Marketing is notorious for its jargon. And while the terminology itself isn’t necessarily what's important, what you do need to know is how these strategies and tactics can help you. In this post, we’ll explore inbound marketing and lead generation, and what each can do for you.
What is Lead Generation?
More people are familiar with this term. Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers into known people that are interested in what you have to offer. Lead generation is warming up potential clients, getting them on the path to purchasing.
There are many methods of lead generation. Here are just a few:
- Content marketing
- Direct mail
- Cold calling
- Public relations
- Special events
- Trade shows
- Sponsored emails
- SEO/Landing pages
- Google AdWords/Landing pages
Lead generation includes both outbound tactics and inbound tactics.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on inbound lead generation tactics. With inbound marketing, you are creating valuable content — highly-valuable items like checklists, webinars, and email subscriptions, that contain information that your prospects want to know. You then use that content as incentive for them to fill in a form with their contact info that can be used for lead nurturing in the sales process.
But inbound marketing goes beyond lead generation to nurture the leads you’ve attracted. Once you’ve captured the contact information of someone, you now have a lead that you know is interested in your services. It also helps to establish trust and value with your prospect during their buying process. Your job is to nurture leads with additional valuable information and resources until that person is ready to make a purchase.
Today, the most effective marketing strategies include a combination of outbound and inbound techniques, integrated by a cohesive strategy built on the buyer’s journey. While it’s no longer effective to simply interrupt people and ask for their business in today’s multi-media, multi-channel world, you need to get the word out to your target audience about the helpful information and resources you’ve created to attract them when they are looking for this information. Outbound tactics, particularly like Google Adwords, sponsored email, and certain types of advertising, can get your content seen by the people who will want it and (eventually) want your services.
The key to effective lead generation, particularly inbound marketing, is to use truly valuable content. No one will give you their contact details in exchange for something that’s so-so or something they can easily get elsewhere. If you spend time and resources creating something that’s highly attractive to your audience, you’ll experience much greater success.
Lead generation and inbound marketing should have a significant role in any B2B marketing strategy. Unless you’re selling $10 widgets, most prospects will need to be educated on the impact of their pain points, how the solution you sell solves that pain, and why you’re the one to deliver that solution.Editor's Note: This post was originally published on August 4, 2017, and has been updated.