“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing.
If you have more brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.”
-Guy Kawasaki (Tweet This!)
I don’t have to be the one to tell you that the world of marketing has changed. Things aren’t like they used to be in the “good ‘ol days.”
You see todays consumers are more in control of the information they receive than ever before.You can fast forward television ads, filter your inbox from spam, unsubscribe from mailing lists, put your phone number on do not call lists, and throw away direct mailers.
This new generation of consumers calls for a new generation of marketers and a new generation of marketing tactics.
The bottom line is that marketers have a choice to make…either keep up with the times or get left behind.
I’ll tell you what this post is NOT!
This post is NOT my attempt to convince you to invest in an inbound marketing strategy. To be frank, if you are stuck in your outdated outbound marketing ways and unwilling to change, you can just leave this page right now. I really don’t mean to be rude but I’d rather not waste your time and I hope you don’t want to waste mine.
This post is intended for those who are looking to grow their business by earning the interest of their prospects instead of buying it. If that describes you, continue reading.
In the rest of this post I’m going to show you how to generate an insanely large number of leads for your business through inbound marketing. I’m serious too!
If you have any questions or just want to say hi, leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
Content For Inbound Marketing
Okay, before we talk about all of the great ways we’re going to generate inbound marketing leads, we have to first talk about content.
Why? Because you can’t even begin to talk about inbound marketing without talking about content. Content is the center piece of any inbound marketing plan and, as an inbound marketer, your first task is to create valuable content.
I can already sense that some of you are starting to get worried.
“Content? What kind of Content? Is it hard to make content? How much content do I need?”
Don’t worry, creating valuable content for inbound marketing is a lot easier than you think.
On the internet, you don’t have to be Stephen King to write awesome blog posts nor do you have to be George Lucas to create awesome videos.
To prove my point – let’s talk about this very blog post. There are grammatical and styling errors everywhere. If my high school english teachers saw this they’d cringe! Yet you are still reading this…
The good news is that, on the internet, you can pretty much throw every writing rule you’ve ever learned out the window and people will still read your stuff if you provide enough value to them. After all – “who gives a f*ck about an oxford comma?”
Therefore, as an inbound marketer, your focus is on making your content as valuable as possible. To do so, all you have to do is pack your stuff with a ton of helpful tips, images, screenshots, and links to tools that are useful. Odds are you know some stuff that others don’t so even the little stuff may be valuable to someone.
Now I’m going to share a little secret with you – I hate writing. No joke.
But despite how much I hate writing, I’ve decided to work at it every day.
And with every new blog post I publish, I know I’m getting just a little bit better.
If you’re like me and also hate writing, the best thing you can do is forget everything they taught you about writing in school and start fresh.
Start by writing like you talk. Speak to your readers like you would speak to a friend. This very blog post is nothing more than me talking directly to you. And, while I don’t know you and you don’t know me, there’s a personal connection here because the person I’m addressing here is YOU.
If writing is not your thing there are plenty of other ways to provide valuable content to people online. Here’s a short list of content ideas, written and non-written, that are effective for inbound marketing.
- Blog Posts
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Video Blogs
- Recorded Skype interviews
- Free Assessments
Quick Tip: If you’re going to be creating a lot of audio and video content, you have to get a transcript made for the content to have any value. That’s because google can’t properly index audio and videos, only text. The good news is that there are cheap services than can do this for you. I personally like SpeechPad.
Pillar Content & Optin Content
No matter who you are or the type of business, product, or service you are marketing, you’re going to end up creating two types of content: Pillar Content & Optin Content.
Pillar content is content that’s offered for free and without any action required. Examples include blog posts, podcasts, video blogs, recorded skype interviews, infographics, case studies, and more.
Optin content is content that’s offered for free but you have to enter personal information to receive it. Examples include eBooks, white papers, newsletters, webinars, worksheets, free assessments, and more.
You want to setup your pillar content to flow into your optin content. What does this mean?
Your Pillar Content should be used to market your company, your brand, your Optin Content. Your Optin Content should be used to generate leads!
This will all come together a bit more in the next section on lead generation – I promise.
For now I’m going to stop talking about content. After all, this post is about creating leads, not content.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging! Here are a few resources that you may find useful for creating content.
What I really want to talk about is how you take all that amazing content that you’ve created and turn it into leads. After all, you’ve invested time, energy, and, in some cases, money to create your content. You are going to want to get a return on your investment, right?
Getting Starting With Lead Generation
Here’s the fun part…lead generation.
What you want to do from day 1 is to begin building a list. But to build a list you’ll need a way to manage and communicate with your list. For this you’ll want to signup for Aweber.
Aweber is by far the easiest way to start building a list of leads from your website.
If you’re someone with limited programming ability you’ll love the form builder. With no programming or design experience, you can create a beautiful optin box in just a few minutes.
Better yet, you can post this form anywhere on your site by simply copying and pasting a few lines of code.
Aweber cost only $1 for the first 30 days. If you absolutely hate it, you can cancel and get your dollar back. There are alternatives but I’d highly recommend heading to Aweber.com now to signup.
Best Tools For Generating Leads
This is where it gets fun.
Now that you’re all signed up for aweber, its time to start capturing leads. There are so many ways to capture leads from your website. Here are some tools and ideas that I’ve found to work the best.
