dear_hubspotGot a boss who's asking you to balance a billion tasks? A budget that got slashed in half? A brand-new goal that got dumped on your plate?

You need someone to help you. A confidant. Someone who's been through your situation before. Someone who won't judge you for the situation you've found yourself in. 

So we decided to start a little advice column on the blog to help you figure out these tricky situations. Think of it as a Dear Abby column for anyone doing inbound. And this is the very first installment.

If you've got a question you're dying to ask, feel free to submit it here. We promise to make a punny pseudonym for you (or you can give yourself one) if we publish your question. Based on the subject of your question, we'll find an expert to answer it for you. Lead scoring, product adoption, motivating your sales team, generating more leads, finding enough content -- you name it, we'll find you an answer.

So without any further ado, here's the first question, which came from a colleague's old college friend doing marketing for a company in Milwaukee.

Dear HubSpot, 

I've been reading about inbound for years now, and with a change in management at my company came a chance to start implementing a lot more inbound tactics (finally!). I got along really well with my new boss, and when I started talking about doing more blogging and social for lead gen she was really supportive.

But, it's been about three months and I can sense she's getting antsy to see more returns out of it. So I'm trying to figure out if I'm doing anything wrong, or if there's anything I could be doing more to get better lead gen.

To give you an idea what I'm doing now, I'm blogging every other business day and spending a lot of time optimizing those posts for SEO. I post all of those blogs to social media, too, and try to interact a lot there. I get over 1,000 visits to my blog a month, which I think is pretty good for a blog that's only been up for a few months and I'm happy with, but most of those people aren't becoming leads. (I only got a handful of leads last month from my blogging.)

So, what do you think? Is there anything I should be doing different, or should I find a nice way to tell my boss to chill and give it a little more time?


Miserable Marketer in Milwaukee

Hey MMM, 

Sorry to hear you're in this tough spot, but it sounds like you're doing the basics right. You have traffic coming to your blog, after all -- so pat yourself on the back for that -- you're just not converting as much of that traffic as you'd like. Here's what I would do if I were in your shoes.

It's time to focus on making smart optimizations to your marketing. Below are a few things you should try fixing. Test them all out -- if you find one is getting disproportionately awesome results, double down on that.

Here are a few things you should try to generate more leads:

Optimize your CTA design and placement. 

In your letter, you didn't specify whether people are getting to your landing pages at all or if they are getting to your landing pages and leaving.

If it's the former, this is the tactic you should try. People on your blog probably aren't noticing your CTAs. Are they all below the fold? Do they blend in with the rest of your post? Are they fairly small? Try tweaking their design and placement.

For image CTAs, you'll want to see if larger CTAs that have high color contrast against the background perform well. See if you get more clicks on that CTA if you place it higher in the post. For text CTAs, you'll want to try incorporating more direct landing page callouts earlier in your post, or making the links a different color, or bolding/underlining/italicizing them. 

You'll want to test these CTAs in your highest-traffic posts so you can get more telling results, faster. 

Shorten your forms. 

If you have the latter problem (aka, people get to your landing page and then leave), you might have a problem with your form length. Visitors might think that they don't want to give over that much information in exchange for the offer behind the form.

Ask yourself, do you really need all of those form fields? Or can you ask for certain pieces later on to help qualify leads later in the buying process? 

If you answered "no" then "yes" to those questions, try cutting as many form fields as possible from the form. Shortening the form will help reduce the "anxiety" your visitors experience on your landing page, making it much easier to get the offer behind the form. Making the whole process easier should help increase the number of leads you can get from that landing page. 

Create new offers based on your most successful blog posts. 

It's also possible that your blog readers aren't interested in the current offer(s) you're promoting. But they've already shown that they're interested in your content, since they're visiting your blog -- so that's a good sign.

Try a new offer to see if that changes your results -- I would start by making offers that are based on your most successful blog posts. Sort through your analytics to see which posts are getting the most views and CTA clicks already. Ideally, blog posts that'll turn into good offers will have both attributes, but I'd be willing to overlook some CTA clicks in your situation because you already have a lead gen problem.

Once you have a list of the top 10, see if any of them overlap in topics. If so, you're in business -- go on and follow these directions for whipping up your ebook.

If not, take a closer look at the posts to see if they have other things in common like format, audience, etc, and use that for a jumping-off point for your new ebook. In this scenario, you'd probably want to pick a topic based on your most popular blog post, but make it work for that common popular post factor. 

Make your email marketing work harder for you. 

Last, you may need to get creative and diversify your distribution efforts. Maybe social media isn't the best distribution channel for you to generate leads. That's okay. You've got to find what works best for your audience and business. 

One thing I'd recommend trying is optimizing your emails for lead generation. It sounds counter-intuitive because your email contacts are already leads, but through internal testing, we've found that it can be an effective way to get new leads in the door. In fact, in an average month, HubSpot generates 17x more leads from email sharing links than social media sharing links.

If you're interested in trying to generate leads through email, check out this tutorial.  

Sorry to say that there's not one silver bullet that'll get you double the leads next month. But trying these out, seeing what works, and then doubling down your efforts on these could help you get to the place you need to be -- which'll make both you and your boss much much happier.



Got a specific question about inbound you'd like answered? Submit it here. You may be featured in a future blog post (complete with your special pen name, of course). 

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Originally published May 23, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


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