Maintaining a steady flow of new, quality leads is essential for a thriving business. The question is — how do you find them? While more aggressive, outbound marketing models have been around for a long time, businesses are finding increased success in generating leads through inbound marketing strategies.
Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: What's the Difference?
Outbound marketing is when you use interruptive methods to bring your business to consumers. Think tactics like cold calling, print ads, and trade shows. While these methods have their place in a marketing strategy, they can be considered invasive and shouldn't be your only approach.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing lets people come to you. It attracts people who are already interested in your business, so they want to hear from you. This approach, also known as permission-based marketing, can help you capture better qualified leads and more of them. According to HubSpot, inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing strategies.
So, what does inbound marketing look like? For starters, it might include:
Employing the right keywords so your website shows up on search results (Search Engine Optimization or SEO)
Creating high-quality and high-value blog or email marketing content
Promoting your marketing content on social platforms and other forums
While inbound marketing can take many forms, the methods you employ should be digitally focused. In today's digital age, the majority of consumers start their search for a business online, so that's where you need to be if you want to get noticed. Done right, your marketing should draw consumers to your business in order to drive traffic to your website or social media page so you can… you guessed it – generate a lead.
How to Capture More Leads Online
Once a prospect has made it to your website or social media page, the next step is to capture their information and convert them into a lead. How can you optimize your online presence to generate more leads? Below are three simple steps you can implement right away:
Add a contact form on your website. A contact form is the simplest way to capture a person's contact information without forcing them to reach out to you directly via email or phone. Plus, it also allows them to stay on your website longer and explore what you have to offer. Limit your required fields to the essentials (i.e., name, email, and message). Helpful tip: requiring a phone number causes a 5% decrease in conversion rates, so consider leaving that one off.
Use call to action buttons. Contact forms are not enough on their own. With attractive, enticing call to action (CTA) buttons, you can guide visitors to take that next step. Think of them as a little nudge in the right direction. CTAs should be prominently positioned, attractive, and persuasive. For example, "Learn more," "Get started," and "Sign up" are straightforward statements that invite the user to take action. Be sure to also add these on your outbound emails and blogs to help drive leads.
Provide an incentive. Hopefully the people visiting your site are already interested prospects, but not everyone is so quick to give out their information. For that reason, offer something of value in exchange for their contact info. This could be a discount for your services, a free e-book download, a subscription to your email newsletter, or access to a webinar. Doing so not only helps them feel like it's a fair trade, but it also positions you as a knowledge source and establishes credibility up front.
Converting Leads Into Sales
Generating a new lead is just the beginning. Following up quickly (within minutes, not hours or days), utilizing a CRM to track conversation notes, and consistently marketing your leads are all critical next steps. Keep in mind that some customers may not be ready to buy right away, which is why it's so important to focus on adding value and building that relationship until they are ready. Click here to learn more about how to convert your leads into sales.