Let’s get straight to the point. Generating online leads through your website and marketing channels isn’t always a straightforward task. That’s where the experts often have to come into play.
For many marketing professionals and business owners, the prospect of creating an inbound marketing strategy can actually seem a very daunting challenge, and you might often find yourself asking… “how do I get leads?!”.
With that being said, if generating inbound leads was easy, this article wouldn’t exist, our digital marketing agency wouldn’t exist and every single business operating online would be booming. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
If you’re looking to generate more leads, this article provides a number of proven online lead generation tips in each stage of the conversion funnel that will help you drive more business.
We will analyse proven marketing channels in each stage of the funnel, providing recommendations as to how you can build awareness, interest, consideration and action to generate more business… so let’s get to it!
What is online lead generation?
Online lead generation refers to a potential customer demonstrating interest in your products or services via the web. This could be through social media, your website, or more.
What is inbound lead generation?
Inbound lead generation is the method of attracting more prospective customers to your brand. It’s the process of a lead submitting an enquiry and officially demonstrating interest in your products or services.
How do you generate inbound leads?
To generate an inbound lead digitally, the user must have passed through each stage of the conversion funnel and successfully contacted you via a form, over email, directly over the phone or elsewhere on the web.
Our guide to inbound digital lead-gen
For many of those trying to digitally market their business in search of how to get leads online, you may not know exactly where to start…. but don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.
Whether you’re a B2C brand offering a complex service or a B2B business operating in a specific niche, there are a number of lead generation techniques you can use to surpass your competition.
When looking to generate substantial amounts of leads, you need a clear-focused and integrated inbound marketing strategy that precisely caters to all customers, no matter where they are in the buying process.
Let’s kick off with some of our favourite lead generation techniques.
Utilising the conversion funnel to maximise leads
When looking at how to get leads, you should always look to use the conversion funnel.
Why?… it really is simple.
The conversion funnel helps break down the different stages in a potential leads’ journey to a successful online enquiry.
You can use the conversion funnel to break down customer feelings and pain points, from those unaware of your brand to those almost ready to enquire.
By doing so, you will ensure the messaging across your marketing activity is 100% relevant for what your audience is looking for, ultimately, helping you successfully generate leads.
By concentrating your marketing efforts towards potential customers in each stage, you are ensuring you have all bases covered to push users down the funnel.
No matter if you’re a newbie in the digital space or a veteran that is evolving with the ever-changing marketing landscape, all you need is the right tools, the right expertise and the right strategy.
This will help push brand awareness, interest, desire in your products and services and most importantly… action.
That’s why inbound lead generation strategies should always break down the different steps in the conversion funnel, analysing how you can:
- Align appropriate marketing channels with each stage of the funnel for maximum lead generation performance
- Push users down from the top of the funnel to the ultimate goal of enquiring or performing another specific goal on your website
A great way of utilising the conversion funnel is by mapping different marketing tactics that will help solve problems in each stage. A creative brainstorming session amongst your team, or alternatively, by digital marketing experts such as Circulate, can be the key in creating a successful inbound lead generation strategy.
With amazing ideas fit for specific marketing objectives, you can turn an online nightmare into a digital dream – driving huge returns on investment for your brand and a sustainable way to long-term growth.
But before you get started, you need the right tools.
1. Having the right online marketing tools
So, what tools are good for generating leads? To successfully accomplish inbound digital lead generation, here are a total of ten must-have tools we’d recommend to supercharge your digital marketing activity.
In no particular order:
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads Manager
- Ahrefs or SEMRush
- Social media platforms and ad accounts
- Email marketing tools
- HotJar for visual analytics
- A suitable CRM system for your business
Your businesses may require more tools in your inbound lead generation arsenal, however, these are the must-haves to give a solid platform for digital success. The number of tools you need often depends entirely on your business, and there is a whole range of different lead-gen tools and tools for different marketing channels you can utilise for fast growth. Let us explain.
Google Analytics is the ultimate tool for recording real-time, multi-channel marketing data from your website and customer base, helping you better understand who’s using your website and how they are using it.
As many of you will already know, it’s basically the bread and butter tool you cannot live without, helping inform strategies and your overall marketing performance.
