Are you familiar with the terms "banner blindness", "data smog", or "information overload"? These terms are all related to the negative effects caused by excessive exposure to Marketing and advertising messages. It’s impossible for people to process everything that is vying for their attention, so they enter in a saturation phase. The carefully-crafted Marketing messages we spent so much time and effort on are lost on our prospects…
Luckily, the human brain is clever – it has learned to filter through the noise and carefully select only content of interest. That’s why it’s pointless to spam prospects with dozens of Marketing messages at every turn; instead, we can earn their attention by meeting them at the right time and place, with the right message, in the right format. This is the essence of Inbound Marketing.
If your Marketing campaigns are falling on deaf ears, you may be using the wrong approach – and Inbound is the answer! It has been found that inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads! Discover 5 best practices for inbound lead generation that will help you increase traffic and conversions.
5 Best Practices for Inbound Lead Generation
1. Create High-Quality Content Relevant to Your Target Audience
One of our main goals as Marketers is to capture the attention of our prospects. To do this, we must generate high-quality content that’s valuable and useful in resolving their problems, wants, and needs.
To determine the problems, wants, and needs of our prospects, we need to understand the ins-and-outs of our Buyer Personas; that is, specific information about your current and ideal customers taken from your existing database, forms, interviews, and available market research.
Use the free mbudo template to develop your own Buyer Persona!
Once we know who our prospects are, we need to know how to reach them. This is where the Buyer’s Journey comes into play; it’s about knowing where our leads are at in the Marketing and Sales funnel in order to hit them with the right messages and content formats.
B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that do not. Thus, developing both website and blog content, along with other assets (landing pages, downloadable content, videos, etc.) is a big part of any good lead generation strategy.
Your overall content strategy ties all the pieces together. HubSpot has come up with an innovative content strategy involving Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters.
At its core, this strategy involves using the information surrounding your Buyer Personas, their topics of interest, and your repository of existing content to structure your pages around core “Pillar Pages” (the main pages you want your prospects to interact with) and “Topic Clusters” (the surrounding pieces of content that are related to the pillar and link back to it).
This type of structure makes it easier to organize your content around topics and Buyer Personas, and in turn gives your content a “flow” that’s more understandable for your prospects. It’s easy for them to see the relationship between pieces of content and find the exact thing that they’re looking for in that moment, whether it be a blog post, downloadable ebook, or landing page for speaking with a sales agent. Moreover, this is the best structure for improving your content’s SEO ranking.
2. Optimize Content for SEO
A BrightEdge study has shown that SEO increased traffic by 53% on average across all industries. Therefore, not only is it important to generate quality content, but it’s also important to position it properly to maximize its exposure and impact.
More exposure tends to equal a greater number of leads. What’s more, these leads will be highly relevant to your business objectives as they will be searching for the exact information that you’re crafting in your Marketing materials and messages.
The Pillar Page and Topic Clusters mentioned above will help improve SEO positioning by creating relationships between similar pieces of content, achieved through internal and external linking.
But it’s also necessary to implement known SEO best practices such as:
- Conduct keyword research.
- Focus on one keyword per piece of content. Don’t repeat keywords.
- Input the core keyword throughout the content when relevant and natural.
- Include the keyword in the meta-description and alt-text.
- Avoid duplicate content. Don’t copy and paste text on different pages, as Google will penalize you for this.
- Optimize technical aspects such as heading designations (H1, H2, etc.), page loading time, image weight, etc.
HubSpot provides a useful SEO optimization tool when creating website or blog content. Within the “Optimize” tab, you’ll find a checklist to analyze your content according to SEO best practices. It considers the associated pillar and topic cluster, chosen keyword, page structure for titles and images, links, and more. By following the guidelines, you’ll start seeing “green ticks” appear when your content is properly optimized.
