"Having someone's email address doesn't make them a lead for your business."
What is a lead? A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your companys product or service. Online, a lead is traditionally defined as a person that completes a landing page. A landing page is a webpage with a form through which a person supplies contact and business information in exchange for free information provided by a company, such as an ebook, webinar, product consultation, or product demonstration.
Having only a persons email address does not make them a lead for your business. Instead, view that person as a contact. Because they have provided their email address, possibly as a subscription for your blog or email newsletter, you now have the opportunity to use targeted and relevant email marketing efforts to convert this person into a lead.
Since information transactions through landing pages generate leads, one of the first questions a marketer is likely to ask is, how much information should I ask for from a person visiting my landing page? this is a challenging question to answer. The more information you ask for, especially sensitive information such as a persons age or phone number, the lower the likelihood that a prospect will complete and submit your form.
The knee-jerk reaction to that is to think that you should only ask for a couple of pieces of information such as name, address and phone number. the problem with this is that too little information can burden your sales process and make it difficult for sales and marketing team members to prioritize leads. Thus, the solution to this problem involves compromising. When planning or updating your lead generation strategy, talk with your sales team. Ask them what information they NEED about leads in order to have a smooth and productive sales process. If certain information isnt actively being used by either sales or marketing, then dont ask for it.
This simple compromise can ensure that you get the landing page conversion rates you want and the information that your sales team needs to close deals.
Inbound leads rock. Instead of cold calling or other forms of sales prospecting, generating leads through inbound marketing makes your sales teams job way easier. think about it. If a person is an inbound lead, it means that they have visited your website because that is where they submitted their contact information.
This means that they should have some idea about your business and your product or service. this saves your sales team a ton of time and allows them to establish credibility and trustworthiness earlier in the communication process. Not only do better educated customers make a salespersons life easier, but they can also be happier customers in the long-term because expectations were properly set prior to their purchase.
When driving leads online, a business needs to have a few key elements in place. From a tactical perspective, a marketer needs three crucial things to make inbound lead generation happen.
About The Author of Introduction to Lead Generation
By Kipp Bodnar
Kipp Bodnar is Inbound Marketing Strategist (B2B Marketing) at HubSpot, the inbound marketing software leader (B2B Marketing) that provides integrated tools for marketers to generate and manage leads online. Kipp leads a team of marketers that guide and execute HubSpots inbound marketing content strategy (B2B Marketing) . This includes creating content for Blog.HubSpot.com, webinars, ebooks, social media and other channels to help educate marketers and generate leads.
You can follow Kipp on Twitter at @KippBodnar
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1. Landing Pages - A landing page is a website page that has one distinct purpose: lead generation. this page contains a form that captures contact information from a visitor in exchange for an offer. check out our Landing pages ebook for more information on how to build awesome landing pages.
2. Offer - An offer, in the context of lead generation, is some sort of content or product that is of enough value for a person to provide contact information in exchange for access to it. traditional lead generation offers include: ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, free consultations, and product demonstrations.
3. Call-to-Action - Landing pages and offers are useless if no one sees them. to send people to a landing page, you need a call-to-action. often abbreviated as ctA, a call-to-action is text, an image or button that links directly to a landing page. check out our call-to-Action ebook for more information on how to create and place calls-to- action effectively.
Scenario: A person visits your homepage. then they see and click a call-to-action on your homepage. the call- to-action takes that person to your landing page where they see a description of your offer and have the option to complete and submit the form on the landing page. once the person submits the form, they receive your offer and your sales team has a new lead to contact.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the mechanics needed to generate leads online, there is only one thing missing: traffic. In order for calls-to-action, landing pages, and offers to actually generate leads, people have to see them.
You want to make sure that every page of your website contains a relevant call-to- action.
Home page: Your homepage, for example, might have a general product-focused call-to-action, since many different stakeholders visit that as the main page of your website.
Product Pages: on more product-focused website pages you should have a call-to-action that is more tailored to that specific product, since someone who is visiting that page is doing so because they have some level of interest in that specific offer.
