Let me give you a simple guide to online lead generation since, with more competition and tighter budgets, the marketplace right now demands that sales and marketing teams take advantage of as many lead generation avenues as possible and make the most out of every lead that comes their way. So it’s important to run through some of the most simple and effective methods for this. This is where this post can help.

Undoubtedly one of the most efficient lead generation techniques you can use is that of online lead generation. Numerous studies have shown that leads generated through digital, inbound methods are approximately 60% cheaper than those generated through traditional outbound methods. Companies who generate 40% or more of their leads this way grow an average of 4 times quicker than those who do not (Hinge Marketing Study).

What’s great about inbound marketing is that you are targeting buyers who are actually looking for (or are at least curious about ) the products or services that you provide, instead of trying to advertise to every consumer out there, no matter what their needs are. Inbound methods target a core audience by providing useful and quality content to lure them into finding out more about your products or services. To put simply, you give them something in order to get them to come to you.

 

inbound marketing

 

Below, I’ll run through some of the main online inbound lead generation techniques and ideas that will deliver you the best results for your efforts.

 

Your website

A visitor on your website can be converted to a customer only if the website is created well. This can be either through asking them to sign up for newsletters or filling out other forms. Attention must be paid to the layout, the design, the content, the forms, and Call-To-Action.

If a buyer stumbles upon a website with an unclear concept and confusing layout, you can be sure that they won’t stick around.

Make sure to optimize your ‘calls to action’ to persuade readers to give up some contact information. The first thing to think about is what copy to use. Words and phrases like “free,” “trial,” “try,” “exclusive,” “download,” “limited-time offer” and “access” are useful for attracting the eye of the visitor. It’s also interesting to note that negative calls to action (ones that reference pain points) can be quite effective.

Your landing pages must include a short summary of the offer your visitors will receive if they sign up. The copy needs to be optimized to ensure good performance. The page should also have a signup form. The exact information to collect at this point depends on your strategy, and is another item to optimize.

Don’t neglect the color and imagery used in your site. A plain text link can sometimes work, but you should see to it that your visitors don’t miss out on offers they would like to have. Buttons and banners should be used strategically to draw attention. You can also A/B split-test to determine the efficacy of different colors and images.

 

Content and SEO

Content is the foundation of your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts. Marketers have come to rely on content to engage prospects and customers in today’s buyer landscape, but to do so, your content must educate, inspire, and beg to be shared. It should aid leads overcome their toughest challenges and achieve their business aspirations. If you can do that, leads will flock to you, and you’ll gain their trust.

Basic search engine optimization (SEO) for all your content is fundamental. And essential. SEO will help you position your website properly to be found at the most critical points in the buying process or when people need your site.

It is crucial to engage prospects with valuable content that resonates in order to kick-start the sales process. A clear rule of thumb is that lead generation content that addresses a business challenge (like thought leadership materials) or citing the experiences of other customers (like testimonials and case studies) rather than listing the features and benefits of your product or service is far superior for attracting and engaging new prospects.

A recent study revealed that marketing professionals rated customer testimonials as the single most effective type of content. 73% of respondents rated case studies as extremely or very effective in their lead generation efforts. Interestingly, customer testimonials were rated much lower in terms of time spent to create and budget dollars allocated.  On the other hand, case studies were relatively cost effective to produce, but time consuming to create.

 

Blog

The good news is that business blogging is not a mere hygiene factor or a “good to have”. Not only can it be a major promotional tool but can also generate quality leads for your business.

It must be highly informative, rich in content, without any grammatical mistakes and interesting to read. It ideally must keep the readers curious and should keep them coming back for more.

The main goal of many corporate blogs is to establish a reputation of authority or thought-leadership in a given field over time. Eventually someone will be influenced by your content and convert to a customer. This can happen when your audience can see the extent of your knowledge and expertise in your writing. Your content must contain in-depth knowledge about the subject matter to convince the readers completely.

Psychology plays a role in creating content for your prospects. While writing, carefully place the ‘calls to action’ throughout your content. Keep an eye on the target audience and their potential response to any emotional trigger. Use heat maps to see which parts of your content are read the most. Use positive emotions and a strong call to action, to convince your consumers of the benefits of subscribing to your content. Be consistent and provide content when your audience expects it. Always run your headlines and content through tools for easy readability and emotional responses.

blogging-creates-leads

 

Social media

The abundance of information, the ability to reach out to maximum people and ease of generating a buzz are just some factors that have led to the popularity of social media as a possible lead generation tactic. Social media tools make generating leads inexpensive and time-efficient.

Building your reputation online has three great benefits – your credibility goes up, people perceive your business to be successful and a level of trust is established. How do you start? Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise by providing useful content, helping people with questions and recommendations and commenting on blogs within your industry.

Start conversations with people in complimentary industries, help them out by referring client inquiries and you could just find yourself in a strategic partnership. Social media sites like Twitter have broken down traditional barriers to thought leaders – find out who they are, add them to your network and start a conversation. Building solid relationships with influencers and other authorities can result in a boost to your business. Twitter also allows you to connect directly with media professionals – building relationships with individuals and proving them with information they need could return media opportunities to promote your business.

Always remember when building relationships – it’s all about giving, not taking.

 

Automation tools and software

And of course, if you want to make the process of finding quality leads that much simpler, you can now invest in some pretty sophisticated lead generation tools and software that are out there. These tools make the whole process more efficient by doing as much of the leg work as possible so that you can spend your valuable time on other parts of your business, or indeed on personal interests away from your professional life.

So there are just some methods of generating more leads through inbound online tactics. It’s not easy. It takes time and effort. A lot of time and effort. But when you combine all these activities into your sales and marketing strategy, you will have yourself some very effective form of B2B lead generation, and at a fraction of the traditional outbound marketing cost.

 

Shauna McBride

Posted by Shauna McBride

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