“Inbound” and “lead generating” may not be two phrases that you often think of together. Well, it may be time you did. Inbound marketing is a long game, that’s true. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t also work for you in the near term as well, like bringing in quality leads. There are, in fact, many ways inbound marketing tactics can help increase lead generation, for today’s article we’re going to focus in on three primary aspects of your inbound strategy that have a particular impact on lead generation: content, social media presence, and website optimization/SEO.
How Your Content Can Generate Leads
Content forms the basis for any solid inbound marketing campaign. Your blog posts, gated premium content like eBooks, webinars, and so on form the bulk of your marketing efforts, each supporting the other in your quest to pull in new site visitors and followers. In fact, these three items are precisely what we want to discuss today, as they can also form the basis of a strong lead generating machine.
The single best way to boost your ranking is to have fresh content posted on a regular basis. By following the SEO guidelines below, and posting to your company blog frequently and on a schedule, you will be adding new, indexable pages for the search engines to parse and add to their databases. Your posts should include one long-tail keyword or semantic search phrase (the wording people use when conducting a voice search via Siri, Alexa, etc), and can include one or two closely related short-tail keywords worked into the text as appropriate.
Talk about industry happenings, current events, how-to guides, or anything else your research has told you your audience has an interest in. Mix in some tutorials and other content that targets their individual pain points, and you’ll have dedicated readers. Then, and this is the key to pulling in quality leads—include a CTA that directs readers to an appropriate offer. By hooking them with your content, then offering them a deeper look at the same or a related topic, you will have a database full of leads in no time.
Make at least some of those CTAs direct people to downloadable, premium content. eBooks, whitepapers, and pre-recorded webinars are all fantastic ways to deliver a deeper dive into the topics your audience has already shown an interest in. And in doing this, you get to collect their contact information and permission to reach out to them in exchange for that deeper dive.
Whatever you offer readers for becoming leads, make sure it fits in with your broader SEO goals, offers them more value than what you give away for free on the blog or pillar pages, and that your capture form gets you the information you need to qualify them as a lead.
Live webinars are awesome for connecting with your audience and at the same time providing them with yet more info on your product, service, industry, or a particular subject that you feel they would benefit from learning about. Invite industry influencers to participate, or current customers who are willing to share their stories, or even the employees behind a recent company success.
As a bonus, the recording of these webinars can be used as an offer for anyone unable to attend the live event. Just have them fill out the same capture form you used for the main event, then provide a download link. These recordings also make great gated content, as mentioned above.
Lead Generation Via Social Media
Social media can serve multiple roles when it comes to generating leads. It plays a supporting role to your content efforts by providing you a way to get links to that content in front of more eyes. And it gives you a platform for generating general interest in your company and product by way of promoted posts, backlinks to your pillar pages, etc. In addition, social media gives you access to millions of captive audience members who would love to see your links, share other interesting content you found, and who would potentially benefit from more of the same by becoming followers.
Social media allows you to be yourself, share your company brand voice far and wide, and put a human face on that company presence. Interacting with followers, liking posts, and sharing interesting stuff with your own audience all act to increase trust in your company. People like interacting with people they trust, and in general, people trust other people more than anonymous companies.
Don’t abuse that trust. Share great content with your followers that you truly believe they would want to see. While you’re at it, share a snippet of one of those webinars with a link to download the entire recording. Now they can hear that great content as well. You’re using the trust you’ve established to encourage people to become prospects. And as a bonus, you already know they’re high-quality since they volunteered their info in order to learn more about your product via that webinar.
All of this acts to make people increasingly comfortable with your company brand voice and serves to ingrain you as the go-to source for any and all information related to your industry and product. Now, when they’re ready, these people will come straight to you and make themselves leads without further action on your part.
Optimize Your Website for Generating Leads
SEO is a massive subject that we’re not going to dive into today. That said, there are a handful of aspects of a properly optimized site that have a bearing on our discussion of lead generation, so we are going to hit on those. SEO breaks down into two main categories, on-page and off-page.
Search engines look at 5 things when determining a page’s rank:
- URL: Be sure the slug for each page contains a short-tail keyword.
- Page title: This is the article title for blog posts and should also contain at least one short-tail keyword.
- Subheads: Use these to work in long-tail keywords and semantic search phrases.
- Image alt text: Provides another place to insert short-tail keywords.
- Body text: Don’t stuff keywords, but be sure to use your short-tails and long-tails naturally in the flow of the page text.
The key is effective placement of keywords, not how many times you can repeat them on one page. Good use of keywords and semantic search phrases will go a long way toward not only helping your pages rank, but ensuring that the trust you build with your audience continues as they read these pages.
The aspect of off-page SEO that applies here is backlinks. Remember, quality matters as much, if not more, than quantity when it comes to backlinks. A single link from an authoritative site with good SEO pull is worth more than many would be from a business listing site or other low SEO outlet. Start building backlinks with the low-hanging fruit by using your social media profiles, business listings, and your company Google profile. Each of the major sites in these categories have great pull and your links will start increasing your own SEO juice right from the start.
Each bit of progress you make with your page’s SEO, whether via a new blog post, editing the meta description of your About Us page, or getting a backlink from an industry influencer’s blog, will go toward encouraging your audience to convert from casual reader to lead by giving you their contact information for your database.