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Inbound Marketing for Banks and E-Commerce: Easy as 1-2-3!

1. INTRODUCING INBOUND

About a month ago, the Strands Marketing Dreamteam took a field trip to Madrid to attend the 4th edition of Inbound Marketing Made In (#IMMI16), jointly organized by ICEMDSeedRocket and InboundCycle

IMMI16.png

A lot of our learnings are readily applicable to the Strands world of financial services and e-commerce, so we thought we'd share the best knowledge nuggets with you, dear readers! 

INBOUND FOR E-TAILERS

Let's start with the question our e-commerce expert was asking: How can retailers leverage inbound marketing to engage with customers?

Inbound marketing is an effective way to attract potential shoppers to your online store and engage with them while browsing. In fact, 60% of digital buyers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site. There are few different pathways to e-commerce inbound marketing success:

  1. Create a shopping experience online: Retail content should serve not only to educate and focus on the buyer´s pain points or funnel stage, but also feed their emotional need to shop (ever heard of retail therapy?).

    When creating content, don't just focus on the conversation and purchase, but have an ideal buyer in mind: for example, women like to browse, search and compare more than men. Provide your target persona with an experience and content that resonates with them. More than ever, consumer-generated content is becoming a powerful tool for brands looking to engage and convert their top customer segments.

  1. Use data to create your content strategy: You can get to know you shoppers through data, social listening and analysis of real conversations online. Smart data collection is key. Use personalization and segmentation to serve people content based on their behaviour online. This is how you win them back.

    As Pau Valdes, the CEO of InboundCycle said during #IMMI16: "The e-commerce sales process is drastically changing and the main focus for retailers now is attracting users online, capturing their data and then finding multiple ways to lead them to conversion."

  2. Use video as a go-to content asset: Almost 69% of online content will be video by 2017. E-commerce is uniquely positioned to leverage video content. By showing what people are buying, adding a how-to video or tutorial you can engage with your digital buyers online.

INBOUND FOR BANKS

Think inbound is only for e-commerce? Think again! Banks can definitely benefit from inbound marketing magic too. 

A winning case study comes from one of our first clients and one of the most innovative banks in the world, BBVA. We came away from the talk by Head of Communications Marcos Marrodan thinking, "Wow, BBVA really gets it!" 

BBVA's inbound marketing message is simple enough to break down into 3 steps:

  1. Understand what your audience is interested in
  2. Generate content that responds to those interests 
  3. Position that content where your users live online

Let's take an example. If you are a bank, here is what your press releases probably look like: 

bbva_press_release.png

Pretty boring, right? Not something particularly engaging or interesting for your audience, and it probably lives in a single, lonely page buried somewhere in your website... 

Now, have a look at the same press release, following the 1-2-3 inbound formula:

bbva_inbound.png

The above example shows BBVA responding to a segmented audience with content that not only resonates with their interests, but comes in 3 more user-friendly, shareable formats:

  1. an infographic that is super easy to tweet or share as an image
  2. a journalistic style long-form that reads more like a magazine article or think piece (perfect as a blog post) and
  3. a good old press release BUT with amped-up aesthetic appeal: visuals, icons and a quote to serve as a tweetable soundbite.

Try it with your next press release and watch your social proof grow! If you need more inspiration, check out BBVA's communications site - very cool. 

2. CONTENT: HOW TO MAKE IT VIRAL?

Here's a sad fact we learned at IMMI: only 32% of consumers say that brand-generated content is worth sharing. Ouch! 
 
So the big challenge for marketers is: how can we create content that users care about enough to share?
 
Lucas García, CEO of Social Mood, insists that the most important thing is to start from the perspective of the user in the first place: "Write something you would love to read yourself!" 
 
In other words, emotions apply here. This is especially true when launching an app, where authenticity plays an especially important role in the content marketing strategy. Lucas emphasized that we tend to share content when at least 1 of these (yes, again with the magic formula) 3 things occurs:
  1. It’s a cause we believe in
  2. It’s thought-provoking
  3. It’s funny

This may sound obvious, but the reality is that we brands, whether in banking or e-commerce, tend to be pretty selfish when it comes to content creation. But if we can learn how to empower our customers and provide them with delightfully helpful content, word-of-mouth will do the rest.

3. WOO, LEAD CAPTURED! ...NOW WHAT? 

Now that you've generated that “high quality lead” who has liked or shared your original and engaging content, what’s next?
 
It's time for lead nurturing - meaning you keep this lead engaged with your brand by gradually guiding him through the customer journey until he is ready to buy your product or service.
 
"This is where it can get tricky," says Strands CMO Victoria Yasinetskaya. "If your sales lifecycle is more than 6 months, as it is in our B2B unit, this a long way to go and the nurturing strategy needs to be well planned.
 
Victoria talked to Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot to ask for his recommendations. Here are 3 key takeaways from their chat:
 
1. Q. How soon should I follow up with an inbound lead?
 
A. If your target group is very niche and you are selling to a large organization like a bank, the sooner you contact a lead the better. But if you are targeting a broader audience and the sell is on a more individual basis, don’t rush to follow up straightaway - wait until you see more engagement from their side i.e. website visits, content downloads etc.   
 
2. Q. When is the magic moment to start a sales pitch?
 
A. When you reach out to a lead at an earlier stage of her engagement with your brand, don’t attack with your sales pitch at the first interaction. Most likely she is still not ready to buy or even doesn’t know that she needs to buy what you are selling. Educate that lead, provide valuable “free” advice: this way create awareness that there is a need, and your company has that perfect solution to help solve this need. 

3. Q. What is the most important aspect of lead nurturing?

A. The bottom line of lead nurturing: personalization. Automated workflows and e-mail campaigns can work to some extend but we, marketeers, have to be careful. Make sure your content doesn’t sound like its coming from a robot, don’t be annoying with the frequency of your e-mails, and when you follow up with leads make sure you can offer them some valuable content and have a clear call to action. Yes, it is hard to find that “golden middle”: so the only way to do it right is to try, iterate and continuously tweak.   


Bring data-driven marketing to your bank
 
Author's Note: This post was a cross-team effort and co-created by Nicole Harper, Victoria Yasinetskaya, Miriam Ballesteros and Vaida Pakulyte. 

Topics: marketing for banks, inbound, e-commerce, content creation, inbound marketing

Author: Nicole Harper, Content Manager on Jul 22, 2016

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