Do you remember the last time you were excited to receive an unexpected sales call or message? Nah, me neither.
And neither does your audience. They’re probably fed up with unsolicited pitches and intrusive ads.
That’s why you should focus on generating inbound leads — leads that find or contact you on their own initiative.
“But, Maurice, why would anyone contact me first?”
Easy: because you’ll offer them something they want!
In this guide, we’ll talk about how you can get people to initiate contact with you — i.e., how you can generate inbound leads.
You’ll also get the best inbound lead generation strategies you can implement now. Let’s dive in.
Inbound lead generation is a way of getting your audience to engage with you by offering them value in the form of useful content. In exchange, they give you permission to contact them in the future.
Let’s quickly discuss the difference between the two basic types of lead generation tactics:
- Inbound leads are leads that initiate contact with you. Ex: People that subscribe to your newsletter after reading your blog.
- Outbound leads are leads that you contact first. Ex: People you email, call, or target with ads without their permission or say-so.
Should You Care About Inbound Leads?
Generating marketing leads is a must if you want more paying customers or clients. This goes for both inbound and outbound leads.
But I’m not just saying this because I prefer inbound marketing. I base my opinion on data. So let me quickly mention some stats that support my claims.
Here are a few stats that show how valuable inbound marketing is — and why it works better than outbound marketing:
Hopefully, you’re now 100% convinced that inbound lead generation is the way to go. Let’s now see what it looks like in practice.
Generate Inbound Leads in 4 Steps.
This lead generation process involves four parts. I’ll quickly walk you through them below.
1) Irrisistable Offer
You need to give people a reason why they should give you their details. In other words, you need to make them an offer: “If you do X, I’ll give you Y.”
The thing you would typically offer them is called a ‘lead magnet.’
A lead magnet is a free (or low-cost) product or service given to users in exchange for their details. The offer you make them for their details must;
- be valuable
- solve a problem
- relate to what you want to offer them next
What product or service are your competitors charging customers for? Give that same thing away for free. That’s a winning lead magnet!
Common lead magnets include;
- free trials
- free software
- webinars, etc.
For example, Databox offers visitors free software in return for their personal details:
On the other hand, some businesses, like Backlinko, simply promise their audiences free SEO tips when they enter their email addresses:
It’s up to you to decide what type of lead magnet will work best for your business. Below, I’ll give you some pointers on how to make a good decision.
But, for now, let’s move on to the next part of the lead generation process: lead capture.
2) Lead Capture
The goal of every lead generation strategy is to capture user details, such as;
- first and last name
- email and/or phone number
- website URL
- company name
- country, etc.
Although lead capture is the final goal, you must consider it in advance. Plan what data you’ll need in order to:
- contact your leads (e.g., email addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, etc.)
- personalize your communications (e.g., first and last name, company name, country, language, etc.)
- qualify your leads (e.g., company size, job title, yearly income, etc.)
But let’s see how lead capture works in practice. I’ll use HubSpot as an example.
The company offers free CRM software to anyone who signs up for it. But, to sign up, users need to enter some details — including their full names, email addresses, and their industries:
But, how much is too much? How many fields should you have in your form to get the most potential leads?
The optimal amount is between 3 and 5 fields. Anything more than that might reduce your conversion rate. Formstack’s research shows that reducing the number of form fields to four or fewer can boost conversions by up to 160 percent.
Consider what data you need in advance, and don’t ask for more than is necessary. Then proceed to the next step.
Having a killer offer and knowing what user information you want to capture are the first steps to converting visitors to leads. But your landing page — also called “lead generation page” — is where the magic happens.
In a nutshell, the purpose of a landing page is to:
- Explain your offer
- Convince your audience to take you up on it
- Give your audience a way to opt-in — i.e., give you permission to contact them in exchange for whatever you’re offering
Here’s an example of a landing page offering a free project management tool. I highlighted the opt-in box for you:
Building landing pages may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be.
Some online tools, like Cartflows, allow you to build high-quality landing pages using simple drag-and-drop systems. Zero coding knowledge is needed.
Before I tell you how to create landing pages that convert, let’s quickly discuss the final part of the lead generation process — lead scoring.
