How to capture online leads with inbound marketing, Charcoal inbound marketing formula, pt 4
Charcoal’s inbound marketing formula is a four part series, breaking down the components that come together to make your website more than a glorified business listing, floating in the dead sea. In part three, we looked at the invaluable advantage an online brand will bring to your website, and the components that construct it.
The end goal of inbound marketing, like most business investments, is to generate value. Though the objective of your website will determine whether or not part four of our series is in line with your goals (many websites create revenue from serving ads, in which case traffic is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) we’d be remiss if we didn’t dive a tad deeper.
The final step of our formula begins when you start to consider converting interested users into potential customers - in business terms, qualified leads. So, now that you have consistent traffic visiting your site thanks to your website optimization and online branding strategy, we can begin to look at converting that traffic into something more. But here’s a disclaimer: converting online leads, compared to other sources of potential business, is among the most sensitive of online activities you will face.
The heart of the process typically originates with intelligently designed landing pages that are thoroughly tested. When set up effectively within an inbound marketing campaign, a well-positioned landing page will feel more like the prize than the barrier to entry. Just remember that A/B testing is your friend; things like button colour can result in 15% more clicks, for example! Once you have a contact list you can consider automation, but more on that to come.
landing pages + call to action + automation = leads
You’ve seen hundreds of these. Perhaps you registered for 25% off at your favourite store, or subscribed to a newsletter - unlike your website’s homepage, which was designed to showcase and summarize, landing pages have one purpose: create conversions. Here, clarity is key, so spend some extra time on your design and your verbiage to ensure that who you are and what you’re offering are clear as day. Speaking of design, in our experience the most successful landing pages are home to a glorious, eye-catching hero shot and extra white space to give your call to action more of the spotlight.
Call to action:
Summon your best wordsmith, because your call to action may be the most important part of your landing page. It should come as no surprise that conversion rates come down to what you’re offering, but how you articulate and package that value proposition is make or break. Circling back to your landing page’s position in the middle of a process as opposed to being the end of one (barrier to entry), everything comes down to how you communicate the reality that once the user has submitted, what comes next is up to you. It’s a shift in power that users will very rarely find attractive unless you’re call to action is right on the money. Check out these call to action examples from Hubspot and you’ll notice that none of them simply conclude with ‘submit’ - instead, they’re forward facing and imply next steps.
After you’ve crafted a stellar landing page and a call to action that commands attention, you can consider implementing automation. In essence, automation software responds to the addition of new contact information by automatically sending out pre-developed materials and resources, crafted by you.
Let’s say that 50 people downloaded your free eBook, and 5 of those 50 continued on to purchase your product or schedule a meeting with you. Were the other 45 prospectives a lost cause? Absolutely not, but they might’ve required a little more incentive to follow through on sending you a virtual high-five. Automated customer management systems will continue to follow-up, and will classify a lead as still in motion, or past the point of no return. Basically, it gets you back to meeting with the people who have already indicated that they want what you have!
There are a few caveats to consider, however. You’ll need to dedicate the upfront time to crafting an arsenal of follow-up material that’s both valuable, and broad enough that it can be used in multiple ways based on a lead’s classification. These systems also tend to be pricey, and are really only practical if you’re seeing a surge of leads that are difficult to manage. For smaller prospect flows that yield larger sales, the personal touch is likely more practical.
So here’s where we leave you. An attractive landing page with a concise and exciting call to action is a powerful utility, based on how your website creates value for you. If you’re not in the business of leads and simply want to drive more traffic and serve more ads, things may have wrapped up for you in part three of the inbound marketing formula. For the rest, you’ve come this far and are now ready to transform readers into prospects!
Whether you’re getting started driving traffic or working on your first landing page, remember that your website’s inbound marketing is about more than bringing in visitors - it drives revenue.