Each business has an audience they can best serve and a service they want to offer. Traditional marketing, or outbound marketing, focuses on implementing methods that often push businesses to start with the commonly seen mediums: newspaper ads, tv spots, billboards, direct mail, etc. Yet most often these mediums offer no measurable results. Instead, you learn the success of your business’ outbound marketing anecdotally; you hear someone mention “Oh, I got your business card from so and so” or “I saw your billboard and decided to stop in” or “I’m here to use the coupon you left on my door.” Outbound marketing is expensive and takes time, but depending on your business, it might just feel right. How can you afford not to place ads in the local paper as a local business?
Enter inbound marketing. It’s primarily online, provides trackable data, and lets your business start and stop campaigns a lot faster. The best part is that inbound marketing is often the perfect tool to refine and better your outbound marketing efforts.
The Intersection of Outbound & Inbound Marketing for a Local Bank
A local bank in West Texas encountered just that. As a local business, it utilizes in-person and community connections to keep it a locally-owned community bank. It takes pride in its neighbors and loves ways to be involved. As a bank, it does not want to ignore the impact that advertising in local papers and print newsletters has on its business; plus, they too are supporting local businesses by engaging in traditional marketing. However, they sought to interact with more customers online to reflect their well-known in-person banking connections. They began implementing the inbound methodology alongside their traditional marketing efforts and it was a big hit. Let’s review some of the challenges they faced - this will help you if you’re in the same boat!
Obstacle 1: Where did this lead come from?
Limiting ad spend to outbound marketing can be tempting. For small, local business within a traditional industry, it can be hard to branch out with new, online tactics. This local bank could broadly see that their outbound marketing efforts could not deliver a specific ROI, while inbound marketing could show them real-time, trackable engagement and data on their target audiences and leads. With outbound marketing, it was unclear how much impact one newspaper ad had, or how many customers one piece of direct mail brought in. With inbound marketing, they could see their customer engagement, measure the success of their ad dollars, and point to customers that were directly brought in through this trackable, online marketing.
Obstacle 2: Connecting With People They Know - Online!
This particular bank serves local communities and has a range of customers, most of whom have online social profiles. Customers love hearing stories from tellers, connecting with their mortgage lender as their neighbor, and working alongside banking officers within the community. The local bank has a large customer base, but so few of their customers had connected with them online! When they incorporated inbound marketing into their plan, they saw a significant increase in their online audience and engagement. They are now able to share news a lot faster and continually remind customers through posts and special offers that they do care for the communities around them!
Obstacle 3: Can you hear me out there?
Solely utilizing outbound marketing meant a delay in news, promotions, and offers. The bank took this in stride, communicating updates to existing and potential customers as soon as possible, yet that took substantial phone calls, ad placements, and patience. The bank saw the potential in communicating news immediately online to customers interested in engaging with them online, and inbound marketing offered that in the best manner. Now both new and existing customers could be drawn into events, connect with their local bank and its employees, and hear resourceful information from people they could trust.
Obstacle 4: So much wisdom, no way to share!
The bank is made up of a number of smart businessmen and businesswomen who are well suited to help out their neighbors and customers. There are industry experts, knowledgeable finance officers, and banking professionals at every turn and they are neighbors with their amazing customers! They sought to share this collection of insight and knowledge with their community and potential customers, passing along financial wisdom and home loan tips whenever possible. Once they looked into inbound marketing, they saw that blogging was an amazing way to share that information to their community. Now customers can find expert tips and helpful banking knowledge online, 24/7.
Obstacle 5: Tracking where time & money is spent
Traditional marketing was and is still a key component of the bank’s marketing strategy, yet they began to rethink how they could use their existing systems with an “inbound” angle. Phone systems, print ads, and sharing company news could have tracking features added to monitor the amount of time customers engaged with those ads, made calls with the home loan center team, or if they clicked on an ad from a certain social media platform. Once the bank saw the way to analyze their entire system to reflect the inbound Buyer’s Journey, they were able to get more and more creative in producing original content for their audience, delighting existing customers and attracting new customers.
How can you add inbound marketing to your outbound marketing efforts?
Start tracking. Write down all the unknowns for your audience - how are you missing out on engaging with them? How can you begin monitoring your success or realize your marketing failures? Start tracking your ad dollars, correlated customers gained, and overall engagement. Incorporating basic inbound principles into your business should help you rethink your traditional marketing habits.
Put your marketing dollars to good use. If you’re just getting into inbound, set small benchmarks and finances towards your overall SMART goals. Outline where you want to be, and use your inbound marketing dollars to get you there. We recommend first focusing on delighting and engaging your audience where they’re at. Educate them on your field and be a valuable resource to them - they will likely be happy to see you (finally!) online.
Remember: have patience with yourself and your business. It would be hard (and unwise) to drop your outbound methods immediately after reading this blog, as you likely have some great intent and strategies developed with your marketing plan. Step into the inbound world ready to engage your existing customers and greet new prospects - we’re sure you’ll see the benefit to your business and your audience in no time.