How to Create an Inbound Lead-Gen Machine With Content Marketing

You’re trying to grow your business but your sales team can only scale so many new outbound calls and outreach emails per week.

Or maybe you’ve hit a wall with your online ads. Or you’re pumping out content but it feels rudderless (“is anybody actually reading these?”).

You know you have to diversify your different marketing channels and dive more into inbound marketing, but where to start?

How can I leverage my content marketing to hit all the right notes and start turning my marketing operations into a lead-generating machine?

Let’s dive into inbound lead generation and the best ways to optimize content for inbound marketing so you can hit your metrics out of the park—without overburdening your sales team.

How Inbound Leads and Content Marketing Work Together

First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what we mean by inbound leads.

An inbound lead is any lead who finds your business via your marketing collateral and then they come to you. An outbound lead, by contrast, is someone whom you approached.

Inbound leads typically show an interest in your business and want to learn more about your products or services.

Whether they fill out a contact form on your website or sign up for a free trial, they are extremely valuable—because they form the base of your prospective customers.

Therefore, if you want to grow your sales, generating more inbound leads is essential. But how does content marketing fit in?

Simply put, people must find you in the first place to reach out. And then you need to motivate them to reach out once they do find you by piquing their interest.

To make your business discoverable and your selling propositions intriguing, you need content.

Potential inbound leads want information—information about how you can resolve their pain points or provide them with a benefit.

And information is what content provides. Content is info that people can find and consume. This is how you turn visitors into leads, leads into prospects and prospects into customers.

If you sell software to other companies, for example, you’ll see results by investing in B2B content creation that will enable you to promote your value propositions to leads.

Maybe you want an ebook to explain the nuances of productivity software to demonstrate your expertise in using tools for saving time.

Or a blog post that shows off benefits of your sales software to better manage pipelines when potential inbound leads search “how to better manage my pipeline.”

When you leverage content marketing, you set yourself up to transform your operations into a lead-generating machine.

What Is Inbound Lead Generation?

Inbound lead generation is the process of attracting prospects to a business and nurturing their interest. It’s how you turn a lead into a paying customer.

Although every company uses unique lead-generation strategies, the process usually follows the same basic steps:

  1. Someone finds a business via its website, social media accounts or other marketing channels.
  2. They take a desired action, such as clicking a link to download a free ebook.
  3. The link leads to a landing page on the company’s website.
  4. The visitor provides their contact information in exchange for the ebook or some type of offer to turn into a lead.

To ensure people find you and to nurture them down this path, optimizing your content so that it provides value for their needs is invaluable.

Optimizing Your Content for Inbound Lead Generation

What is content optimization? Optimizing content means to write, format and update content to make it both as accessible and as valuable to your target audience as possible.

There are lots of content-optimization tools to make your content as strong as it can be, but you should also deploy your content as part of a holistic website strategy for lead generation. 

Rather than sticking a few links on a page and calling it a day, you need to be strategic about your content-optimization efforts.

With content optimization, you have more opportunities to attract inbound leads. Let’s look at the different aspects of content to pay attention to for more inbound leads.

Website Forms

You can tweak website forms to generate more leads. For example, place forms “above the fold” so website visitors see them before they scroll down.

Remember that potential customers have screens of all sizes, from smartphones to large monitors, so not everyone can see the same amount of content before they scroll.

And pay attention to messaging for best results.

Research keywords for the content on pages where forms live to attract search engines and use language that captures the attention of your target audience, especially in calls-to-action.

And some visitors hesitate to turn over their names and email addresses. Make it easy for them to part with their information by adding a statement like “Unsubscribe at any time” at the bottom.

Finally, leave plenty of white space around each form. If a form is surrounded by text and graphics, it can be difficult for a visitor to focus on the content and the offer.

White space makes it much easier to understand the text and decide about taking the desired action.

You could also add a signup form as an overlay that appears when users first arrive at your site. Just make sure it has a simple, hard-to-resist call to action and a visible way to exit.

Wherever you use forms, make sure they’re easy to find again if someone who previously opted out changes their mind later.

A/B-Testing

A/B-testing is a type of performance testing that presents two versions of a page to different visitors so you can gather data to see what version works better.

And improving content is a great benefit of A/B-testing. This will allow you to leverage content to generate more inbound leads as you split-test which page elements are more effective.

Titles, images and page layouts are examples of variables you can test.

The key is to focus on one variable each time you conduct this type of test. Testing multiple variables makes it difficult to isolate what increased conversion rates.

Most testing softwares allows you to run small tests. For example, if Option A gets better results than Option B, iterate on A to create a new variation, Option C.

When you test Option C against Option A, you’ll probably only show it to a small percentage of your potential leads, so you won’t lose the progress you’ve made.

The goal is to create small incremental changes to boost performance over time.

Website Metrics

Pay attention to website metrics that show how visitors interact with your site to identify areas of opportunity with your content for improved lead generation.

