In most industries, business can slow down at least a little in the summer. More people take vacations and there are generally more distractions, which can impact new deal flow and revenue.
But if you’re running an inbound marketing program, lead generation should be fairly consistent, even through the summer months. The inbound lead generation machine isn’t usually affected by any specific season.
If you don’t have an inbound marketing engine running, you can take some steps today to get your leads flowing in as little as a week or two. Installing this now could help you get through the summer without a dip in revenue.
Here is a step-by-step framework for installing an inbound marketing machine to generate leads for your company.
The first part of the framework is to optimize all sources for new visitors to find your company’s website and make it easy for them to click for a visit.
People can only come from a few places before they land on your website – Google (search engines), social media (all platforms), other websites, an email you sent them and paid ads (from search or social).
Since this article is about inbound marketing, we’re going to save the paid ads source of visitors for another article about demand generation campaigns. When it comes to inbound, it’s everything but the paid ads.
This means your website has to be designed, built and written to rank on the search engines for your selected keywords and keyword phrases. If your site isn’t ranking, there’s not much you can do about it in the short term. But you should be working to improve rankings over the long term.
There are other ways to be found when people are looking for companies like yours. You can get your site listed on other websites. Directories, partner sites and other industry sites are great places to get listed.
Social media is another great source for visitors. Make sure you’re publishing enough interesting content with links back to your site and that enough people are sharing your content to drive attention to your company.
Send emails to your database and ensure those emails have links to your website. That is the main purpose of emails – driving people to your site.
Together, this combination of tactics should drive more and more people to your website.
Once people land on your site, the next step in the framework is to get them to convert from anonymous visitors into new contacts.
This is done with CTAs (calls-to-action) on your website. These are graphic, compelling and highly educational links, images or buttons on your website.
They should be placed on your most-visited pages and be highly relevant to the content on the page and the person you think is visiting the page.
These CTAs drive people to a landing page where they get more details about the educational material and provide their contact information in exchange for the material.
These pages are short, generally don’t have any navigation or exit options and focus ONLY on the material you’re offering. They have a compelling and emotional headline, brief copy in bullet form, a visual of the material you’re providing and perhaps a testimonial around the material (not the company).
Since the page needs a form, try to keep the form short. Just ask for one to three pieces of information. The more you ask for, the lower the conversion rate.
Once someone converts, you still have to nurture them through their buyer journey and get them primed to be a sales opportunity.
This part of the inbound marketing framework is key. You have to continue to offer more educational material, in a non-sales manner, to support them as they move through their buyer journey.
If you do this well, you’ll differentiate your company from the competition and get prospects to signal you as to where they are in their buyer journey, allowing you to further personalize their experience and get them ready to buy.
This is a tricky part of the framework. You need to have the right content, create the right email templates, design the right cadence based on your sales cycle and measure the performance of all these nurtures over time.
If you do this right, you can shorten the sales cycle and improve your close rates.
Speaking of sales, once you get a prospect to put up their hand and ask to speak to a rep, that experience must continue to be remarkable compared to your competition.
The conversations with sales should resemble the marketing experience. What content do they need to be educated? What content do they need to feel like they are getting to know, like and trust your sales rep and your company?
Once you answer these questions and map out the exact steps that are part of your sales process, you will be designing an experience that will help these people start to feel like you are the company they want to do business with.
They have to feel it. People make purchase decisions emotionally first, then rationalize them.
This means your sales process must help them feel safe and feel like they want to do business with your company. Many companies still don’t understand this very important nuance to sales.
This step in the framework is make or break. I’ve seen companies with tons of leads never grow simply because they still think sales is about convincing someone to buy. It’s not.
While this is a simple illustration of how inbound works, these are the steps necessary to build out a lead generation machine.
This simple framework also provides you with the basic structure for doing something that can be turned on and generating leads over the next few weeks, not in months or even a year.
Make sure to commit time and resources to optimize what you do inside this framework. While this might work out of the gate, it’s more likely that this will take an optimization effort to turn a small trickle into a significant stream of new leads for your company.