Sitting back and just letting prospects contact you seems like the holy grail for any business. This is especially true for B2B lead generation, as customer acquisition costs are high.
This is what we call Inbound Marketing, or the art of getting leads to contact you through your website. Some might even call it a science. Either way, it is the marketing ideal.
This approach isn’t a new one. But like many marketing buzzwords, it has become more and more unclear. So-called marketing gurus argue over best practices, muddying the term.
The fact is, inbound marketing can be simple when done right. According to research carried out by Hubspot, 93% of companies using Inbound Marketing techniques see a marked increase in the number of leads they generate.
Moreover, the cost of acquisition of an inbound lead is about 60% lower than outbound (tradeshow, cold calling etc). So getting people to contact you directly is cheaper, higher quality and you will get more leads. However, you need to know how to get started.
So the question, how to generate online leads, is critical for B2B startups.
How to Generate Online Leads: Blogging
The first step to generating online leads is to launch a blog. It is vital to keep that blog up to date with relevant content, though.
Press releases and stories about trade shows don’t count. No one wants to read about your CEO going on a TV programme or speaking at a conference. This isn’t truly valuable content.
Instead, your blog should be something that people will stumble upon while they are looking for business solutions. Offer them help with something that they are facing, and prove that you are a valuable resource.
A blog should be tailored to the types of content that your ideal customers might read. It should showcase your expertise on a certain topic and present you as a thought leader in your space.
The goal of your blog is to drive traffic to your website and increase engagement. However, your posts should never be overtly about you.
Generate Better Online Leads: Cornerstone Pages
Blog posts are typically guided by what we call “long-tail keywords”. This means that you’re looking to address questions or phrases that your buyers are looking for online. Consider what they type into Google when they need help, and this will guide your content. These topics are where you need to position yourself as a thought leader.
For example, if you sell auto parts you might do a series on how to replace headlamps or motor oil etc. This addresses the problems of your specific consumer. These are the terms that they are likely to be searching for on search engines. As a result, you’re far more likely to reach them with your blog content.
Cornerstone content is slightly different. This content is designed to target a specific keyword, and look more in-depth at that topic. The page will be lengthier, and delve into individual elements of the larger discussion. You might even include hints at topics that have a further blog post.
In the auto parts example, your cornerstone page might focus on “quality auto parts for European Cars”. This content would educate, perhaps by explaining the difference between OEM and original parts.
Cornerstone content is longer, but not gated like a downloadable whitepaper, for example. Anyone should be able to access what you have to offer on cornerstone pages. They are intended to increase traffic, as leads use the content as a guide for their problems.
Your leads might refer back to it later, so you could offer the cornerstone as a downloadable. It is also useful to be posted on forums, as a reference piece. You can include calls to action and further downloadable content, to maintain engagement with your site.
Convert More Visitors to Online Leads: CTAs
Maintaining a well-written blog is only half of the battle. The blog is what drives traffic to your site, but now you need to hook them. CTAs, or Calls to Action, are how you convert your traffic into more than that.
CTAs ask your reader to take action. This might be downloading further content, or reading more content. Typically, your CTAs will request some form of data from them, in order to take the action.
Generally, it’s best to avoid the typical “Contact Us” CTA. It is better to offer further value to their browsing experience, with a whitepaper or infographic.
However, you need to make sure that the blog post is well written. It needs to be interesting enough that the reader wants to learn more. A good tip here is to utilize a “cliffhanger”. Anyone who grew up watching 1990’s TV will remember how series often ended with a major plot twist or revelation.
Towards the end of the blog post, bring up a new point or topic that will interest the reader. This is where you ask them to download using the CTA, in order to learn more.
Eventually, you will need an overarching strategy that uses all of these tactics to help you reach specific goals. However, no matter your strategy you need to make use of analytics. Most CMS have some kind of reporting metrics system. This allows you to measure progress and understand what success looks like for your content. You can then change approaches accordingly.
It’s easy to say “I want more leads” and aim towards that goal. However, “more” is not a goal and therefore cannot be the basis of a marketing strategy. Your goals need to be specific, in order to be measurable.
Instead, you will need to work with stakeholders internally to define your marketing objectives. Utilize company-wide goals, like growth or revenue, and realistic capacity to generate your goals.
At Nituno, we understand that online lead generation can be challenging. We utilize effective content marketing to improve your inbound traffic and conversions. Get in touch today to discuss your inbound marketing strategy.