In B2B, inbound is the preferred channel of lead generation. The whole process of drawing a lead into doing business with you—by educating first and selling later—matches the B2B business model, where businesses don’t make impulsive purchase decisions. Which is why inbound marketing in B2B takes leads through three levels of the sales funnel: ToFu (top of the funnel), MoFu (middle of the funnel), and Bofu (bottom of the funnel).
The inbound method attracts leads using online content. You create a website, or you write a blog, and you optimize it for online search through SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. This means the content has the appropriate keywords and answers the questions your target audience is asking. When your content is easily discoverable and begins to engage your readers, they become your leads. Depending on how you interact with them from then on, they can become your customers too. https://www.sendblaster.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/your-email-marketing-campaign-in-minutes.png
Once you have a good mix of high-value content, including visual content, start promoting it on social channels. The more engagement you get, the more Google considers your content to be of high value, which in turn boosts your SEO rankings. Search engines look for natural links, so the more informative your content is, the more likely people will link to it naturally.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.
Marketing works with Sales to establish key criteria for lead segmentation and scoring. Hopefully, you have already created a comprehensive list of buyer personas and a detailed buyer journey for each persona. If not, check out these resources. Now plan how you will capture this information through landing pages and forms, using a progressive profiling approach so that conversion rates are kept high. Identify relevant pages and events that, if visited or triggered, also allow you to update lead profiles during the buyer journey. Access LinkedIn, Data.com, Hoovers and other business data sites you can use to cross-reference leads and further develop their profiles. Some of these sources can be directly integrated through HubSpot and Salesforce apps and APIs.
The outbound method involves a proactive attempt to reach out to your audience. This usually begins with purchasing lead lists. You then contact these leads by calling them directly (cold calling) or sending them physical mails (direct mail). For a wider reach, businesses look beyond lead lists and use billboards, print ads, television ads, and radio ads. The emphasis here is on budget, media connections, and how much marketing muscle you can flex.
Lead Qualification and Filtering is the process of determining whether a lead is ready to be passed on to sales based on things like customer demographics and behaviours. Some leads will be filtered out, because they are not yet at that stage or appear less promising than others – focussing on unqualified leads is a waste of time and resources. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be used to track and evaluate leads before distributing them to sales.
Expired Listings. “These are listings that realtors had on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and they didn’t sell. I personally love these because they tend to be more frustrated already, having not sold with a realtor. This will many times translate into immediate appointments opposed to the ‘for sale by owners’ that need some time typically. Where do you get expired listings? It used to be that you had to work with someone that was licensed to get them. Now there are services that offer them so it's super easy to get a constant feed of them.”
Your content is the foundation of your inbound marketing efforts. According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. Think of content as the fuel to all of your marketing campaigns from email to social. Create content that is impactful to your audience and drives sharing. Through creating high quality content, you can begin to gain your buyer’s trust and start breaking through the noise.
Secondly, even if they can find it, they won’t click it unless you get them excited to. Traditional button copy like “Sign Up,” “Subscribe,” and “Submit” won’t do that. Like everything else on your landing page, it’s important your call-to-action be benefit-focused. If you’re offering your prospects membership to a newsletter filled with expert insight, instead of “Submit,” use something like “Send Me Expert Tips!” instead. Put the emphasis on what your prospects will get by converting, not what they have to do to get it.
Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale.
The likely answer is to do with audience biases. A survey conducted by an email marketing provider is almost certainly going to have different results to one conducted by PPC management tool, as their audiences have different skillsets and biases, skewing the results of their sample. As such, we should take the specific ranking of different strategies in these studies with a pinch of salt.
Sales leads are generated on the basis of demographic criteria such as FICO score (United States), income, age, household income, psychographic, etc. These leads are resold to multiple advertisers. Sales leads are typically followed up through phone calls by the sales force. Sales leads are commonly found in the mortgage, insurance and finance industries.
The self-directed buyer’s shields are up, and they are ignoring your messages. Developing a relationship to cut through the noise is critical. Not all leads that go to sales are ready to buy, so you have to make sure that you have in place a solid lead nurturing strategy to continue to build awareness and affinity for your brand while your prospect is self-educating. Through paying attention to your MOFU efforts through tactics such as lead nurturing, you can continue to have a relevant conversation with prospects long after your lead generation efforts.
Use it as a lead magnet/free mini course. You can also use an autoresponder as a lead magnet to attract new subscribers to your email list. This is commonly done in the form of a free “mini course”, or a free “challenge”, which promises to deliver a series of emails containing lessons (or other valuable information) over the course of several days or weeks. There is a high perceived value with a mini course or a challenge like this, which makes it a very effective lead magnet.
First, act as though you’re a prospect making their way to your business’s landing page. Start by ensuring that the links to your landing page are working, wherever they may be — email, PPC networks, sponsored social media posts, etc. Are they driving you to the landing page that they’re supposed to? Does everything look the way you intended on every browser? https://reallygoodemails.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Have-You-Seen-Our-Top-100-Email-Marketing-Campaigns.png
Following the alignment process (Step #1), every sales rep should understand how to use the CRM and other lead intelligence tools to be able to quickly evaluate sales qualified leads and reach out to them quickly. Lead intelligence will help reps formulate a strategy for engaging with their prospects, gain their interest and trust, and develop a relationship that leads to a closed sale. This process is called sales nurturing. Every rep needs to update the CRM following every communication to keep lead status up-to-date and make sure that Marketing doesn't step on the sales process with inappropriate content. Once a sale is consummated, Customer Service should be notified via the CRM and take over managing the account. Sales also needs to set up automated reminders for following up with their customers and setting the table for up-sells and retained services. Marketing and Product Development also need to stay in the loop to send supporting, customer-centric content that educates customers on best practices and upcoming releases.
It’s long been known that headlines attract more attention than body copy on a written page. Decades ago, the father of modern advertising, David Ogilvy, found that 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, while only 2 will read the body copy. Make sure the big, bold words at the top of your page give prospects a reason to read the rest of it by communicating the benefit of claiming your offer. If you can’t explain what’s in it for your audience immediately, they won’t continue on.
Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce.com and other customer relationship management (CRM) data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
Plus, SendFree's autoresponders have a built in "Tell a Friend" referral builder that works 24/7 to drive traffic to your business. Prospects who request your autoresponder can use the referral builder link to tell others about your business and your autoresponder. Those referred individuals can then request your autoresponder. They'll use the referral builder link and tell others. Then those individual will tell others, and so on. This powerful word-of-mouth advertising continually exposes your business to new prospects.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
About the Author: Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry has recently been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. Visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
In many cases, outbound techniques can get someone to think about you even if they haven’t thought about you yet, since many of the methods you use should have more of a “wow” factor to make your company stand out. Outbound communication is often highly targeted, with a call-to-action that is very obvious. As a result, good outbound marketing can push someone through the funnel at a faster rate, assuming they are closer to being ready to buy. Inbound alone often does not drive someone to buy. Outbound gives them that extra nudge they need to drive a lead down the funnel.