In years past, sales and marketing teams only focused on outreach B2B lead generation methods to get in front of more potential business opportunities. These tactics included direct mail, door-to-door selling, and more.
While these are still some common and often used B2B lead generation tactics, there’s another lead gen strategy that more B2B companies are utilizing to get in front of active buyers: inbound lead generation.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following regarding inbound lead generation:
- Definition of Inbound Lead Generation
- How B2B Inbound Lead Generation Works
- Inbound vs. Outbound Lead Gen: What’s the Difference?
- Best B2B Inbound Lead Generation Methods
- Benefits of Implementing an Inbound Lead Generation Strategy
- Ways to Improve Your Inbound Lead Generation Strategy
- Who Is Involved on a B2B Inbound Lead Generation Team?
- Reasons to Outsource Your Inbound Lead Generation Strategy
Inbound lead generation is a marketing strategy and process focused on attracting potential customers or leads to a business through various online and offline channels. This happens by creating valuable and relevant content, establishing a strong online presence, and engaging in activities that naturally draw prospects to the company. This approach relies on the principle of “pull marketing,” where customers actively seek out information, products, or services that address their needs or problems.
Inbound lead generation is vital as it attracts potential customers naturally by offering valuable content and addressing their specific needs, concerns, and pain points. This approach is cost-effective, targeting a qualified audience and fostering trust through informative content.
Inbound lead generation encourages sustainable business growth, reduces reliance on more time-consuming outbound methods, and provides adaptability to evolving customer preferences. All and all, inbound lead gen helps cultivate relationships, boosts brand authority, and ensures a steady stream of interested prospects, making it a viable strategy for business growth.
Inbound lead generation greatly benefits sales and marketing teams by aligning their efforts and driving efficiency. Marketing creates content and strategies that attract qualified leads, delivering them to sales when they are most interested and ready to engage. This minimizes wasted resources and improves lead quality, enabling sales teams to focus on high-potential prospects.
Furthermore, inbound data and analytics provide valuable insights into lead behavior, helping both teams tailor their approaches and content for better conversion rates. Overall, inbound lead generation streamlines collaboration, enhances lead quality, and optimizes the sales process, resulting in increased effectiveness and revenue generation.
Inbound and outbound lead generation are two distinct approaches to attracting and acquiring potential customers, differing in their strategies, methodologies, and customer engagement.
Inbound lead generation is…
- Customer-centric — Inbound marketing is customer-centric, focusing on creating valuable and informative content that addresses the needs and pain points of the target audience. It seeks to attract prospects naturally, as they actively seek solutions or information.
- Permission-based — Inbound marketing relies on permission-based engagement, meaning individuals willingly engage with a brand by seeking out its content or subscribing to newsletters. This builds trust and fosters long-term relationships.
- Content-driven — Content is the cornerstone of inbound lead generation. Businesses create a variety of content types, such as blog posts, videos, webinars, and ebooks, to educate, inform, and engage with their audience.
- Low cost per lead — Inbound marketing typically has a lower cost per lead compared to outbound methods, making it cost-effective for businesses, especially those with limited budgets.
On the other hand, outbound lead generation is…
- Brand-centric — Outbound marketing is brand-centric, involving proactive outreach to potential customers. It includes tactics like cold calling, direct mail, and advertising to push messages to a wide audience.
- Interruption-based — Outbound marketing interrupts the target audience’s daily activities to deliver messages, which can sometimes be seen as intrusive or annoying.
- Less control over audience — In outbound marketing, businesses have less control over the quality and readiness of leads, as they target a broader and less pre-qualified audience.
In short, inbound lead generation focuses on drawing interested prospects in by offering valuable content, fostering trust, and building relationships. Outbound lead generation involves reaching out to a broader audience with proactive marketing efforts, often at a higher cost per lead.
The choice between these approaches depends on a business’s target audience, budget, and overall marketing strategy. However, for an all-encompassing solution that maximizes the number of leads in the sales pipeline, incorporating both strategies serves as the ultimate business growth solution.
