Generating B2B leads mostly involves outbound marketing techniques. However, there is a reason we insist on paying attention to the way you handle your content, how often you produce it and where do you publish it — the inbound channel works for you, too! But how do you generate inbound leads and what do you do with them afterward? Can your prospects be converted into buyers with content only?
Let’s go through the intricacies of inbound campaigns and processing your inbound leads step by step.
Why are inbound leads important?
Potential buyers are no strangers to reading, exploring and researching. This means that inbound marketing can become an incredibly productive strategy.
- According to Marketing Sherpa, 83% of potential buyers find their vendor on Google.
- Around 80% of decision-makers prefer to collect brand information from content, not advertising.
- Interacting with the brand’s content takes up 50% of the potential customer’s time.
As you can see, there is a reason why investing in inbound marketing pays off. However, unlike with outbound marketing, where you act first and reach out to potential buyers, inbound marketing cannot provide the same accuracy. You can be reached by your priority prospects or by a user who doesn’t really fit your profile.
What should your inbound campaign look like?
Since inbound marketing is heavily content-based, we can’t say what you should write about. However, we can tell you what the roadmap for your inbound campaign should look like.
- Identification of your target audience. Just like with your email sales templates, you don’t write them for everyone. You prepare them for the recipients that work in a certain industry, have certain goals and pain points. Who is more likely to read your blog post?
- Take care of your SEO. Make sure that your landing page and blog posts have both high-ranking keywords and low-frequency keywords, including headlines, body text, and your CTA.
- Create your content. Make a list of all the subjects you want to write about to ensure that you don’t repeat yourself. Start writing blog posts or social media posts.
- Share your content. Put your social media to good use by turning them into a platform for promoting the content on your blog or your guest blogging.
- See where your readers come from. It’s useful to track the URLs to see how your readers find you. Do they stumble upon your articles in Google? Do they come from social media? Do the platforms you partnered with help?
Let’s suppose you built your strategy, wrote your content, primed all the tools, and finally, you see your readers click the CTA button. What’s next?
Contrary to outbound marketing, inbound marketing makes your leads seek you out deliberately. While it’s certainly pleasant to be reached out to, you may find yourself at a disadvantage. When you send a sales template, you do so after researching your recipients, their industry, their company size, their assets, and activity in the area. You know the locations they’re interested in, you know how to start your introduction — you feel in control.
However, when you need to write back and qualify a lead who came to you through an inbound marketing channel, you may feel yourself at a loss because you don’t know much about the person you will be talking with. Sometimes, you’re not even sure if that’s the lead you need.
Organize, maximize, and prevail
Just like with outbound leads, your inbound B2B lead generation depends on how prepared and organized you are. If you want to make the most out of your inbound leads, you have plenty of ways to do so. How do you polish your inbound lead management to make sure that your campaign brings you more relevant and high-value leads?
Use detailed forms
Where are your readers directed to after they click a call-to-action button? Do they get a thank you message and notification that their application was sent? What do you require from them, a name and an email?
The more information your readers leave, the more you know about their potential. The best way for you to gain as many insights about an inbound lead as possible is to ask them to fill in the forms. The forms don’t have to be overly detailed because you risk pushing your potential customers away. Nobody wants to play 20 questions.
What do you need to learn about your inbound leads?
- Business email address
- Company name (optional)
When you receive these basics, you can hand them over to your research team to get a clear picture of the person you’ll be talking with, their achievements, activity in their field and, naturally, their pain points. Don’t forget to leave a field for commentary in case your applicants have a very specific question in mind. This way, you will know how to start a conversation.
Segment your inbound leads
After you receive several forms filled out by people with various titles, the next step is to know your priorities and see what kind of industry your content is the most relevant to. If your ICP profile includes several types of ideal customers, use it to segment your applications by industry or company size. It will allow you to see how many high-value inbound leads you generate with your current content and what should be changed to maximize this result.
You should also take a look at the type of content that generates these leads. Did they decide to click the CTA after reading an article about sales teams? Or was it a blog post dedicated to cold outreach? Each segment is attracted to a different subject. If you want to gain more leads from your A-Tier account, then you should create more content dedicated to the area they had shown interest in.
Keep nurturing readers
When your inbound leads are interested in your content, they are on the threshold of their buyer’s journey. It’s up to you to guide them to the final stage, nice and easy. To make it happen, you should study their behavior patterns to learn what they might want to read next. For example, if your potential customers started with reading about the basics of your industry, then went to explore the blog posts dedicated to your tools and more in-depth details about your area of expertise, then it makes sense to elaborate about your services in a relevant case study.
Some companies, especially those that specialize in SaaS-based products benefit by amplifying their content with explainer videos that illustrate all advantages of using the product and outline how to incorporate the product into the workflow. Since having a corporate blog gives you a lot of creative freedom, you can use it to embed short educational videos into the blogpost or break the most complicated bits of information and statistics down via infographics.
The more eager you are to explain, the more comfortable your readers will feel about contacting you for a chat — or even about writing to you directly.
Use more than one touchpoint
Not all your leads are satisfied with filling out a form and receiving an email. Some require more touches before they enter your sales lifecycle. Since some of those leads can turn into the high-value customers you have been looking for, you have to do your best to keep them in. It requires reviewing your entire sales funnel and your current understanding of what makes a high-value lead and when it is appropriate to engage them.
- Ensure the accuracy of the information. It’s no secret that many users enter false information or their secondary email when asked to fill in the form. So, you cannot rely on the data you receive—not until you research and validate it. This is why we never start any sales efforts without our research team taking a look at the data and giving us thumbs up. It also allows you to keep your database clean and safe.
- Assign quality points. Map your inbound lead engagement strategy according to their activity on your blog. If there are leads that download your free content or subscribe to your newsletter, it makes sense to concentrate on them and ensure that they receive more relevant content, tailored to their needs and are motivated to reach out. For example, you can send such readers your surveys and ask them to contribute to your strategy development. In some cases, you can even let them choose the next topic for your blog post.
Remember the basics
Our ultimate advice for all who want to polish their inbound lead management? Measure and monitor. The trick behind inbound marketing is that success is defined by how well your content hits the sweet spot and captures the interest of your audience. However, since nobody is a mind-reader, we can only count on our understanding of our target audience.
A minor tweak in the way you write your blog posts can either drive more results or considerably reduce the number of visitors and readers. To know how you’re doing and to locate the areas for improvement, you should employ a range of analytical tools to monitor your blog’s performance after every change.
Remember, that it’s also normal not to see the avalanche of clicks and applications in the first month. Inbound marketing takes a while to settle in, so your job here is to build up content, keep it consistent with your brand’s voice and give it visibility via SEO and social media. Only when you have actual visitors frequenting your pages, you will have an understanding of what to do and where to go from your current results.