How does inbound marketing work? When most manufacturers think of lead generation through their website, they think of RFQs, Contact Us, etc... It's not always clear to them at first, how a lead is generated with the inbound marketing process.
The following video walks step by step through how an engineer visits a website and becomes a lead, without requesting a quote, or asking to speak with a salesperson.
Steps to Generating a Lead with the Inbound Marketing Process:
3. "Thank You"
4. Lead Nurturing
One of the most common questions we get asked is, "How exactly does a lead get generated with the inbound marketing process?"
Let's pretend that we have an engineer that's been tasked with designing a new product for their company. They're going to go through their typical buying process -- probably starting with a bunch of research and hopefully ending up buying from our example company.
So, if you put yourself in their shoes as an engineer they probably have some questions they need to answer early on. They're not ready to pick up the phone and call a vendor and make a buying decision right away and they're not interested in talking about purchasing something -- they're just researching.
Much like you do when you buy a car. You hop online you do some research ahead of time. You don't show up on the car lot with a hundred questions, all relying on the salesperson to answer.
So, the engineer needs to find some resources around the materials that they need to use in this new product that's going to be used outside. So like anyone doing research these days, they're going to hop on Google and do a quick search for the best metals for exterior.
The engineer sees that the Google search results appear to have plenty of stuff for them to read and as a typical searcher they're going to go ahead and click on one of the first results they see.
At this point with the inbound marketing methodology, the engineers has completed step one. They've been pulled in or attracted to a company's website because they have some content that ranks. Content that ranks appears when the engineer is searching for questions around the topic in question. So, hopefully this is great content that's going to help the engineer determine what they need.
It's really important to note that at this stage, the engineer probably hasn't made the connection that the company is a vendor. They didn't land on the page and immediately click on the contact us button or start looking at their services -- they're still researching. They aren't even thinking about buying at this point -- they're simply trying to solve their problem.
Once the engineer has been attracted to the website and we read the content and we think it's helpful. As they reach the bottom of the blog post, they're presented with a graphic called a CTA, or call to action. They're being guided to take the next step in the inbound marketing methodology which would be to convert into a lead.
A call to action has appeared on the page to download a free guide. The engineer clicks on it. At this point the call to action has delivered them to a landing page. The landing page has two purposes. First, it's here to sell you on the content in the guide. It's telling the reader why this is going to be valuable to them. Second, it's asking for contact information in exchange for this guide, to generate a lead.
The form is asking for and requiring first name, last name, an email address and optionally, the engineer's company name.
Something important to note on this landing page is that it doesn't have navigation. You'll notice there's no other navigation bar at the top. The only ways out of this page are to hit your back button, click on the logo to go to the home page, or submit the form,
This is because once the website visitor gets this far down the inbound marketing process, we want them to convert into a lead.
At this point, by clicking the button, the engineer's contact information enters their database and they become a lead.
3. "Thank You"
So, sticking with our example of the engineer that's doing research, they're going to go ahead and click on the 'Get Your Pocket Guide' button. Now they have converted into a lead. The engineer provided their contact information, which entered the database and now they're delivering the engineer the pocket guide.
Now, they're on a 'Thank You' page where they can access the guide. By clicking this link it's gonna open a PDF in a new window. It's the guide the engineer requested and it has educational information. Not a sales pitch, but genuine educational content.
If we take a look back at this 'Thank You' page, you see that it also sets the visitor up for their next steps. They're calling out what's next here. The reader can take a look at some of the other offerings the company has. A lot of landing pages will promote a content offer that will help the customer decide between options.
The 'Thank You' page is all about delivering the offer that the visitor requested. At the same time, they have the reader's contact information. The engineer has become a lead for them.
This page will also trigger a thank you email. If the reader clicks on the 'Thank You' email in their inbox, they'll see they have a nice note from the president of the company, saying "Hey thanks for downloading our pocket guide. Here's a link in case you ever lose it you can always come back to this and download your guide. Also, here's some further educational content.".
4. Lead Nurturing
At this point, this email is starting the lead nurturing process. It's delivering the offer again and also continuing to try and add value through education. This is so the reader is not on their competitor's website which could make the customer rethink the purchase.
The company is trying to maintain a connection with the customer to build rapport. It might not be until this point of the process, of the inbound marketing methodology, especially in the early stage as a buyer, that the reader recognizes that they're working with a brand.
The company name will start ringing a bell for customers. The company is helping you with your problem, which is a huge shift from traditional marketing and sales, but it is obviously today's buyers' much preferred way of doing things.
Now, did this potential customer pick up the phone and buy something from the company? No, absolutely not! They're still in the early stage of their buying process and they probably have 10 or 11 other question they still need to answer. They'll hit Google and they'll do some more searches and if the company is doing their marketing job right, they're creating content that answers the rest of those questions.
Generating Leads with the Inbound Marketing Process
So, you can see the inbound marketing marketing methodology from attracting them, converting them into leads, through nurturing them along through additional follow-up emails, maybe three, five, and/or seven days later after getting this initial email and just staying in front of them, they're able to build rapport create a connection, and ultimately closing them into sail into a sale.
Hopefully this example helped you to understand what happens in the inbound marketing methodology and how we take just a normal online researcher and turn them into a lead that your sales folks need to follow up with or you nurture along until they're at a point where it makes sense to reach out to them from a sales standpoint.
So, keep checking back. We'll have more videos every week.