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3 Ways Inbound Marketing Helps Community Bank Branding

Inbound marketing, also known as content marketing, is a strategic technology-based tool that allows you to position yourself, while inviting your best prospects to self-identify. The way the technology works is that you make an offer-information, white paper, ebook, data...something of value to a target prospect-via a call to action (CTA) button. This can be a part of a blog post, or it can be freestanding as a banner ad or social media post. A prospect interested in the value you offer clicks the button, which takes them to a landing page, where they can provide certain contact information (which you can define) in return for the offer.

Inbound is pretty new. But inbound marketing for banks is only beginning to catch on. Here are three ways you can use inbound to help you build your community bank brand.

1. Establish yourself (your bank's brand) as a thought leader. Think about all the things your bankers know about, that the average person could benefit from. Some of those things may be common knowledge among bankers, but you generally are not marketing to bankers.

For example, to an average consumer, how interest rates are set is a mystery, as are fees, points, payment terms. Most consumers have no idea why they should use a bank wealth management adviser vs. a broker-or both. Consumers aren't typically sophisticated about how to use credit, how leverage home equity strategically, how and when to roll savings instruments, how important their core deposits are to a bank. By making yourself the go-to bankers for all sorts of financial expertise, you establish yourself as a thought leader. And by doing that, you break your brand out of the consideration set.

2. A self-selected prospect is a better prospect. There are certain times in a consumer or business's financial life cycle when they are shopping for certain cornerstone products. These are high opportunity times for banks. When consumers are looking for a first DDA, a first credit card, a first mortgage, a primary checking account for direct deposit...when businesses are looking for a line of credit, growth capital, business credit cards, a commercial mortgage...these are the times when prospects have a vested interest in choosing a bank and beginning to build a relationship. These are also the times when they are shopping for information-information that you happen to have. By offering valuable information in return for the first steps of a relationship (contact information), you position yourself as a helpful (transparent) resource. It's like a courtship.

3. Add value to your product information. You probably already have your key product collateral in a digital format (if not, you should). By building a distribution that allows shoppers to download basic product information in return for some basic personal information, you add value to your products (and therefore your community bank brand). How valuable would it be to have a name, address, mobile number, and email address for every single person who has your checking account brochure, for example? This also helps protect you from being shopped by competitors.

There are no silver bullets. Sound branding (and marketing) is a matter of consistent discipline. But as part of a comprehensive community bank branding strategy, inbound marketing can be very helpful in establishing your credibility, organizing your information flow, and gathering valuable prospect data in an organized, followup-friendly format.

Gibbons | Peck marketing communication is a Greenville, SC advertising agency and marketing consultancy, focused on branding for community banks. We'd be delighted to speak with you at length this or other issues having to do with your for your community bank brand.

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