If you’re a marketer, you know the rules of the game have completely changed: Today’s information overload has tossed out old-world scarcity of information, relegating outbound marketing to the backend of what drives lead generation. In fact, it’s almost suicidal for companies to ignore the power of inbound marketing to generate leads because this is the age of the post-digital consumer.
Post-digital consumers are no longer content with marketing messages being broadcasted to them; and, neither are they tolerant of cold callers who interrupt their social lives. Instead, they are actively choosing how they interact with the brands and businesses they want to patronize. That’s a quantum shift in the buying process.
In short, brands now revolve around their customers, taking into account their attitudes, behaviors and expectations which are in a constant flux. And, the biggest challenge for marketers today is to cut through the noise and enable people to really engage with their brands.
This shift in power means marketers now need to focus on how their brands and businesses can be found by their customers. And once found, how they can nurture that interest into a long-standing relationship. So, in essence, lead generation is all about drawing in and convincing strangers to engage deeper and deeper with your brand.
To do that, you need to offer your prospects a variety of irresistible goodies and offers that build an organic interest in your products and services. Your lead generation efforts will begin showing results when consumers warm up to your brand on their own terms and wind up expecting to hear from you again and again.
Why Inbound Trumps Outbound
According to the State of Inbound 2017 report by Hubspot, 63 percent of marketers claim that generating traffic and leads is their biggest challenge. The good news is that marketers everywhere are rising to the challenge of meeting consumers where they hang out – be it be, social media platforms, video-sharing websites, instant messaging apps or their smartphones. Here are some more statistics from that report:
- 71 percent of marketers said inbound marketing is their primary approach to marketing.
- 59 percent of marketers claimed their highest quality leads came from inbound marketing initiatives.
- over 60 percent of marketers (on an average) felt growing their brand’s organic presence was their top inbound lead generation project.
- 46 percent of marketers felt inbound marketing created higher return on investment while only 12 percent voted for outbound marketing.
From these numbers, it’s quite obvious that the Internet has made sure that leads generated through inbound marketing efforts supercede all other approaches. And, that marketers who don’t adapt will be forgotten in a flash. So, here’s the question: Is your business or brand doing enough to generate leads that can be converted into sales?
Read on to discover the top four reasons your business should invest in inbound lead generation efforts.
1. You want to generate organic Interest
Gone are the days when marketers believed they could hook leads by simply purchasing them. In theory, it might seem like a great idea: You pay money for leads sourced from online shoppers who’re looking for exactly what you sell. However, the service that sold you those leads would have sold them to other marketers as well. Then, it all comes down to who gets to those leads first. Or, those leads may be people who’ve never heard of your brand or indicated an interest in learning more about it. So, your efforts to attract them become nothing more than annoying interruptions of their lives, which is clearly not the way to go.
Over the past decade or so, marketers who built their brand’s visibility organically, had a deep understanding of SEO techniques; created websites with great architecture; content that had quality and utility; and acquired linkbacks from authority sites. It all comes down to creating products, brands, websites and content with the potential customer in mind. When you do this the traffic will automatically start to show up. However, your efforts at creating organic interest will work only if the people who encounter your business and brand find quality takeaways immediately.
2. Your company is small with limited Resources
If you’re a small business, it’s likely that you don’t have the resources to lavish on fancy marketing campaigns or to purchase the latest marketing automation tools out there. But investing in lead generation is crucial to your survival and growth and you know it. In this situation, a lot of what you can do ties in neatly with inbound marketing practices that position your business as an authority. You can do this by consistently producing quality content that showcases your knowledge, expertise and credibility. In other words, step away from the stereotypical hard-selling tactics and become a trusted advisor with your blog posts, white papers, video content and so on.
Leads generated through inbound marketing cost very less or, almost nothing sometimes. So, small businesses can build awareness, gain traffic, generate leads and earn as much as their bigger competitors without spending the big bucks. And the best aspect of using inbound marketing to generate leads is its sustainability. The top-quality content you create in order to attract and convert leads can be transformed into content upgrades and gated content like PDFs, ebooks, white papers, and webinars that drive more leads. So, regardless of the size of your company, you’re bound to see a higher return on investment with inbound marketing, according to the State Of Inbound 2017 report.
3. Your Website Isn’t Optimized For Lead Generation
It’s old news that consumers spend a lot of time on the Internet, flitting from smartphones to laptops to tablets. But marketers need to note the sense of entitlement consumers now feel, expecting their devices to assist them in even routine tasks. With the number of people accessing the Internet from their smartphones skyrocketing, it’s crucial for websites to be optimized across all devices. The use of personalized calls to action (CTAs) that target each user, instead of generic ones, also has the power to boost your website’s lead generating capacity.
When it comes to user experience, seamlessness should be your mantra. Make sure your website supports the integration of all the lead generating channels you use to create seamless marketing campaigns. Integrations help guide the consumer along a buying cycle that’s tailored to their specific needs. And, while it’s important to highlight the features of your product or service through your content, keep the focus on the benefits your consumers gain through your offerings. Finally, websites optimized for lead generation typically have a professional design, with colors, fonts and images used tying-in with the overall brand. In other words, marketers who fail to cash-in on their website’s lead generating capacity, risk turning away leads within seconds.
4. When your product or service have A Learning Curve
Irrespective of who your target market is, it’s important to cultivate and nurture the leads you’ve generated. But, it’s particularly relevant to B2B companies because their products/ services often involve a learning curve. Prospective consumers need to be educated and guided along the buying cycle before the sales team can step in. But unlike before, the lead generation process kicks off as soon as a prospective buyer begins searching for solutions to their specific pain points. And, it’s the role of the modern marketer to meet these prospects at the very places they may be looking for solutions – social media platforms, search engines, webinars and so on.
Once a person begins engaging with your business, the process of nurturing and educating the lead should begin with a steady supply of useful content that overtime ensures immediate brand association as well as a distinctive shift towards purchasing intent. At this point, the lead is super hot and the sales team can step in and close the deal, thanks to all the lead nurturing efforts that went in earlier.