Inbound Content Marketing: 9 Steps to Generate More Leads

Inbound content marketing is a methodology to tap into your target audience through valuable content and strategic linking to create engaging experiences for the audience.

It draws your customer organically via search engines and generates leads in a non-disruptive way. Almost 85% of marketers claim that lead generation is among the primary goals of content marketing.


Organizational goals for b2b marketing

Image Source


What is a lead? A lead is primarily an individual belonging to your target market, interested in your product/service, having the required affordability and purchasing power.

When you identify such a person and contact them via email, SMS, phone call, and even through your social media marketing, then you have created a lead. The phenomenon is called lead generation.

The inbound methodology is an excellent way of lead generation, i.e., bringing a lead to your business. That’s because a blogger posting a detailed product review on his carefully designed website will be much more impactful in catching the attention of a person interested in your products than a banner advertisement or other outbound marketing tactics.

Before we look at how inbound content marketing strategy can help you generate more leads, let’s look at the fundamentals of inbound methodology and its relation with content.


The Inbound Marketing Funnel

Attracting, engaging, and delighting your ideal customer is the central tenet of inbound marketing. These three factors work in harmony to generate qualified leads, convert them and retain them.

Attract

First, you need to determine the interests of your target market segment. Then, based on those interests, you can produce tailored content with high-value information to gain the trust of your ideal customers. They should think of you as a trustworthy guide for different experiences.

Engage

The engagement stage aims to further strengthen the audience’s trust by helping them find solutions to their problems and removing their doubts and confusion. It can be done by aligning your goals with the potential customers’ goals. Put yourself in their shoes and engage them through interactive content, quizzes, checklists, or live chat.

Delight

When you produce helpful content continuously, the customer is delighted, and they come back to you whenever they need solutions to their pain points. Give your customers an extraordinary experience at every touchpoint and offer them discounts, special services, and create a knowledge base such as tutorials and FAQs to help them resolve their issues quickly and themselves without having to interact with customer service.

The inbound marketing funnel correlates with the stages in the sales funnel. Since you can create laser-focused personalized content for each stage of inbound strategy, here are the steps to use inbound content marketing to generate leads for your business.


9 Steps to Generate More Leads With Inbound Content Marketing


1. Design a Solid Content Strategy

A content strategy is a plan of action that defines how you create and use your content. A successful content strategy will aid you in attracting and retaining your new customers at every stage throughout the buyer’s journey.

Your content strategy should align with each step of the inbound marketing technique. A good strategy will improve brand awareness, help you catch more traffic, generate more leads, increase your sales and ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction. A solid content strategy is crucial for subsequent marketing automation.

Let’s briefly go through the steps to create an epic content strategy for maximum lead generation.

  1. Be clear about your goal: You should know why you are creating a content strategy in the first place and the possible outcomes you are seeking out of it.

  1. Define your target audience: Knowing your target market provides you with a clear vision about what type of content you will be creating and how you can customize it. Market research can help you build personas for your ideal clients.

  1. Audit your content: Auditing your content regularly will help you find the gaps in your content and brainstorm fresh content ideas to step up your game.

  1. Choose the best content type: There are a lot of content options to choose from depending upon the target market, like text content (blog posts, articles, infographics), video content (vlogs, video tutorials), and even audio content (podcast and audiobooks, etc.).

2. Optimize for Search Intent

Search intent is the reason behind the searcher’s query. If you can predict this intent, you can produce the exact content that fulfills that intent and win the visitors’ hearts and trust. Do this enough times, and you’d have no problem generating qualified leads with your content.

Moreover, if you want your page to rank for a search term, you should align your content with the searcher’s search intent. Once your content is optimized for search intent, you will see an increase in your ranking and visibility. More visitors will land on your website and get delighted by your content. As your content will fulfill their needs, they will have no problem clicking on your links and converting.

In addition, you can run high-performing PPC (pay per click) models for your website because your high-quality content is laser-focused on solving the searcher’s query and will lead them to exactly where they should land. Therefore, search intent optimized content is a crucial asset for your marketing team and sales team.


3. Optimize Your Content for SEO

Almost 64% of marketers invest effort and time in search engine optimization (SEO). Keyword selection and placement are still crucial even though SEO practices have revolutionized over the years. Along with that, make sure that your site is crawled and indexed on search engines.

Since 25% of the searchers click on the first organic link in SERP, applying on-page search engine optimization tactics is vital.


Chart Google CTR per ranking

Image Source

When people search for something, they are more inclined to click on the result that has relevant words in the title. Similarly, having the exact keyword or its variation in the meta description and URL can increase your chances of getting the clicks.

Here are some other places where you should add the exact keyword or its variations.

  • Subheadings
  • In the intro
  • Anchor text
  • Image filename
  • Image alt text
  • Image captions

4. Create Enticing Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is a free item you can use to attract your customers and offer them free in exchange for their contact details.

As its name suggests, it draws your lead to ultimately make the desired action in exchange for valuable information about them. It’s just like a free food sample. It’s an effective digital marketing methodology, and you can use the following types of lead magnets:

  1. Free downloads
  2. Newsletter subscriptions
  3. Free trials
  4. Free webinars
  5. Blog subscriptions
  6. Contests
  7. On-demand content

All lead magnets are behind an email gate on a landing page. Lead magnets are an effective marketing tool and play a vital role in forming a bridge between you and the customer. They provide immediate gratification and strengthen the relationship between the brand and the customer. If your offer is enticing and your visitors have developed enough trust, they will have no problem sharing their details for gaining access to the exclusive content.

