Why Inbound Lead Generation is Important
A term coined by software marketer's Hubspot in 2006, inbound marketing is defined as a technique for drawing in customers who are not quite ready to buy yet. Modern marketing methods, which you are already familiar with, such as blogs, webinars, and social media all count as forms of inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
More traditional companies tend to lean towards outbound marketing activities, such as cold-calling, direct mail, tradeshows, and press releases. Although these can be effective to some extent, they are not good for scalability and don't always bring in good-quality leads. Outbound marketing techniques tend to involve pushing your business onto people, who most likely aren't ready to buy yet. It takes a more aggressive and direct approach which never tends to work on colder leads and leaves you with a CRM system full of contacts who know nothing about what you are trying to sell, or don't quite understand the true benefits yet.
It's all about trust
In order to convert people, they need to trust you. Inbound marketing allows you to give something to prospective buyers which is of value to them, something educational which proves you are experts in your field and don't just want to make a quick sale.
Cue regular social media updates, informative blog posts, ebooks, webinars, case studies, whitepapers, infographics. Sources of regular information which aren't filled with sales spiel but provide new knowledge and value, will set you apart from your competitors and prevent you from getting lost in the noise of meaningless advertising. Eventually leads will get that "aha!" moment where they realize your business is relevant to their needs and that's when the customer will come finding you, and not the other way round!
The cost-effective way to turn strangers into customers
By nurturing your leads through inbound marketing activities, you also increase the efficiency of your sales team. Cold-calling long lists of irrelevant contacts become a thing of the past and your sales team can finally focus on closing the deal on the people who've been through the marketing funnel and had their "aha!" moment.
Creating an effective funnel
Relevant and personalized information is the key to effective inbound marketing activities. Known as attention economics, there is only so much information a human can process and will choose to pay attention to. Therefore, it's important that what you provide stands out, but is also relevant to your different segments and target groups.
"Attention is a resource, a person only has so much of it" - Matthew Crawford on attention economics.
Your different consumer segments require different levels of information and of different depth and complexity. For example, you receive 100 site visitors from an ad campaign, which you ran. Only 5% of these automatically convert and make a purchase. The remaining 95% need 'warming up' before they get to the cart. Sending them inbound marketing material over a defined period of time will help to educate and subtly persuade the lead, as to why they need your product.
Lead generation tools and emails
Offer additional services for your website visitors. This lead generation feature allows prospective buyers to easily receive recommended products by email. It includes all key product details, as well as a list of reasons for why certain products fit their needs. Customers can view or compare products they have browsed before and commit to buying at a later date. In addition to this, you can send reminder emails so that they are even more likely to return back to your site and hopefully make the purchase!
Blog posts are not only interesting to read but also allow you to improve your SEO rankings by providing useful information based around keywords. When someone is searching for something specific and arrives at your blog post to try to get an answer, it is a prime example of inbound lead generation, where customers come flooding in to you with genuine interest.
Industry specific case studies build trust and prove your reputability. For B2B, it is especially interesting for businesses when their competitors are buying your products or using your services. This makes them question the benefit of your business and assess whether they need it too. For B2C, customer reviews are of paramount, with 84% of people claiming that they trusted online reviews as much as their friends.
These are just a few examples of inbound marketing techniques that provide value to prospective buyers. However, it really all does depend on your individual business, so make sure you always bear your target group in mind.
And finally, don't forget your CTA!
CTA's (call-to-action) prevent you from losing your customers and make it easier for them to interact with you. Check out some example CTAs which you could use for different parts of the funnel.
At excentos, we specialize in lead generation tools and features for Ecommerce businesses.