In the world of marketing, there are a lot of buzzwords that get people excited. Prospects. Leads. Conversions. They are peppered all over conversations. They are over-promised on YouTube ads by industry “experts” who look like they just graduated from high school. They are made of dreams, quarterly goals, and fairy dust.
But what really constitutes a lead in the first place? What is a lead conversion? And is HubSpot really a marketing panacea?
A lead is a prospect; a potential customer. A person who’s interested in your goods or services. How do you know they’re interested? There are many ways to tell, my dear Sancho.
They could’ve filled out a form on your landing page, asking for additional information. They could've scheduled a demo, phone conversation, or reached out to you after clicking on a PPC ad or viewing some of your promotional content on social media. In short, they saw what you sell, they like it, they want to know more.
But not all leads are created equal. What kind of lead a person is depends on where they are in the sales funnel. And this bit of information is crucial because they have different needs, and your strategy when approaching them can make or break a sale.
Information Qualified Lead
An information qualified lead (IQL) is someone who’s at the earliest stage in the buyer’s journey — also known as the awareness stage. The person knows there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, and they’re trying to figure out all the kinks involved before they start looking for solutions.
Marketing Qualified Lead
A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is someone who’s in the middle of the sales funnel — also known as the consideration stage. They’ve already fully defined their problem, and they’re researching the available options.
Sales Qualified Lead
A sales qualified lead (SQL) is in the bottom of the sales funnel — also known as the decision stage. They now know what type of solution they’re looking for and already have their credit card in hand, ready to make a purchase.
Product Qualified Lead
A product qualified lead (PQL) is someone who’s already tried your product through a demo or free trial. They know they've received value from the product and there’s a strong likelihood that they will become a customer.
A lead conversion is when a sales qualified or a product qualified lead becomes a customer.
It usually requires a period of lead nurturing — the process of building relationships and establishing trust; usually through providing educational content, offering exclusive deals, personalizing interactions, and providing useful resources, such as ebooks, webinars, and/or case studies relevant to their industry.
Since leads aren’t guaranteed to make a purchase, you have to be proactive about always sending leads to your pipeline. And since attracting them and keeping them interested may vary depending on how wide your target market is, it’s good to have several tools in your arsenal. Here are some ways to increase your company’s lead generation:
Provide Educational Content.
This can be in the form of blogs or videos, but make sure to publish consistently. But don’t just create content for the sake of making something. Take some time to look into what your buyer persona would find most useful. Look at what your competitors are doing, find gaps in their content, and answer those questions.
Do keyword research to see what your target market is looking for. Look for subject ideas by browsing forums like Reddit and Quora and monitoring social media industry hashtags.
Be Active on Social Media.
Speaking of social media, focus on the platforms your personas are most likely using. This may vary depending on their demographics and/or their reason for networking online.
Invest in social media management tools so you can reschedule posts, automate responses, and receive notifications of mentions, comments, and queries. Answer all questions and reviews — even the negative ones (and please, be diplomatic).
Launch Email Marketing Campaigns.
Email marketing is an effective way of engaging with your prospects, since it gives them the opportunity to engage with it when they have time to do so.
Also, if you’re doing lead nurturing right, you’re going to be sending them content that’s relevant to them — instead of sending everyone the same communications.
And don’t forget to put some serious thought and focus to those subject lines. Your great content will only be useful if your recipients’ open the emails.
Install a Chat Bot on Your Website.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) pages are great, but not everyone has the time, the energy, or the desire to browse around looking for answers. With a chat bot live on your site, prospects can get immediate answers, at any time of day or night.
It also makes it a lot easier for them to interact with your business, since they don’t have to go to extra lengths in attempts to reach out to you. Another benefit is that you can save these conversations for future reference if necessary.
Provide Interactive Content.
Wanna keep people engaged? Ask them about themselves. Not only will you get them talking, you’ll be able to gather additional information that you can later use to provide even more personalized service — something that infinitely improves the customer experience and increases brand loyalty.