Not sure what B2B lead generation strategy is best for your business? Send us a message so we can help you explore your options.
There are many inbound generation methods that marketing teams can implement into their business growth strategy for maximum impact. Here are a few of the best, biggest, and most signficant B2B inbound lead generation strategies successful businesses use today to grow their sales pipeline and generate more revenue.
B2B Digital Marketing
B2B digital marketing is the process of using the internet to bring more potential buyers to your business, and ideally converting them into inbound leads. With B2B digital marketing, users can become leads by submitting their information in a contact form fill for exclusive gated content, a monthly newsletter, or general contact information to learn more about your products or services. These assets are often referred to as lead magnets.
Users are more likely to give you their contact information if they trust your business and what you have to offer them. Here are some B2B digital marketing strategies below to help establish your business as a trusted provider in your indutry.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a strategy for inbound lead generation that involves organic search and paid advertising on search engines like Google and Bing.
When it comes to the organic route (“organic” meaning a cost-effective/free approach to SEM), lead generation and marketing teams can create web content optimized for search engines, known as search engine optimization (SEO). These teams can create SEO content by exploring what potential buyers are searching for regarding their industry and product or service offerings. This includes researching and writing about relevant topics that align with the keywords users are searching for online. Then, they take this research and create unique marketing copy regarding this subject matter in hopes of ranking towards the top of the search engine results page, also referred to as SERP.
On the other hand, lead generation and marketing can also take the paid advertising and pay-per-click approach to SEM, which requires a budget you want to spend on these ads that show up on the top of SERP. Through this approach, lead gen and marketing specialists create ads relevant to specific keywords or search queries their target audience uses. If the ad content aligns with the user’s needs, they click on it, directing them to the business’s website or landing page. If they find value in what you have to offer, they can convert themselves from a user to an inbound leads.
SEM attracts highly targeted traffic as users are actively seeking relevant information or products, increasing the likelihood of inbound lead generation. Effective SEM campaigns optimize effective marketing copy, bidding, and engaging landing pages to convert clicks into leads, contributing to a robust sales pipeline.
Abstrakt has a proven-effective approach to B2B digital marketing and SEO content creation. Check out how we provide our clients with sales-driven web content here.
Web Design and Development
Website design and development for inbound lead generation involves creating an optimized digital platform that effectively attracts, engages, and converts visitors into leads. It includes designing user-friendly layouts, responsive designs, and clear calls-to-action.
A well-structured website ensures seamless navigation, quick access to valuable content, and optimized landing pages for lead capture. It’s crucial for a successful inbound lead generation strategy because your website is often the first point of contact for potential leads. A well-designed site enhances user experience, encourages engagement, and builds trust, making it more likely that visitors will provide their contact information, becoming valuable leads in your sales funnel.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing for inbound lead generation involves creating and sharing engaging content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Businesses can use these channels organically to connect with their target audience, sharing informative articles, videos, and other content that addresses their needs and interests. By fostering relationships and encouraging interaction, businesses attract followers and encourage them to visit their website or subscribe to newsletters.
Additionally, social media paid advertising further amplifies reach, targeting specific demographics and interests. As users engage with content and ads, they become leads by providing contact information or showing interest in products or services. Effective social media marketing nurtures these leads, driving them toward conversion and bolstering the overall inbound lead generation strategy.
Content marketing for inbound lead generation involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and informative content to attract and engage a target audience. This content is distributed through online channels like websites, social media, and email, drawing in prospects who are actively seeking information or solutions related to the business’s offerings.
As visitors engage with this content, they may provide contact information, becoming leads. Content marketing nurtures these leads over time, building trust and authority, and ultimately guiding them toward conversion, whether it’s a purchase, subscription, or other desired action. Effective content marketing establishes the business as a valuable resource, attracting qualified leads, and enhancing the overall inbound lead generation strategy.