So, let’s say you’ve created an offer and a landing page and got people to leave you their details. Now what?
Now, you need to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality leads. Let me explain why.
According to recent studies, only 10 to 15% of all leads turn into customers. So, investing time and money in the wrong leads can be an expensive mistake with no ROI.
👉 That’s why your sales and marketing team should work on qualified leads that are most likely to convert.
But how can you tell which leads are the most sales-ready?
Lead scoring can help. It’s a process of assigning values to your leads to determine how qualified they are. Let me show you how it works.
First, you need to decide which criteria you’ll score.
For example, you may decide to compare your leads to your ideal buyer personas (customer avatars). In that case, you’ll probably score your leads based on their:
- company size
- other personal details
But you can also score your leads based on marketing-related metrics, such as:
- email open rates
- email click-through rates
- social media engagement
- gated content sign-ups, etc.
After that, you’ll simply assign points to your leads when they meet specific criteria. You can also deduct points when they don’t meet some of your requirements.
The more points a lead has, the more qualified that lead is. And the more effort they’re worth.
It’s up to you to decide which criteria you’ll use to score your leads. But the best way to go about it is to analyze your current customers or clients.
Do they share specific characteristics? Then they’re likely to be important. So, use them to score new leads.
Using metrics and tracking them over time is the best way to tell if your lead gen strategy works. Track these important metrics;
Metric #1 – Landing page users
You need to know how many people land on your lead generation pages. These are your visitors or users.
This metric tells you how many people you can potentially convert into leads.
To determine the number of visitors on each page, open your Google Analytics account and go to:
- Reports > Engagement > Pages and screens.
You’ll see a report with all your pages at the bottom. The second column shows the number of users that landed on those pages:
Metric #2 – Landing page conversions
In your case, a conversion is when visitors opt-in by giving you their email addresses.
There are several ways to track how many visitors you converted into leads.
The simplest is to see how many emails addresses you collected (if email addresses are what you wanted to capture). Any good email capture tool will be able to tell you this number.
Another way is to set up conversion events in Google Tag Manager and monitor conversions for that event in Google Analytics (a bit technical).
Or, you could use dedicated software that monitors user behavior on your website, including who opted in on your lead gen landing pages. Smartlook is an example of a tool that records users’ sessions and analyzes their behavior.
Metric #3 – Landing page conversion %
The percentage of users that took your desired action. For example, what percent of visitors to your landing page gave you their email address in exchange for your lead magnet?
You can calculate it using the data you already collected — the number of conversions and users. Then use the following formula:
Total Conversions / Total Users * 100 = Conversion %
For example, if 15 out of 100 users signed up for your free course, your conversion rate is 15% (15 / 100 * 100 = 15).
👉 To summarize, use data to know how well your lead gen strategy works. When you change your landing page, lead magnet, or opt-in form, give it some time, gather the data and see if there is any improvement. You want these metrics to be as high as possible. For example, your conversion rates should be closer to 100% than 0%. That tells you that your lead generation strategy works.
Let me walk you through the most successful lead-generation strategies to generate leads.
Quality lead magnets help you attract leads that are a good fit for your business. It is important that you offer a lead magnet that your ideal buyers will want so you attract a high number of qualified leads.
So, how can you determine which products or services they’d be interested in?
Here are a few strategies you can use;
How To Pick The Right Lead Magnet?
✅ Do keyword research. Keyword research tools, like Ahrefs’ Keyword Generator, can tell you if people search for products and services you consider offering.
Simply enter keywords related to your offer in one of these tools. You’ll be able to see their monthly search volumes — i.e., how many people search for those keywords via search engines.
For example, let’s say you want to create an eBook that helps people optimize their PCs for gaming.
Enter a related keyword — like “how to optimize pc for gaming” — in Ahrefs’ tool and check out its search volume:
As you can see, this keyword gets almost ~1.7K monthly searches. Now that you know there is a good search volume, you can go ahead and create your lead magnet.
✅ Analyze your most popular content. Alternatively, you can analyze which content on your website already performs well. You can then create lead magnets related to that content.
