Inbound Marketing 101: A Step by Step Guide to Lead Generation.

Having a tough time attracting qualified traffic to your website?

Are you puzzled when reviewing your site’s analytics, wondering why visitors aren’t converting into valuable leads and, more importantly, loyal customers?

It might be time to refine, retool, or rethink your marketing plan.

Inbound marketing is the most efficient way to turn complete strangers into delighted customers and advocates of your business.

Inbound Marketing

The concept of Inbound Marketing process is very simple. However, it can get really overwhelming when it comes to putting it into action. I am sure you have seen infographics of the steps but you have no idea where to begin.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is all about providing personalized, relevant content to your target audience.

Instead of pushing out interruptive messages that can easily be ignored, you should be providing educational and entertaining content that they are already searching for online.

The power behind an effective inbound marketing program is that prospects and customers alike can opt to give you their contact information in exchange for the most premium content you provide.

This is how casual blog visitors become leads and the more options you provide for a visitor to become a lead — keeping in mind that every person is at a different position in the marketing funnel —  the more opportunities you have to convert them to customers and eventually raving loyal fans.


Goals of inbound marketing.

  • Drive more traffic to your website through blogging, SEO, social media, and other tactics.
  • Capture 1-3% of raw traffic as new inbound leads to continuously fill your contact database.
  • Nurture leads through targeted email marketing campaigns to segment high-priority contacts and engage in sales conversations.
  • Generate a reasonable number of leads per month to achieve incremental goals

 The Process of Inbound Marketing.

I am going to give you a step-by-step process that, over time, will turn your website into the lead generation machine you expect it to be.

But before we dive into it, here is a break down of what you will learn from this process.

You’ll Learn:

  • How to identify your ideal target audience.
  • Ways to attract qualified traffic to your website.
  • Strategies to convert these anonymous web visitors into viable leads, and, ultimately, loyal customers.
  • Ways to align your sales and marketing departments so they can work together seamlessly.
  • Important analytics to monitor throughout the sales funnel.


target audience

Step 1: Who is your Target Audience?

Before you can create the killer content that will become the backbone of your inbound marketing strategy, it’s imperative that you understand your target audience.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal or most common customers.

By outlining these characters’ attributes, you’re essentially creating a blueprint for your marketing strategy — most notably: how to target people like this with your content.


Step 2: Create A Good User Experience.

You cannot succeed without a remarkable Website and User Experience.

If an agency is offering you a website design or redesigns for free, it’s probably free for a reason. Don’t cut corners during the design and development phases.

Create a site you’re not only proud of, but that’s going to bring your visitors back time and time again.

Furthermore, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. Don’t create something that makes it difficult for them to understand exactly what you’re offering or that is hard to navigate through.

Make the site’s various elements as simple and efficient as possible to ensure your visitors are taking appropriate action when landing on a web page

If a visitor is in the decision phase (meaning that they’re ready to invest), it’s vital that your website engage and lead that visitor through the conversion process.

If your site fails to give people a clear and obvious reason to stick around, it’s likely that they’ll leave and not come back.

There are things you should put as a priority if you want to generate qualified leads:


You need to ensure that people are organically finding you under desired keywords in your preferred location (this could be hyper-local or global).

First, you need to perform proper keyword research by using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, which will help you discover keyword volume, the competition of keywords and key phrases, and uncover additional long-tail key phrases that can help attract qualified traffic.


Frequent blog posts provide visitors with interesting content that’ll position your business as an industry leader.

Blog posts also provide potential prospects with ways to land on your website while adding credibility in the “eyes” of search engines.

Although a blog is just one type of content that can add value to your inbound strategy, it is by far one of the most effective.

It’s imperative that you write blog content on a consistent basis (at least once per month).


Step 3: Create Content and Call to Actions.

You have to create content that converts.

Write separate content for people who are at the beginning stages of the buying process versus those who are closer to making a decision.

By targeting people with content appropriate for where they are specifically within the buying process, you can nurture those leads further along in the sales cycle.

For leads towards the beginning of the sales cycle, you should focus on developing unique content and offers that will provide value to potential customers — enough value that they’ll voluntarily fill out a form to download that content/offer, providing you with critical information (e.g. email address, phone number, occupation, challenges or pain points, goals, etc.).

Content such as whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, and podcasts are examples of great tools that help your personas learn more about your industry and achieve their goals.

It’s important to note that this content isn’t about selling your products or services. The focus should be on helping visitors recognize that they have a need, as well as facilitating learning about potential resolutions to their challenges.

You also want to have conversion methods in place to capture leads closer to the end of the sales process, with offers like free consultations, trials or demos, quotes, conversations with a specialist, etc.

Drive visitors to take these next steps using calls-to-action. Place Call To Actions (CTAs) in strategic locations so people can click through to claim offers.

Finally, create landing pages where these conversions can take place.

When a visitor clicks a CTA (which counts as a type of conversion), they should be directed to what’s called a landing page.

This is where they will fill out a short contact form in exchange for free content, sign up for a consultation, or request more information.

This should ultimately lead to a “thank you” page, where the visitor will receive confirmation that their information was received and the offer delivered (if applicable).


RELATED CONTENT: 10 SEO Basics To Master in 2020.


 Step 4: Create an Email List or Contact Database.

Creating email lists according to personas is such a lifesaver.

It’s imperative that, when sending emails, you’re sending the absolute most relevant content to that particular prospect, lead, or customer.

The more irrelevant content they receive, the more likely it is that they will unsubscribe from future communication — or mark your emails as spam.

First, create an email campaign for each persona and/or pain point.

For instance, an ideal customer may have gotten to the proposal stage but ended up choosing another company instead. For personas on this list, you may want to send follow-up emails — first thanking them for their consideration, and later checking in on them to see how things are going.

This not only maintains brand awareness but lets consumers know that you’re here to help if they’re not satisfied with the company they’ve chosen.

Create a “workflow” of emails that get sent to each person based on which list they are in.

Dynamically change the user experience for specific visitors. Utilize different CTAs and dimensions of your website to guide particular leads further along in the cycle.

Step 5: Do Your Analytics and see what works.

Never fall victim to complacency.

As a marketer, business owner, or agency, it’s critical to pay close attention to analytics and data — both of which are crucial to the success of your website.

Always test the elements of your inbound marketing campaign.

Below are some metrics to take note of.

  • Email: Which ones garner the most opens and the highest clickthrough rates?
  • Keywords: Which ones are providing you with the most qualified traffic?
  • Calls-to-Action: Which CTAs are performing the best and why?
  • Landing Pages: Which pages have the highest conversion rates?
  • Social Media: What content are people engaging with the most?
  • Blogging: What posts are driving the most traffic and social shares?
  • Sources: What sources are driving the most qualified leads?

OK, you just put in a lot of work.

Now we’ve got enough data to start again from Step 1.

However, keep implementing what’s working and tweak what isn’t — even as you further identify and segment your audiences.

Over time, you’ll have a lead generation system that will produce more inbound leads for your sales team and help to close them at a higher rate.


I would strongly advise you to leave the old-school, pushy sales strategies in the past, and move forward with a personalized approach that customers will notice and appreciate.

Whether you target audiences of various demographics or one specific niche, inbound marketing can work for your business.

If you understand who your audience is and craft messages that appeal to their interests and preferences, you’ll be on your way to more human, lovable marketing campaigns.


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