Five Dos and Don'ts for Inbound Lead Generation in 2021

Believe it or not, we’re starting to plan for 2021 already, and 61% of marketers say lead generation is a top concern for the year ahead. Clients wonder how to get more inbound leads, how to make sure those leads are high quality, and how much they should pay for good inbound leads. The following dos and don’ts of inbound lead generation can help your organization drive more quality inbound leads while also monitoring and limiting expenses.

Thanks, for the chart!

DO Make Sure You Have a Clear Call to Action

Your website, social profiles, and marketing materials should be designed to produce relevant leads for your business. In order to do that, you need to make sure that you feature a clear and compelling call to action. What do you want your audience to do? Some compelling CTAs include:

  • Sign Up for a Free Trial
  • Subscribe to Receive Our Welcome Offer
  • Schedule a Demonstration
Button examples from

There are thousands of possible CTAs, so it’s important to keep your audience in mind when creating a compelling offer. Are you selling a product or service that customers can test out online for free? Giving customers a chance to try it out for a week or month may be enough to get them hooked. If your service requires a deeper understanding, a product demonstration might be the way to go. For physical products, allowing people to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a welcome discount can bring in new leads and new sales.

DON’T Spend More Than Your Leads are Worth

When you are paying money to generate inbound leads, it’s important to make sure that your leads are generating more revenue than you’re spending to get them. Over time, your Return on Investment (or ROI) should be significantly higher than your marketing expenses. Here’s a helpful article about measuring and improving ROI for marketing campaigns.

Keep in mind that positive ROI takes time. Your marketing campaigns might not be an overnight success; depending on your typical sales cycle, it can take time to see a positive return. However, you should get a sense of what each inbound lead is costing you to know if you’re paying too much. For example, if your product sells for $50 and each lead costs an average of $25, you are going to have a very hard time making a real profit when you factor in manufacturing expenses, employee salaries, shipping, and other costs. Ask the following questions to determine your target cost per lead:

  • How much do your products or services cost to deliver?
  • What is your profit per sale?
  • What percentage of your leads become paying customers?

For example, it costs $50 to produce your thingamajig. You sell each one for $100, leaving you a profit of $50 per item. On average, one out of every ten of your leads becomes a customer. That means your leads need to cost less than $5 for you to make a comfortable profit.

DO Use Multiple Tactics to Generate Inbound Leads

There are many different ways to generate inbound leads in 2021, and it’s important to experiment to find out which ones perform best for your organization. Consider the following options:

  • SEO: Optimize your website so that potential customers find you in their searches. The leads you receive as a result of a well-optimized website should be highly relevant and ready to learn more or even make a purchase.
  • Social Media: Build awareness about your brand using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. You might not see immediate sales from your efforts, but social media offers an affordable way to stay front-of-mind with your prospects.
  • Google Ads: Reach your target audience when they’re searching for products or services like yours. If you have a compelling offer, Google Ads offers a great way to generate new inbound leads.
  • Content Marketing: Create content that answers your audience’s questions or shares useful tips. Great shareable content can take the form of blogs, videos, or infographics, so try to create posts across multiple media formats.
  • Display Ads: Placing ads on relevant videos or websites is a good way to reach your target audience when they might not be thinking about products or services like yours. Display ads usually have lower levels of engagement than Google or Facebook Ads, but they also tend to be much more affordable.

DON’T Neglect Your Website

Remember, most of your inbound lead prospects will come through your website before initiating any sort of contact with your sales team. Statistics say only 4% of those web visitors are ready to buy, but that’s okay – converting a visitor into a lead (by collecting his or her email address) will give you the opportunity to follow up and win their business. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your website makes it easy – and compelling – for your visitors to express interest.

In 2021, a great website is optimized for mobile (since more than 50% of the web’s traffic comes from mobile devices). It should also be easy to navigate, so visitors can find the information they want quickly. Your call to action should be impossible to miss. The average web visitor will spend no more than 15 seconds on your website, so you need to make a good impression, and you need to do it fast. User experience is everything, so don’t be afraid to put some time and money into your websites UX design and work with a professional to get it right.

Do Offer Users Different Ways to Engage

People are individuals with unique interests and communication preferences. Even though you may have your target audience profile zeroed in, it’s likely that there will be some variation among those individuals. For example, some may prefer to watch videos to learn more about a product, while others may prefer to read articles. Some may not have the time to go through a personal demonstration but might sign up for a webinar so they can listen while they work. Among your audience, you will have some who want to speak on the phone or send an email, but 67% will prefer self-service options like an online knowledge base to find the answers to their questions. The more options you offer, the more likely you are to receive new leads and win over their business.

Are you ready to step up your inbound lead generation for 2021? Send us a message and we’ll set up a call to review your marketing goals!

