No one has ever said it’s easy getting high-quality leads, but nowadays, it’s harder than ever. In fact, it’s become damn right near-impossible. It seems everyday there is a new competitor on the scene, meaning you’re going to have to come up with new techniques and strategies if you plan on surviving this buyers market.
Luckily we’re here to help. Throughout this article, we are going to show you how to create your very own inbound lead generation machine. While outbound marketing is very successful, it’s not what we are going to be looking at today. Now don’t be thinking that this machine will generate instant results, it very well may, but that’s not it’s intended purpose. It’s best to think of it more like a snowball. Starting off small at the top of the hill and as it moves down the white slopes, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
Still not convinced? How about the fact that business that adopt inbound marketing techniques and produce high-quality content see 67% more leads than those who don’t. Feel free to leave now, but do so at your peril.
So without further ado let’s jump right in.
…So what is inbound marketing?
If you haven’t heard the term before, inbound marketing refers to creating high quality content (articles, videos, images, posts, tweets) that provide real value to potential leads, encouraging them to move into your sales funnel.
Essentially there are a few main points when it comes to inbound marketing that need to be addressed:
- The type of content: Content needs to be targeted and high quality
- Personalizing: This involves creating content that reflects your target leads. Don’t create a 4k + word article if your target is eight-year-old kids.
- Channel: Where the target is most likely to absorb the content
As Vital put it, inbound marketing is permission based. Firstly, you are presenting your content in a medium in which the audience has given you permission to communicate within (e.g. clicking a link on Twitter and being taken to the content on your site). Secondly, you are answering questions that people are asking, or providing value to them in one way or another.
Something to note here is that inbound marketing just doesn’t refer to blog posts (as in just text). For example, the Weiss-Mcgrath study found that after 72 hours of testing, study participants retained 65% of the information presented visually and orally. Showing just how significant other mediums of content are.
Mostly inbound marketing comes down to using tactics that earn your potential leads interest instead of buying it. Now obviously, this isn’t that easy to achieve, however, once you have your machine set up, you are going to be seeing results for a long time.
Learn the product
Before we can create our machine, we need to know exactly what it intends to create. In this case, it’s qualified leads. However, that’s not getting in deep enough – what exactly does a qualified lead look like to you? Is it a big shot executive from a Fortune 500 company? Or is it a hobby blogger who writes a few articles a month.
Defining exactly what your lead looks like can be quite tricky. However, the best place to start is not looking out in the market at who you think would be best but rather looking at your current clients. Which one of these do you think best represents your ideal client? Now the first response most people will give would be to say would the one that earns them the most money. This would be wrong. Your ideal client is not only one that makes you money but also one that you enjoy doing business with.
Now when it comes to defining your ideal lead, you really need to be specific. As in know their everything about them from where they studied to how their employing organization recruits candidates. By the end of the process, you should be able to visualize your ideal lead easily. They should become as recognizable to you as your mother or father. Doing this now is going to help so much in the future. An example of some things you may want to ask is shown below.
This will be a graphic.
Even from looking at these questions you can tell how they are going to help you in not only your inbound marketing efforts but also your day to day business life. For example, “What problems do they currently have” gives you a plethora of ideas for the content you could produce. By answering this question you will know your leads are struggling with and by answering these questions you are proving that you can provide real value to them and in turn, they are more likely to do business with you in the future.
Once you have completed this, we can start building the other parts of the machine and turn this baby on!
The Conveyer Belt
Now excuse my lack of machinery terms throughout this article, I know they are lacking. However, the next part of the machine that we need is the conveyer belt. We need a way to actually get our raw materials (potential clients) into the machine in order to turn them into our intended product (qualified lead). We need something that’s going to suck them in so that they have no choice but to enter the machine.
How do we do this?
With the content.
This part of the machine is either the hardest or easiest depending on who you ask. Luckily, we already know who the ideal client is, so we now know exactly what our content needs to look like.
By looking at our perfect lead we can quickly tell:
- The type of content needed (all text, pictures, videos, infographics etc.)
- The length of the content
- The complexity (thesis level or middle school?)
- The actual topic
- How best to reach them
While you are creating the content you may become disheartened wondering how exactly writing an article is going to help you get leads, well let me lay out a few stats for you to soak up:
Honestly, the list could go on. The main point to take away here is that creating content is essential is generating qualified leads for your business, especially in the B2B realm. Again it’s important to note that I am not just talking about written content here. In fact, it’s found that we actually process what we see 60,000 times faster than what we read so if you are looking to get something across quickly, maybe turn it into a visual piece of content.
Actually, I should be a little more specific. Creating content doesn’t really help at all, creating GOOD quality content that is useful and provides value to your readers is invaluable.
Your content needs to actually give something to your reader in return for their time. Answer a common question people in the industry have, or maybe help them solve a common problem. Even better, maybe explain (in an indirect way) why services such as yours are important to their business’s success.
