Marketing experiments: 891 inbound leads in a month
May 2013 marks the one year anniversary of my inbound marketing journey with Hubspot. I’d always been an inbound marketing disciple but for the last 12 months I’ve been actively implementing it. That’s right.. social media, landing pages, lead nurturing, calls to action and blogging!
And I’m pleased to announce a…
A record month on Hubspot – 891 leads (8.1% conversion rate)!
We had 10,944 visitors to our Bluewire Media website, and 891 leads. For the analytics geeks like me, that’s 8.1% conversion rate for the entire website.
Also a lead is defined as a website visitor who downloads a premium piece of content in exchange for their name and email address. We define a qualified sales-ready prospect an an opportunity.
What’s especially pleasing as a marketer is that April was the previous record month with just shy of 600 leads – and we beat this by another 50%. So what’s contributed to this? And what have I learnt that I can hope to replicate?
1. Create (lots of) landing pages
This may seem obvious to seasoned inbound marketers, but landing pages are where the action happens. People aren’t going to jump through hoops to give you their details and opt-in to communicating with you, so make it easy!
Remove distracting navigation, have a simple form, and a big colourful “download” button. My rule of thumb for naming these buttons is <verb> <noun> . For example, Download template is “active” and more enticing than Submit which reminds us of submitting taxes or assignments. Boring!
For more hands-on “how-to” tips, you can checkout my previous post Marketing experiments: Anatomy of an irresistible landing page.
The kind people at Hubspot have always said that companies with 10-15+ landing pages will attract 55% more leads. So with that in mind, last month I added an Inbound Marketing Flight Plan, Social Media Image Sizes and How to Blog for Business e-book to take my number of landing pages to 15.
2. Keyword research
I always make a habit of doing some basic keyword research so I can optimise my landing for keyword phrases that have high traffic and low competition. My friend Andy Crestodina wrote my go-to resource on this topic called How To Research Keywords.
3. Deliver bite-size value
I know. Sounds too simple to mention, but put your best stuff up for prospects to download, and keep it coming in small digestible chunks. Unless I am producing an e-book, I try to deliver one or two-page resources so they are succinct and useful!
“Eventually everyone is out of their depth, and when they need help, who do you reckon they are they going to ask…? The people who they know, like and trust the most!”
And remember knowing what to do is a lot different to having the skill and discipline to execute the plan every day.
4. Use calls to action
Your ‘call to action’, (also known as a CTA to us inbound marketing folk) doesn’t need to be high pressure, in-your-face and scream BUY NOW! I’ve found that if I write a decent blog post then some people will be interested in finding out more about that topic.
My calls to action merely invite the interested readers to access more information about the subject. Usually it’s a link to landing page where they can download content that explores the idea further.
5. Headlines matter
I’ve been using a book recommended by Michael Hyatt (author of Platform) and it’s called Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich by David Garfinkel. The book has the ugliest and most obnoxious cover I’ve ever seen, but it is absolute gold as a reference for writing headlines.
For example, I write a regular column for Startup Smart, an Aussie business blog. I use a call to action at the end of each article and it usually delivers 20-40 leads each fortnight. Until May, I’d write the headline as an afterthought, but last month I spent a good 30 minutes crafting my headline, and using Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich as my guide.
I used a variation of a headline that is proven to work and I titled my article Do you recognise these seven marketing sins? It obviously resonated with the editor at Startup Smart as they decided to republish it on their sister site Smart Company. And it was popular with readers too and led to 100 leads in single day. I’ve learnt it is well worth taking the time to write decent titles!
6. The works starts when you hit publish
Previously I’d post blog articles, tweet them out and maybe ask some of my colleagues to share it if they found it interesting. However last month I stepped things up and proactively went about promoting my posts.
- First thing I did was ask 5 or 6 friends or industry peers to comment on my blog posts because I knew they’d have something valuable and insightful to add.
- Secondly I’d add the blog post to my weekly Bluewire News email which we send to over 7,043 subscribers. I’d also ask people to speak their mind in the comments if they had something to add.
- And finally I would add my blog posts to LinkedIn Group discussions which would trigger more comments and shares.
7. Sharing Tools on LinkedIn and Facebook is effective
Like me, I’m sure you are members of several LinkedIn groups. If you’re anything like I was a month ago, I never contributed a thing, other than the odd like.
Now, in addition to adding my best blog posts, I also make sure I add my best premium content to LinkedIn and the groups I belong to. I also share the premium tools on my personal Facebook page to get some additional exposure with my Facebook friends. I’m treading cautiously here as I don’t want to bombard friends with ‘marketing messages’ but equally I want to to share our free tools with people who are interested in using them.
8. Get a blog pop-up form
This one is controversial, I know. But I decided to install a blog pop-up that offers new readers our most popular tool as a download. And I did so based on Hubspot’s social media scientist Dan Zarrella‘s research. He found that blog pop-ups are very effective and do not drive people away.
We get about a 1-2% conversion rate on our blog pop-up form, so we are capturing a good amount of leads from our blog traffic.
You may be intrigued to know that our blog pop-up form is much more effective than the calls to action at the end of each blog post. For the month of May there were 61 leads for the blog pop-up vs 6 leads for the CTAs at the end of a blog.
Organic search and referrals deliver the most leads
The numbers don’t lie! Organic search and referrals combined contributed the lion’s share of leads – nearly 650 for the month. And the good thing about organic search is that there is minimal additional work required to keep these leads flowing in, month in, month out. Referrals requires a fair bit more work to maintain since I must write guest blog articles or produce content worthy of back links, but the results are worth it.
It will be interesting to see how these leads convert into customers. And I hope to report back to you soon about the conversion results.
If your organisation is looking to build an inbound marketing function, you may find the Inbound Marketing Flight Plan useful – it’s a free download.
So fellow inbound marketers and Hubspot users, what has worked for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, thanks!