Inbound marketing best practices, how to generate leads

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Answered by: Mary, An Expert in the Internet Marketing Category
Inbound Marketing Best Practices: The Practice of Lead Conversion

Inbound marketing is a way of marketing through digital content in the form of blogs, podcasts, video, ebooks, enewsletters, social media and search engine optimized content.

Inbound Marketing best practices revolve around a four step process:

1. Identifying Target Personas

2. Attracting Visitors

3. Converting Visitors into Leads

4. Converting Leads into Customers

The following articles focuses on step 3, how to utilize inbound marketing to convert website visitors into qualified leads.

Inbound Marketing: Converting Visitors into Leads

Assuming you’ve conquered the first two steps in the process, you can now focus all your attention on ways to convert the ever increasing number of visitors to your site into qualified leads for your sales team. A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a visitor who has volunteered his or her information, such as name, phone number and email address. This information exchange is typically done through a form located on a landing page.

Once that information is captured, a sales representative, ideally, can contact the lead using the information provided. This is called “permission marketing”.

But, in today's world many prospects are so vehemently opposed to being contacted by a sales rep. So, how can you “coax” a visitor into giving up this coveted information? It’s simple, give them something worth their information.

How to Capture the Lead

If you’ve successfully attracted a visitor who falls in line with your target personas, now it is time to offer something of benefit to them. You’ve been rewarded with their digital presence, now reward them with something valuable. If a visitor is in fact interested in finding out more information, it would be fair to ask him or her for their contact info in exchange for something like an ebook. The ebook should relate to your product or services and is typically an informative source. The lead benefits by obtaining further information about a topic. You benefit because you can establish more of a relationship by contacting them in the future.

This ebook falls into a category of what is called deliverables. Deliverables can include:



     Charts and graphs

     Tip sheets

Once the lead submits information through a landing page form, he or she should be re-directed to the ebook or an email should be sent with further information on how to obtain the ebook. Now, the lead is satisfied and informed and you have contact information.

It is important to remember that your visitor’s contact information is very valuable and should not be abused. If you have successfully attracted and engaged the visitor based on the context of your website, chances are your motives are justified in capturing this information (it’s probably unnecessary to go into detail on what is considered contact abuse).

Qualifying the Lead

When qualifying leads for the transfer to the sales team, it is important to put value on each of your deliverables. Meaning, not every lead who gives their information deserves an instant phone call from a sales representative. If a visitor subscribes to your enewsletters you have obviously received his or her email address. However, they are most likely just interested in your content and not ready to purchase your products or services.

By acknowledging that this type of visitor probably doesn't want to be called yet, eliminates unnecessary work by your Sales team. Sales reps hate calling unqualified leads as much as prospects hate receiving them.

However, this lead still has potential and can go into a targeted email or workflow campaign to further nurture the lead into a “fiery” hot lead. If a visitor requests a one-on-one call to learn about your products, a personal follow-up call setting up the appointment should happen almost immediately. This is considered a warm lead that should be turned over to Sales for the final push.

Effective, Well-Placed Calls-to-Action

Since your visitors will fall in a wide range across your marketing funnel, it is important to have proper Calls-to-Action on every page of your website so you can accurately target each stage of the cycle. They can be graphically pleasing or a simple button. These CTAs should be well thought-out and strategically placed on your landing pages.

For example, If someone visits your blog and reads a few articles, a “subscribe to our blog” button is a great CTA for all blog pages. If someone visits your “product pricing page” a call request call-to-action would be ideal for those prospects.

Ultimately, the goal is to get leads to your sales team. Once you qualify the lead and hand it over to your anxious sales reps, they can work their magic!

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