How to Use Inbound Lead Generation to Increase Sales

Inbound organizations are 4 times as likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective. (HubSpot)

Inbound lead generation is the holy grail of marketing. No business can survive without leads and almost every business struggles with keeping their sales funnel full and happy. Why is that?

Mostly because there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that can guide marketers through the process of attracting, connecting and converting prospects into paying customers. That would be too easy.

There is, however, a skeleton of the most effective ideas that can be used to drive sales for any type of business. So, if you’re like any of the passionate marketers who find themselves in deep waters when leads dry up, take out your ideas book because you’re about to get inspired.

#1 Develop and automate your sales funnel

Mapping inbound lead generation to your sales funnel will enable you to effectively target prospects in every stage of the buying journey by producing relevant and engaging content in the form of blogs, guides, videos, infographics and more. Inbound lead generation is only effective when it’s targeted to specific segments and optimized to progress prospects towards a conversion and ultimately, a sale. It will help you to address and overcome common objections, attract qualified leads that have a genuine interest in your product and prioritize higher value prospects.

Once you develop your sales funnel, you will immediately spot the drop-off points that indicate optimization opportunities and get a deeper insight into your customers’ mindset — what’s driving their actions, what problems they’re trying to solve and how close to a purchase/conversion they are. Marketing automation will give you the means to automatically send the right content to the right customers at the right time, resulting in reduced sales cycle complexity and conversion time. According to Pardot, 77% of buyers want different content at each stage of their research. What’s more, studies show that nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.

Good news is that almost every marketing effort can be automated. For instance, Buffer lets you schedule your social media content in advance, Zapier makes it easy to connect different apps in order to automate workflows, while IFTTT brings the apps and devices you use every day together, streamlining your experiences. Email automation is also a crucial part of inbound lead generation strategy, so ensure it’s implemented with your sales funnel in mind and creates maximum value for prospects.

#2 Make data-driven decisions

Effective inbound lead generation campaigns are highly reliant on customer and market data. Acting on a hunch in the marketing world can be a really costly mistake. If you produce content that’s irrelevant to your target audience or is undiscoverable due to low-quality keywords, you will not only waste your time and energy, but also clog your sales funnel with unqualified leads.

Inbound lead generation often focuses on feeding the top of the sales funnel, which represents the awareness stage and deals with prospects that have no knowledge of your brand or don’t even know (yet) that they need your product. The only way to get in front of this crowd is to aim broad, targeting various angles and pain points that could grab their attention. Before you begin crafting your inbound lead generation strategy and producing educational content, use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Semrush to establish the most valuable keywords with high search volume and conversion potential. For example, creating content around generic, popular keywords like ‘blogging’ or ‘sales tips’ will put you in direct competition with thousands of other content creators who are exploring this subject. But if you dig deeper and discover narrower, longtail keywords that concern a specific, niche topic, your chances of getting to the top of the search results and staying top of mind increase significantly.

A rich list of target keywords will help you generate ideas for your content campaigns and tools like Buzzsumo will help you identify what type of content performs well for any topic or competitor. Making well-informed decisions is a stepping stone to inbound lead generation campaigns — your content must solve a problem for your customers, not fill a gap in your editorial calendar.

See additional 11 tips on ->