In GA, you can set up a number of goals that will help you analyse just how successful your inbound marketing efforts are. For example, phone calls, emails, contact forms, newsletter sign-ups and more, helping you not only understand traffic levels, but successful leads generated via your website.
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) that allows you to quickly update tags, or measurement codes, to your website or mobile app.
Essentially, it’s the universal way of hooking up the different tools that your website needs for maximum performance. You should add all tools within this article using Tag Manager as a digital best practice.
For example, you may need Facebook Pixel for prospecting or remarketing purposes and other necessary add-on tools within your inbound lead generation strategy. Google Tag Manager is the thing that helps keep everything in one place.
Tag Manager also helps keep your website’s code clean and precise and has a number of benefits for SEO.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console helps understand how organic users are finding your website and how well your site is optimised for SEO and Technical SEO. You can also resolve certain errors and ensure any site maintenance happens in a smooth manner.
SEO is an extremely important aspect of growing your brand online and overall visibility for inbound lead generation. That’s why Google Search Console is a free tool that should be made the absolute most of by all digital marketers.
Google Ads Manager
The final Google tool we would recommend is Google Ads Manager. This helps you make the most of PPC opportunities and each stage of the conversion funnel that this helps complement within your marketing activity (we’ll dive into this a little more later).
If you want to learn more about the power of PPC and Google Ads, you know what to do.
SEO tools such as Ahrefs or SemRush are perfect for developing your content strategy and help in all aspects of pushing leads down the conversion funnel, from awareness right down to action.
On these tools, you can find a wealth of SEO information that can help dictate your online marketing strategy, from keyword research and organic ranking position tracking to technical SEO, competitor analysis and backlink analytics. All of the factors listed are vital for planning, measuring and maximising inbound lead-gen success.
A water-tight content marketing strategy that is perfectly optimised for SEO is key within various different aspects of the funnel, and can be moulded for different purposes based on where the potential lead is within the purchasing process.
This includes building awareness, generating further online interest, and ensuring your audiences consider using your products and services.
You can also utilise content fit for SEO purposes across other marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, PR and even lead nurturing.
Social media marketing
A social media strategy ties in directly with generating higher levels of interest online, and again, depending on where the user is within the conversion process, can be tailored to drive more leads.
The leading brands in all industries utilise both organic and paid social media in existing strategies, so if you aren’t, what are you waiting for?
The nature of your business also dictates which social media platforms are most suitable for you. Which should you choose for building an online community? Which platform is the best for advertising? It all comes right back around to KPIs and performance-based data, which can be uncovered in GA and the social media platforms themselves.
Email marketing tools
Email marketing is a channel that allows bespoke communication that can be tailored to push customers through the conversion funnel to drive online leads through inbound marketing activity.
The power of email marketing often varies from business to business and the industry in which they operate, however, the is something that should be taken advantage of due to its flexibility in each stage of the buying process… alongside general cost-effectiveness.
In digital marketing and inbound lead generation, conversion rates are everything, particularly if you’re spending significant budgets through a multi-channel marketing approach.
Visual analytics tools such as HotJar allow you to analyse exactly how potential leads are interacting with your website, helping you identify and improve user pain points for a seamless online user journey. This helps you improve conversion rates to ensure your marketing budgets are maximised.
From behaviour based heatmaps to user screen recordings, analysing visual data helps you improve the journey throughout your website to the key action points that your leads are looking for, in the simplest way possible, for maximum marketing ROI.
Simple, user-friendly forms that can be made entirely bespoke to your business objectives are exactly what your website needs to drive the maximum amount of inbound enquiries.
WPForms gives you exactly that, and tools such as GA and HotJar help you measure the performance of your forms to seek out improvements based on factual data.
Always look to keep your forms clean, easy and simple to ensure your checkout process isn’t seen as a burden by your users… sweat the small stuff. The most minor details, when fixed, often go a long way.
A suitable CRM system
A perfectly functioning CRM system based on the objectives of your business is key in increasing inbound leads and profits through digital marketing activity. CRM systems, when used correctly, help businesses build profitable relationships and promote loyalty and customer retention.
You can use your CRM system for better marketing optimisation and improved insight through analytical data. This ultimately helps to drive more inbound leads whilst providing the flexibility of nurturing your inbound leads dependent on where they are in the marketing/conversion funnel.