3. Social Media & Paid Media to Bolster Organic Reach
According to HubSpot, 90.4% of millenials, 77.5% of generation X, and 48.2% of baby boomers are active social media users. These percentages perfectly represent the huge business potential social media has and why it’s so important to have a well-defined social media marketing strategy to reach a specific and relevant audience. Furthermore, 71% of consumers who have a positive experience with a business on social media share it with others. In parellel, Paid Media (typically through Google Ads) is a useful medium to consider, as 49% of users says that they use Google search engines to find or discover a new product.
In this day and age, it’s pretty obvious, but social media a key resource for expanding your lead generation efforts; it’s where you can share your content, generate brand awareness, interact with your audience, attract leads, and drive recommendations. And what’s more, it's usually FREE. Most businesses are already present on social media, but if yours is not, get started TODAY!
Moreover, social media can demonstrate a “human” side to your business by connecting with your audience in a personal, proactive way. This can be very useful when it comes to gauging what the public thinks of your company, getting feedback from followers, and addressing customer questions and complaints.
Taking things one step further, if your Marketing budget allows for it, it is ideal to combine your organic content strategy with Paid Search and Paid Social. Paid media can support your organic positioning by expanding your content’s reach to different audiences, websites, and formats.
Pay-per-click campaigns on platforms like Google Ads is the quickest and most-effective way to start, promoting your site through targeted keywords in paid ads. Combining these actions with paid social campaigns on relevant social media networks will increase your audience and awareness.
4. Landing Pages are Your Main Engine for Inbound Lead Generation
Regardless of your lead acquisition strategy, the objective of your landing pages is a primary factor to take into account. Targeting your pages correctly can increase conversions up to 300%.
Landing pages focused on lead generation have a primary objective of capturing information from prospects in exchange for some sort of offer, such as a newsletter sign up, downloadable ebook, free trial, etc. These landings consist of a single, consistent message, form, and call-to-action. Further lead nurturing will be required to progress leads from these pages to a more advanced stage of the funnel.
Here's an example of a perfectly-designed Lead Generation Landing Page from Slack:
There are several best practices that this landing page follows:
- A large, visible headline to capture the user’s attention, and a short but descriptive paragraph for further explanation.
- The “lead capture” form is immediately present; Remember, the primary objective is achieving this form fill-out.
- An attractive CTA that is short, direct and highlights the word "free".
- A single form field makes it more likely that visitors will complete it. Shorter forms tend to convert better, but form length should be proportional to the offer.
- Images are bright, attractive, relevant, and use brand colors.
Finally, your landing page must deliver on the promises of the ad campaigns or CTAs that have led the user to land on that page. There must be cohesion between Marketing messages and content; otherwise, visitors will be confused, annoyed, or uninterested, and your conversion rate will suffer.
Speaking of conversions, discover 10 insights from mbudo for improving conversions on landing pages.
5. Use Email Marketing to Convert Leads into Customers
By 2023, 4.3 billion users will have an email account, and according to HubSpot, for every euro that you invest in email marketing corresponds a ROI of 38 euros. These figures demonstrate that email marketing continues to be one of the best online marketing communication channels.
After capturing lead contact information, email marketing provides a great opportunity for "lead nurturing". This consists of encouraging leads to progress down the Marketing and Sales funnel by sending them relevant pieces of content. You’ll not only nurture their knowledge about your company and services, but also your relationship with them.
There are many different types of emails you can consider: welcome emails, newsletters, promotions, commercial emails…each one sent according to the positioning of leads within the Buyer’s Journey.
Lead generation done by email often comes via existing customers. Maybe you can up-sell or cross-sell other products/services to existing customers. Or maybe they’ll receive a discount if they recommend your business to an associate who’s looking for the type of services you offer. There are a lot of ways to maximize your existing database via email campaigns and offers. Most lead generation strategies just require rethinking your existing strategy and getting a little creative!
The quickest, most effective way to improve lead generation is to implement these Inbound Marketing tactics. You will improve the quality of your Marketing content, provide true value for prospects, and develop a multitude of ways to reach leads and capture their information.
At mbudo, we are Inbound Marketing experts and we would be happy to help with your inbound lead generation strategy!