Before we discuss ways to increase your inbound leads, let's start at the beginning and answer the basic question: what ARE leads?
Well, according to Hubspot, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company's product or service in some way, shape, or form.
There is an important clarification to make here: an inbound lead isn't somebody that you drag, kicking and screaming, to your business. Leads are naturally drawn to your business website because you provide exactly the answer or solutions they seek. And you make these answers or solutions readily available.
Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of how to increase inbound leads!
Assuming you've already done your market research and have a specific target audience in mind, and assuming you are using sound SEO practices for all of your digital marketing efforts, attracting leads is as easy as 1-2-3. All that's required is matching your customer's needs with a free and easy-to-find solution or informational item.
How does it work? There are 4 mechanisms of inbound lead generation:
These components will help you attract the right potential leads, then entice them with quality content and other goodies, so that you can capture their information and create qualified leads.
How? You create compelling offers and trade these valuable tidbits for user information, creating exactly the leads you want! In this way, you aren't dragging potentials customers to your website by the scruff of their neck -- they come to your business website willingly, curious to consume your helpful, illuminating content tailored specifically to their problem! It's less like a sale, and more like a "win-win."
So, let a take a closer look:
Step 1: Natural Attraction
How do you attract exactly the right leads? Naturally, of course!
Okay, you have an amazing product or service and a killer website... now what? How do you get those leads coming to your website landing pages? By targeting the right keywords!
You target your ideal leads by answering exactly the kinds of questions they will be searching on Google and using keyword research to determine the precise phrases that are popular for search engines. This empowers your content creation, so that you can create highly valuable, easy-to-find free content for your ideal lead, also known as "buyer persona." (Not sure what a "buyer persona" is or curious about how to create a great one? Check out this quick 101! )
Keyword research will direct your efforts, so that you won't be creating content blind.
Set up an AdWords account (if you don't already have one) and take advantage of Google's FREE Keyword Planner to jump start your research.
Hubspot also offers the 9 Best Keyword Research Tools -- check it out!
Step 2: Enticing with Content
Once your potential lead searches your key phrase and discovers your great content offer, landing page and CTA (call-to-action), they will be presented with a choice: make a form submission in exchange for the offer, or leave the landing page.
If you've done your job, you are giving the visitor exactly what they're looking for, and making it easy to consume.
Content that converts is:
- FREE - no strings attached.
- Valuable - your leads would pay for it.
- Thorough - gives a full exploration of the question or topic.
- Does not actively sell anything - this is not the time for a hard sell. You might even suggest another option that might better solve your lead's problem or answer their question!
Keep your form as simple as possible to encourage submissions. Simple rule of thumb: the more information you ask for, the better the offer. Next, keep the form simple, with only email and maybe one additional field to fill out.
Hopefully, your potential lead decides to submit the form and become an actual lead! Woo hoo!
Step 3: Nurture, Nurture, Nurture!
Now that you captured your lead's email address, you must not let the lead get cold by failing to follow up. Nurturing a lead is almost as important as creating one in the first place.
According to Hubspot, lead nurturing is a critical part of a marketer’s job, especially in the B2B space. Forrester suggested that a B2B buyer’s journey could be anywhere from 65-90% complete by the time he or she contacts the vendor to move forward with a sale.
There are many approaches to lead nurturing. You can listen to social media channels and respond where appropriate, create personalized content based on your lead's past behaviors (downloads, URLs visited, etc.) and implement dynamic content on your website (if you have software automation capabilities). There are competition-driven methods, too, like paying for retargeting ads through your PPC campaigns.
Here are a few common lead nurturing strategies you'll want to keep in mind:
- Email follow ups - an easy way to deliver tailored content that coaxes a lead through the sales funnel.
- Social channel monitoring - watch for a lead's comments and activities so that you can learn about their needs & questions; engage where appropriate, but don't overdo it!
- Personalization of dynamic content - content that changes automatically based on your visitor's lead status delivers only the most relevant information (requires automated marketing software).
- Paid retargeting - retargeting users who clicked on previous ads with fresh marketing content
In summary, if you carefully define and develop relevant content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can guide your prospect seamlessly through the marketing funnel – and create a loyal customer at the end!
Learn How to Define and Attract Your Ideal Leads!
Have you created unique buyer personas so you can start nurturing your inbound leads? Download our free How to Create Accurate Buyer Personas eBook to learn about buyer personas, how to define the ideal customer, and how to gather data when creating your buyer personas.
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