You hear about lead generation, lead nurturing, leads, leads, leads. But what makes a good lead good? Why is this lead good and that one not so good?
Good means ready to talk to you and more than likely to buy. Not so good means you probably interrupted their dinner with your cold call and they never want to hear from you again.
In other words, good leads will generate revenue, ROI, and are more efficiently brought into your fold; it will require less effort on your part to get them through the funnel and turn them into a paying customer. Not-so-good leads require more effort for a lower return; they are not in the market, they are not interested, and they are not buying.
If you prefer statistics, HubSpot learned that an outbound lead can cost 61% more than an inbound lead. In addition, many companies have a 75-80% conversion rate for inbound leads where outbound leads convert much less than 50% of the time.
Take the Water Gun; Leave the Fire Hose
A fire hose is designed to discharge a lot of water quickly over a large area. It hits everything. This is good since everything is on fire and you would prefer everything got wet rather than burnt to a crisp. But this approach doesn’t work when everything is not interested in getting wet.
A water gun, on the other hand, if it is designed right, will deliver a lot of water quickly. And it can be used with pinpoint accuracy. You only hit what (or who) you want to hit, usually your younger sibling while not getting your parents wet.
Outbound marketing is like a fire hose. Inbound marketing is the water gun. Outbound doesn’t target, it just sprays everyone hoping a few really want to get drenched and that the rest will not mind having been soaked. At the very least, you have wasted more water than you really needed to while trying to hit a defined target.
Who Are Your Targets and Where Do They Hang Out?
Before firing you need to know who the target is. This is where you closely define what a good lead is and determine the best way to attract the lead’s attention without driving it off. A good lead is:
- Actively shopping for a solution
- Farther into the buying cycle
- Intends to purchase soon
Now you need to learn where the target spends time. Are they avid about social media? Do they get information from blogs? Do they prefer to download content or sign up for email? Wherever they are is where you need to have a presence and attractive bait:
- Media ads
- Relevant content downloads
- Targeted e-mails
Inbound marketing really is kinda like being on safari, isn’t it? You don’t go to Antarctica to hunt for lions. You only go there if your target is a penguin. The best part is, you aren’t hunting to kill...you are hunting to help.
How to Bag a Good Lead
You have identified your target and learned what it likes. Now you put out bait into the buyer’s landscape that he can easily find. The buyer will need different kinds of bait as he makes his way through your funnel until he’s ready to convert to a customer.
In the inbound world, content is the bait or the lure. You create content that is relevant to your target’s problem using the same terms the target uses when searching, and constantly offer fresh content to keep the buyer interested and moving towards customerhood.
Blogs are the easiest, most common place to publish fresh content. Posts are optimized for search and written in a less corporate way than the website. This is not the place to push product; it is a place where you want the lead to become accustomed to visiting for good ideas and information about solving her problem.
Humans are visual animals. A person can process an image 60,000 times faster than the same concept read in text. Right now the most popular visual stimulus is the infographic, an interesting visualization of a concept that may have some text but attempts to illustrate an idea rather than just explain it.
Videos are also big if done well. Low quality videos may make your company look cheap so don’t go the video route unless you are willing to invest in it.
Long Form Content
Your lead needs to research and who can give them better information than you? Provide long form content such as white papers and case studies to provide more in-depth information.
Social media is a perfect place to promote content and engage in “safe” conversations with potential customers. This is just one of the places to plant bait but it is also a place for you to see your lead in the wild. You can learn about your prospects while they learn about you.
You don’t want to scare your potential leads off by asking for too much information up front. Ask for the bare minimum the first time a prospect offers information. At the least get the company name and an email address. A lead will only part with the amount of information that equals the value he places on the content.
The next time the same prospect visits, ask for more advanced information. If the lead keeps coming back you will eventually have a good picture of what he needs and would like. It also builds trust in the lead that you won’t ambush him with a hard sell.
Generate Quality Leads
Inbound marketing brings in better leads more effectively and efficiently with a higher ROI and lower cost than outbound marketing. This doesn’t mean the outbound marketing doesn’t have a place. You need to rely on both for a complete marketing plan. Just know that inbound is where the good leads will come from a majority of the time and spend more of your efforts there.