Unlike outbound marketing — television commercials, print advertisements, internet banners, email lists, and good old-fashioned cold calling, where you are proactive in your outreach to new customers — inbound marketing meets consumers where they want to be, providing the content and resources that will pull them into your business. The outbound style of casting broad nets for leads still has its place, but by and large inbound marketing has proven a more effective — and cheaper — means of generating quality leads.
The aspects of your lead gen campaign should mirror everything else on your website, on your blog, and within the product that you will eventually try to sell. If not, you’ll have a difficult time getting your lead to the next lifecycle stage. Your campaign should be about more than just obtaining an email address — it should be about developing a new customer.
Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer's journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who's more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
Google's core algorithms and its propensity to shroud its data in layers of obscurity is not something new. However, it is critical to any understanding of marketing on the internet simply because this visibility is at the heart of everything else that you do. Forget about social media and other forms of marketing for the time being. Search engine optimization (SEO) offers up the proverbial key to near-limitless amounts of traffic on the web.
Writing blog posts is especially effective for providing different opportunities to land on page one of search engines -- for instance, maybe your eyeglass store’s website is on page three of Google for “eyeglasses,” but your “Best Sunglasses of 2018” blog post is on page one, pulling in an impressive amount of traffic (over time, that blog post could also boost your overall website to page one).
Gone are the days that a marketer only relied on outbound techniques like trade shows, cold calling, and advertisements to get leads. Today’s buyer is in control. According to Forrester, buyers seek out three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece sent by a marketer, and for every one piece sent by sales. Because of buyer self-education, your job as a marketer is to be heard through the noise and come up with new ways for leads to find you. To be a marketer in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound in order to truly amplify your lead generation impact.
Consumer behavior changes constantly, and so do opportunities for lead generation. That’s why it’s important to periodically revisit your strategies for capturing leads to take advantage of evolving consumer behavior and technical trends. That said, in addition to establishing a strong online presence, referrals, word-of-mouth recommendations, tradeshows, and networking are all still excellent sources of lead generation. But whether you’re contacting with prospective customers in person or online, you’re going to want to keep track of them digitally. We call that lead management. Let’s walk through getting your business started with it, shall we?
Your goal, obviously, is to turn as many new leads as possible into qualified leads ready to do business with you. How your organization does that depends on a number of factors: what you sell; whether you sell online, in person, or both; and so on. But whether you’re a solopreneur selling subscriptions to your investment blog or a coffee roaster serving local businesses and mail-order customers, the same basic principles of identifying, organizing, and working with leads apply. The more efficiently your business captures and identifies new, qualified leads, the better you’ll be able to work with them.
How to Get It: Begin with sites like UserTesting.com, YouEye.com and Userlytics.com. Register with multiple companies for opportunities to test as many websites as possible. Once you're in the system, you'll be emailed when testers are needed, and if you're one of the first to respond, expect to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the test. Many sites require a microphone and/or webcam, which are built into most laptops—but if you need to buy one, they aren't expensive. The tester sites typically pay within a week or two via PayPal.
How Much of this Guide Should You Read? This guide is designed for you to read cover-to-cover. Each new guide builds upon the previous one. A core idea that we want to reinforce is that marketing should be evaluated holistically. What you need to do is this in terms of growth frameworks and systems as opposed to campaigns. Reading this guide from start to finish will help you connect the many moving parts of marketing to your big-picture goal, which is ROI.