The most recent State of Inbound 2016, published by inbound marketing experts HubSpot, is full of data that indicates most businesses are concerned primarily with generating quality leads. In a separate survey, HubSpot found that marketers on average commit more than 50% of their total budgets to lead generation, but 80% report that their lead generation efforts are only “slightly or somewhat effective.”
Slightly or somewhat effective? That’s just not good enough.
Inbound Marketing: Giving Consumers What They Want
Consumers like content—on average, potential customers read from 3 to 5 pieces of content before they’re ready to make a purchase. When that content is sufficiently useful and relevant to their needs, consumers are willing to provide their contact information in exchange for it. That’s the essence of the inbound marketing approach to lead generation, a win-win situation in which consumers get valuable information and marketers get new, high-quality leads.
How Does It Work?
Think of it this way—let’s say you sell software, including a CRM tool. Prospective customers looking for a CRM tool find your business through organic searches, PPC ads or social media. Instead of putting your CRM tool in front of them, you grab their attention with an article, “How to get a CRM tool that meets the needs of your business without spending more than you have to.”
That’s information they can use, so they click on the link to the article. That takes them to a landing page where you ask them to complete a short form to view your article. They get their content, and you get their email address. Now, you have a new, qualified lead, and you’re ready to nurture your new lead with a targeted email campaign.
It’s a Step-Wise Process, And You Need to Get Each Step Right
That’s the basic formula for generating leads using inbound marketing strategies. Obviously, however, in practice it’s a little more complicated than that. To get it right, you need to successfully complete 3 critically important steps to turn site visitors into qualified leads:
- Match your content to consumer pain points: unless the content you create helps consumers solve specific problems, they won’t read it, and they won’t give you their contact information for it. That means you need to do some good research before creating your content offer. For example, if you provide outsourced human resource services, your research might tell you that prospective customers (like HR managers and CEOs) are concerned about outdated in-house practices which are wasting time and costing them money. Armed with this information, you could create a series of blogs about the ways outsourcing HR will can help businesses streamline process and save money.
- Make your call to action (CTA) about taking action: your call to action should be framed as an imperative statement which begins with an action-oriented verb, like “Read,” “Discover,” or “View.” For example, if you sell accounting software to small businesses, your research might tell you that those businesses are looking for hidden tax deductions. An effective CTA might be “View our how-to video to discover 6 small business tax deductions most people don’t know about.”
- Make your online form short and sweet: if you’ve done your research and created content sufficiently engaging to grab prospective customers’ attention, they’ll click on your call to action and go to a landing page with your online form (there are a number of online forms tools to help you create your form). Remember, this isn’t the time to try to collect massive amounts of data from site visitors—after all, they barely know you at this point and will probably be reticent to turn over too much personal information. Limit your form to a few fields, like first and last name and email address.
Inbound marketing is the most effective—and cost-effective—way to generate qualified leads for your business. They’re higher quality because they already know something about your business, and, since you gave them information they need, they’ve already begun to trust you. Equally important, according to research from HubSpot, inbound leads cost on average 61% less than those generated through traditional, outbound marketing practices.
To learn more about the ways our branding, design, experiential and social media solutions can help you generate qualified leads, boost conversions, drive sales and grow your business, contact us today.