In the final part of our series on how to create a marketing funnel, we discuss 15 ways to create more inbound sales-qualified leads. And this starts with defining an MQL.
MQL stands for Marketing Qualified Lead. An MQL is a lead vetted by your marketing team who shows a higher likelihood of becoming a paying customer in the future. Defining MQL criteria is our first tip.
1. Define clear MQL criteria.
Over 89% of marketers have clearly defined criteria for identifying MQLs, like weighting frequent website visitors who read several blog posts and return to learn more about your company higher than those who don’t. Marketers often use gated content to gain MQLs by offering a relevant white paper, ebook, demo and something else in exchange for an email address. The average percentage of leads that become marketing qualified is around 35%. By clearly defining the data you need to qualify an MQL, experts say it can focus all your processes on guiding them there.
2. Segment your leads and create a targeted list of business contacts.
Avoid treating all of your leads the same way. Segment your leads based on their buyer’s journey and what stage of your marketing funnel they’re in. Also, generate a targeted list of leads that can be filtered by company size, industry, location, revenue, funding, technology used, job title and other relevant criteria.
3. Create different content based on where people are in your marketing funnel.
Creating content that’s relevant to a person’s current situation will resonate with them, entice them to want more and qualify as an MQL. Use the opportunity to start a relationship by offering relatable content of value in exchange for an email opt-in. Review part two of our series for detailed examples.
4. Nurture your leads and use automation to do it.
No inbound lead is an instant MQL. First, nurture that lead throughout your marketing funnel with marketing automation to educate them and create demand for your product or service, so they’ll transform into an MQL on their own and convert into a customer.
5. Leverage the power of added value.
Offering something of value in your marketing messages and content is key for driving better MQLs. They will collect the information they need and get to that 50-percent-committed stage in the funnel. Guides, tips, tutorials and other gated content is a great way to solve your customers’ problems while making it fun for everyone. Plus, you win by getting their contact information.
6. Add an embedded promotion to your email signature.
By integrating a promotion link to relevant content, you can get more sales leads to your landing page – for nothing.
7. Connect with multiple touch points.
Experts agree that the average B2B sale takes more than 10 marketing touch points from the top of funnel to a closed sale. Touch points could include blog posts, emails, white papers, quizzes, calculators, games, social media competitions and more. Join relevant social media groups, list your company on directories, use online forums to generate more leads, answer relevant questions on user-generated Q&A websites, get more online reviews – all these activities will add to the pool of qualified leads.
8. Write effective CTAs.
Tell people what action you want them to take next. Don’t bury the lead (pun intended) - clarity over cleverness always wins when it comes to calls-to-action. And don’t leave the action up to your visitors. To drive them in the way you want them to go, use your most effective CTAs.
9. Entice MQLs with case studies.
Interview the most active clients you have to find out what kind of progress they’ve made with your product or service. Create case studies and share them with leads in the assessment stage. After reading about your clients’ progress— especially for those facing similar challenges— these prospects may be ready to convert themselves into MQLs.
10. Use targeted press releases to generate news coverage and generate more leads.
A well-written press release targeted to the right media outlets can generate news coverage or in-depth content on your company, your products and services, your corporate culture or community service – all to drive traffic to your website and generate more leads.
11. Use video to tell your story.
Marketing videos on landing pages are not only trendy. Experts say videos are proven to increase conversion by up to 80% - plus, 64% of audiences who see video content are more likely to convert.
12. Speak at industry events or create an event of your own.
Attending industry events and trade shows is a great way to network with existing customers and meet new and qualified leads. Speaking at events where you also have a booth gives you the chance to position yourself and your business as experts in your field. Creating a webinar event for your website lets you capture lead contact information.
13. Create instant brand recognition.
To get more MQLs, create the kind of free content that drives instant brand recognition. Establish your brand as a trustworthy subject matter expert and you’re more likely to generate MQLs.
14. Use LinkedIn to get potential MQL introductions.
Connect with all your contacts and see whether you can connect with their contacts for easy referrals and introductions.
15. Analyze each stage of your marketing funnel for clues.
With robust reporting and analysis, you can refine your funnel to drive more MQLs. Examine your data to figure out which sort of content and events are most likely to convert inbound sales-qualified leads. As you analyze reports on each stage of the funnel, you can apply any key learnings to improve your sales close rates.