For most B2B businesses, lead generation is the raison d'etre for their marketing efforts. A qualified lead is a seed that can sprout into actual revenue with the right care and feeding. Yet many businesses miss the small details that can make all the difference in their lead generation efforts.
The inbound lead generation process
Let's review the inbound lead generation process, which is an exchange of contact and demographic information for a premium content offer like an eBook or a webinar registration.
Inbound conversion path
Image courtesy of HubSpot
The conversion process is as follows.
A potential lead clicks on a call-to-action (CTA) for a premium content offer in a blog post, web page, social media post or email.
The potential lead completes a form on a landing page in which she gives her contact information in exchange for the premium content offer. Many forms ask for demographic information like the industry in which the potential lead works and the role she plays in her company.
The content offer is delivered to the lead by means of a thank you page.
Once the lead has been generated, the business further engages with the lead by means of email nurturing and delivering useful content that will give her more inforatiion that will help her solve a business problem.
So now that we've reviewed the basics here are four killer tactics to improve inbound lead generation today.
Tactic 1 - Optimize high-traffic pages for lead generation
The 80-20 rule definitely applies to lead generation - most B2B businesses produce 80% of their inbound leads from 20% of their website pages. That's why it makes sense to start by optimizing the website pages that get the most traffic.
For most websites that will include high-traffic website pages like you home and company pages as well as your high-performing blog posts. Compounding blog posts produce predictable website traffic month over month.
Start by consulting your marketing analytics and identifying your top 5 pages for website traffic over the past 90 days. Here are some of the things you should look at when optimizing those pages for inbound lead generation.
- Does the page pass the blink test? Close your eyes and quickly open them and look at your website page. What's the first thing you notice? If the CTA for your lead generation offer isn't something that pops off the page, change it so that it does. This may involve placing it somewhere else on the page, changing colors so that its contrast will catch the eye or changing the CTA copy to include action-oriented verbs. For extra credit, you can use a website analytics tool like Hotjar to help you understand how users are interacting with your web pages.
- Is your content offer aligned with the subject of the web page? Your content offer should offer a deeper dive into the subject your web page covers. For example, if it's a blog post on 5 tips to increase IT security, you might want to offer an eBook on The Ultimate Guide to Cybersecurity Best Practices. Or if it's a pricing page, you might want to offer a bottom-of-the-funnel offer like a free consultation.
- Review the conversion paths on these pages for consistency and clarity. In lead generation, also known as conversion, it's important to clearly communicate what you're offering and how it can help the person who accesses it. Strive to be clear rather than clever. And make sure that copy, images and colors are consistent throughout the conversion process (see the image at the top of this post for an example.)
- Look at the analytics to see what's working. Some of these high-traffic pages might be doing a good job generating leads and may just need a few minor tweeks. Others may be not producing at all and need a whole new approach to lead generation.
After you do the first five pages, look at the analytics once you've had a chance to accumulate some data. If things are improving, move on to the next five pages. If not, try something else on the first five.
Tactic 2 - Shorten your inbound conversion paths
One of the best things you can do for inbound lead generation is to make it easy as possible for people to become leads.
One way we've addressed this is to shorten conversion paths. To see what I mean by this, look at the offer we're promoting at the bottom of this blog post. Rather than require you to click on a CTA in order to access the landing page and form to get our Ultimate Lead Generation Handbook, we've combined the CTA and the landing page so that you can get the eBook without leaving this page.
We've also done a few things on the form to make it easy for leads to convert. We ask you for three pieces of demographic information that we use to understand more about you in order to personalize the content we share with you: your industry, your role and whether you are a HubSpot customer. We've tried to make it easy for you to answer those questions - we offer drop-downs with a few choices and the catch-all other. You just need to check a box without putting a ton of thought into it.
We also shorten the conversion paths in our bottom-of-the-funnel free inbound marketing consultation offer. When someone takes us up on this offer and submits the form, they are immediately taking to our scheduling tool where they can choose a convenient time immediately. This is much more effective than trying to reach out schedule the appointment the next day when we may or may not be top of mind for the lead.
These shortcuts have been quite effective in our lead generation, particularly the combination CTA/landing page we use in our blog. Our lead generation increased by 53% the month after we introduced it. (If you're interested in talking about adding this to your blog, let me know.)
Tactic 3 - use K.I.S.S. in your user experience design
The biggest user experience mistake we see consistently in inbound lead generation are sites that are just too busy. For a deeper dive into user experience, check out our blog post, 4 User Experience Concepts Every CEO Should Know. But for purposes of this blog, here are two UX concepts you can quickly apply to your website.
Limit Choices To Increase Lead Generation
From the post referenced above:
"There is a phrase in German that describes this concept - die qual der Wahl. It means the torture of choosing. Most websites offer far too many choices to visitors. Why is this a problem? Doesn't it follow that the more choices you offer someone, the more likely they are to choose something?
Actually, exactly the opposite is true. In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper conducted an experiment to measure the effect of choice on decision-making. A Harvard Business Review article entitled "More Isn't Always Better" described it this way,
"On one day, shoppers at an upscale food market saw a display table with 24 varieties of gourmet jam. Those who sampled the spreads received a coupon for $1 off any jam. On another day, shoppers saw a similar table, except that only six varieties of the jam were on display. The large display attracted more interest than the small one. But when the time came to purchase, people who saw the large display were one-tenth as likely to buy as people who saw the small display."
Does your website put potential customers in a state of "analysis paralysis?" Limit the amount of choices you give them and use color and contrast to make the choices clear."
Use whitespace to focus attention on your lead generation offers
Whitespace, or negative space, is exactly what it's name implies - space where there are no images or text to distract the user. The absolute masters at using whitespace are Apple. I think posting an image from their website will do a better job at demonstrating the value of whitespace than I could do in a thousand words.
You will note how the use of whitespace on this website page makes it almost impossible to do anything other than notice the iPad Pro.
Tactic 4 - go outbound with your lead generation offers
This doesn't mean that you transfer old school spray and pray cold-calling tactics to email marketing. Target helpful educational content at businesses and people who it can help. And be respectful of their inboxes. Get to the point and personalize your email approaches to each individual.
A strategic approach to lead generation is the only way you will succeed in today's competitive environment. Try these 4 tactics to improve your lead generation today.