When most people think about B2B lead generation, they usually think of outbound efforts. That is when you take your brand to potential leads via different means like phone calls, direct mail, or even events and conventions. You generate leads via specifically targeted outreach and advertising. Inbound lead generation is the direct polar opposite of the outbound approach and, in many ways, a lot softer with greater opportunities for nurturing.
This guide focuses on inbound lead generation. It’s a big deal considering that 68% of marketers today believe inbound is more effective than outbound as far as reliability is concerned. We cover the benefits and downsides of the inbound approach as well as the best practices to get it done successfully.
The Ups and Downs of Inbound Lead Generation
One of the biggest benefits of inbound lead generation is that it’s more cost effective. Because they aren’t as targeted and data-dependent as the outbound approach, you don’t have to spend as much. What you do spend yields 46% more positive ROI. Another major benefit is you have the opportunity to create richer, brand-enhancing content and a tailored, customized message. All this ultimately elevates your business profile and produces leads who see you as an authority.
Finally, because inbound lead generation isn’t as aggressive, you receive potential leads who are primed and ready to be nurtured—after all, they came to you of their own accord. This automatically places your brand in a far more positive light with leads that have some awareness of what they’re particularly interested. That said, you have far less control of when you’ll actually draw these leads into your funnel so you clearly can’t rely on inbound means alone.
Another drawback is that you will have to outrank your competitors for keywords that are mutually critical to you and them. This requires having a dedicated SEO expert guiding the content creation on your website—which, by the way, will also have to be fantastic to keep the leads you draw in. Finally, you also need to have a strong social media presence to have an additional avenue by which to draw in potential leads to your website.
The Three Keys to Inbound Lead Generation
You can benefit a great deal from inbound generation—the downsides aren’t that difficult to overcome. In order to do so, however, you need to keep in mind these three keys to success.
Key 1: Draw People Into Your Website
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you get leads out of your website, you need to attract them into your website to begin with. One of the best ways to do that is to establish yourself as an authority on topics connected to the products and services you offer and the industry you’re in through educational content. Many companies like to use their website exclusively for product releases or company news. The former is fine, the latter few care about beyond your company.
You should create blog post that respond to the most common inquiries your current customers and prospects have. How do you find out what they’re asking about? Well, one effective way is to talk to your sales reps. They already engage and interact with customers and prospects so they have a pulse on what people are wondering about. Another method is to search trends that are relevant to your industry—you can even peek at what competitors are writing about.
Whichever method you use, make sure that your content is created in tandem with your SEO specialists recommendations regarding keyword selection and placement. This will help your website content rank in search engines and be found by those who are actively looking. Each new post that you create is a great opportunity to be found by your ideal customers and to become trusted as a source of key answers as they embark on their buyers’ journeys.
Key 2: Convert Visitors Into Leads
Of course, getting people to your website is just half the battle. Even if they find the content to their liking, you aren’t getting sufficient contact details to actively make them leads you can nurture. That’s what lead capture forms are for. Standard lead capture forms ask for names and email addresses, but you can also add in a field for contact numbers. Now, by themselves lead capture forms won’t just be filled out by anyone—you need to offer something worthwhile in exchange.
What you need is a good offer that a potential lead will want to trade their contact details for. This offer can be anything, really. For many B2C companies and some B2B businesses that’s a first-timer discount on a purchase of products or services. For others, it can actually be a more comprehensive bit of content like an ebook, guide, whitepaper, or even case studies. These should be a step above content you normally publish or else you aren’t going to get much mileage out of them.
Now, to actually get potential leads into that lead capture form where they can be tempted into giving up their contact details, use your blog posts as a bridge. After all, they reached your landing page because you piqued their interest. The way you do this? Add a “call-to-action” button in every one of your blog posts. These can be as simple as a talk-to-us call preceded by appropriate encouragement offering your products and solutions as answers to their pain points—which you ideally covered in your blog post.
Key 3: Leverage Social Media as a Gateway
Apart from SEO, you would be wise to use your social media presences as a means to draw in potential leads to your website and ultimately into your lead capture form. This is especially true if you have a strong following already. The way to do this is primarily to share your blog articles with a blurb that also contains the link to the lead capture form. Provided you blurb is compelling enough, you might even manage to get direct referrals from this.
Even if they “enter” via your blog post, you’re still ahead because then they will gain a deeper understanding of what you have to offer as well as answers to what they were wondering about to begin with. You shouldn’t just stop at blog article shares either. It helps to transform key parts of your content into other mediums like infographics and videos. This way you will get more mileage out of any one piece of content that you have.
Additionally, new mediums of information delivery can appeal to a wider range of audiences. There are some, after all, who prefer something more visual over having to read blocks of text. Another tip is to have a set schedule for delivery of social media content so people will know to tune in on a particular day for a particular content medium. Whatever you choose to do, always have a call-to-action in your blurbs as much as can be had.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Of course, if you start out with a customized leads list with contact information fully verified and chosen to match your ideal customers, you’re already in a great position to begin with. At Internal Results, we have our own database of over 60 million decision makers in 108 countries across all industries. Not only can we provide you with a list that matches your parameters, we can expand your list to include contacts we know are likely to be just as interested.
We can also get your very best content—no matter what format they’re in—in front of the people who most need and want to see them. We’ll even show you who has engaged your content the most. This, coupled with B2B intent data that tells you which contacts are most likely to purchase based on their behavior online. All of these give your business a competitive edge and skip much of the leg work you would need to do on your own. Interested?