What is the ultimate goal of inbound marketing? Some say generating qualified leads is the ultimate goal of inbound marketing - but you can't pay your team in leads. The ultimate goal of inbound marketing is to generate sales. That's right, sales, as in dollars. As the learned scholar DJ Quik said, "If it don't make dollars, it don't make sense."
If you're doing inbound marketing right, your analyzing the results of all the elements of your plan and optimizing your efforts based on results. So let's look at 3 things you can optimize in your inbound marketing to boost sales.
Optimize inbound lead quality
The goal of inbound marketing isn't just to generate leads, it's to generate leads that fit your target market profile that have a high probability to become profitable customers. So qualifying leads is a primary responsibility for your inbound marketing program.
In our case, if we generate 100 leads per month that are marketing agencies, we're wasting our marketing and budget and resources. Because the chances of us turning marketing agency leads into revenue are slim and none, and slim just left town.
So the first thing you want to do to boost sales is to improve the quality of leads that your generate. Here are a few things to do to increase lead quality.
- Have a clear understanding of what constitutes a good lead. This comes from having a clear definition of your ideal customer and the target buyer at that customer. The best inbound marketing have clearly defined buyer personas that they strive to inform, educate and convert to customers.
- Create content and lead generation offers that appeal to the buyers in your market niche. Understand their pain points and create content that identifies different ways to solve for those pain points. Strive to be helpful and educational - this will earn you the opportunity to start sales conversations with qualified buyers.
- Use lead generation forms to qualify and segment inbound leads. Ask questions on forms that define your target buyers - for example, what industry are they in? what role do the play in their organization? what are their paint points? The answers to these questions will allow your marketing automation software to segment leads for personalized follow-up and qualify them to determine what, if any, kind of follow-up is necessary.
- Use lead scoring to prioritize leads for sales outreach. Lead scoring assigns points based on behaviors and demographics that correspond to those of your target buyers. Predictive lead scoring uses data analytics to prioritize the best leads. If you don't have access to predictive lead scoring, most marketing automation software lets you assign scores based on demographics and actions the lead takes on your website.
While a more focused lead generation process may decrease the number of overall leads that you produce, it should increase the number of quality leads that convert to customers.
Optimize your lead conversion paths
Now that you've optimize the quality of your leads, the next step is to increase the quantity of your quality leads to boost your sales.
Today's buyers have really short attention spans. They're just too busy to spend a lot of time figuring out why they should access your lead generation offer and how to do it. If there's the slightest bit of complexity or doubt, they will bounce off your landing page and go to your competitor's.
Optimize your conversion paths to make it easy for quality leads to enter into your marketing funnel. Here are a few suggestions to improve your lead conversion ratios.
A typical lead conversoin path
- Review your conversions paths for clarity and consistency. If you look at the conversion path in the image above, you will notice that there is consistency in all three steps of this conversion path. Colors and images are consistent, as is the copy. You will also note that there is clarity in the messaging - the potential lead knows what they're getting and why they should get it. Make sure your conversion paths are clear and consistent.
- If possible, shorten conversion paths to make it easy for leads to convert. For many professional services businesses, a consultation is an effective bottom-of-the funnel offer. When someone requests a consultation on our website, we immediately direct them to a calendar page where they can immediately schedule a convenient time. If you take them to a thank you page that says, "someone will contact you to schedule your consultation", they will likely have forgotten it by the time you contact them.
- Use different types of conversions and let the results determine what is most effective for your audience. On our website, we have a variety of lead generation conversions including bolded text that clicks through to landing pages, traditional calls-to-action, a combined CTA/landing page like you see at the bottom of this blog post as well as slide-in CTAs that engage as the user moves down the page. We use all of them, either in combination or by themselves, depending on the content.
- Used queued questions in your lead generation forms. Let's say that there are five demographic factors you would like to learn about your leads. If you ask five demographic questions on a lead generation form, your conversion rates will likely suffer. In a progressive profiling lead generation form, you would ask for the three most important on the leads first conversion. When the lead comes back a second time to access your content, those three questions disappear and are replaced with the other two you'd like to ask.
Optimizing your conversion paths ensures that you are taking advantage of the traffic you are generating with your marketing content.
Optimize high-traffic pages on your website for lead conversion
In the spirit of fishing where the fish are, we suggest going back and looking at your website pages that generate the most traffic and optimizing them for lead conversion. For most of us, this is a Pareto Principle situation - 20% of your website pages generate 80% of your traffic.
While we have published over 400 blog posts on our website, 5 posts consistently generate a high percentage of traffic to our website. In March 2017, 5 blog posts generated 48% of the total traffic to our website. It only makes sense that focusing on optimizing these five pages provides a great opportunity to generate leads that will turn into revenue. Here are a few things to look at.
- Re-write the copy on these pages to make sure it's focused on your target buyer. If the content was originally written in a broad context, tighten it up to focus on your target market niches.
- Tighten up the keywords you're using to direct the right traffic to your pages. Use words that your buyers will use when they're researching content like yours on Google.
- Make sure the user experience on these pages focus the visitor on lead conversion. If you don't have a user experience expert on staff, there are some fundamental user experience principles that you can use to focus qualified visitors on lead conversion.
- Re-share your content on your social media channels. It doesn't matter if the post is three years old. You've re-written it to contextualize it for today's circumstance and optimized it for your target buyers. Share it on social media to increase the reach. Multiple times.
This is a high return conversion optimization strategy.
When you start understanding what your buyers are looking for, it's the first step in optimzing your inbound marketing to boost sales. Use these three tactics to drive more revenue to the bottom line from your inbound marketing content.