Welcome to the third and final post in our series on maximizing the time you spend on marketing. Here’s what we’ve covered so far:

Now, it’s time to get tactical. Your goal during this stage is to structure your marketing channels so that you can “set and forget” them. In other words, build your marketing platform so that it’s always working for you in the background while you tend to sales and operations. To do that, let’s dive into the four tactics that will help you maximize the time you spend on marketing:

  1. Implement the Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Establish a Digital Advertising/Search Engine Marketing Presence
  3. Set up Your Marketing Automation System
  4. Prepare for Inbound Lead Generation


1. Implement the Basics of Search Engine Optimization

“SEO is like breathing. You just need to do it, every day.”

This quote is from Frank, our head of Digital Marketing, and it sums up the essence of search engine optimization. So many SEO books have been written, and so many more blogs have been posted on various SEO tips and recommendations, that the core of SEO can be obscure for the layman. But SEO’s three pillars are much simpler than they seem:

The three phases of SEO

The three phases of SEO

  1. Optimize your website “under the hood” so that your pages have the strongest density of key terms you want to be known for in the right places in your site’s code (your URLs, your page titles, etc.)
  2. Publish regular content that includes your keywords, which will keep your site fresh in search results
  3. Get people to share your content and link to your website (ideally using your keywords in their links)

We recommend using Google’s excellent Keyword Planner tool to identify the target keywords you’ll use as the cornerstone of your search engine optimization strategy. Once you’ve got your SEO terms, review your website and make sure that those terms are reflected in the areas of your site such as your URLs, header tags, and internal links. After you’ve taken care of the basic nuts and bolts, it’s time to start creating new content. Set aside a day, write four blog posts that feature your target keywords, and then set them to publish weekly for four weeks. Repeat this process each month, track your progress using Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools, and adjust your content as necessary.


2. Establish a Digital Advertising/Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Presence

Search engine marketing goes hand-in-hand with SEO. But whereas SEO is a more passive, “organic” channel, digital/PPC advertising lets you jump to the front of the search engine results page (SERP) line. Because of that efficacy, your pay-per-click advertising strategy should be different than your SEO strategy in one significant way:

Use SEM to target new audiences, rather than the existing terms where you rank well organically.

For example, if Young Marketing Consulting was ranking highly for, well, marketing consulting, but not as highly as a digital marketing agency, we would want to invest in PPC advertising campaign to put us in the top results for Washington DC digital marketing agencies.

SEM/PPC Ad Best Practice from Google

How do you write good PPC ad copy? Look no further than Google!

The next thing you want to do in a strong digital marketing campaign is to create an experience that will reward your leads for giving you their information. What offer will draw their interest enough to click on your ad, and once they land on your page what will give them that extra nudge to sign up?

Finally, you want to think about where (and when) your audience will be. If you’re selling breakfast food, there’s little point in advertising after 10 am or so. And if you’re only operating in the Washington DC metro area, for example, you’ll want to limit your ads as appropriate.

Once you’ve established the areas above, you’ll just need to set your budget, turn on your campaign, and let the software do the work.


3. Set up Your Marketing Automation System

Marketing Automation is one of our favorite aspects of digital marketing. Ultimately, what we all want is to make the process of generating and nurturing leads as pain-free as possible, which is the promise of marketing automation. There’s only one problem: setting up an automation platform requires you to invest a lot of upfront work to get up and running. Luckily, you’re working with a marketing firm with a lot of marketing automation experience.

The most important key to success for any marketing automation effort is to have your business rules clearly defined ahead of time. Think of your business rules as a series of IF/THEN statements. If a lead does X, what should happen? Keep building out these statements until you reach the end of the line. Take your ideal workflow to everyone who will be affected by your marketing automation and see if there are any outliers you aren’t covering. Once you’ve got your business rules blessed, it’s time to build your system.

One of the most common questions we get asked as a marketing consultant is to recommend a particular software suite for marketing automation. There are roughly four thousand possible choices, and the real answer is that most of them are exactly the same. They all allow you to customize your fields and workflows, create autoresponders, group and track leads and contacts, etc., so the tool you use will come down to personal taste. Pick the tool that best fits how you’d like to work and you’re off to the races.

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic

4. Drive Inbound Lead Generation through Offers

Finally, now that you’ve got your marketing automation infrastructure in place, the last step is to continually put out offers to your audience that will entice them to take action and either give you their contact information or make a purchase. These are the “carrots” that will draw potential leads to you, and there are a few tips for making them valuable. The ideal inbound lead generation content is:

  • Time-Sensitive – it’s hitting your lead at the right time, driving them to take an action within a certain window
  • Unique – it separates your offer from the others out there
  • Valuable – what you’re offering is valuable enough to drive action on your potential lead’s part
  • Personalized – something that speaks to your individual lead’s core
  • Repetitive – you’re not just doing it once and seeing what happens. You’re putting the offer out over a long enough period of time to see if it truly performs

With the above set up, you’ll be in great shape to maximize your inbound lead generation in no time!

Thanks very much for reading our series. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything related to SEO, SEM, marketing automation and inbound lead generation, please contact Young Marketing Consulting today!