Blog: Your blog should be a source of fresh content that is not overtly product promotional. this type of more general content can attract a wide range of new visitors through search engines, social media, and other sources. because your blog will be the first website page that many of your visitors see, it is important to use a more general, less product-focused call-to-action that would appeal to a wide portion of your target market. these calls-to-action are typically for ebooks, webinars, or other forms of educational content. see our blogging ebook for a deeper dive into how to generate leads with your business blog.
Taking the time to think through your choices of calls-to-action for each of your webpages makes a major difference in your visitor-to-lead conversion rate.
1. Improve Positioning of Your Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Calls-to-action do best above the fold - the space where your webpage is viewable to the user without having to scroll down. According to heat map analysis, anything below the fold will only be viewed by 50% of people who visit your page. Doubling impressions on your CTAs can significantly increase your lead count.
2. Be More Clear About What Youre Offering
Be crystal clear about what the offer is in your CTA. And be specific. If youre giving away a free guide, say Download our FREE guide to x. If youre hosting a free webinar, say Register for our FREE webinar on x. x should clearly convey a compelling benefit of receiving the offer. This is much more effective than Download Now or Get a Free Article. These simply arent specific enough.
3. Use Images, Not Just Text
Images stand out on a webpage more than text does, and get a lot more attention, as proven by the heat map study. Additionally, using an image will allow you to show off the offer in a way that you cant necessarily convey using text alone.
4. Use Colors that Contrast with Your Site Color Scheme
Your web designer might kick and scream about this, but if your call-to-action blends in too much with your site design, it wont stand out as much. You want as many eyeballs to land on that call-to-action as possible, so use contrasting colors to make the CTA stand out.
5. Make your CTA a Hyperlink to the Corresponding Landing page
Youd be surprised how many times Ive seen calls-to-action that arent links. whether intentional or a matter of forgetfulness, not linking the CTA to your landing page will make it much harder for visitors to find out how to get the offer, and theyll likely give up. So double, triple, and quadruple check to make sure all of your CTAs link to their corresponding landing pages.
6. Place CTAs on the Most Relevant Pages
CTAs shouldnt be one size fits all. If your company offers various products or services, you may want to consider creating a different offer for each of them. Then you can place CTAs linking to each offer on the website pages that are most relevant to that offer.
7. Add CTAs to Each Blog Post
Whenever you create a new blog post, choose an offer thats most relevant to the content of the post. Then add a call-to-action to the bottom of that blog post linking to the landing page for that offer. Informational offers such as ebooks, guides, and webinars do very well in this space, because people reading your blog likely be eager to get more free information from you.
8. Match the Headline of the Landing page to the Corresponding CTA
Keep your messaging consistent on both your CTA and the headline of the landing page. If people click on a link for a free offer and then find out theres a catch on the landing page, youll instantly lose their trust. Similarly, if the headline reads differently than the CTA, it might lead to confusion, and the visitor might wonder if the CTA is linked to the wrong page.
9. Be More Clear About What Youre Offering on Landing pages
This is the biggest mistake I see in landing pages. People often try to be too clever or witty in the headline, and its not clear what the offer actually is. Again, if youre giving away a free guide, say Download our FREE Guide to Improving x. Plain and simple.
10. Improve the Positioning of the Form
Just like you want to have your call-to-action above the fold, its ideal for the form to be above the fold as well. This way, there cant be any confusion as to whats expected from the viewer on this page: they need to fill out the form to get what youre offering.
12. Use Images to Show Off What Youre Offering
Simple does not always mean short. what you ask for on a form should match the information your sales team needs from your leads to make the sale. For top of the buying cycle folks at the beginning of their research process, name and email address might suffice. For more committed prospects at the bottom of the buying cycle, you might want to ask for some qualifiers like job title or city/state, and perhaps ask for a phone number. Just try not to ask for more than whats necessary.