2. Accurately identifying your target personas
So, enough of the tools, let’s get to the good part.
Everything is now in place and data is at the heart of your decision making. You have a focus on what you need to do and your inbound lead generation strategy is almost ready to begin taking shape. So what’s next?
Let’s start this right from the top. As the famous saying in marketing goes – “if you’re targeting everyone, you’ll target nobody at all”.
The first step in building a successful inbound lead-generation funnel is to identify your key target personas that are most interested in your products and services. Sounds simple, right?
Wrong. Many marketers are quick to assume their most profitable customer profiles, but when presented with analytical data based on their highest converting audiences taken directly through their website, find themselves somewhat surprised. Don’t be that marketer.
When it comes to promoting your business digitally, data should be at the heart of everything you do, and this applies to identifying which audiences you should focus your marketing efforts towards.
Diving deeply into your audience data in Google Analytics is key in understanding:
- Most common devices used
With a clear understanding of who your customers are, their interests, behaviours and location, you have a clear understanding of who you need to market to… and how to market to them effectively for maximum inbound leads.
Although this sounds obvious, you’d be surprised at how many brands out there are falling at the first hurdle without even realising it.
3. Catering to each stage of the conversion funnel
The conversion funnel, otherwise known as the marketing funnel, visualises the flow and conversion path that turns a potential customer into a paying customer or a successful inbound lead.
With a clear understanding of your audiences and their buying process, your marketing strategy can be adapted for higher levels of success. This includes which channels you are using and their specific objectives.
The length of time it takes to pass through the conversion funnel often depends on the nature of your business and the level of risk that a prospective lead is facing. So this should be taken into consideration for any follow-up marketing activity, including remarketing budgets, lead nurturing and more.
You should be ensuring that your inbound marketing and lead generation strategy seeks to achieve the following:
- AWARENESS – Building awareness of your product/service offering to prospective customers
- INTEREST – Driving higher levels of interest from your target personas
- DESIRE – Working to ensure potential customers consider purchasing from you over competitors
- ACTION – Ensuring the journey of your customers is seamless to drive the highest level of leads possible
To generate the highest amount of inbound leads possible, you should look at the conversion funnel in two different ways:
- How can you attract users in different stages of the funnel/buying process
- How can you push users through the funnel to the final step of becoming a lead
Once you have a solid understanding of how to do so. It’s time for the exciting part… kicking off your inbound, multi-channel marketing activity that seeks to supercharge those leads.
4. Multi-channel inbound marketing strategy
By ensuring your inbound marketing efforts across your chosen channels are focused on each stage of the funnel they will have the best effect, you will be on your way to generating more leads.
With a thorough understanding of how different digital marketing services complement one another, you can also implement tactics that can push customers right down to the bottom of the funnel… let us explain.
Driving awareness of your product or service offering to the audiences you have defined as the most profitable is the first step in successfully generating inbound leads.
If customers don’t know who you are, they aren’t going to purchase from you… so do everything you can to build your brand’s momentum by prospecting new customers and increasing brand awareness of existing ones.
So, how can you generate awareness? You can generate awareness through a number of different marketing channels, but you will always see best results when they are working together through an integrated approach.
How to drive online awareness:
- Social media platforms
- Creating shareable content
- Advertising across PPC and Paid Social
- Referral programmes
- Online directories
- Brand collaborations and partnerships
- Influencer marketing
- Guerilla marketing
- Offline marketing channels
- Using all channels to maximise marketing reach
When looking to generate inbound leads, the second stage in the conversion funnel needs to be analysed in two ways.
- How can we attract highly interested website traffic?
- How can we ensure users are interested once they land on your website?
How can you attract high-intent website traffic?
When looking at question number one above, there are a number of marketing tactics you can use to attract highly interested leads. For example:
- Detailed keyword research
- High SEO ranking positions for service-based keywords
- Answering longtail SEO keywords and user queries through blog posts
- Detailed on-page guides
- Helpful on-page tools and features
- Online directories
- PPC advertising across different placements
- Highly targeted social media advertising campaigns
- Remarketing to users who have previously visited your website
- Sending email newsletters to those who have signed up
How to ensure users are interested in your website’s products and services
Let’s take a look at the second example of generating interest. Your brand has raised a higher level of awareness amongst your target customers and the traffic to your website has increased.
