More focus on conversion, mobile-based solutions, interactive content and relationship marketing are some major lead generation trends that are currently standing out in the global environment of digital marketing.
Lead generation is the number one concern for marketers, because this key gear of inbound marketing is constantly changing and evolving, and due to this marketers must be absolutely tuned into people’s digital habits and preferences in order to create and deliver the right lead generation strategy.
Why is this important? Because it helps companies improve external and internal processes and goals. Externally, lead generation strategies “support healthy revenue growth, increase brand awareness, build relationships, develop qualified leads, and the always important, close more deals!,” LeadsCon says. Internaly -they add- it contributes to marketing and sales teams to work cohesively.
Now, lead generation tools are also essential elements of digital marketing strategies, because they allow companies to talk with their customers. These tools also are in constant evolution so it is very necessary to regularly take a look at trends that show how these tools are being managed by marketers, and how they are being appreciated by customers.
This time we’ll focus on three basic tools, which are commonly used by marketers: blogging, content offers and automated workflows. We’ll see why they are so important.
As Hubspot say, blogging is an essential part of Inbound Marketing. “It allows you to communicate with an audience and spread a message. Today, many people are running their entire businesses on blogs. Thus, they rank well in search engines and leverage PR opportunities.”
In fact, 81% of US marketers use blogging as a content marketing tactic, and 59% consider that it is an effective tactic of Inbound Marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute 2016 report.
How does it work? Through blogging, companies deliver informative content that is appreciated by people looking for a solution that match what the company can provide. In this way, a relationship (engagement) between both of them is created and nurtured, and it certaintly contributes to transform a person into a consumer.
On the other hand, Blogging also helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies. As Neil Patel explains, “through blogging we can create fresh content with regularity, rich in the keywords and phrases that we want to get found for on Google, Bing and other search engines (…) Better search engine visibility means larger volumes of organic traffic, as new users find content through search terms alone.”
Blogging isn’t a static or a mechanical activity. On the contrary, the ways, the approaches, and the styles, are constantly evolving. Nowadays, there are some basic trends that companies, marketers and consultants are considering to properly answer to market expectations.
Size matters. “Google considers blog content of 500 or more words more authoritative and brands will ask for longer blog posts. Consider adding more words, images and keywords to your most popular blog posts,” The Network Niche says.
No more comments. DOZ company explains that “in simple terms, comments are not what creators want to spend their time managing, and they are not where readers want to have their conversations.”
Be more visual. “As websites go minimalist, large, easy-to-read, shareable graphics to support text will be crucial to success,” Katy Widrick, blogger and social media coach says. People are prefering images and graphics more and more, because it’s easier and faster to understand. So, marketers should adapt their blogs to a more visual kind of content.
And here we have a prediction by DOZ. “The best content will combine two trends in blogging: great graphics and longer posts. Nobody wants to wade through a wall of text on a screen, and long slideshows are equally unpopular. But the combination of long form text with high-quality images that support and augment that text will be near irresistible.”
If delivering relevant content through blogging is a fundamental part of Inbound Marketing, content offers is the next step. If your company want to attract people more into the Inbound conversion proccess you have to deliver some compelling content offers.
“You have to offer something of such high value that the prospect will exchange their contact information for it (by filling out a form on your website). We call this "something" a content offer. Here are some examples; ebooks, tool kits, webinars, audio files,” Moon Marketing stands. One of the main benefits of this tool is that you get important information from the visitor (name, e-mail, age, job etc.), because this data is a condition to download or access the offer, and people are willing to give personal information to get relevant content.
Currently, most of the content offers aim to get subscriptions for newsletters (72%), blogs (56%), and online communities (22%), according to the Content Marketing Institute Report 2016.
Now, delivering content offers are not a random exercise, but a part of well planned Inbound Marketing campaigns, because these offers must be placed at the right time in the conversion process, when strangers have already become visitors and the brand needs to take them further to transform them into customers.
Hubspot details 11 steps in order to deliver a content offer through an Inbound campaign:
1. Select the content offer.
2. Create a new campaign.
3. Identifiy keywords to use throughout the campaign.
4. Create a thank you page.
5. Create a landing page.
6. Create a call-to-action.
7. Create or select a list of contacts.
8. Create an email to promote your content offer.
9. Write related blog posts.
10. Schedule your related social media posts.
11. Launch your campaign.
As we understand workflow as the staged-based process that a business must follow and fulfill in order to deliver services or products to consumers, an automated workflow is “when these stages are aided by computers or other machines (…) creating an automated workflow involves inputting the workflow process into workflow management software, which then automates the process,” Wise Geek explains.
The main benefits of this solution are related to money and time savings, as every automated solution does. Now, if we take this into Inbound, marketing automation helps your company to automatically fulfill some daily taks to dedicate more time to strategy.
Which are some of the most common automated process in Inbound? Hubspot underlines:
Topics: You can create an email workflow for your brand’s key topics.
Blog subscriber welcome: “You can use this to thank contacts for subscribing, remind them what they'll get out of reading your blog, review their subscription settings, and promote your blog's best-performing articles or other offers.”
New customer welcome: This is good to start engagement with your clients, for example, by introducing helpful training materials for some products or services.
Lead nurturing: “If a contact has downloaded several of your top-of-the-funnel marketing offers like ebooks and webinars, it might be a good sign they're ready for a little bit more. Set up workflows that help to advance these contacts further down the funnel.”
Let’s see where marketing automation is heading this 2016. Many marketers and consultants agree on the following trends:
“Customers don’t simply care about the product. A great marketing campaign relies on heavily branding the culture and personality of your business, so you can create an intimate shopping experience for every customer. Marketing automation provides the customer insights you need to develop ad campaigns that are tailored to the specific interests of each shopper,” Reachforce explains.
Real-time and Location Based Automation
“Marketing automation is all about you reacting to customers’ actions. They click on a link, you send them an email. They download a guide, you give them a call etc. In 2016, things will get a little be more complicated with real-time and location-based automation,” digital marketing & business expert John Bracamontes says.
“Real-time automation allows for the immediate response to customers’ actions. This includes campaigns that get triggered within minutes, not days; real-time personalization etc. (…) Location based automation is expected to become much more prominent and widely used marketing tactic as well. Thanks to GPS technology in nearly all our phones and the willingness of users to share their location, it will be silly not to take advantage,” he adds.
“Marketers –Ideas Collide stands- are focusing more on mobile due to the increasing amount of people relying on their mobile devices to read emails, interact with websites and consume content. Utilizing responsive design for landing pages and emails are the first step, and should be implemented immediately if they haven’t already.”
The key for having success in lead generation with these Inbound Marketing tools is to combine them in order to create an integral experience for visitors, leads and costumers. We should always remember that when your brand gets connected with a new client, it’s just the beginning of a long-term relationship, so your company must be constantly talking with the client, taking care of them, following their habits, and surprising them with new good content. In this way you’ll be able to create a trust-based link between your brand and your client.
How is your company managing lead generation strategies? Are you using some of these essential Inbound Marketing tools? Let us know by leaving a comment below.