some relevant content to help and engage their audience on their preferred social media channel.
Both approaches ultimately provide their target audience with valuable information in order to demonstrate their expertise, earn the trust of their customer, and secure new revenue streams.
And, in both cases, integrity, transparency and presenting oneself well are key to success.
2. In-depth customer knowledge
The best relationship managers will really dig into the details of their clients. Building a detailed picture of them in order to give them the best service possible, and a solution tailored to fit their exact needs.
In-depth customer knowledge is vital to inbound marketing too.
But rather than regular meetings and corporate coffee catch ups, inbound marketers gain granular insights into their customers using data-driven tools and technologies.
Inbound specialists use customer data throughout the marketing and sales process, from planning and strategy right through to conversion.
By understanding everything they can about a target customer’s needs, interests and habits, they can draw them in with powerfully precise messages and content that resonates with them, or offers them valuable information.
With the right technology to hand, inbound marketers can even respond to momentary situational dynamics, and look to target customers based on a certain time of day, location, or following a particular action which indicates a higher likelihood of successful conversion.
3. Ongoing advice and consultation
For both inbound marketers and financial services, the key to nurturing a lead through to conversion is by not selling a product or service, but instead selling answers and results.
And in both cases, that means playing the long game, with the end goal of cementing your position in the customer’s mind as a trusted advisor.
This is achieved by sharing knowledge, providing information and generally offering upfront value to prospects and clients, without any explicit desire for the favour to be returned.
Before you know it, you’ll become their go-to person when they have a problem, a question, or want to know more about the latest updates within their industry.
Inbound marketers have an advantage in that they can be more proactive with their efforts to provide valuable information and demonstrate expertise.
Rather than waiting for a question to be asked, they can share some insightful thought leadership content that answers topical questions within the industry, or offers a ‘hot take’ on a recent development.
Community management and engagement on social media channels can also help inbound marketers to strengthen their trusted advisor status, as it showcases their specialist skills and knowledge publicly.
Third parties that see it might not need your help yet, but they certainly may do in the very near future…
Inbound marketing for financial services: conclusions
The long-term impact of COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the dynamic of the financial services industry.
While relationship-based approaches are still key to securing new business and fuelling growth, the traditional means of building, strengthening and maintaining client relationships are giving way to more digitally-enabled methods.
As a result, financial services businesses who don’t know how to leverage inbound marketing principles, build trust online, and grow their presence across digital channels are leaving themselves at a disadvantage.
Financial markets professionals are uniquely placed to adopt inbound marketing, namely because they know that customer-first approaches work.
Inbound marketing for financial services makes perfect sense, and adoption of inbound marketing practices will be a key differentiating factor for financial services organisations hoping to succeed and thrive in the more remote, digitally-enabled future.