Start by opening the Pages and screens report in Google Analytics. You’ll be able to see which pages on your site get the most views, users, and engagement:
For example, if one page on your site got 50K+ views, that probably means that your audience is very interested in the topic you cover on that page. So, creating a lead magnet related to that topic is probably a good idea.
✅ Conduct surveys. Let your audience tell you what you could help them with. Ask them to share their biggest struggles or goals. Then offer lead magnets that help them overcome the struggles or achieve the goals they mentioned.
Even a simple poll on social media can give you valuable insights:
You can decide which strategy you’ll use. But always rely on data vs. intuition when it comes to lead generation marketing.
77% of Internet users read blogs. That already tells us that blogging is one of the best lead-generation tactics you could use.
On top of that, the right type of content can also attract high-quality leads.
Here’s how you can ensure you’re producing the best content for inbound lead generation;
How To Make Great Content That Converts.
✅ Make your content actionable. Give your audience examples, templates, step-by-step instructions, and everything else they may need to put theory into action. That’s how you’ll give them maximum value — and leave them wondering what they’d get if they paid you.
✅ Research keywords, conduct surveys, and analyze your previous content. The data you get will help you discover which topics to cover in your blog posts.
✅ Call for action. So far, all you have are readers — not leads. To turn them into leads, you need to give them a chance to opt-in to receive your messages, emails, or calls.
In other words, you need to make an offer and get your audience to take you up on it.
A simple call to action (CTA) at the end of your blog posts can fulfill this purpose:
(Source: Paul Cavanagh)
Alternatively, you can add opt-in popups to your posts — just like Optinmonster does:
You can set your popups to appear after users spend a specific amount of time reading your post. That may be the best way to catch their attention.
Either way, the most important thing is to produce high-quality content and make an effort to convert readers into leads. Otherwise, your traffic will remain just that — traffic.
You can write the most high-quality content ever. But it won’t matter if no one can find it.
That’s why you should optimize your blog posts for search engines. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There are many ways you can optimize your content. I’ll mention only the most basic guidelines you should follow:
✅ Include your target keyword in your content. My pro tip is to add it to your headings, intros, and outros. But ensure it’s relevant to the context. Otherwise, it may count as “keyword stuffing,” which is a big no-no in Google’s eyes.
✅ Add high-authority external links. Link to websites with high domain authority (DA) in your content. Also, avoid linking to spammy and commercial sites. For example, if you’re writing about health, it’s better that you link to Healthline than iHerb. Search engines will view your content as more credible.
✅ Add optimized images. Images can help you rank, but only if they’re optimized. That means they need to load fast and be relevant to your content. Don’t forget, you must also describe them using alt text.
Example of an image alt text. Source: PrestigeLinks
✅ Analyze the SERPs. Research the content already ranking in the SERPs for your target keyword. That will give you a good idea of what you should mention in your own post — and how you can best satisfy your audience’s search intent.
In this blog post, Best Website Traffic Chrome Plugins, you can find tools that will help you analyze your website traffic in your browser.
Try to use all these strategies when creating new content to ensure your audience has the best chance of finding it.
Guest blogging is one of my favorite lead-generation strategies. That’s because it has multiple benefits. It can help you:
- Improve your SEO
- Get more referral traffic to your site
- Form relationships with other bloggers
- And, yes — get more leads
So, all things considered, writing guest posts is well worth the effort. But how can you find sites that accept posts from other bloggers?
Easy. Just type in one of the following query strings into Google:
- “write for us” + “niche-related keyword”
- “guest post” + “niche-related keyword”
- “guest bloggers” + “niche-related keyword”
I have mentioned this before in a post about how to boost your blog engagement, but it’s worth repeating here too.
For example, I found numerous sites accepting guest posts about project management using the third string:
After you find sites that seem like a good fit, you just need to reach out to site owners and pitch your idea. But make sure to still do your due diligence — i.e., conduct keyword research or topic analysis — before settling on any one idea.
Once you have a solid idea for your guest post, you can reach out to bloggers using blogger outreach tools. They’ll help you keep tabs on your progress and make the entire process a ton easier.
