Everything You Should Know About Inbound Marketing Lead Generation

May 10, 2021

Lead generation is the number one goal of marketers in their inbound marketing strategy. It helps them attract new potential customers and increase brand awareness. The way customers purchase has changed. Consumers find traditional forms of marketing annoying and interruptive. They don’t want a sales rep calling them to talk about a product. Instead, they prefer doing research on their own, and navigate through multiple touchpoints before they finally decide.

Inbound marketing lead generation helps you reach such audiences. Marketers can reach their potential customers with relevant and valuable content to introduce them to their brand. If you are a beginner then this guide will help you understand lead generation better. In this article, we will discuss everything about inbound marketing lead generation, to help you get started with your strategy.

What is a lead?

A lead is a person who has shown interest in your business’s products or services through some actions. A lead can show interest in multiple ways, such as downloading content, signing up for offers, sharing contact information, etc.

However, if a lead has shown interest in what you offer it does not mean they immediately become your customers. But this is an opportunity for you to nurture them with personalized content or messaging and keep them interested in your brand. The sales and marketing teams then work together to nurture and push these leads further down the funnel so that they become customers.

Here are the different types of leads you need to know about:

Types of Leads

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads are leads that have shown interest in your marketing efforts. For example, they have engaged with your content by downloading it or signed up for a newsletter. Although these leads have shown interest, they are still not ready to speak to the sales team.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

SQLs or Sales Qualified Leads are people that have taken action to show that they want to become your customers. These actions can include calling or emailing sales reps with queries about products or services.

Product Qualified Leads (PQL)

A product qualified lead is a lead who has tried your product and is now interested in becoming a paying customer. For example, they may have had a free trial of your product and want to continue using it. This lead has tried a free version of your product and can get in touch with you to ask questions about other features that they can pay for.

Service Qualified Leads (SQLs)

SQLs are leads who contact your customer service team to become a paying customer. These leads are interested in upgrading product subscriptions.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting new leads who have shown interest in your company’s products or services and converting them. Blog posts, online content, job applications are a few examples of lead generators. These lead generators help you attract potential customers and lead them to your offers.

Why is Lead Generation Important?

Lead generation is important for every business to target potential customers and get them to notice their products or services. It helps you reach those audiences who are already looking for the type of products or services you sell. Businesses depend on lead generation to bring in new visitors who are interested in their products and convert them. Without a lead generation strategy, you may not be able to find audiences who have the potential of becoming your customers.

Lead generation allows more people to discover your website and look for more information about your business. It helps create brand awareness. Your business becomes more visible to your audience from rest of the competition. With lead generation there are more chances of conversion. It gives your business an opportunity to build long-term connections with potential customers. Sales and marketing teams can collaborate on this endeavour to qualify leads and nurture them to become paying customers.

How Does Lead Generation Work?

The inbound marketing methodology divides the buyer’s journey into three stages, attract, engage and delight. Lead generation falls in the second stage where you have attracted a user to your business and engaged them with your content converting them to leads.

Here is what the lead generation process looks like.

Lead generation process

Inbound Marketing Techniques for Lead Generation

Blogs

An inbound marketing strategy is incomplete without blogs. Blogs can help you attract new visitors to your website. Through blog content, people can discover your business. To create relevant blog content keyword research is necessary. Keyword research can help you determine the types of search queries your users look for. Once you identify these keywords you can use them as topics for blogs. Optimize your blog content with the right keywords. This helps Google match your content to the search queries of your users. When someone searches for these keywords your blog page will appear on the search engine results page.

Once you set up a blog you need to be consistent with it. Post blogs regularly as this helps attract traffic to your website. Blogs are a great tool for lead generation and increasing brand awareness.

Content Offers

Leads are always looking for content that educates them on the relevant products, services or industry. Content offers are a great way to generate leads and nurture them. With these offers you provide leads with the information they need in exchange for their contact information. These offers should be valuable and useful to your leads. Content offers can include the following:

  • Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Checklists
  • Templates 
  • Whitepapers
  • Free trials
  • Consultation
  • Product demos
  • Case studies

Social Media

Another way to attract new traffic is through your social media platforms. First, determine which social media platform your target audience uses the most. For example, if a B2B company has most of its target audience on LinkedIn, then using Instagram does not make sense. Once you determine which platforms are best for you, start posting engaging content.

Share your business blogs to get more traffic on your website. Along with organic efforts, you can also invest in PPC ads and sponsored posts to generate more traffic. Post content that is relevant and interesting to your audience.

PPC Ads

Pay-per-click or PPC are online advertisements on which you pay for every click. It falls under inbound marketing as it focuses on creating ads that are personalized based on the needs or problems of target leads. As discussed above you can run PPC ads on your social media platforms. Moreover, Google Ads are also a good way to reach your target audience across Google’s wide network. These ads have various targeting options you can leverage to reach the right customers.

