5 Reasons Inbound Lead Generation Is The Future Of Business Growth
By John Welch on April 1, 2020
What Is An “Inbound Lead?”
You hear a lot about inbound leads in the modern marketing climate. There are plenty of companies that specialize in “inbound lead generation.” It sounds self-explanatory right? An inbound lead is someone who comes to you, right? Yes, that’s correct . . . but it’s not quite as simple as it sounds.
Right now, there is a lot of talk about what’s going to happen from this coronavirus outbreak. Many businesses are concerned about the economy and they’re unsure how to find and close new business. With so much isolation and lack of person-to-person contact, it’s easy to get a little lost in all the “advice” and “best-practices” you’re hearing from “marketing experts.”
In this post, we’re going to take a plunge into the ocean of digital marketing and see if we can catch a couple of knowledge fish.
Here are the 5 reasons that inbound leads are the future of business growth.
Reason #1 - Sales Teams Are Falling Apart
Right now, salespeople are panicking. They are facing a world where no one is taking their calls or answering their emails and it’s against government directives to meet in-person. Many salespeople are finding themselves in a situation they’ve never imagined: their entire sales tool-belt is feeling extremely inadequate.
There’s a very specific reason for this. Salespeople operate on an outbound mindset. Everything salespeople are trained to do revolves around going out into the market and finding people who have a need.
But what happens when everyone is way more worried about their own business failing and a viral outbreak than reading a cold email or setting up a virtual meeting with a sales rep?
There is much more at stake than just the viability of a specific salesperson during this period of social distancing. There has been a demographic shift happening for a couple of years now. It’s only right now, because of coronavirus, that so many people are suddenly becoming aware of this shift that’s been happening right under their noses.
The reality is that sales, as a business function, will never be the same after this. The economic shift occurring right now will leave permanent marks on the way that business is conducted. More specifically, the way that businesses find and close new business will be fundamentally altered.
The reasons are simple. People are suddenly realizing that the last thing they care about is setting a meeting with a salesperson. They’re worried about getting their questions answered. They’re worried about finding trustworthy sources of information. They’re worried about finding companies that care about them. For better or worse, these are not things that 90% of the business population believes they can get from a salesperson.
Reason #2 - Inbound Leads Trust You
Salespeople are focused on outbound leads which means they must earn their potential clients’ trust. An inbound lead might as well be synonymous with “trust earned.” An inbound lead is someone who has sought out your business. Why? Because they have a reason to believe that you can solve a problem for them.
The next obvious question is “how do they know that?” Well, that depends entirely on you. If you want to generate inbound leads on your website, you have to do something that most companies are not willing to do: you have to give away the very thing that makes you valuable.
To generate inbound leads, you have to freely divulge the information that justifies the prices you charge your clients.
Most businesses have a hard time doing this. For some, it’s impossible. Unfortunately, if your business is unwilling to dip its toes into inbound lead generation, your time is limited. No business will survive in the coming economy if they are not willing to give away their processes and systems for free.
I’m sure there are folks reading this right now and honestly thinking that this sounds insane. “Give away my information? How on earth will I ever make any money?”
There’s an idea in business that may have once been true, but is rapidly fading away: the idea that knowledge was worth more than implementation. The strategist or the consultant was considered more valuable than the person who did the work.
This is no longer true. Business don’t want or need consultants. They can get all the information they need from 10 million sources that are freely giving it away.
What businesses need is someone who both UNDERSTANDS the right information and is able to IMPLEMENT it for them.
Business want to wash their hands of the problem, they don’t want to be told how to fix it. BUT, they need to know that you know how to fix it before they can trust you enough to give you their money.
Reason #3 - Search Is King
For many businesses, this represents a massive shift in mindset. Many businesses see themselves as consultants. In the past, businesses thrived charging for their information and letting someone else handle the implementation. If this is your business’s operational flow and you’ve been wondering why your business is been slowing . . . Google is why.
🔑 The future successful business is one that knows the strategy, does the work, and can prove both. That business will win.
Right now, business leaders are saying “no” to meetings with salespeople. One second after they respond “no thank you” to the latest cold email they received, they are opening Google and typing “how do I keep my business alive during Coronavirus (or [insert other future economic crisis here]) ?”
This is a truly ironic situation. A salesperson could have sent that CEO an email with the exact information they needed, but it was ignored because it came from a salesperson. Then, that CEO might open Google, enter a search, and end up on the website of the very company that the salesperson worked for—meaning the salesperson is obsolete and goes commissionless.
This is the reality of modern business. Business leaders are growing increasingly unreachable. The average salesperson is rapidly becoming less effective. Businesses are seeing poorer and poorer results from their sales teams.
Meanwhile, 33% of all internet search traffic clicks the top organic result on Google.
