Lead Generation Basics: Understanding Inbound Marketing

Lead Generation Basics: Understanding Inbound Marketing

Inbound lead generation and nurturing are two of the biggest drivers of new and repeat business in this competitive digital age. But what exactly is inbound marketing, you ask?

By Gabby Gardiner

According to Marketing-Schools.org, inbound marketing is “…the strategy of connecting with potential customers through materials and experiences they find useful.” (http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/inbound-marketing.html)

Digital marketers most successfully attract customers with relevant content that will organically lead prospects to use their company’s products or services. Unsurprisingly, inbound marketing strategies are proven to be more effective than cold calling or other forced interruption marketing techniques.

Online lead generation might seem intuitive, but there are important components that can be easy to overlook. How do you even qualify someone as a lead? Why should you earn your leads rather than just buying them? Let’s take a look at some key aspects of inbound lead generation that will empower you as a marketer.

What is Lead Generation?

You know that a lead is someone who has demonstrated interest in your company. Lead generation is how you get prospective customers to convert into promising leads. It’s the process of converting a stranger to a site visitor, a site visitor to a customer, and a customer to a promoter.

Lead generation comes after you have your audience and you’re ready for them to become solid leads. In the grand scheme of things, generating leads is a crucial point in the sales cycle.

Creating content for lead generation requires being conscious of what potential customers want to engage with and knowing what channels can best facilitate this engagement. You want your prospects to get on track to eventually buy your company’s product or use its service. You need to fill your blog and social media pages with content that resonates with them.

How Do You Qualify Someone as a Lead?

It’s great to have a prospect, but you can’t jump to conclusions about his or her potential as a customer right away. You need to double check that this individual is both willing and potentially able to follow through with a sale by collecting certain information. How do you go about collecting this information? Forms are arguably the most popular ways that businesses gather information.

A prime example would be if a company requires a site visitor to fill out an online form to download a free piece of content, such as an e-book, podcast, or trial. Also, retailers use a similar information collection strategy when they ask a shopper for their contact info in order for them to get a special offer or coupon.

Let’s Break Down the Lead Generation Process:

Site visitors are critical to the lead generation process because these people are your potential customers. Thanks to your marketing efforts, they’ve made it to your site somehow. Most likely, they’ve responded to a call-to-action (CTA) found on one of your social media pages or through another online marketing channel. A CTA is a button, whether it’s text or an image, that links to a landing page. A landing page is a web page that a site visitor lands on for a specific reason, namely to fill out a form and download a special offer.

Although a landing page can be used for multiple reasons, its main purpose is to capture leads through forms. Like we mentioned previously, forms collect prospects’ personal information in exchange for an offer of some sort. This offer needs to be of high quality and worth it for someone who is expected to give up his or her information to access it.

Why Do You Need to Earn Leads When You Could Just Buy Them?

Don’t fall into the trap of buying all of your leads for the instant gratification of filling your sales funnel. If you’re buying your leads, chances are that the third party involved required these potential customers to opt in to something that isn’t even related to your company. The leads you purchase will probably be annoyed to receive emails from your company when they didn’t explicitly ask to hear from you. If you don’t generate your sale leads naturally, you’re defeating the whole purpose of inbound marketing in the first place.

You need prospects that have visited your website and demonstrated an interest in your products or services. You don’t want to relentlessly interrupt strangers who will repeatedly delete your emails right away. If you’re careless, your email deliverability and IP reputation could become damaged from too many annoyed email recipients marking your messages as spam. These people were never authentic prospects to begin with, so why are you even bothering them?

Are You Using the Right Lead Generation Tools?

The most effective marketing teams use an organized system to categorize and store their leads. It’s impossible to manage inbound leads without the proper lead generation software.

Do you know the names and email addresses of the people visiting your website? Do you have a strong understanding of their online behavior? Which web pages are they visiting? What are they doing before and after filling out your lead conversion form?

You need to connect with the people visiting your site if you ever want them to become real leads. With Chainlink’s tools, you’ll be able to generate more leads by learning about your site visitors and figuring out what content causes them to convert.

Never Stop Learning & Never Stop Trying

To be a successful marketer today, you need to clearly understand at least the basics of online lead generation. Chainlink Relationship Marketing stays informed about the latest trends in lead generation so that we can help you drive the best ROI possible across all of your channels.

Never stop educating yourself and testing new approaches to improve your inbound marketing. The more often you adjust your lead generation strategy based on your failures and successes, the more lucrative your leads will be.

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