Now, all things considered, you’re probably not too excited about the prospect of adding a million other things to your to-do list. Running a business is hard. It’s time consuming and can be exhausting. Yet, you know that if you want to keep those doors open, you gotta keep leads coming.
This is why lead generation software is essential. It segments contacts, automates a lot of these processes, and keeps all collected data in one easy-to-find, centralized location. And while there are many alternatives in the market, it would behoove you to check out all the things HubSpot has to offer.
There are several reasons why, in an ocean of effective marketing tools, we’re such huge HubSpot fans at Bluleadz.
While there’s a learning curve while you get used to all the Marketing Hub features, once you get the hang of it, they’re pretty intuitive. You can also take HubSpot Academy courses or check in theirknowledge base for quick refreshers.
No Coding/Tech Knowledge Required
Whether you need to design call to actions, place anchors on pages, or otherwise get creative with your marketing efforts online, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub offers a long list of templates and customization to make it happen, without having to learn how to code.
Allows Marketing and Sales to Collaborate
Face it: Marketing and sales aren’t really two separate departments. They’re yin and yang. Peanut butter and jelly. Sales qualified leads and someone closing them.
They both have to know what each other is doing, and HubSpot’s Marketing Hub provides easy access to everyone on your team, as well as the ability to provide feedback on notes and tag team members to ensure they read messages and updates.
Ok. So what are these great features all these HubSpot Marketing Hub fans keep waxing poetic about?
1. Contacts Segmentation
One of the many benefits of inbound marketing is the ability to tailor content to your target audience. A lead in the awareness stage needs more educational content, while a sales qualified lead would benefit most from information on how to make a purchase.
HubSpot’s segmentation categorizes your contacts so that you can tailor your communications based on who each contact is and what they need. It also saves their preferred style of communication, so that you can always reach them the way they want.
2. Email Marketing
HubSpot’s Marketing Hub offers a wide range of email marketing tools. You can find quick templates, create your own custom email with the drag-and-drop editor, conduct A/B testing on various elements to see what performs best,, and ensure that each of your leads is getting relevant marketing materials thanks to contact segmentation.
And because the email marketing feature is powered by the data collected on HubSpot’s free client relationship management (CRM), you’ll be able to personalize these communications.
HubSpot has a comprehensive content management system (CMS) that enables you to create, manage, schedule, and publish blogs. You can browse through pre-built themes, or customize its look to fit your brand look and voice.
The platform also includes SEO tools to increase your chances of being found by prospects doing online searches for your goods or services — including prompts to shorten your meta description, use more subheadings, modify the URL, etc…
Their CMS is easy to use, includes drag-and-drop functions, and has multi-language content creation options.
4. Smart Content
Remember how contact segmentation sets the stage for sending leads content that’s relevant specifically to them? HubSpot’s smart content displays different versions of your content based on where in the buyer’s journey the reader is in.
Other factors that HubSpot takes into account when deciding which content to display include the visitor’s location, language, IP address, browser cookies, device type, and referral source (Google, marketing email, PPC ads, social media, or backlinks).
5. Social Media Management
Social media isn’t just for posting what you had for lunch or post-workout selfies. In fact, it’s one of the most valuable tools to connect with prospects. Done correctly, you can establish a trustworthy brand presence, engage with potential customers, and leverage those communications to drive more business.
HubSpot’s Marketing Hub lets you schedule and monitor all of your social media activities from one centralized location. It also shows suggestions for the best times to post to ensure your target audience sees your content.
In addition, you can create keyword monitoring, so that you can get notifications anytime someone mentions your business or other relevant industry subject.
No one wants to spend time on repetitive tasks. Yet, a lot of them are necessary to implement an effective marketing strategy.
Thankfully, HubSpot saves you from feeling overwhelmed (and bored) by setting up automated workflows. You can specify which user behaviors will trigger email communications, so that your leads get the right emails, at the right time, every single time.