13. Keep the Text Concise and Easy to Scan
Be brief and to the point; its in the offer itself where you give more information. In addition to your headline, include a brief paragraph explaining what the offer is, followed by a few bullet points outlining the benefits of the offer.
14. Emphasize the Benefits of the Offer
Make it clear in your brief paragraph and/or bullet points what the benefits of the offer are. Its more than just listing what the offer is comprised of; it takes a bit of spin. Instead of Includes specifications of product XYZ, say something like Find out how XYZ can increase productivity by 50%. In other words, convey the value of your offer clearly and effectively.
15. Remove Links and Navigation to Maintain Focus
When a prospect reaches your landing page, youre just a few keystrokes away from getting their contact information. So dont distract them with links that will take them further away from your goal of getting a lead. The thank you page, to which you direct your prospects after they fill out your form and become leads, will give you the opportunity to return the navigation and links to other parts of your site.
16. Create a Thank You page that Keeps New Leads on the Site
When creating a thank you page, not only can you bring back the navigation, but you can provide other links to keep the lead engaged. You can include calls-to- action to the next step in the buying cycle, link to your blog, encourage them to follow you on Twitter, ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, and more. You can do a lot more with your thank you pages than just adding tracking code!
17. Make Sure Your Offers are Compelling
Your landing page should always be able to answer the question: Whats in it for me? Things like pricing brochures, specs, and self-promotional videos are not compelling offers, because they do not provide enough value to answer that question. Informational items like whitepapers, guides, and webinars are compelling offers because they do. See the difference?
18. Link Back to Your Site in Your Offer
Although lead nurturing is a very powerful tool, you should provide a way for your leads to find you again besides email, especially if they are more inclined to ignore email from people they dont know. If they enjoyed your whitepaper (which is full of remarkable content, so of course they did!), make it easy for them to remember where they got the whitepaper from by linking to your site on your cover page.
19. Create Offers for Each Phase of the Buying Cycle
Just like your forms might vary for each phase of the buying cycle, your offers should as well. Someone at the top of the buying cycle may be more interested in an informational piece like a guide or ebook, whereas someone more committed at the bottom of the cycle might be more interested in a free trial or demo. You dont need to pick and choose; Create offers for each phase, and include a primary and secondary CTA to these offers on various pages throughout your site.
20. Be More Clear About What Youre Offering With Your Email Copy
Im being repetitive about this for a reason: Ive seen this mistake made too many times, and its such an easy fix. Always be crystal clear about what you are offering. Keep your email short and sweet. Instead of prefacing your offer with two paragraphs about your companys background, get to the point. what are the tips you want to share with your prospects? How can they benefit from subscribing to your blog? why should they care what new offer you have on your site?
"Lead generation isn't the end goal. Generating revenue is the end goal."
As a marketer, your work doesnt stop the second that a lead hits the submit button. As a marketer, you have a couple of clear priorities after lead arrives in your database. Your top priority is to ensure that the lead makes it to your sales team quickly. this could mean using the HubSpot software to automatically sync your leads with your customer relationship management (CRM) software or uploading them manually into the CRM.
Your second job as a marketer it to aid the sales team in converting that lead into a customer. one of the best ways to do this is through a process called lead nurturing. This involves using a marketing automation system like HubSpot to send customized messages to leads as they reengage with specific content and pages on your website or in social media. this type of communication can support the sales process and help to reduce the sales cycle for your business.
Lead generation isnt the end goal. Generating revenue is the end goal. work closely with your sales team and your leads to maximize the revenue generated directly from your marketing efforts.
Generating leads online using inbound marketing methodologies has the power to transform your current sales and marketing processes. Using landing pages, calls-to- action and offers to can help reduce your cost-per-lead while also delivering leads with a higher level of initial education to your sales team.
The basics are just the beginning. We gave you many best practices for aspects of lead generation to help bolster your conversion rates, but those tactics are only the tip of the iceberg. Continue to tweak and test each step of your inbound lead generation process in an effort to improve lead quality and reduce cost-per-lead.
Get started today! Lead generation is the foundation to your inbound marketing success!