Inbound marketing is the process of advertising your financial services firm through published content in order to turn strangers into friends, and friends into promoters of your firm. Here are three inbound marketing tools that, if used consistently, can set you apart from the rest of the pack.
Social Media As An Inbound Marketing Tool
As you've probably noticed, social media is huge in the U.S. and the growth of mobile apps is fueling even greater growth. According to Nielsen, 103 million Americans used the Facebook mobile app each month in 2013, an increase of 27% over 2012.
If you don't already have one, create a Facebook fan page for your firm. You can create an immediate influx of "Likes" by asking your existing clients and personal Facebook friends to "Like" and "Share" your page. Then keep your page current by posting links to and comments about financial services. You can also use your fan page to promote your other inbound marketing pieces. You can apply this technique to your firm's twitter page and other social media outlets as well.
Using these and other social media outlets, you can create and nurture relationships with your social media friends and followers. These people may not become clients overnight, but when they need help rolling over a 401(k), they will likely come to you.
Website Or Blog Content As An Inbound Marketing Tool
In the world of inbound marketing, useful content is essential. The days of using websites as nothing more than digital brochures are a thing of the past. However, many financial services websites are still stuck in that 20th century paradigm. But that's good news for you. By publishing a website or blog that delivers valuable, timely content, you're able to keep clients and prospects engaged. The important thing here, in addition to providing value, is to keep it fresh. You should create new content for your website or blog at least weekly, the more frequently the better.
Those who regularly visit your blog or website, including those social media friends and followers you've referred to it, will have an ever increasing level of trust in you and your financial expertise. You are unable to do this with outbound marketing tools like brochures and fliers. When your blog or website readers inherit money, you will be at the top of their list of who to call for advice on where to invest that money.
Capture Leads Using Inbound Marketing
Another essential use of your website or blog is to convert visitors to qualified leads. After all, that's the whole point of marketing, isn't it? One way to convert the casual visitor to a qualified lead is to issue a call to action at the end of every article or blog post you publish. A simple statement like, "For professional advice on rolling over your IRA, contact us online or call 1-800-555-1234." Make sure the word "online" links to your email contact page.
Another way to generate leads is to offer a free eBook or other item of real value in exchange for their contact information. This can be accomplished by placing a lead capture form on all your website or blog pages. If website or blog visitors find your articles or posts useful, many will be happy to give you their contact information in exchange for additional valuable content.
Capturing leads in this way goes well beyond gathering business cards in a fishbowl somewhere. People who subscribe to your prospect list, either by phoning you or filling out an online form, are expressing a level of interest in your professional services. And they're issuing a tacit invitation for you to contact them.
Begin Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Today
Too often we read or hear good advice about how we can generate new leads but then don't immediately act on it. Pretty soon, weeks or months go by and we find ourselves, once again, looking for new ways to attract more clients. Don't fall into that snare.
Right now, make a list of five or ten valuable pieces of information or advice that people in your target market might find useful. Then start creating content on those topics for your website or blog. Continue adding to your content ideas list as new ideas come to mind. This will enable you to have an endless stream of relevant content.