Also, you can set up so that your team gets notifications when a lead takes a desired action, such as submitting a landing page form or requesting a demo.
7. Calls to Action
You want your calls-to-action (CTAs) to (a) look the way you want them to look, and (b) be appealing enough to cause leads to click on them. With HubSpot, you can easily create CTA buttons to place anywhere on your site. You can also upload your own custom made design. And once it’s done, you can insert it in any of your marketing materials — blogs, landing pages, marketing emails.
And as with everything else on the Marketing Hub, you can tailor these calls to action depending on who the visitor is, so that you can increase the likelihood of turning that lead into a conversion.
8. Landing Pages
Landing pages — also known as lead capturing pages — are standalone pages. Unlike a regular webpage (which are designed to encourage navigation), landing pages are created with a single focus: To get visitors to click on that call to action button. Download that ebook. Enroll in that webinar. Sign up for that live event.
HubSpot provides a built-in library of mobile-optimized templates you can use to create your landing page. In the alternative, you can design one from scratch based on your preferences — without the need to be a techie or have any web developing background.
9. Lead Nurturing
Ok. In order to use HubSpot to nurture your leads, you should have a pretty solid buyer persona. And thanks to contact segmentation, CMS platform, smart content, social media management, automated workflows, and email marketing, HubSpot makes it easy to court those leads until they’re ready to make a purchase. It’s like one big, beautiful bow around a carefully wrapped Christmas present.
As a HubSpot Partner agency, we’ve seen firsthand how the platform’s Marketing Hub has helped numerous businesses successfully scale as they consistently generate and convert leads. Some noteworthy examples include:
EON Solutions is an operations management software company that was finding it challenging to generate qualified leads. They were frustrated that their sales cycle was painfully long, often having to wait several months to turn a prospect into a customer. To add insult to injury, their demo-to-sale conversion rate was about 3 percent. .
They teamed up with Bluleadz so that we could review their blog content and apply SEO best practices. We also started a lead generation campaign by creating an ebook. We then created CTAs to attach at the end of each blog, prompting readers to download the ebook. And of course, we promoted the new content to existing contacts through automated marketing emails.
The campaign generated 174 new contacts in a single month, which resulted in three closed sales that first month alone. Thanks to the diverse features offered in the Marketing Hub, they met their quarterly goals.
BandGrip is a company made by healthcare professionals who create wound closure solutions. While they were confident in their product, they found it challenging to create brand awareness. They didn’t even have a website.
They came to Bluleadz, looking to create a website that would attract leads to sign up for demos. They also wanted to create content they could showcase at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
We integrated their HubSpot CRM with Modus software. This enabled the booth representative to scan badges using the Modus app, so that leads’ contact information could be automatically populated on BandGrip’s contacts database.
The rep would send share marketing material with these leads via email, including an ebook, product description sales sheet, and case studies.
The contact list was automatically segmented so that additional marketing materials could be tailored to their needs. This resulted in 65 percent of new contacts signing up for a product trial, for a total of 180 new trials.
OnPoint Consulting offers strategic plans to improve virtual team performance and engage cross-functional team collaborations. While they have served Fortune 1,000 companies in the past, they weren’t generating as many leads as they would’ve liked. Their goal was to drive at least 3,000 monthly visitors to their website, and for a 3 percent conversion rate.
By the time OnPoint hired Bluleadz, they had over 15 years as a business, so we optimized a lot of their outdated content, repurposed some content, wrote new copy, and updated their website. Because HubSpot’s CMS makes it so easy to design, create, and manage content, we were able to implement a much easier navigation.
The most noteworthy results include an 1,151 percent increase in website sessions, and a 1,729 percent increase in blog views. This translated to $676,500 in revenue by the end of the year.
Effective inbound marketing takes a lot of time, patience, and a well-crafted strategy. HubSpot’s Marketing Hub makes the process a lot smoother and user-friendly.