By Dolly Howard

peanut butter jellyYou've carved out some time, set up your buyer personas and are consistently updating your company's blog, social media and keywords. You're totally rocking the first step of inbound marketing and you feel awesome. And you should! It takes time and dedication to really execute a solid marketing plan, and you're well on your way to making inbound marketing work for your small business.

With time, you should begin to see an increase in website visits. This is where the second part of the inbound methodology comes into play - we need to give those visitors some action items to do while they're on our website. This is what converts them into leads, and thus potential customers.

Before we begin, let's do a quick recap of inbound marketing: attract visitors to your website, convert visitors into leads, close leads into customers and delight customers into promoters. For this posting, we'll focus on step 2 - converting leads:

Converting Leads

There are three steps to converting leads. Just like peanut butter and jelly, you can't have one without the other, so make sure to incorporate each step into your inbound marketing plan.

1. Calls-To-Action

Have you ever been to a grocery store on Saturday morning when the free samples are out? It's pretty great, and it costs you nothing to experience the product.

That's what a call-to-action is, something pretty great - like an eBook - that a visitor can download from your website, and experience your company beyond your products and sales. To have a successful call-to-action campaign, you have to have content. So, round up your eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, checklists and any other collateral you have, and make one call-to-action item available on each website page and blog post. (Notice my call-to-action below? And in the sidebar on the blog?)

If you need ideas on how to write great content, check out this blog post.

2. Landing Pages

You feel really good about your content. You've added your call-to-action buttons to your webpages, and you're ready for visitors to start downloading them. Wait! We want the call-to-actions to convert our visitors into leads, so we need to collect their information in exchange for that awesome eBook.

All call-to-action items need to go to a landing page. This is where you provide information about the product and a form (see below) to collect the contact's information. You need at least 10 landing pages on your website to be successful.

HubSpot is a great resource to help design your landing page.

3. Forms

Now that we have our visitor on the landing page and ready to download the eBook, we need to capture his/her information into our system through a form. By doing so, we'll be able to track the visitor's downloads, visits and more. This will help us better understand his/her needs, wants and challenges, so we can become a solution by altering our calls-to-action and other content.

If you don't have one in place, consider looking into customer relationship management (CRM) software to better track visitors and streamline communication between sales and marketing.

As mentioned in the last blog post, if you need ideas or help with incorporting an inbound marketing plan into your small business, check out HubSpot's Small Business Marketing Hub.

What content could you use for a call-to-action? Let us know by tweeting at us at @smartbugmedia.

New Call-to-Action

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photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/autumn2may/4957618009/">Jennie Ivins</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: Jennie Ivins via photopin cc

photo credit: Jennie Ivins via photopin cc
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Dolly Howard

About the author

Dolly Howard was formerly Director of Marketing for SmartBug Media. Previously she worked as a senior marketing consultant leading SmartBug Media clients in strategy for lead conversion improvement and total marketing ROI. As a past HubSpot employee, Dolly is excited to share her knowledge and help enterprise companies grow their business. Read more articles by Dolly Howard.

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