Blog posts play a pivotal role in content marketing and B2B digital marketing by serving as valuable resources that educate, inform, and engage target audiences. In the B2B context, these articles address industry trends, challenges, and solutions, positioning the company as an authoritative source. Blogs establish thought leadership, foster trust, and build relationships with potential clients. They also improve search engine visibility, driving organic traffic, and generating leads. Blog posts serve as entry points for prospects into the sales funnel, providing opportunities for lead generation, nurturing, and ultimately contributing to B2B business growth and revenue.
Social Media Posts
Social media posts in B2B content marketing have a twofold impact:
- They amplify content distribution by sharing valuable resources, industry insights, and company updates. This broader reach boosts brand visibility, attracts a relevant audience, and encourages engagement.
- Social signals generated by user interactions (likes, shares, comments) can positively influence SEO rankings. Search engines like Google consider social signals as a measure of content relevance and authority.
Consequently, a strong social media presence can enhance a company’s online visibility, drive organic traffic, and contribute to improved SEO, ultimately benefiting B2B content marketing efforts.
Marketing collateral is a critical component of inbound content marketing. These materials, such as brochures, whitepapers, and case studies, serve as in-depth resources that provide valuable information to potential customers. They reinforce a company’s expertise, build trust, and guide prospects through their buying journey.
Marketing collateral aligns with various stages of the sales funnel, nurturing leads and facilitating informed decisions. It also enhances brand credibility and authority. When strategically integrated into inbound content marketing, collateral not only educates and engages but also significantly contributes to lead generation, conversion, and overall campaign effectiveness.
When used effectively, marketing collateral can play a significant role in your business growth strategy. Download our free guide here to learn how to select and use the best marketing collateral for each stage of the B2B sales funnel.
Implementing an inbound lead generation campaign offers a wide range of benefits for businesses, contributing to their long-term success and growth. Here are some key advantages:
- Higher lead quality: Inbound leads are often more qualified and interested in your products or services because they have actively sought out information or solutions. This leads to a higher likelihood of conversion into customers.
- More cost-effective than outbound lead gen: Inbound marketing typically has a lower cost per lead compared to outbound methods like cold calling or advertising. Over time, this can result in significant cost savings for businesses.
- Helps build trust and credibility: By providing valuable and informative content, businesses establish themselves as experts in their industry. This builds trust and credibility among potential customers, making them more likely to choose your business when they’re ready to make a purchase.
- Yields long-term growth: Inbound lead generation is sustainable and can lead to continuous growth over time. As you create and optimize content, it continues to attract leads even without constant advertising spend.
- Enhances customer relationships: Inbound marketing is relationship-focused. It allows businesses to nurture leads with personalized content and build strong, long-lasting relationships with customers.
- Adaptable to customer behavior: Inbound strategies can adapt to changing customer behavior and preferences. Analyzing data and engagement metrics helps businesses refine their content and strategies for better results.
- Improves ROI: With its focus on attracting pre-qualified leads, inbound marketing often delivers a higher return on investment compared to outbound methods.
- More data-driven insights: Inbound lead generation campaigns provide valuable data and insights into customer behavior, preferences, and demographics, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and refine their strategies.
- Reduces dependence on ads: Over time, businesses relying on inbound marketing may reduce their dependence on paid advertising, leading to more sustainable and profitable operations.
- Gives a competitive advantage: Inbound marketing can give businesses a competitive edge, especially in industries where customers conduct extensive online research before making a purchase decision.
- Boosts scalability: Inbound lead generation campaigns can be scaled up or down to match business needs and resources, making it suitable for both small startups and larger enterprises.
Lead generation and marketing teams can enhance their inbound lead generation strategy through various tactics and continuous optimization. Here are some ways to improve the effectiveness of the strategy:
Thoroughly Understand Your Target Audience
Creating comprehensive buyer personas for your target audience is crucial for an effective inbound lead gen strategy. These detailed profiles of your target customers provide invaluable insights into their unique needs, challenges, and preferences. Armed with this understanding, you can craft content and messaging that resonates, addressing their pain points and providing solutions effectively. Tailoring your approach in this manner enhances engagement and conversion rates.