Glen Allsopp of ViperChill.com released an awesome WordPress Plugin earlier this year called OptinSkin (screenshot below). After a simple install, OptinSkin adds a small optin box to the bottom of every post on your blog. What’s great is that there are also many templates you can choose from to change the look and feel of box. This is a great way to increase the number of people sharing our content and optining in to recieve update from your blog. The plugin is also pretty cheap at only $47. Download it at OptinSkin.com
So here’s a really cool WordPress Plugin called PopUp Domination. As you can see from the screenshot below, the plugin creates an easily customizable optin box that you can set to appear on any page of your site.
The optin box is great for increasing conversions and building your list – especially if your optin offering or incentive is appealing enough. The plugin is highly customizable and dims the rest of the screen to focus the visitors attention on the offer. Users can also click the “x” to opt out of the offer.
Go to PopUpDomination.com to learn more.
Talking to your visitors while they’re on your site is probably one of the most powerful things you can do to increase optins and get new leads. A great tool that allows you to do just that is called Olark.
Olark is an easily installable (just copy and paste a few lines of code) chat applet that allows you to interact and chat directly with the people on your site. Imagine giving all of your visitors a welcome message. That’d be pretty powerful, huh?
Olark also have a free package which is reason enough to give it a try.
Zopim is an alternative to Olark. To be honest, the two are pretty much the same. We happen to use Zopim on the HigherClick website but that’s probably because we didn’t know about Olark at the time. I don’t have a preference. Both chat programs are absolutely great for interacting with visitors while they’re on your site.
Zopim also has a free version you can try out!
Unbounce calls itself “the landing page platform.” In a nutshell, Unbounce helps you build custom landing pages for your business.
The service comes with hundreds of templates to choose from and they’re all highly customizable. Below you can see a screenshot of what one template looks like.
I’ve played around with these landing pages quite a bit and have nothing but great things to say about these guys. If you’re looking to build powerful landing pages that convert well, definitely try out Unbounce. The hosted service starts at $50 per month but you can try it free for 30 days. It’s well worth the price.
HelloBar is a completely free way to increase clicks and traffic to the “money pages” on your site. It’s one of the easiest things you can install on your site (just copy and paste some code) and it works like a charm.
There is a pro version you can pay for but you’re better off starting with the free version. You’ll definitely want to give this tool a try!
LaunchRock is another one of those simple but awesome tools that can drastically increase optins and help you build leads. If you’re currently constructing a subdomain or an entire new site, you’ll want to put up a LaunchRock template to help you capture traffic, build interest, and build your list. You can then interact with your list while you’re in the process of launching your site. Remember – it’s never too early to start list building.
Other Ideas For Generating Leads
There are many great ideas out there that can drastically increase the amount of leads you generate from your website. Here are a few of my favorites. Have a look and consider implementing some of these on your own site.
Create a Custom Header
TheMogulMom.com is a website for entrepreneurs who are also moms. If you check out the website, you’ll see this huge “Join Now” optin box at the top of the homepage (screenshot below). To date, this simple optin graphic has helped TheMogulMom.com sign up over 4,500 subscribers to their mailing list. Pretty Cool, right?
Call Back Request
As some of you know I’m the Business Development guy at HigherClick.com. A great way that we generate leads directly from our home page is to put a “call back request” form on the home page. The form is as simple as could be. We simply ask for the website address and a phone number. Believe it or not, we get several leads coming through the site every single day!
CoppyBlogger.com has always been one of my favorite website for copywriting advice. They’ve also done a great job building a business and a massive mailing list around their site.
I love their optin strategy because it’s just so simple!
They give you social proof by telling you that 155,000 + people are subscribed to their list… and then they give you the opportunity to join the list and receive free updates. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
Custom Landing Pages
This page is genius! HubSpot has presented an ebook to you with a catchy title and a detailed page describing what you can expect from the book. The book is also presented with an attractive cover.
There are social bottoms at the bottom of the page which, as you can see, have been heavily utilized to promote the book / landing page.
And finally, for you to get the book, you have to fill out the form to the right. Once completed, you get a download link to the PDF copy of the ebook and HubSpot gets a new lead.
Like I said – Genius!
Many people don’t consider new twitter followers or people who tweet / retweet brand message to be “leads.” I think there’s huge opportunity here, especially because you can search twitter for everyone talking about what you’re company / brand.
PayByTweet is one way to get social leads via twitter. The screenshot below was taken on the website OhMyGodWhatHappened.com. If you look in the bottom left hand corner you can see that the book is available for download by simply tweeting about it.
Not only is this a great way to get people talking about your brand but its also a great way to build a list of people on twitter who have interacted with you company. Checkout PayByTweet.com to learn more.
The Round Up
Wow – this post turned out to be pretty lengthy.
As you can see, there are many tools you can use and many ideas you can implement to generate leads from your inbound marketing efforts. I know I threw a lot at you so I’ll summarize everything in a couple bullet points below.
Brief Summary of This Post
- Marketing has changed
- Consumers are more in control of the type of info they receive
- Content is the center piece of any inbound marketing campaign
- If you hate writing, there are many different types of content you can create
- You should have two types of content: Pillar Content & Optin Content
- Use Pillar Content to market your company, brand, and your optin content
- Build leads with your Optin Content
- Manage your leads with a tool like Aweber
- There are lots of tools / ideas to generate inbound marketing leads
How are you generating leads from your website? Did I miss a cool tool? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Thanks for reading!