3 MARKETING TACTICS TO GROW INBOUND LEADS
Leads are the key to success in any business. Without leads your revenue drops. Without revenue you don’t have a company, so it is understandable that marketers are held accountable for generating more and more leads every month for the sales team. However, developing a pipeline of qualified leads is still the biggest challenge for many marketers today. The answer to keeping a steady flow of leads is inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing, as you know, is rooted in developing a conversation with prospects through content that educates, solves problems, and demonstrates your willingness as a company at every stage of the buyer’s journey. These conversations and content pieces are the foundation for building trust that will eventually encourage a prospect to convert into an inbound lead. In this post, we will discuss how to use this process to improve the quality and quantity of the inbound leads you receive every month.
First, What is an Inbound Lead?
An inbound lead is a person who is converted through any of your inbound marketing tactics. They could fill out a form on your website, engage with you on social media, comment on your blog, download your ebooks or white papers, call you directly because they saw your phone number on your website after reading about the solutions to the problem they are trying solve, and more. They are not leads that you found at a trade show, through cold calling, or any other traditional marketing tactic.
Inbound leads typically take less time to close because they have done their homework. When an inbound lead talks to a sales person, they have an understanding of what solution might be the best fit for them, and have typically decided that your company is the best fit. As you can guess, inbound leads are a sales team’s dream. Increasing your total number of inbound leads will be the first challenge, so let’s start there.
3 Ways to Increase Your Total Number of Inbound Leads
Through valuable, relevant, and timely information you can increase the total number of leads that convert through your inbound marketing marketing funnel. Below are three tactics to help you evaluate what you’re currently do and how to improve or implement future efforts.
1. Optimize Your Website’s User Experience
Think of your website as a customer service representative. If a customer service representative makes your experience difficult, does not provide valuable information to help you make a decision, or is offensive (too much perfume, untidy uniform, poor grammar, etc) you are not likely to trust the company from whom you are seeking information. The same is true for prospects on your website. Ways to optimize for user experience include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Coming up in search engine results (such as Google) improve the user experience, because your content is answering the question for which the prospect is looking for an answer. By showing up early in search results, you are indicating to your prospect that the content you are creating is valuable.
- An Attractive Design with White Space: Have you ever been to a website that has calls-to-action, blinking lights, a hard to read font, colors that strain the eyes, and is just overall difficult to take in? That person doesn’t convert many inbound leads. Instead, focus on creating a clean website that:
- Utilizes white space so that there are no distractions
- Is direct about your company’s value proposition
- Has Calls-to-Action that match each stage of the buyer’s journey
- Clearly shows navigation without vague language
- Optimizes for SEO and user experience
- Provide Ways to Easily Connect and Receive More Information: Conversational marketing is becoming more and more popular, especially for SaaS and other tech companies. By providing a live chat tool, you can capture more leads and make the overall experience more tailored to the user. Additionally, you should provide ebooks, white papers, tip sheets, workbooks, and other forms of content that are easily accessible through quick forms and resource centers.
- Create a Segment of One: When we talk about segmentation in inbound marketing, we are typically referring to create lists, and emailing leads about new offers. However, with new technology, we can actually create an extremely targeted experience for users on our website. HubSpot’s Smart Content allows you to set up rules so that different personas, lead stages, or any other segment you decide sees and experiences your website differently. What better way to improve the experience than delivering exactly what the person needs at exactly the right time?
2. Create Content that is Targeted to Your Personas & Their Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
By now, you probably know that content is king in inbound marketing. Content is how prospects find your website. It is how they typically convert into leads. It is also a part of how you qualify a lead and determine which stage of the buyer’s journey they currently reside. In order to motivate prospects to convert into leads, or leads to reconvert further along in the journey, you need a content that (a) is written for different personas, and (b) is actually something the prospect or lead want and needs. A few questions to keep in mind as you create content are:
- What types of questions are your personas typing into Google? Have you created content for those questions?
- Is your content mapped according to the buyer’s journey? How many downloadable pieces of content (not blog posts) do you have in each stage?
- Is your content divided by persona? If so, how many pieces of content do you have for each persona? How does that compare to your buyer’s journey map? For example, do you have more Awareness stage content for one persona, than another?
- Do you have blog posts at every stage of the buyer’s journey?
- How often do you post and share content on social media?
- What content is read most often? Which persona is that content targeted to?
When you start to look at your content critically by mapping it out according to persona and the buyer’s journey, it will be easier to see gaps and create a plan going forward to fill them in.
3. Use Data to Test, Tweak, and Try Again
Often, potential clients will approach Above The Fold Media with a concern about the number of inbound leads they are receiving each month. Why are we not seeing results? We started a blog and redesigned our website. We post on social media, and have an ebook offer and everything! What’s wrong with our inbound marketing strategy? If these kinds of questions are relatable to you, do not worry. There is data that you can use to answer these questions and put yourself back on track. Let’s start with a core benchmark for lead generation.
An inbound marketing strategy that is executed well, with all cylinders firing, will convert website traffic at between 2 – 3% over the course of 6 months to a year. This tell us two things:
- The amount of qualified traffic your website receives greatly determines your lead flow.
- It takes time to build an inbound marketing strategy that works.
If you have just started your strategy, or have been dabbling in it without full commitment, your leads could be dwindling. Having an inconsistent blogging strategy can affect your traffic for example, and as we see above quality traffic drives quality leads. In short, get your content on track and the leads will follow.
Next, let’s look at how your gated content affects your lead flow. Let’s say you have three pieces of content – one at each stage of the buyer’s journey (Awareness, Consideration, Decision). Look at your data and ask these questions:
- Which piece of content is downloaded most frequently? Most likely it is the Awareness stage piece of content.
- How old is this piece of content?
- When was the last time you blogged about this topic?
- What is the trend in traffic generation for this topic?
- How frequently do you promote this content piece on social media?
- Are you other pieces of content otherwise neglected, sitting alone in a resource center?
- Where are the CTAs for your content?
- What happens after someone downloads the Awareness stage content? Do they get sent to the next piece of content, or immediately receive a sales pitch?
Truly dig into what is happening to your content to discover how your prospects are interacting with it. Then, make decisions from there. For example, if your content piece is old you may have exhausted the leads coming in from that piece and it is time to write a new content piece. Bottom line: Dig into your data and make adjustments as necessary.
What tactics are you using to increase inbound leads for your company? Share them with us in the comments!