Spend Time Creating High-Quality Content
Prioritize developing content that provides genuine value, addresses your audience’s queries, and tackles their problems head-on. Consistency is essential; it fosters trust and keeps your audience engaged, ultimately driving the success of your inbound marketing efforts by attracting, retaining, and converting leads effectively.
Google’s Helpful Content Update in August 2022 awards websites that provides users with high-quality, valuable content that answers user inquiries. For more information about the Google Helpful Content Update, read our blog here.
Optimize Web Content for SEO
Ensure your B2B website and copy are optimized for search engines. This includes researching relevant keywords, using them strategically, and maintaining a user-friendly website structure. While web copy and website structure are essential for gaining SEO value, so are the visual assets on your website, including images, videos, and relevant PDF files.
A/B Test Landing Pages and CTAs
Create compelling landing pages with clear calls to action (CTAs) that guide visitors toward lead conversion. If you’re not seeing the results you want from your landing pages and CTAs, A/B test different landing page designs, content, and CTAs to identify what works best for your inbound lead generation efforts.
Implement an Email Marketing Strategy
Develop targeted email campaigns that nurture leads and provide them with valuable content over time. Personalize emails to increase engagement.
Boost Social Media Engagement
Actively engage with your audience on social media platforms by responding to comments, sharing user-generated content, and promoting your content.
Automate Tedious Marketing Tasks
Implement marketing automation tools to streamline lead nurturing, track user behavior, and trigger personalized responses based on user interactions.
Perform Data Analysis
Regularly analyze data and metrics to gain insights into the performance of your inbound marketing efforts. Adjust your strategy based on what’s working and what isn’t.
Provide Social Proof With Case Studies, Testimonials, and Reviews
Showcase customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies to build trust and credibility with potential leads.
Offer Valuable Gated Resources
Create downloadable resources like ebooks, whitepapers, or templates in exchange for contact information. These can be powerful lead magnets.
Collaborate with Your Sales Team
Maintain open communication and collaboration between marketing and sales teams to ensure alignment on lead quality and follow-up procedures.
Invest in Multi-Channel Content Distribution
Promote your content through various channels, including social media, email, industry forums, and partnerships with influencers or complementary businesses.
Create a Customer Journey Map
Map out the customer journey to identify touchpoints and create content that aligns with different stages of the buying process.
Continue to Learn and Accelerate Your Strategy
Stay updated with industry trends, emerging technologies, and changes in search engine algorithms to adapt your strategy accordingly.
Create a Feedback Loop Between Departments
Collect feedback from both leads and sales teams to understand pain points and areas for improvement in the lead generation process.
By implementing these strategies and continually refining their approach, lead generation and marketing teams can enhance their inbound lead generation efforts, attract more qualified leads, and ultimately drive business growth.
An inbound lead generation team typically consists of various individuals with specialized roles and responsibilities, all working together to create, execute, and optimize the inbound marketing strategy. Here’s an expanded explanation of who is typically involved in such a team:
- Marketing Manager/Director: This person oversees the entire inbound lead generation strategy. They are responsible for setting goals, allocating budgets, and ensuring that the team’s efforts align with the overall marketing and business objectives.
- Content Writers: Content writers are responsible for producing trust-worthy and engaging content that attracts and informs potential buyers in your target audience. They play a central role in content creation and distribution.
- SEO Specialists: SEO specialists optimize website content and strategies to improve organic search engine rankings. They research keywords, optimize on-page elements, and monitor SEO performance.
- Social Media Managers: Social media managers are responsible for maintaining the company’s social media profiles, creating and sharing content, engaging with followers, and using social media platforms to promote the business and its content.
