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Inbound marketing utilizes any or all of the forms of “pull” marketing (blogs, SEO, events, social media, content marketing, etc.) to attract new business and create brand awareness.



Why should you care?

Because inbound marketing is hot. So hot that in 2013, about 60 percent of 3,300 marketers surveyed worldwide use the practice. So what’s all the buzz? Read on to find out more.

According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, inbound marketing yields a stronger ROI than traditional marketing and has grown around 50 percent for the third consecutive year, according to the annual report.

Given this information, your emphatic social media presence and captivating blog posts aren’t futile. Hubspot’s report also found that last year, inbound marketing produce 54 percent more leads compared to outbound sources. Keep in mind, although inbound marketing is hot, not all subsequent inbound leads are hot as well.

Qualified Leads Vs. Dead Leads

An expert marketer doesn’t believe all inbound leads are warm. Sales reps and marketers commonly mistake inbound leads as warm leads because of a person’s initial inquiry or sign of interest, which aren’t necessarily substantial lead qualifiers. If you treat an unqualified inbound lead as an automatic easy sale or quick conversion, you could waste your resources. Once you qualify the lead, you can effectively nurture it and start the selling process.

All inbound leads aren’t equal. Each is valued differently, and you need to gather more information about the person before you work the pitch. One lead who was redirected to your landing page from a blog post may be ready to buy. One lead may just want the free giveaway offered on Facebook and have nothing to do with your products and services thereafter. Someone may have genuine, but long-term interest that’s not immediately actionable.

Qualifying separates the dead-end inquiries from the real potential buyers. Discard dead leads with zero potential and focus on qualified real buyers by immediately engaging with hot leads and moving warm leads into a database. A sales and marketing team can even using a scoring system to determine the value of a lead from warm to hot, recommends ReadyContacts.

Determining a Qualified Lead

Communication determines the quality of your lead. Ideally, wait no longer than a few hours to follow-up and call your inbound leads, recommends McCarthy & King Marketing. Assess their potential as real buyers by asking lead-qualifying questions. Your goal is to gathering information about the following:

  • What motivated the person to act on a post, article or piece of content?
  • What is the level of need the person has for your product or service and can he or she afford it?
  • Does the lead have an influence in the purchasing decision?
  • Is the lead interested in other similar products or services (competitors?)
  • What does he or she like so far?
  • How long has the person been interested in this product or service and what’s held him or her back from purchasing or investing?
  • How long will the lead need to make a decision?

Inbound + Outbound Marketing

Sales reps and marketers may be less inclined to cold call an inbound lead because of telemarketing’s bad reputation. Email or direct mail can serve as a follow-up technique, but are easy to dismiss. A phone call and personalized conversation completes the lead-qualifying process. Attracting a lead through inbound marketing tactics and securing the lead through an outbound marketing tactic (cold calling) maximizes the marketing strategy.

Before dialing, know your online consumer. Information about your prospect and consumer context can help you sell smarter and respond effectively to customer preferences. QuoteWizard, an auto insurance leads company, breaks down the online consumer into five online personality types. The online consumer can be a passive user, proactive protector, solely shopper, open sharer, or simply interactor. After you’ve identified your lead, you can determine its value and make the pitch if you qualify it.

Along with a phone conversation, sales reps and marketers can also qualify a lead with incentives and email. Offer a special discount or giveaway for completing a survey. Use a perk to encourage a lead to fill out a contact form. The more you learn about your prospect, the more effectively you can use his or her needs to optimally sell.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

4 Ways Business Blogging Helps Build Trust In Your Business
What Makes The Perfect Blog Post? [Infographic]
Why Should You Care About Starting A Blog?
Will Your Website Be A Success Or A Failure In The Coming Years?
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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