Inbound marketing is really all about lead conversion. Great content attracts people in and compels them to sign up for more information. Once they are in your marketing database, you have an opportunity to convert them to customers. Simple in principle, not so easy in execution.
Businesses across the globe are catching on to this concept and transforming their websites into lead capture "hubs" at an amazing rate using inbound marketing. You and I are now being bombarded by offers for all kinds of free downloads and can't-miss opportunities via e-mail and social media. It's fair to say that with all of this "opportunity", you and I are also becoming more discriminating and less likely to convert on every offer that presents itself. How can we (as marketers) rise above the tide and improve our lead conversions in the face of this challenge?
- Research - don't just repurpose your old brochures as new whitepapers and expect people to download them. They didn't work before, so why should they work now? Find your target market in the social media communities where they hang out and gauge their real interests. Be one of them and ask yourself, "what I really need is ...." or "I wish I had more info on ...". Or, even better, ask them directly in a conversation. Now get to work writing something up-to-date with a lot of insider knowledge that they can't find elsewhere. Now you have some valuable bait. Same applies to videos and webinars.
- Brand Yourself as One of Them - if you have niche customers, be a niche provider. If you sell a widget across several industries or regions, create a microsite for each one and target the niche there. Provide niche relevant information and optimize your SEO for the niche.
- Work on Convincing Them - you're assuming they will read your title and bullet list of "what's inside" on your landing page and become enthralled. You do realize there are millions of landing pages out there, and they all look basically the same, right? Just tell them up front (in English) why they should download your stuff. Be honest, and never use hyperbole (This is the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread!). Move the bullets down the page to help ice the deal after they take the initial (reasonable) bait.
- Be Transparent - who wrote or produced your offer and why should anyone trust them? How can people contact them for comments and questions? Remember, you're asking people to surrender at least part of their privacy and spend valuable time reading or viewing your stuff. Be respectful of that.
- Figure Out What a Lead Means - this is crucial to filling your funnel with qualified sales leads. Who do you really want signing up for your offer? Design your conversion form to qualify leads and even chase away competitors or tire kickers. Yes, having a long form may actually reduce visitor-to-lead conversion rates, but you are more likely to gain qualified leads, which improves lead-to-customer conversion rates. Which is more important? Duh!
Yes there are lots of additional techniques, such as A/B testing and call-to-action and landing page design, but if you don't get the offer right in the first place, you have no shot at high conversion rates. Do the basics first, then worry about the fancy stuff.
Now that I have you convinced, let me offer you one more must-read download. If you're interested inbound marketing for your company, I hope you will find our Inbound Marketing Blueprint helpful, and please let me know if you don't!
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