lead-generationI’m frequently approached by business owners and marketing directors who want to redesign their company website. Often their existing, outdated website would benefit greatly from a graphical refresh. But rarely has much thought been given to how redesigning the website will solve one basic business challenge – generating sales leads.

Smart businesses are realizing that old, “outbound” marketing tactics like trade shows and print advertising don’t work as well as they used to. So they’re shifting to digital, “inbound” marketing methods to generate leads and convert them into customers.

A company’s website is the hub of an inbound marketing strategy. Here are 5 things every inbound-focused website must have to start generating leads:

1) Search Engine Optimization

  • Top-performing inbound marketers say “getting found” is their #1 priority. [tweet this]
  • Worldwide, 88 billion searches per month are conducted on Google. [tweet this]
  • 70% of the links search users click on are organic, not paid. [tweet this]
  • 46% of daily searches are for info on products or services. [tweet this]
  • 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. [tweet this]
If you aren’t ranking well for the words that describe your products and services, then you’re not getting found for them either.

2) Blogging

  • The more keyword-rich content you generate by blogging, the more search engines will find (and love) you. [tweet this]
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more website visits per month than those who do not. [tweet this]
  • B2B companies that blog only 1-2x per month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog. [tweet this]
  • Companies with more indexed web pages get way more leads – and blogging is an excellent way to get more indexed pages. [tweet this]
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. [tweet this]
Blogging helps prospects understand what you do and customers stay up to date with your offerings and thought leadership. Search engines love it too, because each post represents another page that they can index for a specific topic and feed to others searching that phrase.


3) Social Media

  • 93% of U.S. adult Internet users are on Facebook. [tweet this]
  • Marketers who spent 6 hours a week or more using social media and engaging/sharing content on it saw 52% more leads than those who did not. [tweet this]
  • Companies that use Twitter average double the amount of leads per month than those that do not. [tweet this]
  • Both B2C & B2B companies are acquiring customers through Facebook. [tweet this]
  • More than 1/3 of marketers say Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business. [tweet this]
Social media is an effective way to create exposure for your business online,  meaningfully engage with prospects and generate leads.

4) Landing Pages, Content Offers & Calls-to-Action

  • According to FOCUS, it is only the last third of the sales process when prospects actually want to engage with a sales representative. [tweet this]
  • Companies see a 55% increase in leads from increasing landing pages from 10 to 15. [tweet this]
  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing. [tweet this]
Downloadable content offers, such as eBooks and case studies, should educate your prospects while also speaking to the different stages of your sales process – awareness, consideration, and decision – so that the leads they generate can be nurtured most effectively.


5) Lead Nurturing

  • According to an MIT study done with InsideSales.com, 78% of sales that start with a web inquiry go to the company that responds FIRST! [tweet this]
  • According to a DemandGen report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. [tweet this]
  • According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing are able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead. [tweet this]
Lead-nurturing campaigns help you further educate and build relationships with non-sales ready leads in a scalable, effective way.


5½) Marketing Automation

An effective content marketing strategy has many moving parts, including SEO, blogging, social media, content creation, and lead nurturing, not to mention continuous measurement of all your marketing efforts to make sure they’re working.

Of course there are inexpensive, even free services to manage various tactics – Google AdWords and Analytics for SEO, WordPress for blogging, posting directly to Facebook and Twitter, and an email marketing tool to handle lead nurturing follow-up. But rather than cobbling together a “frankensystem” of disconnected services, marketing automation software simplifies the process and ties all these tactics together.

Marketing automation software like Hubspot integrates all the components necessary to execute an inbound marketing campaign. The software integrates a contact database and tracks how visitors actually interact with your website to convert into leads, so that you can more effectively nurture and close customers from your website.

Businesses that have seen little return from their outdated websites are realizing the value of inbound marketing when redesigning their company websites, to attract qualified traffic and convert visitors into leads and sales.