Read this post by Wilson of the Inspire Beats blog team on finding quality B2B inbound leads. Reprinted with permission
We rarely talk about inbound leads, but b2b inbound leads are extremely important. Some people would argue that inbound leads are better than outbound leads and others would say that outbound leads are more direct and targeted than inbound leads. I would say that both of them are equally important. When running a company, you want to be able to utilize all the channels you can and maximize the outcome for everyone of them.
We get a lot of inbound leads daily, and like most startups out there, inbound leads don’t tend to convert as well as outbound leads for us. The quality of inbound leads is always on and off. We tried a lot of things from free ebooks to white papers to running ads across a lot of different platforms and we learned that in order to double the quality of the leads, we have to do things that are unique and different than others. We also have to be very specific with the information we are giving out about our solution so that people don’t get confused and waste a click.
Be specific about your offer
It is extremely important that you are very specific about your special offer. How many times have you been to Mcdonalds or Safeway and see those big ads that say, “Try our new Bacon Rib Burger for FREE” and then with small letters under that, “With the purchase of 2 meals“. Yes, this works in terms of catching people’s attention, but most of the time people will complain when they arrive to the counter and start the actual order.
This same theory applies to those contest and coupon offers. More often than not, I see offers that say, “Get a free logo for your new business”, but when you actually sign up and fill out their form, the company forces you to pay for a monthly fee first or get in some sort of consulting call. If you want to improve the quality of your inbound leads, then you should avoid doing all this.
If you are a bootstrapping company, then there is really no point in putting up offers to draw people’s attention. A click on a LinkedIn ad can cost you anywhere from $10-40. Is that worth the time for a bad inbound lead?
Most free “reports” or “checklist” does not work
Almost everyone have tried creating landing pages with something like Leadpages to offer free reports, checklist or short 5 page ebooks to their audience. Ninety-five percent of the time this will draw in a bunch of low quality leads. We receive about 20-25 inbound leads quickly each time we launch a free guide or template, but 24 out of 25 of them are bad quality leads that most likely aren’t really interested in your service.
I’m not saying that these offers don’t work, but the quality of the materials that you are offering matters a lot. For example, Marketo does an amazing job with their definitive guides. Those are literally guides that could be best sellers on Amazon, but they let anyone download them for free. The reason why those guides are so effective in converting customers is because Marketo is able to out teach their audience and persuade their audience to use their product by providing them with extremely useful materials.
If you are only creating bogus checklist or half-ass reports, then it doesn’t matter if you get 10,000 inbound leads. Most of them are probably terrible anyway.
Webinars Work Like A Charm
When it comes to converting inbound leads to sales, webinars work like a charm. The fact that you’re able to get someone to sit in a room for over a hour listening to you talk about your product is already a strong key indicator that they are interested. Since you’re able to grab their attention, you should also be able to persuade them into believing in the power of your product and how it can benefit them.
Just like any other content, the quality of your content during the webinar is extremely crucial. Are you just trying to hard sell your product or are you actually explaining how your product can benefit them? A lot of times, your audience does not know how your product can benefit them or they might think that you have a “nice to have” product, but don’t know if the benefits will make them buy right away. Try to nail those points and engage with your audience through chat so that they dont fall asleep.
Narrow Your Audience
One of the biggest problem that I personally run into when creating any new product is finding that correct audience. For example, we might land a big client in Hong Kong and immediately believe that Hong Kong might be the best market or target audience for us. Then we would run a bunch of ads aiming towards Hong Kong, just to realize that only one startup was actually interested in our service and they just happen to be in Hong Kong. This is an example of not knowing my target market well enough.
Another huge problem is having too broad of an audience. For example people might run Facebook ads that target a bunch of countries and a bunch of different wide keyword interest such as business or marketing. If you’re software is a marketing software and you close most deals on the phone in the U.S., then you might consider narrowing it down to only content marketers and people in the U.S. Narrowing it down will improve the quality of your inbound leads for sure.
Originally published on the blog section of Inspire Beats, a lead generation firm based out of San Francisco
Flickr photo via Jon Evans