Next up, once the inbound leads have found your website, we also need to ensure prospective customers are interested in your products and services, and this can be achieved in a number of ways.
- A visually appealing website that outlines exactly who you are and what you offer
- Clear demonstration of the value your products/services offer
- Clear communication of your brands USPs
- Resonating perfectly with your audience and their pain points/how you offer value
- Engaging on-page copy
- Engaging imagery
- Engaging videos
- Much more – get creative!
In terms of the buying process, the gap between interest and consideration often depends on the level of risk your potential lead faces from signing up to your service or buying your products.
Because of that, for certain businesses, these two stages can seem to somewhat overlap. If that applies to you… that’s completely natural.
The key in this instance is ensuring the level of interest surpasses directly into the consideration stage. So, how can you do that?
How to ensure your leads consider using your products/services:
- A professional website with a great user experience
- Provide offers, sales and promotions
- Instill social proof across your website for increased levels of trust
- Implement reviews into your site from credible platforms
- Case studies and testimonials
- Video content on key pages that demonstrate value
- A strong ‘about’ page that sells your brand and mission
- Ensuring your site is trustworthy and fully secure
Last but not least… action! The final step is pretty much what it says on the tin. That is ensuring you have everything in place for a successful conversion via your website or other online platforms.
Once a customer has successfully contacted you via the tactics listed below, the last thing you need in your inbound lead generation toolbag is amazing customer service that gets a potential customer over the line. That part is entirely down to you, so be friendly and responsive and show value from the very first impression.
Website and CRO
- A strong contact page
- Easy access to contact details
- Simple forms
- Clear CTAs – what does a user have to do? What do they get back?
- Simple checkout process
- Contact options – eg: request a call back
For the best possible performance across the website factors listed above, you should consider using conversion rate optimisation services. This helps you gain a thorough understanding of exactly how your leads are interacting with your website so you can find solutions for pain points that make all the difference.
CRO is intended to improve your conversion rates by making tweaks to your website for the highest level of lead conversions possible. Nobody likes a leaky bucket… and nobody likes losing inbound leads that you’ve successfully pushed through the top of the funnel.
Your website isn’t the only place inbound leads are going to come from, and although this statement is more relevant for some businesses than others, you MUST stay on top of your social media engagement. This applies to posts, messages and more.
Accurate contact details on directories such as Yell and Google My Business, again, it all sounds soooooo simple. Right?
All you need is:
- Accurate contact information
- Listings on all highly relevant directories
Wrong… again! As businesses evolve and grow, you’d be surprised at just how many details across the web are incorrect and left in the cold, dark areas of complete inbound lead dismissal.
Please… ensure you don’t have ANY dodgy contact details in directories and you might just attract more leads through your inbound marketing strategy.
Tracking your inbound leads and measuring performance
To establish just how successful your inbound marketing strategy is, you need to identify important metrics that help you understand overall performance.
- What channels are working best for you?
- What is your cost per lead?
- What’s the overall ROI?
- What’s the ROI from each channel?
- What is the quality of the overall leads?
- What is the quality of leads from each specific channel?
- What can we do to get hesitant leads over the line?
By asking yourselves the questions above, you can gain a true picture of what’s working for you. Once you know what works for you, rinse and repeat until your competitors are in your rearview mirror. Now that’s how you strategise. Hell yeah.
Data, data, data.
Data should always drive decision making, and for best results from your inbound lead generation strategy, you should continually monitor and measure your marketing performance data to ensure you’re making the very best decisions.
- A/B testing changes to your site to choose the best option
- Monitoring the performance of all marketing channels and campaigns
- Analysing important behavioural metrics to find website improvements
- Visual analytics for improved UX/CRO
- Competitor analysis to discover new opportunities
Data analysis and behavioural insights help identify what’s working well, and just as importantly, what isn’t… By staying on top of your data, you can unearth amazing opportunities to consistently improve your inbound lead-gen marketing strategy.
Talk to the professionals
We hope this article helps you supercharge your lead generation efforts, but if a lot of the context of this post went in one ear and out the other. Maybe, you should give us a call.
By partnering with a performance-driven digital marketing agency with a range of specialist digital marketing services such as Circulate, you can fast-track your inbound lead-generation strategy like never before.