Leads: we all need them. They are the people who have, in some way, shape or form, expressed interest in our company’s products or services. Quite simply, our businesses cannot grow — cannot survive, even — without a steady stream of qualified leads. Traditional “outbound” lead generation techniques, such as cold-calling and list-scraping, continue to have dwindling results. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on digital marketing techniques for attracting and converting Inbound leads.
Understand Your Buyers
Ask yourself: What kind of leads do I want to be generating? The most important step in attracting high-quality leads is understanding who your buyer is. Buyer Personas are composite representations of your ideal customers that are used to drive all marketing and sales initiatives. Your Personas not only tell you “who” your buyers are, but also their specific goals, challenges, and questions at different stages of the Buyer’s Journey.
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By understanding the needs of your customers and prospects – as well as their decision-making processes – you’re able to create marketing content tailor-made for them. Knowing your buyers allow you to connect with them more effectively, ultimately leading to more visits and more high-quality leads.
Industrial-Strength B2B Lead Generation
Lead generation is the process by which anonymous visitors are converted into known contacts. The key to maximizing your lead generation results is to align your efforts around clear goals and conversion paths. The following techniques will help generate better leads and more of them, while super-charging your overall Inbound Marketing machine.
1. Offer Something of Value
Expecting a website visitor to provide their contact info in exchange for gated content access hinges on one thing: the value of the gated content. We’ve all been spammed, and people (understandably) just don’t want to arbitrarily give up their personal information. However, when you’re offering something of value – that is, something valuable to them, specifically – then more people are likely to oblige.
Ebooks, guides, checklists, white papers and podcasts are all great types of potential gated content, but it’s the content itself that holds the true value. This, of course, goes back to your Buyer Personas, and understanding exactly what it is that your prospects are looking for. Whether your buyers would benefit from an educational “how-to” guide, or they are looking for downloadable, in-depth case studies to better understand your company’s capabilities, make sure what you’re offering them is enticing enough to convert.
2. Manage Your Contacts with a Robust CRM
Store your contacts in a centralized Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to properly manage every opportunity and forecast intelligently. The CRM is not only the place to store the leads you generate to nurture them into sales, it’s also the tool used to reconnect with older contacts or leads that have gone cold. Once your leads are in the CRM, they can be segmented, micro-targeted and enrolled in email marketing campaigns.
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An optimized, properly managed CRM will help your team perfect the marketing-to-sales handoff and seal up any leaks in your funnel.
3. Keep Website Design Simple and Navigation Intuitive
There are a thousand reasons for someone to leave your website, but fortunately, there’s a powerful strategy to help keep them engaged: don’t make them think. Your website should be designed in such a way that the user intuitively travels a path that leads them to converting from a visitor to a lead (or a sale). If your site pages are too “busy,” unclear, or difficult to navigate, you’re going to lose your prospect immediately after they’ve come through the (virtual) door. Design your site around “universal” menu navigation principles and keep the most useful and actionable content above the fold to help convert site visitors into leads.
4. Feature Calls-To-Action on Every Page
Essentially, a Call-To-Action (CTA) is a link to a landing page that houses a gated content offer. This could be in the form of a hyperlink in the body of the text, or more commonly, as a button designed with clear, action-oriented language (see below).
Having a CTA on every page provides a specific action that you want the user to take on that page, ensuring that every page has a purpose in moving each visitor closer to becoming a lead and a sale.
5. Keep Tabs on the Competition
This is a must, simply because you share one deeply important and personal thing with your competitors: your buyers. Keeping an eye on the competition is a great way to determine what’s working for them (and what’s not), as well as who they’re interacting with on social channels (again – your potential customers!) and what opportunities you might have to cut into their market share (or safeguard yours against them).
6. Apply Lean Methodology to Your Sales and Marketing
Cold-calling and other “traditional” marketing techniques yield small success rates – lots of time, money and effort for limited results. Comparatively, a focused Inbound Marketing program will continue to work over time, attracting visitors, generating leads, and producing sales while increasing your search engine equity and ultimately reducing your cost-per-acquisition. The ongoing analysis and optimization work to minimize what’s not working and double-down on what is, providing a bigger bang for your buck. Applying the Lean Methodology to your sales and marketing can save your company up to 70% in cost avoidance techniques.
These are just some of the ways to produce high-quality leads through Inbound Marketing. But don’t wait. Start growing your business today by aligning your sales and marketing with the goals and needs of your customers.