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7 Surefire Ways to Generate Leads (The Inbound Way)

450537511The holy trinity of inbound lead generation is search engine optimization, business blogging and social media promotion. These strategies help you move curious strangers from across the internet back to your website and landing pages.

When dissected further, each strategy has several sub-tactics that are crucial to inbound lead generation. So, what are they exactly? And how should one implement them effectively?

In this post I would like to discuss some of the tangible ways that you can start utilizing these marketing practices to create leads for your business.

Search Engine Optimization

As you look look to optimize your website for search there are two main areas that you need to focus on. The first is on-page search engine optimization, and second is off-page search engine optimization. Let’s examine each one a bit more here:

1) Optimize for On-page SEO

On-page seo deals with structuring the content of your web pages in a way that makes it easy for search engines to see and understand what the page is about. Practically, the search engines look at 5 specific areas to understand your page:

  • The page url
  • The page title
  • The header tags
  • Image alt tags
  • Body copy

By placing keywords into these key areas you effectively communicate your page’s message to the search engine. Additionally, you should be optimizing each page of your website for only one keyword. If you try to optimize a single page for multiple keywords you will end up confusing both search engines and your readers.

2) Develop an Off-page SEO Strategy

Off-page seo deals with building inbound links to your website and landing pages. Holistically, the search engines see inbound links as “votes” for your content. The more inbound links that you have to your site the more valuable your content must be.

However, not every link is viewed as equal in the eyes of the search engines. Some links have more “authority” than others. By authority I mean the weight and importance that is assigned to a specific link. Lets look at a brief example to solidify the concept:

Let's say you’re a custom furniture manufacturer looking to build inbound links to your website. Each link that you develop is going to help your seo rank, however, each inbound link is valued differently.

A link from a major furniture retailer like: Raymour & Flanigan, Thomasville, or Ashley Furniture is going to be worth way more than say the local retail furniture shop’s website. So as you are building your off-page seo it is important to focus on building both the quantity of inbound links as well as quality links to your website.

By developing a sound on-page and off-page seo strategy you can increase your search engine rank for keywords that are relevant to your business. This will help drive qualified leads into the funnel as visitors query these keywords and find your content.

Business Blogging

Blogging is one of the best ways to increase your content footprint, attract strangers, and generate new leads for your organization. Lets look at a few tangible ways that we can use blogging to generate new leads for our business.

3) Pair Blog Content and Premium Content

As inbound marketers we know the most common way to generate leads is to have individuals fill out a form on our website or landing page to get access to a piece of “gated” content. However, getting people to the landing pages can be difficult and expensive if you are using paid search campaigns like Google Adwords.

However, one way to consistently expose premium content offers to your audience is to closely pair blog content with premium “gated”content. By doing this you create a lead generation opportunity on every blog post that you write.

Let me explain by way of example: If you’re blogging about email marketing best practices you should conclude the post with a premium content offer. The offer could be for an ebook called “10 email design tactics that every company should employ”, or some other gated content that is relevant to email marketing.

4) Increase Visibility with Blogging

Blogging is also very closely intertwined with search engine visibility. Each new blog post that you write generates a new indexable page for the search engines to crawl. So by blogging frequently you exponentially increase your visibility in Google, Yahoo and Bing. This enhanced visibility greatly improves the likelihood that visitors will find your blog, read it and become a prospect.

Social Media Promotion

Social media can be a highly effective means to gain visibility with prospects that would be a great fit for your product or service. With the advanced segmentation available in Facebook, the ability to place people in circles in Google+, and sharing functionality built into Linkedin there are multiple ways to communicate your message to new prospects. Lets look at a few best practices when it comes to generating new leads with social media.

5) Understand the Culture of the Network

When looking to promote your company through social media, it’s very important to know the culture of the networks on which you are posting. Once you understand the culture, let this information influence the type of content that you promote on that network.

A tangible example would be the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook has a fun and casual culture, while Linkedin has a more professional feel. Typically people are using Facebook to browse pictures of family, stay abreast of happenings with friends, and watch funny videos.

Linkedin on the other hand has a much more professional culture. Business people are using Linkedin to network with colleagues, stay current with industry trends, and follow thought leaders. So post content that is consistent with culture of the network.

6) Diversify Your Content

Social media platforms like Facebook, and Google Plus are very visual networks. So start by creating content that is visually appealing because this will help you quickly garner attention from potential prospects. A Simply Measured article states that brands using Facebook see a 65% uptick in content engagement for things like photos and videos. So create pictures, infographics, slideshares and videos for your company, and watch the engagement level take off.

7) Build Frequency

Finally, to effectively grow your followers, fans, and subscribers you need to be posting frequently. Develop a calendar and schedule out your tweets, Facebook status updates and Linkedin shares for the week. By posting content consistently to each network your followers can get into a routine with your marketing communication. So develop a mechanism to schedule your communication frequency that allows your fans to get into a cadence with your messaging.

Lead the Way!

In conclusion search engine marketing, blogging and social media can be very effective ways to economically increase your company’s visibility and generate leads for your business. Start by optimizing your site for relevant keywords, then create original blog content for your target audience, and finally promote your blog and other marketing assets on social media platforms. This will help you escalate your lead quality, decrease sales cycle times and increase lead flow.

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