You need leads. Simple.
Now, you can get them the easy, disruptive way with cold calls, email blasts, intrusive ads on TV or radio — or make them come to you.
Either way, you’re going to need a strategy.
The problem, however, is the disruptive way of outbound marketing is insanely expensive, and the tactics are pretty much dead. That’s why only 18 percent of marketers still think outbound marketing is effective enough to generate valuable leads.
By contrast, inbound lead generation tactics yield 54 percent more quality leads than traditional outbound marketing.
It’s clear that if you want to generate more leads for your online store, inbound marketing is where you’ll get the best value for your buck.
So, Why Do You Need an Inbound Lead Generation Strategy?
Inbound lead generation strategies help to attract sales qualified leads. They essentially filter your audience to attract leads with a genuine interest in your business.
Inbound marketing attracts and engages your audience with valuable, relatable content that makes it easier for them to need your services later in their customer lifecycle.
From a business perspective, these lead generation strategies are less intrusive, and address an existing problem of potential leads, making them all the more eager to convert to customers.
But to get this right, you need to understand that inbound marketing uses an indirect way to generate leads. How? Instead of chasing potential customers down a rabbit hole, by pitching your products outrightly; you’re encouraging them to come to you via valuable content.
Then, when they do come — as subscribers on your email list — you don’t give them the hard sell. Instead, you nurture them in your sales funnel by providing valuable content they can’t resist.
You can leverage many lead generation channels to provide valuable content to your visitors, though — more on this in a bit. But, you’ll need some patience to start seeing results.
Here are six inbound lead generation strategies to help you generate more leads for your online store.
1. Write High-Quality Blog Posts
Blogging is a lead gen-marketing beast of its own.
By consistently writing quality blog posts, you can position your business as an authority in your industry. Then, use that influence to attract the best leads.
But standalone, your blogs do not offer much value to potential visitors unless they’ve developed an interest in your product from the onset. Without something to promote, you don’t give them much reason to visit your online store.
How do you fix this? It’s easy — have something to promote. Next, tailor your entire blog to that end goal.
Be intentional. Do not promote something out of the blue. You must perform market research to identify your audience's pain points. Then using a unique angle, draft superior content that resonates with your target audience.
Your unique angle can be sharing case studies with expert tips and instructions like WordStream does it with this post:
The comprehensive case study tackles a pain point — SEO traffic . This makes it easier for visitors to trust the information and click through on the CTA that converts them to leads.
Alternatively, you can write serialized blogs on how you solved similar issues that they themselves were facing. Take a look at Groove.
As you can see, this blog post has almost 2000 shares!
For your blog post to have more impact, make it a pillar post and create topic clusters that link to it for improved site SEO. These unique blog posts will attract quality leads to fill your sales funnel and transition to lifetime customers over time.
Ramp up your blog lead generation strategies with current SEO techniques, to reach billions of people, which translates to more organic traffic that can increase eCommerce conversion rates in the long term.
2. Video Content
If you want to grab your audience's attention quickly, use video marketing.
Attention span aside, video is more engaging and would convince about 78 percent of people to convert. You can leverage video content to generate leads by ranking for popular keywords in your niche on YouTube.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google and receives more searches than other search engines like Bing and Yahoo! combined. So, you should expect a decent amount of leads if you optimize this channel effectively.
For example, you can share videos of your products on YouTube with your audience so they know what to expect from your online store. It helps also to showcase these videos on your website using our POWR Media Gallery plugin and share the link on your YouTube profile. This way, your YouTube channel, and online store are both linked for easy navigation.
However, with YouTube video content, your goal should be to rank for mid to low-competition niche keywords. Also optimize for long-tail keywords, single-word tags, and broad-term tags that relate to your video’s topic.
Since long-tail keywords are closer to searcher intent, you should use the answer-the-question (ATQ) methodology to create your videos. So, if you run a beauty online store for instance, “How to choose the right concealer for my skin tone” is right up your alley.
Afterward, you can encourage your subscribers to join your email list using the opt-in form at the end of the YouTube video.
3. Build a Strong Email List
Email marketing yields astounding results. It's why 64 percent of small businesses use it to reach their customers. Aside from generating an ROI of £42 for every pound spent, email marketing can help you build a nurturing relationship with your leads.
You must leverage all other inbound lead generation strategies to entice people to join your email list. For instance, opt-in forms help you build an email list and boost conversions by up to 300 percent.
The opt-in form could be as simple as a “Contact Us” form that asks for the user’s name and email address, or as complicated as a custom form that asks for the user’s preferences aside from their contact information. POWR allows you to create all kinds of opt-in forms easily without having to know how to code.
Then, add these forms to your website or social campaign ads to encourage visitors to sign up. When nurturing these leads, do not be salesy right off the bat. Instead, gently nudge them to convert before sending across a sales email.
4. User-Generated Content
You know how else to get credibility aside from testimonials, and social proof? User-generated content!
What makes this content marketing strategy unique and effective is that it is customer-led rather than a company-led marketing effort. Your current customers are already encouraging potential leads on your behalf — whether you know it or not.
You can leverage UGC in different ways. Start by highlighting customer reviews and testimonials on your social media page. Then encourage other users to do the same and tag your brand. This can provide an exciting incentive for customers to share their user experience with your products.
You can also share UGC as video content like GoPro, a video equipment company does on its YouTube channel.
Moreover, you can curate this content for your email list to help speed up your buyer’s journey to a customer. When it comes to it, UGC lead generation strategies feed quality leads into your social media sales funnel that you can nurture over time.
5. Try Podcasting
Podcasting is a terrific approach to attract a large audience to your company and gradually convert them into repeat consumers. They also let you introduce your company and its services to listeners in an unobtrusive manner, as you supply them with interesting and engaging material first.
Mind Pump is an example of a company that uses effective marketing practices plus podcasting to drive sales and generate sales for their workout programs. Their podcasts offer advice on nutrition, fat loss, and muscle building and have since attracted a huge audience.
Here’s how they do this:
First, they created a free resources guide page for fitness enthusiasts on their website.
Next, they direct regular podcast listeners to their free resources page to download these guides. Visitors can only download these guides in exchange for leaving their name and email address on a short form, which essentially converts them to leads!
As soon as they opt into their email list, they’re nurtured in their sales funnel to purchase one of their full workout programs.
Don’t know how to start your podcast? First, identify the right hosting platform for your needs, then, use a podcast software solution. It’ll get you running in no time.
6. Live Chats
Another inbound lead generation strategy to utilize is pop-up live chat. Live chats can offer customer support. But besides that, it can also provide helpful content and discount updates throughout your customer’s online session.
You can program your live chat to interact proactively with customers and collect information to help solve customer issues round the clock. This way, you’re able to follow up on new leads and re-engage returning customers.
Inbound marketing allows you to build personal connections with potential customers in an unobtrusive way. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound lead generation strategies focus more on earning customer loyalty and trust via nurturing.
If you want to succeed with inbound marketing, ramp up your content efforts to provide value at every step of the marketing funnel. Produce high quality blog, top-notch video content and leverage customer-led marketing efforts via UGC to generate sales qualified leads.
Results might not come as quickly as you expect; that’s fine. Good things take time, and inbound lead generation is one of them.
Matt Diggity is a search engine optimization expert and the founder and CEO of Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and LeadSpring LLC. He is also the host of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.