The important part of your PPC ads campaign is using the right keywords to target potential customers. Build your ads using the right keywords that allow your ads to rank higher and be more visible to your audience. Moreover, you can also leverage retargeting that enables you to track leads who have already engaged with your website. Retargeting helps target these leads and display your ads to them so that they take further action. PPC ads require you to invest money, but they do give faster results. One main advantage of PPC ads is that it helps bring quality leads to your website.

SEO

Search engine optimization or SEO is an important technique that makes your website and content more visible to the target audience. Optimizing a website’s structure and content can allow it to rank higher on search results pages. When you have optimized content, search engines can index your web pages and display it to the users looking for it. When implementing your inbound strategy, don’t forget to optimize your content that helps generate traffic for your website.

Not sure how to begin your SEO efforts? Here some SEO techniques that can help you.

Best Practices for Lead Generation Campaigns

Set up lead scoring

It is important to gauge the interest of leads in your business. This helps you determine which leads are worth spending your time and efforts on. When you nurture the right leads you can expect to generate profitable results for your business. Nurturing the wrong leads can be a waste of your time and resources. Remember that not all leads showing interest initially are going to become paying customers. Lead scoring is a model that helps sales and marketing teams to qualify leads quantitatively.

In this model, leads are assigned a numerical value that determines whether the leads will eventually be ready for purchase. Each action has points associated with it. These actions are defined by you and are specific to your strategy. For example, you can give a lead high points to a lead for signing up for a newsletter.

The points associated with these actions are up to you. Certain actions, like a lead signing up for a free trial, can be seen as deserving higher scores. All actions should be given certain values. The higher points a lead scores, the higher chances of them becoming paying customers. Sales teams can then focus their attention on these select leads that can prove valuable to the business.

Lead Magnets

Many visitors may come to your website and leave. But how to know which visitors may have been interested in your business? If they share their contact information with you, then they are interested in hearing back from you. Lead magnets are tools that can be used to provide leads with valuable content in exchange for contact information. The purpose of this tool is to gain permissions from users to contact them. It also helps you gauge their interest in your business.

Some examples of lead magnets include eBooks, webinars, newsletters, free trial, or consultation, templates, checklists, etc. The content you put up for download should be valuable to your audience. It should make their work easier or help solve their problems. If your content is useful to the audience, they will be encouraged to share their contact information with you. Plan content that proves useful and relevant to your audience.

Personalise content based on buyer’s journey

Every lead coming to your website is different. Some leads are interested in your brand but not ready to talk to a sales rep. A lead coming to your website at first may only be interested in content. Whereas someone who is familiar with your business would want to try out your products. When creating content, you need to be familiar with which stage of the buyer’s journey your leads are in.

To illustrate, a visitor coming to your site for the first time will be interested in going through content that gives them relevant information. Blogs are useful in attracting these leads that are looking for information related to your products or industry. Similarly, you will need to have content like case studies or brochures to nurture your leads when they are considering whether to invest in your business or not. Each piece of content is used to influence buyers and help them reach a decision. Hence, you need to ensure that you personalise every piece of content as per the buyer’s journey. It helps create a more relevant and consistent experience for them. Moreover, you communicate well with your target customers, and build a long-term relationship with them.

Create landing pages for offers

Many marketers overlook the power of a good landing page. Landing pages need to be personalised according to your offer. These pages help drive conversions. Use a strong CTA or call to action, which encourages leads to click on them. Leads are then sent to that specific landing page where they convert. The CTA should take the leads to the landing page that is relevant. When leads end up on your landing page, they should be able to find all the information they need related to the offer.

Keep the landing pages simple and accessible. If your landing page offers a piece of content for download, then it should be easy for leads to download it without any confusion. The forms that leads need to fill should be precise and relevant to the offer. Don’t create long forms that leads find annoying to fill. Ask questions that are relevant to your offer. Too many questions can discourage them from downloading the content. Errors can drive users away. Ensure that your landing page is functional, loads fast and does not have any broken links.

Collaborate with sales teams

Sales teams play an important role in converting your leads into customers. They are familiar with what type of questions customers ask or what kind of problems they face. Sales reps need to be involved with the lead generation strategy your business has implemented. When they communicate with leads, sales reps should know what type of content the leads have engaged with. This helps sales team create a consistent experience for the lead.

Marketing and sales teams should collaborate on qualifying each lead. Once marketing has qualified a lead, it needs to be sent to the sales team to qualify. If a lead has been qualified by both teams, it means that they have the potential to become paying customers. It also ensures that the right leads are nurtured, and you don’t waste time on the wrong ones. The collaboration between both teams can create a consistent experience for your leads and make your strategy successful.

Lead generation is an important tool for your business to attract new leads who are potential customers. Now that you know the basics, you can create your own inbound marketing lead generation strategy that is personalised for your target customers. Always keep your target audience in mind before you plan your strategy. This can help you attract customers that are interested in your business and want to invest in it. Moreover, keep your sales teams involved to ensure the overall success of your campaign.

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