For example, this free webinar by WCWB has a Register Now button which leads to a short signup form to capture the personal information of the potential customer.


Lead magnet example

Image Source


5. Optimize Landing Pages

A good landing page is necessary to capture leads or convert them. Landing page optimization synchronizes every landing page element to convert your visitors into leads and prospects.

However, it’s not a one-night game, and you cannot get a winning landing page all of a sudden. Instead, you should analyze the data from page visitors and tweak your landing page elements to improve your lead generation rate.

Following are some of the best practices for optimizing the landing pages for lead generation.


Keep It Simple

Remember, the purpose of a lead generation landing page is to capture contact details only, so keep it simple. Avoid visual clutter. Our goal is to motivate visitors to hit the CTA and fill the form.


Personalize the Offer

A landing page that appeals to the audience’s emotions and promises to solve their pain points can generate more leads. So, make sure to mention the reasons or benefits for your audience for taking the required action. Add social proof or testimonials to strengthen your case.


Highlight the Form

The form is the main element on a lead generation landing page, so it should be prominent and capture visitors’ eyes. However, keep it short, around 2-3 fields maximum, so that the visitors have no problem filling it quickly.


Keep Important Elements Above the Fold

In the digital era, the digital fold is the point beyond which customers have to scroll to see the rest of the page. Clever marketers keep their forms, CTAs, and other essential elements above this digital fold so that people can view it before having to scroll down.


Use Scarcity Technique

Most of the time, scarcity is an excellent technique to coerce visitors into sharing their details. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful motivator, as used in the screenshot below. You can use words like Hurry, Now, Limited Stock, Limited Time, etc., to create a sense of urgency.


Shopify scarcity technique

Image source


An Inbound marketing website is specifically made for the buyers instead of the sellers. These websites are the pillars of the inbound marketing strategy and serve to generate and convert leads.


For generating leads, inbound marketing websites are built on the concept of a lead funnel. A lead funnel has three distinct stages:

  • TOFU (Top of the Funnel): This stage is all about making your customer aware of you. Content creation for this stage involves blogs, articles, infographics, videos, etc.

  • MOFU (Middle of the Funnel): This stage engages the searcher and focuses on lead nurturing through relevant content creation. It includes newsletters, email campaigns, etc.

  • BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel): The focus is to convert the searcher into a lead and develop a strong bond. It includes demos, extensions, consultations, and free trials, etc.

You need to align your website content and web design to the requirements of the above funnel.


7. Map Content to Customer Journey

Understanding your customer’s journey will help you boost your leads and effectively use content in your marketing campaigns. Knowing the buyer’s journey and mapping it to the marketing content makes sure to capture leads when they’re ready. You can also use the content for lead nurturing and conversion.

1. Awareness Stage

In this stage of the buyer’s journey, a customer becomes aware of his problem and your product/service as a possible solution. For example, a customer may be looking for personalized content for their website and may find you during their search.

When they land on your website, you should have high-quality, informative content ready to help them understand their needs and get answers to the questions in their minds.

Internal linking and strategic CTAs to related content are an excellent way to keep up the attraction and encourage the visitors to explore during this phase.

2. Consideration Stage

Now that the visitors have been engaging with your content for a while, they should be ready to subscribe to your blog or strengthen their relationship with you. At this stage, they will have no problem accepting your gated content such as webinars, e-books, videos, or any other way you find fit to capture the lead in your domain.

3. Decision stage:

Lead nurturing is the next step to gradually motivate your visitors to buy from you. Make it easier for them and keep offering high-quality content that removes their doubts and helps them make the right decision.


8. Use Different Content Formats

Inbound content marketing efforts involve using epic content for attracting, engaging, and delighting your customer continuously. To do this, there are several content types you can use, depending on your ideal buyer personas, the kind of content they consume the most, and the goals of your marketing campaign.

Following are some common content types.

  • Blogs and Articles: These are detailed content on a specific topic, product or service, and can be purely informational. You can gate them to capture lead or use a pop-up to prompt the reader to subscribe.

  • Videos: Visual content is one of the most effective ways to capture audience interest. You can use downloadable or exclusive videos to entice your visitors to share their contact details.

  • Podcasts: Customers who prefer audio content are more inclined to listen to podcasts. Many people naturally subscribe to podcasts, but you can also promise enticing offers behind an email gate.


9. Include Strong CTAs

As its name suggests, a CTA is a prompt that motivates the customer to purchase. If you want to create a successful inbound marketing website and generate leads, it is essential to have a strong CTA. Following are the best practices for impressive CTAs:

  1. Write a concise CTA.
  2. A CTA should trigger urgency.
  3. Align your CTA to the buyer personas.
  4. Make your CTA pop by using contrasting colors.
  5. Place your CTA above the digital fold.

Here is an example of a good CTA on a landing page:


Officevibe CTA example

Image Source


In a nutshell, inbound content marketing is all about creating, managing, and publishing customized content that helps you capture leads and convert them into sales. Understanding your customers and pitching them personalized content is the center of this strategy. Once your visitors are ready, you can attract them through lead magnets tucked behind email gates so you can capture leads.


_____________________________________

Author Bio

Karli AuthorKarli is a content marketer and founder of content marketing and SEO collective Wild Idea. With over 10 years in the marketing industry, she’s worked with brands large and small across many industries to grow organic traffic and reach new audiences. She writes on everything from marketing, social and SEO to travel and real estate. On the weekends, she loves to explore new places, enjoy the outdoors and have a glass or two of vino!