The best way to turn strangers into customers!
Over the past decade, people have drastically changed the way they utilize information to make purchase decisions. According to Forbes, 80% of B2B purchase cycles are completed before the buyer contacts sales. In order to grow your business, you must change how you market to potential buyers. Inbound lead generation is all about getting found online by your audience, where they're looking for your products/services.
Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that aligns with potential buyers’ interests. By distributing that content online through landing pages, blog posts, email and social media, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. According to HubSpot, inbound marketing services produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices, such as direct mail and advertising.
The Four Marketing Actions
Inbound Marketing Methodology
It starts with developing a deep understanding of who your potential buyers are and what information they are searching for online. With that understanding, you can create and share valuable content that attracts the right people to your website. Website visitors must give their contact information, through a form, in order to get the content. They then become leads that can be nurtured through email marketing to close them as customers and delight them into promoters of your business.
You want to attract the right traffic to your site, not just any traffic. People who are most likely to become leads, and, ultimately, customers. Who are the “right” people? Buyer personas can help you embrace the goals, challenges, pain points, common objections and personal insights among all members of a particular customer type to target.
Some of the most important tools to attract the right users to your site are:
- Blogging - Inbound lead generation starts with blogging. A blog is the single best way to attract new visitors to your website. In order to get found by the right prospective customers, you must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - Your customers begin their buying process online, using a search engine, to research something they have questions about. In order to get found, you need to carefully, analytically pick keywords, optimize your pages, create content, and build links around the terms your ideal buyers are searching for.
- Website Pages - Your website pages are your 24/7 sales reps. Optimize your website to appeal to your ideal buyers by adding valuable content to entice the right strangers to visit your pages.
- Social Publishing - Allows you to share that valuable content on the social web, engage with your prospects, and put a human face on your brand. You need to interact on the networks where your ideal buyers spend their time.
Once you’ve attracted website visitors, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information. Bare minimum, you’ll need their email addresses. Contact information is valuable. In order for your visitors to offer up their contact information, you need to offer them something in return - valuable content, like eBooks, whitepapers, webinars - whatever information would be interesting and valuable to each of your personas.
Some of the most important tools in converting visitors to leads include:
- Forms - In order for visitors to become leads, they must fill out a form and submit their contact information. Your form length needs to mirror the value of the offer.
- Calls-to-Action - CTAs are buttons or links that encourage your visitors to take action, like “Download a Whitepaper” or “Attend a Webinar.” You need calls-to-action or you won’t generate leads.
- Landing Pages - When a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action, they should be sent to a landing page with the offer in exchange for the prospect contact information. Your sales team can then start a conversation with them.
- Contacts - When website visitors fills out a form on a landing page for the first time, that visitor becomes a contact. Having all your data in one place helps you make sense out of every interaction you’ve had with your contacts - be it through email, a landing page, social media or otherwise.
You’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads. Now you need to transform those leads into customers.
Marketing tools used to close leads:
- CRM - Keep track of your contacts, companies, and deals in your pipeline, and easily get in touch with the right prospects at the right time.
- Closed-loop Reporting - Make sure you know which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads and that your sales team is effectively closing them. Integration your CRM system allows you to analyze just how well your marketing and sales teams are playing together.
- Email – Nurture the lead with a series of emails focused on useful, relevant content to build trust with a prospect and help them become more ready to buy.
- Marketing Automation - This process involves creating email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs and lifecycle stage of each lead. For example, if a visitor downloaded a whitepaper on a certain topic from you in the past, you might want to send that lead a series of related emails. But if they follow you on Twitter and visited certain pages on your website, you might want to change the messaging to reflect those different interests.
The Inbound way is all about providing remarkable content to your users, whether they be visitors, leads, or existing customers. Inbound companies continue to engage with, delight, and (hopefully) upsell their current customer base into happy promoters of the organizations and products they love.
Tools used to delight customers include:
- Surveys - The best way to figure out what your users want is by asking them. Use feedback and surveys to ensure you’re providing customers with what they’re looking for.
- Smart Calls-to-Action - These present different users with offers that change based on buyer persona and lifecycle stage.
- Smart Text - Provide your existing customers with remarkable content tailored to their interests and challenges. Help them achieve their own goals, as well as introduce new products and features that might be of interest to them.
- Social Monitoring - Keep track of the social conversations that matter to you most. Listen out for your customers’ questions, comments, likes, and dislikes – and reach out to them with relevant content.
Inbound lead generation covers each and every lifecycle stage from stranger to customer. It empowers marketers to attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and delight promoters. With inbound lead generation you can create and deliver content that will appeal to precisely the right people (your buyer personas) in the right places (channels) at just the right times (lifecycle stages).