If you blinked sometime in the last decade, you may have missed it. The role of marketing changed, and it changed big. Surprisingly, credit unions have fallen behind precisely where they should excel: in capturing inbound leads.
So, what are inbound leads? And why do they matter?
What Are Inbound Leads?
Well, let’s get one thing straight. Leads are marketing leads. They’re people who show some interest in a brand, its products, or its services.
But what is an inbound lead?
Inbound leads are people that approach your brand of their own volition. They have a need or a problem that needs solving, and they suspect that your brand can help them.
Inbound leads are particularly desirable because most of the heavy marketing and sales work is already done. These people are actively looking for a solution, they know your brand and what it does, and all they want is to see if you’re the right fit for them!
Why Does My Credit Union Want Inbound Leads?
Credit unions have long cherished their relationship to their members. Member service has traditionally been one of their key differentiators. Basically, understanding people (and their needs) is at the core of credit union financial services.
Where credit unions often fall behind their competitors is with their resources. They just don’t have technology budgets of big banks. Similarly, because they work only with certain communities, their marketing reach and impact are limited.
Inbound leads reduce the amount of effort credit unions need to attract new members. They also drastically lower member acquisition costs.
Imagine if most of your new members this year joined under the following circumstances:
- Already know who you are
- Already know which services you provide
- Chose you over competitors because…
- They heard good things from other people
- Knew you had the best terms or rates for their needs
And imagine if they came to your credit union, ready to join and engage, without your marketing department paying for commercials, ads, or other traditional channels of outreach.
How to Get Inbound Leads
There are a few easy ways to get inbound leads. We’ll list a few of the easiest and most common ways of bringing them into your credit union.
1. Brand Awareness
There’s no such thing as an inbound lead with no brand awareness. Anybody who approaches your credit union must first know that your credit union exists. If people see it everywhere, that brand reinforcement will keep you top of mind.
Brand awareness is often accomplished through traditional marketing, like commercials, ads, and email campaigns. However, there are several other ways as well.
2. Word of Mouth
Many people learn about brands, products, and services from their peers. If you ask your Facebook community who makes the best cola, no cola manufacturer will respond. You won’t see cola ads all over.
Every response you’ll get will be a word-of-mouth response. Advertising dollars may have influenced the answers you’ll hear, but they won’t have directly paid for it.
(Personal note: Coca-Cola and Pepsi are the big names, but RC Cola beats them both on flavor. There’s a little word of mouth for you!)
3. Content Marketing
Traditional marketing has been upended by inbound marketing (also called content marketing) in the last decade. The internet gave consumers the power to do their own research, and people used information from blogs, reviews, videos, and other content to inform their buying decisions.
Content marketing captures the attention of people who are searching for information about the products and services they need. Blogs, articles, infographics, and videos answer consumer questions, address their concerns, and tell them where they can find the best solution for them.
Content marketing accomplishes a lot:
- Gets your name out there, especially with readers
- Establishes trust by providing accurate information
- Introduces your products and services to interested parties
- Reduces overall member acquisition costs
Plus, anybody who reads more than a few pieces of content about a particular subject automatically becomes a warm lead. You know that they need something, that you offer what they need, and that they know who you are.
They’re an inbound lead. All that’s left is to begin nurturing them. Then, close.
(Marketing automation really helps here.)
Credit unions spend quite a bit on traditional advertising, but they may not need to. Instead, they may do better by cultivating more inbound leads.
At this point, most credit union marketing departments know they need to use content to attract leads. However, most of them aren’t exactly sure how. And for some, adding inbound marketing strategies could be quite a bit of work.
Of course, getting inbound leads is only part of the equation. Closing those leads is the big step, and it’s hard without the right tools.
Fortunately, those strategies—and especially those tools—are something that we’re happy to help with.
Subscribe to our blog to learn more about how to grow your credit union. Or check out our marketing automation service to get an idea about how it can cultivate, nurture, and grow your inbound leads.