When we talk about inbound lead generation, we mean a new approach to marketing where potential customers are attracted to our products rather than being interrupted while they are doing something else. This is the key to the new rules of the digital age.
It consists of knowing how to propose relevant content to a specific target and convert the user into a customer:
- At the right time
- In the right place
- In a multi-step process
We have lived through decades in which the power of the advertising message was in the hands of companies that had more financial possibilities and therefore the budget and capital necessary to buy “push” advertising towards consumers. Consumers were passive and constantly bombarded with messages, promotions, and invasive advertising: television, radio, newspapers, billboards, etc.
With the advent of the web, the consumer has much more power than before. The user now has more power and the freedom and time to choose how and where to get information. Customers also know what to buy and where to spend their time. Consequently, knowing how to perform a task that attracts consumers rather than invading your clients’ privacy becomes much more rewarding.
Traditional advertising no longer works as it used to and will work less and less. The trend in this sense is growing due to the fact that people are really enjoying being able to decide exactly who and what to pay attention to, towards whom to direct their time, their choices, their purchases, and how to improve their life in general.
To exploit this new opportunity, you need inbound marketing strategies so that you have the most effective tools and levers to make everything work as best as possible.
Inbound vs Outbound Lead Generation
So, what is the difference between inbound vs outbound lead generation? As we have said, the purchasing behavior of contemporary consumers has changed. The methods of interaction between company and customer and what the public expects from a business activity have also changed.
Direct advertising communication is usually outbound, and it involves:
- Sending cold emails
It’s a bit more assertive and is often seen as ‘interruptive’ because it contacts people who might not have shown interest initially. While outbound methods can bring in a larger volume of leads, these folks may not be as ready to buy right away. It can offer quicker results, but it might not create the same long-term customer connections that inbound does.
With inbound lead generation, the aim is to attract potential customers by offering free, valuable content. Think of it as a way to create a connection with people who really want to hear from you. This means you will use:
- Social media campaigns (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
- Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website text.
- Viral videos.
- Web-based seminars (Webinars)
The key focus here isn’t on the sheer number of leads but on the quality – the goal is to nurture these prospects through their journey. Many businesses these days actually combine both inbound and outbound strategies to find that sweet spot between building trust and getting results quickly.
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Demand Generation vs Inbound Marketing
We should also talk about demand generation vs inbound marketing. People often use these terms interchangeably, but it is not correct. Think of demand generation as the wider umbrella and inbound marketing as one of the strategies under it.
Demand Generation is about creating awareness and interest in your products or services, essentially generating demand for what you offer. The idea is to get your brand out there and make people curious about what you’ve got.
The difference between demand generation and lead generation is very subtle, but their ultimate goal is to convert a clearly defined target audience into a paying customer base. And before you ask, outbound lead generation is typically considered a part of demand generation.
If we are to compare inbound vs outbound lead generation techniques, both can contribute to achieving optimal outcomes in demand generation. By combining the strengths of inbound and outbound approaches, businesses can create a comprehensive demand generation strategy that captures high-quality leads, expands their reach, and fosters relationships with ready-to-convert prospects and those in earlier stages of the buyer’s journey.
Inbound lead generation is the process of nurturing leads who have already expressed interest in you and converting them into customers, and your demand generation campaigns must be fine-tuned before your lead generation strategies can be effective. You start by attracting the attention of as many potential customers in your niche as possible and gradually narrow your focus to qualified ones.
An inbound lead generation strategy helps your prospects become clients and loyal ones. To achieve this, you must follow the following five steps:
- Research: Understanding your audience’s behavior helps you find weaknesses in your strategy and site, leading to better optimization of your purchase funnel and website. This can boost time spent on your site and, hopefully, conversion rates. You can also use on-site customer behavior tools for A/B testing. For instance, if you’re unsure which value proposition or CTA design attracts more potential customers for your online business, these tools can help you decide.
- Attract: How can you attract visitors to your website or social media accounts? People look for content that interests them, so you should help them solve their problems by answering any questions they may have. The valuable content can take the form of blog posts, landing pages, infographics, guides, white papers, videos, and more. You can then use search engine optimization, social media, and other distribution channels to get your content in front of their eyes. This step is the top of your lead funnel and ultimately attracts an audience that you can convert into leads.
- Convert: Once they are classified as sales-qualified leads, they need to be passed on to your sales team to work on closing deals.
- Sell: You converted your visitors into leads. They were qualified by your sales team and moved into your sales funnel. The fourth step is to complete the purchase. At this point, your sales team engages prospects to continue the sales process. Some of these leads may be eliminated, while others will become real opportunities that can turn into deals. Once the deal is completed, ensure that customers are well served, achieve their goals with your product or service, and continue to build rapport.
- Build loyalty: The last step is to turn your customers into your biggest fans. Some leads will become one-time customers, and that will be the end of their communication with you. Other clients need to go one step further. You should encourage a genuine connection of value with your clients. If you continue to find solutions and solve their problems, they will become your loyal audience and will make purchases in the future and advertise your business to their network.
Inbound Lead Generation
Unlike traditional methods of promotion, inbound lead generation does not compete for the users’ attention and does not distract them from their unresolved problems. Instead, it captures the audience’s attention with helpful content that meets people’s needs and will come to your website by themselves. Automating marketing processes can significantly facilitate the implementation of a marketing strategy and increase its effectiveness.
The main focus of your enterprise is to build long-lasting relationships based on genuine attachment with potential and existing clients. You need to remember that after the sale, inbound marketing continues to work for you since building long-term relationships with clients is a continuous process.