- Email Marketers: Email marketers design and execute email campaigns to nurture leads and guide them through the sales funnel. They segment email lists, create personalized content, and analyze campaign performance.
- Marketing Data Analysts: Data analysts collect and analyze data related to website traffic, user behavior, and lead conversions. They provide insights into what’s working and what needs improvement, helping the team make data-driven decisions.
- PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Specialists: PPC specialists handle paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads and social media. They create and optimize ad campaigns to attract high-quality leads and maximize ROI.
- Web Designers and Developers: Web developers ensure the website is optimized for user experience and conversions. They work on site architecture, speed optimization, and creating responsive designs for mobile users.
- Graphic Designers: Graphic designers create visually appealing assets such as infographics, images, and branding materials to enhance the overall content and brand image.
- Sales Team: While not part of the traditional marketing team, sales professionals collaborate closely with the inbound lead generation team. They follow up on leads, provide feedback on lead quality, and work to convert leads into customers.
- Project Managers: Project managers coordinate the various aspects of the inbound lead generation strategy, ensuring that tasks are completed on time and that the team’s efforts are aligned with the overall strategy.
Effective communication and collaboration among these team members are crucial for the success of an inbound lead generation campaign. Each role contributes to attracting, nurturing, and converting leads, ultimately driving business growth and revenue.
Outsourcing your inbound lead generation strategy can offer several benefits to your business. Here are some of the main reasons you should consider outsourcing your inbound lead generation strategy:
- More scalability: Outsourcing provides flexibility in scaling your lead generation efforts up or down according to your needs. Whether you require a surge in leads during a specific campaign or want to scale back during slower periods, outsourcing firms can adapt quickly to meet your demands.
- Access to advanced tools and technology: Inbound lead generation agencies often have access to cutting-edge marketing tools and technology. This ensures that your campaigns benefit from the latest advancements, without the need for your business to invest in expensive software or platforms.
- Quick implementation process: Established outsourcing firms have well-defined processes and workflows in place, allowing for faster implementation of inbound strategies. This means you can start generating leads sooner, which is crucial in competitive markets.
- Reduced risk: In-house teams may face challenges in keeping up with rapidly changing marketing trends and technologies. Outsourcing mitigates this risk as external agencies are typically more agile and better equipped to adapt to industry shifts.
- More objective perspective: Outsourcing provides an objective viewpoint. External agencies can offer fresh perspectives and insights that in-house teams might miss due to being too close to the business. This can lead to more innovative and effective lead generation strategies.
- Obtain measurable results: Inbound lead generation agencies often have robust analytics and reporting systems in place. This allows you to track and measure the success of your campaigns more effectively, providing valuable data for ongoing improvements.
- Adhere to compliance and regulations: In today’s digital landscape, navigating privacy laws, data protection regulations, and compliance requirements can be complex. Outsourcing agencies often stay up-to-date with legal changes, ensuring your campaigns are compliant.
While outsourcing inbound lead generation offers numerous benefits, it’s important to choose a reputable agency with a proven track record. Carefully assess potential partners, considering their expertise, client testimonials, and alignment with your business goals, to ensure a successful collaboration that yields tangible results.
B2B inbound lead generation offers significant benefits to growing businesses. Rather than reaching out to prospects directly, they can take advantage of internet capabilities to get in front of more decision-makers who are actively looking to buy and convert them into leads if they see the value your company has to offer.
However, if you want an all-inclusive lead gen solution, integrating outbound and inbound lead generation efforts is the most effective way to catch the right leads at the right time.
Implementing a variety of B2B inbound lead generation tactics is essential for effectively driving leads through the marketing funnel. However, many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the bandwidth or expertise to take it on internally. That’s when they look to Abstrakt.
At Abstrakt, we collaborate with growing B2B companies around the nation to help them create and implement a lead generation strategy that yields results. And we know how impactful our efforts are—we use the same to grow our business with the results to prove it.
When you’re ready to take your business growth strategy to the next step, contact the experts at Abstrakt!