Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: A Primer for Financial Firms

Marketing has evolved into two major categories and if your financial firm or brokerage is not up to speed on how each marketing type differs, your firm risks falling behind to competitors and new firms who have mastered the art of modern marketing.

Lead generation marketing in 2019 can be divided into outbound marketing and inbound marketing. There are several distinctions between the two with each requiring different resources.

Here, we describe everything you need to know about inbound and outbound marketing, what it means for your financial firm and what businesses can be doing to stay ahead of the curve.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is any type of marketing where a company uses external resources to push out a message to reach new clients.

Examples of outbound marketing for financial firms include:

  •     A TV commercial about a bank promoting low interest rates or brokers touting low fees
  •     An advertisement directing people to sign up for a Roth IRA retirement account
  •     A firm-branded booth at a conference trade show, like FIA, displaying trading software
  •     Fund managers cold-calling potential investors to help build their AUM
  •     Email blasts sent to 3rd party distribution lists announcing a new price hedging program

Outbound marketing is best explained as your company pushing out a message to reach leads. Therefore, since your firm is actively attempting to reach new people, it requires a lot more work than inbound marketing (more on that in a minute).

However, as it is considered the old method of reaching desired audiences, there are several problems with outbound marketing.

According to marketing software innovator HubSpot, “the average human today is inundated with over 2,000 outbound marketing interruptions per day and is figuring out more and more creative ways to block them out, including caller ID, spam filtering, Tivo, and Sirius satellite radio.

The key problems with outbound marketing are:

  •     Difficulty in tracking return on investment (ROI)
  •     Increased blocking techniques (spam filters, do not call list, etc.)
  •     High-cost, low yield

Even though outbound marketing may eat up budgets and not deliver the expected results, you’d be surprised how many financial services firms still use outbound marketing as their primary source of marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Unlike the “push out” method of outbound marketing, inbound marketing is a technique for drawing potential customers in to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding.

Inbound marketing frees up time for client-facing financial professionals, brokers, and money managers to focus on business development as opposed to wasting time on tactics like cold calling. Some examples of inbound marketing specific to the financial industry are:

  • BLOG POSTS – Writing posts for your firm’s blog will create value and build trust in potential leads. A brokerage firm wanting to display their subject matter expertise on current markets could write a trending blog post with a compelling title: What 2018 Tariffs Mean for the 2019 Futures Market: Our Experts Weigh In.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA – Maintain company pages on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, which are free and effective channels to share content, provide links to firm blog posts, white papers, offer landing pages, etc. to pull traffic into your website. For example, Get Your FREE Spring Planting Guide to Grain Marketing could be posted with a nice attention-grabbing graphic along with a link to the landing page for the offer.
  • SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) – Search engine optimization to improve visibility of your website in search engine results can be done through several efforts, including writing relevant blog posts. So, if your firm specializes in trading risk management software, be sure to write quality relevant posts with the words “trading risk management” in the body and title.
  • EDUCATIONAL CONTENT – Creating financial white papers and market guides to act as lead magnets that require people to sign up to download. An example educational whitepaper could be something like Managed Futures 101: How Alternative Investments Protect Against Black Swan Events.
  • NEWSLETTERS – Sending a quarterly market commentary or newsletter that turns into a campaign promoted via email blasts, social media, digital advertisements and more. An example would be emailing a Quarterly Investor Newsletter to shed light on the activities that influence portfolio performance.

The best way to describe inbound marketing is it helps your firm “get found” by people who are already searching specific topics about the financial industry. In short, your leads come to you.

Inbound marketing forces you to focus on providing value to your audience instead of delivering a sales pitch on the first interaction. Providing valuable information helps develop trust with leads and effortlessly nurtures leads without your business development team having to do the bulk of the heavy lifting through the entire lead generation cycle.

Unlike outbound marketing which requires client-facing professionals to actively pursue new leads, inbound marketing can and should be managed by marketing professionals. This frees up hours of time for the business development team to pursue new deals and close on the hot ones that have been nurtured by inbound marketing.

How to Start: Create an Inbound Marketing Plan

Your team should take a couple weeks to review existing marketing efforts and categorize them into inbound and outbound efforts. Once these lists are complete, you can then evaluate which outbound tasks can be turned into inbound marketing.

Then it’s time to start executing by working with your internal marketing department or a team of dedicated marketing professionals like Gate 39 Media to make sure everyone is on the same page with a mapped out inbound marketing plan.

The good thing about inbound marketing is if it doesn’t provide a good ROI right away, it’s easy to make tweaks that will hopefully translate into a greater amount of leads.

Consider Using an Inbound Marketing Engine

A truly effective marketing tool that can help run, measure, and collect valuable insight on inbound marketing campaign efforts is HubSpot – inbound marketing and sales software that can be used alone or along with HubSpot’s free CRM.

Inbound marketing may require a lot of up front work, however once all the resources and content have been created and defined, the return on investment will work and speak for itself.

Gate 39 Media is a HubSpot Certified agency meaning we’re nationally recognized as inbound marketing experts. While this article provides a crash course on inbound marketing versus outbound marketing for financial firms, we’re here to help your firm determine how to get started and make recommendations based on your business goals.

Interested in learning more about getting an inbound marketing plan in place? Contact us.

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