Here are a few metrics to check:

  • Bounce rate: If someone visits your website and leaves without looking at other pages, then they “bounced” away. Typically, people bounce when they look at the page and think it isn’t interesting or relevant. If you have a high bounce rate, tweak your content to make it more engaging and relevant to your target audience.
  • Average time on page: The average time visitors spend on your website pages helps determine the type of content they find most valuable. It can also signal potential  inadequacies in your site structure or page-naming conventions—people who quickly move from page to page are likely searching your site for something specific.
  • Traffic sources: To optimize your content for lead generation, it’s essential to understand where most of your traffic is coming from. Suppose you see hundreds of visitors coming to one of your pages from an educational resource. In that case, you can tweak your content to make it more educational or update it to answer questions that weren’t addressed on the referring page.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are standalone pages where people “land” when clicking on a link to your website.

For example, if you offer home-repair services in Florida, you might have landing pages known as location pages with content unique to home services in Florida cities.

You can optimize these landing pages for inbound lead generation with the following tips:

  • Improve the headline on each page. Make it more exciting or relevant to your target audience.
  • Edit landing pages to match the expectations of people looking for your products or services. Provide value by answering their queries, such as questions they would ask to solve their pain points. And where did they come from? Design landing-page content to tailor the stage of the buyer’s journey your website visitors are in.
  • Make sure your form length is appropriate for the size of your landing page and strikes a balance between the amount of information you need to collect and your potential leads not feeling overwhelmed or demotivated to fill out too many fields.
  • A/B-test to determine which version of each landing page is the most effective.
  • Overcome objections immediately with your content.

Calls-to-Action

A call-to-action is a request for a visitor to take a desired action. “Click to subscribe” and “Sign up for updates” are generic example CTAs.

You can optimize your CTAs for lead generation in the following ways:

  • Make the copy as straightforward as possible. Don’t make visitors wonder what you want them to do or what they’ll get if they do it. Spell out the offer and tell people precisely what action to take, whether it’s clicking, calling or downloading a free trial.
  • Don’t rely too much on overly descriptive text. “Start Your Free Trial” can work sometimes but isn’t particularly compelling. “Get More Sales Today” speaks to a benefit if, for example, you sell sales-enablement software.
  • Use design best practices to make it clear visitors are supposed to click the CTA. For example, you may want to have the text change color when the visitor hovers over it.
  • Don’t let your CTA get lost in the background. Put some white space around it to draw the visitor’s eye and make it clear you want them to take action.

Generating Leads with Content Marketing

Quality content is a critical aspect of your marketing strategy. Content attracts people to your website and convinces them to become leads.

You can produce content in house with the proper resources or optimize efficiency & scalability by outsourcing content marketing.

But whatever path you choose, know that turning your operations into a lead-generating machine to attract more inbound leads to grow your revenue is impossible without content.

These are some of the most common ways to generate leads with content marketing.

Case Studies

If you’re trying to generate leads for a B2B business, publishing a case study is a great way to get more people to visit your website.

A case study typically describes a business problem and explains how one of your customers used your company’s products or services to solve the problem.

One of the main benefits of a case study is that it subtly suggests to the reader that your company has the expertise needed to meet their needs.

You can also include a strong CTA at the end of the case study to encourage readers to set up a discovery call or get in touch with your sales team.

Ebooks

Ebooks work well for both B2B and B2C businesses. If you work with B2B customers, they help the reader solve a problem or learn a new skill related to your service.

For example, an accounting firm would benefit from publishing an ebook on how manufacturing firms can reduce labor costs.

Or if you target consumers—perhaps you sell jewelry—you might want to publish a guide to caring for precious metals and gemstones.

Templates

Offering free templates can convince visitors to give you their contact information, making it easier to turn them into leads.

If you’re targeting designers, for instance, you may want to provide a basic infographic template or give visitors access to a set of color palettes that can help them with their design projects.

Free Courses

Free courses are ideal for sharing your expertise with other people and making them more confident in your ability to solve their pain points.

For example, if you sell math tutoring, you could offer a free course on using specific methods for math problems.

People who sign up for your course would then be exposed to your other offerings, such as tutoring for the math portion of the SAT or video courses on passing core math exams.

Surveys

If you sell to B2B customers, offering access to survey data is a great way to convince website visitors to give you their contact information, turning them into leads.

The Society for Human Resource Management and other industry organizations do this regularly, positioning themselves as a helpful resource for potential customers.

Checklists

Checklists are easy to create and many visitors find them valuable. This type of content benefits those who can provide step-by-step instructions for completing tasks.

For example, a professional organizer could offer a checklist to clean out a pantry or organize a bedroom closet.

Start Getting More Inbound Leads With Better Content Marketing

Successful inbound-lead generation starts with high-quality content. If you don’t have the time or expertise to create articles, landing pages, blog posts and more, Crowd Content can help.Expert, vetted writers from content creation services develop content uniquely for your audience so you never have to write again while your inbound-lead metrics blast through the roof!

Kevin Elliott

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Kevin Elliott is the SEO Manager at Crowd Content. He specializes in website marketing, driving organic traffic and helping companies realize their potential with content marketing. He also loves his dog Karl!

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