This is definitely worth it in the end, even if it takes longer to complete. It can help show clients that you not only know what you’re talking about but also that if they ended up going with your services, that you can actually provide them with value. Better yet, doing so will actually help you become an industry and thought leader in your market, helping you and your business build credibility.
A good way to think of the content is to think of it as the part that connects your company to your potential client. It’s the introduction at a networking event from a high ranking CEO.
Don’t skimp on quality or else your machine is sure to break and spit out a defective unit.
What you also want to do once you have completed and published the piece of content is to share the hell out of it on social media. Share it once, share it twice share it ten times!Just get the damn thing out there.
Chances are not everyone is going to see it the first time. For example, the average lifespan of a tweet is usually around 18 minutes (unless you’re someone with millions of followers).
Furthermore, make sure you choose the right channel for your client. For example, it has been found that LinkedIn generates leads 277% better than Facebook and Twitter for B2B prospects. So it is definitely something you want to consider.
Basically what you are trying to do here is get the most people you possibly can to see the content. That way you have more chances of them clicking on the lead magnets..
The Actual Machine
Now we have the product defined, and a conveyer belt to move the raw materials into the machine, we have to find a way to turn it into our desired end-product.
Basically, we have our readers attention on the site, and we now need a way to turn them into a qualified lead. If you have an expensive service or product, chances are they won’t pull out the checkbook straight after reading an article. In fact, 98% of your traffic isn’t ready to buy now and more shocking, 70% of your readers will never return to your site once they leave .
…So what’s the point then? If I’m not going to get any sales from this article then why waste the time/money to write it?
Like I said before, think of your content as an introduction – a foot in the door if you will. You’ve piqued their interest, shown who you are and demonstrated that you can provide value.
If you can’t get their cheque book out straight away, focus on getting the next best thing their contact info.
The best way to achieve this is through lead-magnets. What are lead magnets? Well basically, they are some sort of incentive that encourages the reader to hand over a piece of contact info (most likely an email address) in exchange for it.
Still unsure? Well, how about the fact Brian Dean (Backlink.io) was able to increase his conversions by 525% through the use of lead magnets on his blog. That can take you from 20 leads per month to over 100.
So basically you are looking at offering some extra to your readers, something that will give them an advantage from those who just read the article.
For example, if you are writing a post about building an effective backlinking structure for your sites you may offer a checklist that summarises all the steps and gives some extra tips along the way.
Another example may be to include a spreadsheet of sorts that compliments the piece of content.
Again what you are trying to do here is provide value and prove your worth to this prospective client, as well as have a means to contact them in the future.
Speaking of following up…
We almost have our finished product. We are so close but just need to put the finishing touches on it to get our desired outcome. It’s time to package this lead up and get them ready to open their wallets.
To do this, you’re going to need the use of a good CRM, such as Salesforce, which can help you increase your sales by 37%. How?
Generally a lot of CRM’s will sort through the massive amounts of data you will be getting and provide valuable insights into which prospects are most valuable and most likely to turn into a customer or client.
However CRM’s aren’t the main topic of this article, but I suggest you definitely read up on them and how they can assist your business.
So why did we bother to collect those email addresses earlier? Well, take for example a case study performed by Derek Halpern.
Derek found that when sharing a link to an article via social media he received 300 visits to his website. When he shared that same link to the a similar number of email contacts he acquired 4200 links to his site. .
You are probably in one of two categories right now – either your brain is just thinking of the endless ways how this can help you, or you are asking yourself what’s so damn good about visits.
I don’t blame you if you fall into that last category. However, something you have to realize is that those clicks are people, people who are visiting your site again, people who are seeing your latest offers again, people who are becoming more and more familiar with your product.
So how do you exactly follow up? There is a heap of ways including:
The list goes on. The possibilities are endless.\
Again, what you are trying to achieve is demonstrating your value and providing information on your services as well as building brand recognition in your client’s eyes. Chances are, if they aren’t already contacting you for a quote when they run into a problem down the line, you are going to be the first person they turn to.
Do all this right and you have yourself a qualified lead who you can quickly send a personal email or follow up with asking for a meeting.
However time to time the machine might break down and will require some…
Look, your first machine probably isn’t going to be perfect. Nor would anyone expect it to.
Every month of, so you need to be reviewing your inbound marketing strategy and asking yourself one valuable question.
Is it doing what I set out to achieve?
Followed up by..
Could it be doing any better?
Answering these questions will tell you if it’s time to break out the tool set and oil and make a few repairs to the machine.
For example, you may notice that you are getting 500 visits per day to a particular piece of content, but only four people are signing up to your lead magnet.
This is a pretty poor figure that needs to be fixed – but how? Well clearly here you have either one of two problems:
- Your content is providing enough value that your readers see it worthwhile to hand over their email address for the magnet.
- Your magnet isn’t attractive enough.
Both are cause for a review. However, I would suggest only changing one of them at a time. This is going to allow you to identify the issue much faster as you will know exactly which one of them was an issue.