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Inbound marketers don’t take the easy route. Instead of purchasing their leads from paid lists, inbound marketers develop strategies to generate them through online methods.
Attracting and converting anonymous site visitors might not be as instantaneous as purchasing leads, but the long-term ROI of the leads you target and nurture yourself will far outweigh the time you have to spend.
Capture Leads on Your Website
There are three primary ways to capture leads on your website: pop-up forms, conversational marketing and landing pages.
Pop-up forms can either fill the entire screen or slide in from the top or side of the screen. As their name suggests, they “pop up” on a page in an effort to entice the visitor to convert on an offer relevant to the page they’re browsing.
They are slightly disruptive, but still pose less friction than landing pages because the site visitor is not forced to navigate away from the page.
Like pop-up forms, conversational marketing doesn’t take site visitors away from the page they’re on. Conversational marketing tools like chatbots are a new way to engage with visitors on your website in a more casual way.
As chatbots become a norm across the internet, prospects are getting more and more comfortable interacting with them and almost expect to be able to engage with bots. Conversing with a chatbot feels more natural than entering information into a form — to the point that site visitors might not be aware of how much information they’re providing.
Additionally, chatbots allow you to serve multiple offers to visitors so they can pick the one most relevant to their interests. A call-to-action (CTA) on a blog can only present them with one offer, so if that’s not what they want, that visitor might never convert into a lead. On the other hand, if a visitor is chatting with a bot and says they’re not interested in the first offer, the chatbot can provide them with alternative next steps.
Landing pages have one purpose: get site visitors to convert. The page design and copy should work together to make converting as easy and desirable as possible. Within five seconds of arriving on a page, visitors should be able to understand the page’s purpose and what they can gain by converting.
There are multiple ways to effectively design a landing page. The traditional layout includes a form above the fold with a clear call-to-action along with additional information about the offer.
To help facilitate conversions, the navigation is typically removed from landing pages, making it harder for people to leave the page. But, since visitors who arrive on landing pages typically have high-intent — they clicked on a CTA or intentionally arrived on that page — the lack of navigation doesn’t necessarily hurt user experience.
How to Bring Visitors to Your Website
For site visitors to convert through any of those methods on your website, they have to first get to your site. The following five strategies allow you to attract visitors to your site.
Someone has a problem and is searching for solutions online. One of your blog posts appears in the search results, and they follow the link to your site. At the bottom of the post, they’re presented with a CTA related to the content they just engaged with, and since they gained value from your blog, they want to see what else you can teach them. So, they follow the CTA to a landing page, fill out a form and become a lead.
That conversion path is the foundation of inbound. By using SEO and creating content relevant to their buyer personas’ pain points, marketers get their content in front of the right people at the right time and generate leads.
Paid search gets your content in front of people in a similar manner to organic: you create content relevant to your buyer personas’ pain points and make it easy to find when they’re looking to address those challenges.
Paid can be used to supplement the keywords you rank for organically by targeting more competitive terms. For example, you might rank organically for “inbound marketing strategies” but not for more general inbound terms like “inbound marketing.” You could bid on the more general term to broaden what search terms your website appears for and increase how many people are exposed to your content.
You should be using social media to promote all your content, and that includes blog posts and content offers. However, when you’re sharing that content, don’t just share the link and expect the title and link preview to speak for themselves.
Write a social share that acts as a CTA and intrigues the reader into following the link. We’ve seen the most success with content that starts a conversation. Connecting with people is what social media is for — so use those platforms to do just that.
Email typically cannot be leveraged for lead generation because you can’t send emails to people who aren’t in your database. However, co-marketing emails can promote your content to people in another company’s database, allowing you to generate leads.
These emails might not have the long-term lead generation potential that an organic ranking or social post does, but in the short term, co-marketing emails can reap big rewards, especially if both partners are well-aligned.
When both co-marketers companies target similar audiences and provide complementary solutions, the content they promote adds value to both audiences. Plus, by driving traffic to each other’s site, both companies benefit from the power of two marketing teams and databases.
Most companies are ranked or reviewed online in some way, whether that’s through a general site like Yelp or Google or a more industry specific review platform like Capterra, G2 or the HubSpot Agency Directory. Having a profile on the sites relevant to your business can help you drive traffic.
People will trust other people more than they’ll trust a company. As they’re looking for a solution, prospects might turn to review sites to identify the top players in the space. If you can build trust through positive reviews, you can drive high-intent leads because people looking at review sites have already identified their need for that solution.
Off-Site Lead Generation
In addition to generating leads on your website, you can also capture prospects’ information through the platforms they’re already spending time on. Forms and chatbots can be leveraged on social media and communication platforms.
Facebook lead ads and LinkedIn lead gen forms
Instead of driving prospects to your website from Facebook or LinkedIn in order for them to provide your company with their email address, you can capture that information on the platform through a Facebook lead ad or LinkedIn lead gen form.
These native ads can collect the information your company needs to qualify without disrupting the prospect’s social media browsing experience. Plus, the ad forms can minimize friction even further by auto-filling fields for prospects based on their profile information.
To use these tools effectively in an inbound way, it is important to keep in mind how you’re adding value to your audience. Targeting ads to people on social media can be intrusive, so make sure you hone the audiences for your ads to people who can benefit from seeing your content. Otherwise, it won’t matter how much friction you’re eliminating through native outreach — the recipient will just feel like they’re seeing spam.
Chatbots reduce friction for prospects by allowing them to provide information in a more conversational, natural feeling way — and that’s not limited to just your website. Chatbots can live on message-based social media platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Through AI bots, companies can collect contact information from prospects to continue communications on other platforms or keep providing value to users through the chatbot.
Lead generation might not be easy, but it also isn’t that complicated. You can drive visitors to your site and use pop-up forms, landing pages or conversational marketing to capture their information, or you can engage with them on other platforms through native bots and lead generation tools.
Regardless, the most important part is to have valuable, relevant content that you can put in front of the right people at the right moment.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.