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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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!
David Sahly has spent his entire career working with organizations of all sizes to come up with practical digital media strategies that work. Before founding Above the Fold Media, he worked at Search Engine People as the Senior Manager of Business Development. He has his hands in every part of the marketing development strategy and is passionate about watching businesses thrive.