So, with the right strategy, social media can be an excellent tool for online lead generation. Here’s how to make the most of it:
✅ Offer free products or services. Promoting your lead magnets on social media can help you convert your followers into leads.
You have to ask your followers to take a specific action to get what you’re offering.
Most businesses invite their followers to:
- leave comments
- share their posts
- like their posts, or
- tag them in their own content.
But you can be creative with your CTAs.
For example, you can ask your audience to send you a specific message to receive a product. See how Simon Mitchell does this:
✅ Run giveaways or contests. Running giveaways and contests is similar to offering lead magnets. People still need to opt-in by taking a specific action, and you still need to give them something in return.
The only difference is that not everyone will receive a particular product or service. That can make the reward feel more exclusive, so more people may want to apply to get it.
✅ Go live. Live streaming saw a 99% growth between 2019 and 2020 — and is still exploding in popularity. So, going live can obviously help you grow your audience.
But it can also help you identify potential leads.
The thing is, most people won’t watch you go live unless they’re truly interested in you or your products and services.
So, take the plunge. Go live, and take note of the people who show up consistently. I promise most of them will want to buy from you down the line.
You already know that a landing page is an essential part of every lead generation campaign. Now, let’s talk about how you can optimize it for maximum conversions.
Here’s what your landing page should contain for effective lead generation:
Here’s an example of a landing page that checks all the boxes:
What you don’t see here is an opt-in form. It becomes visible after a user clicks the CTA button:
You can decide for yourself where you want to include your opt-in form. But here’s my suggestion:
- Add short opt-in forms to the main pages.
- Add longer opt-in forms to secondary pages.
For example, if your opt-in form only requires users to enter their email addresses, you should include it on your main page.
But if it requires them to enter additional details — like full name, company size, etc. — I suggest including it on a secondary page.
That way, you won’t clutter your main page with unnecessary details. You’ll also have more space to persuade your audience to take action… and that’s kind of the point of your landing page, right?
Most businesses use chatbots for customer support. But did you know that you can also use them to generate inbound leads?
✅ Greet your visitors. A simple welcome message can help you increase the time users spend on your site. And the more time they spend looking at your content, the likelier they are to convert into leads.
✅ Promote your content. Bots can also point your visitors toward relevant blog posts. And if you’ve followed tip #2, your posts already contain opt-in forms. So your visitors can fill them in and become your leads.
✅ Promote your lead magnets. Want to skip a step? Try to get your visitors to fill out your opt-in form without reading your content first. Simply use your chatbots to promote your free products or services instead of your posts.
✅ Promote your paid products and services. Don’t forget that you can also offer users your paid products and services. That’s often the best way to identify visitors that could turn into high-quality leads.
You don’t have to make a sale immediately. Just ask your visitors if they’re interested in learning how your products or services work. See how Similarweb does this:
So, there are many ways you can use chatbots to generate leads. Try at least one and track your results. I bet you’ll have more leads than you can handle in no time.
Inbound leads can be immensely valuable for your business. As I’ve mentioned, they cost less than outbound leads and are usually more qualified. That means they’re more likely to buy from you, and to do so repeatedly.
So, generating such leads is definitely worth the effort.
Besides, you now have 7 inbound lead-generation strategies at your disposal. All that’s left to do is put them into practice and track your metrics. That’s it.
But I know this can be easier said than done. That’s why I want to help you ensure you actually act on what you’ve learned in this guide.
So, I suggest taking Russell Brunson’s free 5-day lead challenge. It will force you to do all the work in just five days — and see tremendous progress as a result.
Learn How To Generate Unlimited Leads
Do you want more guidance on how to:
- attract leads,
- create effective lead funnels,
- produce high-quality lead magnets,
- and successfully launch your lead generation campaign?
Then join Russell Brunson’s free 5-day lead challenge.
You’ll learn the ins and outs of inbound lead gen and get exclusive access to two “list building” software — free of charge. Simply enter your email address to get started.
Well, there you have it. All the strategies and tactics you need to start attracting and converting inbound marketing leads today!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.
Do you have a tactic for generating leads that I haven’t mentioned? I would love to hear it. Pop a message in the comments below and let us know how you do it.