What Is Inbound Lead Generation?

Matthew is a Marketing Copywriter with a B.A. in Professional and Public Writing from Auburn University. He aims to learn a little more about the SEO world each day, and share as much of that knowledge with you as he can. When he's not striving to put out some fresh web content, he's usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.

Have you ever visited a website and tried to read something on it, only to have a pop-up ad jump in front of the content every five minutes? No doubt after a while, you got frustrated and left the site.

Frustrating popups spotlight one of the downfalls of advertising. If you are too intrusive with your ads, you can deter leads from converting.

However, as a business owner, you know that advertisements are crucial to earning leads and sales.

Don’t worry — this is where inbound marketing comes in. Inbound marketing is a great way to attract customers without bombarding them, and there are several ways you can make it work for your business.

Read on to learn more, and then subscribe to Revenue Weekly for more digital marketing tips from the agency with over 500 client testimonials!

What is lead generation?

Before we get into inbound lead generation specifically, let’s talk about what we mean when we say lead generation.

A lead is a potential customer who’s near the middle or bottom of the marketing funnel. That is, they’re someone who’s established contact with your business, but hasn’t yet converted or bought anything. There are four types of leads, based on how close they are to converting.

  1. Marketing-qualified lead: A lead that’s established initial contact with your business, but isn’t yet ready to buy.
  2. Sales-qualified lead: A lead that’s indicated that might be interested in your products or services, like someone who contacts you with questions about them.
  3. Product-qualified lead: A lead that uses your products or services in the form of a something like a free trial, but still doesn’t buy yet.
  4. Service-qualified lead: A lead that explicitly expresses interest in making a purchase from your business.

Leads are your most valuable audience because they’re so close to converting. Just a single ad could be the difference between having a lead and having a paying customer.

The lead generation process is meant to get people to that point. It takes people from being anonymous Internet users to being specific people you can target ads to.

What is outbound lead generation?

To understand what makes inbound marketing so valuable, it can be helpful to first be familiar with its counterpart: Outbound marketing.

The idea behind outbound lead generation is to put ads in front of people where they’re not necessarily looking for them. YouTube video ads are a great example of this. Users aren’t there for your business; they just want to see a video. But first they have to sit through an ad.

This sort of unsolicited marketing tactic goes back to the pop-up ads mentioned earlier. When not handled properly, they can become irritating to users — “interruptive” is a word frequently used to describe them.

None of this is to say that outbound marketing is inherently bad. On the contrary, it can be a valuable resource for your business. Sometimes you must use outbound marketing to get your brand in front of people. And when it’s done right, it can be very effective.

But it still always carries that potential to get on people’s bad side. That’s why there’s value in using inbound lead generation as well.

What is inbound lead generation?

Users don’t always take well to seeing ads that they never asked for, particularly if it’s interrupting the content they came to see.

Inbound marketing is so effective because it cuts out the solicitation issue. Where outbound marketing is all about advertising to any audience, inbound marketing is about drawing interested users to you. As a result, the inbound lead generation process looks very different.

Inbound lead generation allows you to create advertising content that users will actually want to engage with. Instead of coming across salesy like a pop-up ad, it blends the advertising element with genuinely helpful information. This leads users to willingly engage with it.

As a result, users don’t feel irritated by their encounter with your advertising — quite the contrary, since they chose to seek it out!

Inbound lead generation strategies

So, what does the inbound lead generation process look like in practice?

It can look a lot of different ways depending on which advertising method you use. But to give you a sense of how it can work, here are a few of the best inbound marketing tactics you can use.

1. Use SEO and content marketing

Whatever industry you work in, chances are you’ve accumulated a lot of valuable knowledge that other people could benefit from learning about. When you create written content on your website, you can present that information for people to read at their leisure.

As long as you keep your blog content engaging and informative, people will keep coming back to read it. To create leads, you’ll want to include unique selling points (USPs) and calls to action (CTAs) into your posts to promote your business.

In addition, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) to help this content rank in Google. That way, when users search for information you’ve written about, they’ll come across your content right there in their search results.

You can optimize your content by including relevant keywords that you want it to rank for and by ensuring that the content matches user search intent for those keywords.

2. Create a social media page

Another great inbound lead generation strategy is to harness the power of social media. Over half of all Americans who follow a brand on social media remain loyal to it, and by simply creating an account, you could become one of those brands.

On your social media page, you could post everything from giveaways to infographics to draw users in. You’ll also be able to increase brand awareness with social media, which can help boost lead numbers.

You can create social media accounts on any of the following platforms — the more you choose to utilize, the more chances you’ll have to earn leads!

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. Pinterest
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Snapchat

3. Upload videos to YouTube

Instead of jumping straight to YouTube ads, try posting informative videos to grow your lead pool.

 

By posting informative videos on YouTube, like step-by-step tutorials, you can draw users in to learn from your video content.

When you use YouTube SEO, your videos can show up in search engines and garner even more views and potential leads!

Mid-Size Businesses Trust WebFX

Their focus on ROI and their innate ability to communicate this information in a way that I understand has been the missing link with other digital marketing firms that I have used in the past.

Leah Pickard. ABWE

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Get help with your inbound marketing from WebFX

Whatever inbound lead generation strategy you start with, it may take some time to make it work. Crafting content that will attract people organically is no easy task.

If you need help creating the perfect inbound lead generation strategy, don’t worry — WebFX has your back! With over 20 years of experience, our inbound marketing services are some of the best in the industry, and we’d love to use them to help your business succeed.

Just call us at 888-601-5359 or contact us online to get started today!