Reason #4 - Content Is King
There are more SEO experts than you can shake a stick at. Everywhere you go there is a “marketing guru” screaming at you about SEO. They claim they can get you ranking #1 on Google in 3 months. You pay them $1,500/mo for 6 months and fire them because you’re still on page 7 for your preferred search terms.
Then you rinse and repeat for a few years until you declare, in exasperation, “all this SEO nonsense doesn’t work at all!”
Here’s the harsh truth. Keywords and speed tests won’t get you ranking on Google. There’s only one thing that works: CONTENT.
Google cares about one thing: user experience. They need to know that you give a darn about helping your customers and prospects. Google’s algorithm only feels comfortable with you once you’ve proven to it that you’re invested in helping people win. That’s only possible when you do that thing we were talking about earlier: you give away your information.
Simply put, Google rewards businesses that help people. If your inbound marketing strategy consists of plastering “Professional CPA” all over your website, good luck. If your inbound marketing strategy means that you’ve got a contact page, try again.
This next reason is a FACT that will hit unprepared businesses like a freight train.
Reason #5 - Anyone Can Create Content
For an in-depth look at content creation, there’s a couple posts you should check out on our blog. This one on how to create blog posts and this one on optimizing your site for conversions. For a 30,000 foot view, let’s look at the concept of creating content.
Most people hear “content creation” and their eyes glaze over. Their mind simply doesn’t register what the heck that means. That reaction is fine because most of the time marketing companies do their best to make content creation a confusing and amorphous topic.
To make it simple,
Content creation is the documentation of your own systems and processes in a way that people who don’t have your experience can easily understand it.
It is not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination. Content creation is really simple. Teach your customers and prospects how to solve their problems without you. If you do this, you’re creating great content.
There are several ways to create content, but the simplest is to pick one major form of content creation and let the rest of your content flow from that.
Depending on your personality and preferences, you may gravitate to one type of content creation over another. This is fine, the reality is that all forms of content distribution have value. There has been a push to suggest that video is a more powerful form of communication, but this has been disproven over time. Many people suggested that video would overtake all other forms of content distribution, but blogging and articles are on the rise in massive numbers and podcasts are exploding as well.
The best approach is to tap into all the forms of content creation available. Video, audio, and written word (when done well and in a unified approach) form a powerful content creation engine.
Choosing “Your” Content Distribution Platform
All that being said, you need to decide what you’re most comfortable with creating and build your content strategy around that one thing. Some people prefer hosting podcasts, some people prefer creating videos, some people prefer blogging and some people like a little bit of everything.
Whatever the main thing you enjoy doing to create content, make that your “content pillar.” For example, let’s say you host a podcast every week. You love hosting the podcast, but you hate blogging. So you record your weekly podcast interview and then you do a couple of things:
- You send the podcast to a writer who transcribes the audio into a blog post.
- You take the podcast audio and cut out four 60-second clips that you can use for snippets to share on social media.
- You take the blog post that was transcribed and create an email to go out to your email list sharing a valuable tip from the interview.
As you can see, this one podcast episode has just become 8-10 pieces of content. You do that 4 times a month and you have 30-40 pieces of content per month that you are releasing.
This concept applies to all content creation plans of action regardless of your pillar content. If you are a writer, you’ll start with long-form blogs and then turn those into podcast episodes and infographics. If you prefer video content, those can be turned back into blogs and podcast content. Regardless of the pillar content, the process works.
You can create large amounts of very high-quality content when you pick a type of content that you enjoy creating and let the rest flow from there.
Moving Forward With Inbound Leads
Time is an important factor when it comes to generating inbound leads. It takes 6-9 months of dedicated content creation to start seeing results. The good news is that content creation will produce more results at less cost than any other form of marketing. Those results come at the price of time and consistency which both require patience.
Right now, businesses are panicking. They have no idea what they can be doing to find new business. This is an understandable reaction, but it leads to making short-term and often poor business decisions.
Most businesses are not trying to figure out how they can spend money right now. They’re trying to figure out how to make sense of this new situation and they are looking for help with all of the new problems that were just created in the space of a couple of weeks.
By becoming a source of trustworthy information, your business is laying the groundwork for what happens on the other side of this COVID-19 situation.
The market will remember who kept a level head and continued providing value while so many “thought-leaders” and “gurus” lost their minds and gave terrible advice based on panic.
You have an opportunity to lay a foundation for a content marketing strategy that will take your business to new heights and now is the time to act. Digital traffic is increasing daily, paid ads are going to become impossibly expensive for small businesses, salespeople are being ignored. Now is the time to bring the business to your own door.
Create helpful content.
Provide value and ask nothing in return.
The future you will thank you for doing so.Back to the blog