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Liam Veitch

How To Use Inbound Marketing For Lead Generation

8th Aug 2012 Brand | 6 Comments


WritingToday we have Liam Veitch from Tone Agency who takes us behind the lead generation process at his agency, by explaining how inbound marketing techniques and tools can be a great way to draw in extra conversions.

At Tone my role is split, half of me sits on production (doing stuff after it’s sold) and half of me makes efforts to drive the business forward (thinking of ways to sell stuff). Sometimes these two roles cross; the intersection generally is at the point of lead generation.

It’s an element of our marketing that we’ve strived to get right over time and in terms of our development it’s still something of an open book. Here are a few things we do know:

Giving stuff away works
Noob GuideI have lost count of the amount of eBooks I have accumulated over time, if PDFs were their paper equivalent it’d be some stack. The fact is they work. A well researched, well targeted and well executed resource giveaway can make some real waves.

My personal all-time fave is the Noob Guide to Online Marketing by Unbounce.

With the accompanying infographic sealing the deal this was a perfect example of how to give something of real value away while at every point, piquing interest in your product or service.

It’s all about the follow-up
Inbound marketing by definition helps your target audience along their quest for knowledge by providing solid content and building a brand preference, but it’s only when that brand preference is acted upon that it’s actually useful to your bottom line. It’s important therefore that the circle is joined and you have a solid strategy for following up your lukewarm audience.

It takes a fair chunk of planning
The simple fact is inbound marketing doesn’t just happen, nor does it guarantee a barrage of leads through your door. These truths make it that much more important to plan out. Infographics as an example, can be a major toil to research, develop and promote.

Being ahead of the curve

The penny dropped for me when I understood the very 21st Century concept of self-education. If tomorrow I broke my leg you could be damn sure that within a week or so I would be able to recite to you every bone within my leg; the one that’d given way, average recovery times, worst case scenarios, recovery diets and would be introducing it all into day-to-day conversation.

The same is true (more so) for new interests and significant buying decisions (commercially or domestically). In an era of self-education and being surrounded by knowledge your prospects can learn a lot very quickly.

In this post I am assuming a lot of back-knowledge so excuse me for spelling this out, but it all fell into place when I uttered:

“Umm, so the idea is to be visible at every point along the information gathering phase, gotcha, let’s write some how-to blog posts”

So anticipating the learning curve of your target audience is key, then it’s all about feeding their info-appetite. With your prospective clients safely in “pac man mode” you can begin to make good relationships without the usual rebuffs other marketing methods normally carry.

Building Content: Effort vs Normal Payback

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of what you can offer your hungry prospects in return for a little personal information – I have graded these 1-100 using a comparable index of effort vs normal payback. “Payback” being a qualified lead in this instance.

Host a “common problems of X and how to fix it” style Webinar – 76
Who does it well: Trada (Examples)

Maintain a solid, regular blog (Bonus: Make fans/friends, get yourself a UGC blog area) – 73
Who does it well: SEOMoz (Examples)

Write and give away an eBook (Headslap Tip: Re-purpose old blog posts) – 70
Who does it well: Hubspot (Examples)

Get some real life examples of how you’ve helped by way of useful case studies – 68
Who does it well: Conversion Rate Experts (Examples)

Get good at regular, worthwhile and exclusive email communication (Tip: Sorry, RSS to email is good but not for regular sends) – 67
Who does it well: Campaign Monitor (Examples)

Grab a mic, start talking, make a good podcast – 64
Who does it well: Boagworld (Examples)

You’ll notice the old favourites of infographics, press releases, manuals and online courses don’t feature here. It’s not that those don’t work, it’s more that they are either quite hefty to pull together or they have low potential impact.

I actually like videos too and it’s something Koozai do really well. My issue with video is that it’s quite difficult to persuade someone to give you their info in return for a video. That is the only reason it doesn’t appear on the list – but certainly I would consider video within your key output.

Joining the Circle

So you’re probably thinking by now “err, yeah I know all this already, so what about the lead gen stuff” – this is where we join the circle. The penny has dropped, we’re understanding the prospect’s learning curve and we’ve built and published the content to drop into it.

Time to automate?

For me, the jury is still out on inbound marketing automation. If you have half a team and a few hours a week you can probably replicate what the likes of Hubspot and Marketo can offer you in terms of inbound marketing automation by sidechaining a few good apps together.

Some bootstrap direct replacements to Inbound Marketing software features

SEO Performance Measurement – SEOMoz Pro
Blogging software & Analytics – WordPress & Yoast SEO
Social Media Monitoring & Analytics – SproutSocial
Landing pages & A/B Testing – Unbounce
Email Marketing & Autoresponders – Campaign Monitor

Hubspot is pretty good at lead management and intelligence though so if you have the budget I would definitely recommend having a chat with them. If you don’t, the replacements above coupled with a bit of time and TLC will get you where you need to be!

Advanced API Hookups (no code required)

Here are some ideas for you to start linking your apps together, as an example this chain will do a few things for you while you sleep, in this example you’re taking some PPC traffic to a landing page from a relevant info query:

– Send an eBook to a prospect in return for a company name/email/name
– Send a further three books at 3 day intervals
– Prompt your Sales team to give them a call on the 10th day

How it’s done
Unbounce (Landing Page with Ebook giveaway) >  Campaign Monitor (Drip-feed email campaign) > Salesforce > Sales team follow-up.

If you aren’t familar with Zapier yet you should be – it’s a great tool to chain apps together by way of simple “if this then that” API calls. Just play around with the apps you have already to see what you can chain together to make lead generation from Inbound Marketing easier!

Here’s another one:

– Publicise and gather attendees for your Webinar
– Send each attendee a personalised follow-up a week after the event offering a consultation

How it’s done
Eventbrite (New event creation) > Campaign Monitor

So we’re joining the circle, making some real inroads to connecting the distribution of good quality content to a sales cycle. This is the art of lead generation.

Summary

In summary, it’s not enough to just produce content, you need to really think about how you can leverage that content to produce something of real value to you and your bottom line.

This involves careful profiling of your target audience, feeding the “pac man mentality” with content and ultimately following up on that interest.

If you follow that basic route to grab leads and allow software (bootstrapped or automated) to do the leg work, you’ll really start to see some returns on your lead generation from inbound marketing.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.

Image Source

Writing on a white laptop via BigStock

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Liam Veitch About the author

Liam Veitch

Liam Veitch writes from Tone Agency, experts in responsive web design.

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