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5 Tactics to Boost the Quality of Your Inbound Marketing Leads

  |  July 16, 2014   |  Comments

Quality leads are much more likely to result in conversions. Here are a few ways to ensure you are attracting the highest-quality leads with your content marketing.

When it comes to lead generation, which is better, quality or quantity? For savvy marketers the answer is easy: quality.

As obvious as this statement may sound, it's extremely common for marketers to get caught up in the numbers and push to gain as many leads as possible regardless of their quality. And with performance typically being measured by primarily their numbers, it's hard to blame them. But at the end of the day, what really matters is revenue and profit, neither of which are possible with unqualified leads.

There are a number of key tactics you can implement into your content and inbound marketing program to help ensure the leads you're converting are quality leads your sales team will love. Let's take a look.

Develop Personas

Working with your entire organization, including sales and customer service, to develop full and accurate buyer personas is one of the best foundational practices your marketing team can do.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client. You develop different personas by bucketing them based on common characteristics, goals, or points of pain.

Having clearly defined buyer personas that your entire team collaborated on will give you a clear direction and understanding of who exactly you're trying to reach, communicate with, and convert. Having this clarity will allow your marketing team to more accurately identify quality leads further up in the marketing pipeline.

Define Marketing Qualified Lead [MQL] Criteria

Here's where the magic happens. Sit down with your sales team and have them make a list of the key items they look for when evaluating lead quality. Examples could include company size or number of employees, job title, or industry.

Once you have the list of items the sales team is looking for, you can then go back and determine which questions you'd like to and are reasonable to answer in the marketing process. The questions become the criteria in which your marketing team will determine if a lead in the marketing pipeline is a marketing qualified lead [MQL].

An MQL is someone in your pipeline which your marketing team identifies as a great lead and hands it off to the sales team. Typically any lead who converts on a bottom funnel offer, such as a demo, free trial, consultation, or case study, will be an MQL, however, you can also pull out leads higher in the funnel if they meet the criteria of an MQL.

Working with your sales team and having these criteria clearly defined and worked into your marketing process will ensure that you're handing off the quality leads to the sales team.

Tailor Form Fields

Once you have your MQL criteria defined, now it's time to implement it into your process so you can start collecting it from your leads.

Generally speaking, on the top of the funnel conversion offer you will want to ask the bare minimum questions to get information to be able to continue them down the funnel and be able to segment them into their respective persona.

At middle of the funnel, you can ask a few more questions to help qualify them and gain better insight if they are a good fit. Lastly, at the bottom of the funnel conversion offer you should ask all of the required questions needed to know if they are indeed a MQL. Just make sure to provide enough value in your bottom funnel offers that people are willing to fill it all out to gain access.

If it's available in your system, leverage progressive profiling to help gather more information while not bombarding your customers with too many repetitive form fields they've already filled out.

Clear and Specific on Titles and Landing Page Copy

A great way to help qualify the people you're converting is to be very strategic when writing titles of your conversion offers and copy on your landing pages. Spell out exactly who the conversion offer is for and exactly what problem it solves.

For example, let's consider a B2B manufacturer of widgets that help improve assembly line efficiency. Their persona is a vice president of operations at a mid-sized manufacturing plant and they have developed a top funnel offer to help educate them how to increase assembly line efficiency.

For a title of the offer, they have integrated who the offer is specifically for and what problem they may be having: "The VP Operations Guide to Boosting Assembly Line Efficiency." This is repeated in a bit more detail on the landing page, where they again explain who the conversion offer was created for and the problem it solves.

Here's a great example from my friends over at HubSpot:


It's also important to note that the actual topics of the conversion offers can also help qualify the right kind of leads. Picking topics that are extremely relevant to your personas and the solutions you offer will help draw the right people to convert on the offer.

Laser Focus Marketing of Content Offers

It's critical that you focus your marketing efforts around your conversion offers. Yes, I know this may appear to be an obvious statement, however, marketers so often fall into the trap of trying to shotgun out our conversion offers to anyone we can. There can be some definite benefits to this and I wouldn't say it's bad in all cases, but in general we need to focus our efforts to make sure we're reaching the right people.

Don't simply blast out your conversion offer to your entire email list. Rather, segment first based on persona and then the stage of the buying cycle that persona is in. Then, you will want to target the leads in the buying cycle one stage before what your conversion offer is for.

For example, if you have a middle of the funnel conversion offer for your "Marketing Mike" persona, you will target your email toward leads that fit that persona and have already converted on a top of the funnel offer.

For paid channels, both Twitter and LinkedIn offer very specific targeting on ads even down to the exact user you'd like to target. Having a list of users which you'd like to target based on MQL criteria and then targeting them with ads for your conversion offer will ensure you're reaching the right people.

These are just a few of the many tactics you can implement to help increase the quality of the leads you're bringing in.

It's important to note that after you implement these tactics, it's likely that you will see a momentary dip in the number of leads you're getting because you're weeding out the unqualified leads. However, the leads that are coming in will likely be better-quality and over time the number will recover.

Additionally, for any VPs reading this article, I would highly suggest building performance evaluations around not only the number of the leads your team is converting, but also the quality of the leads. Having clearly defined MQL lead criteria and making that number the focus of performance evaluation will help put a focus on quality.

If you have any other tactics you've implemented successfully to help qualify leads or if you have any questions, please comment below and I'd love to chat!

Homepage image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/chasblackman/8502151556.

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Luke Summerfield

Luke is an industry leading inbound marketing specialist and an expert in progressive strategies integrating content, relationships, automation, and communities to drive lead generation and build brands people love.

He is the Director of Inbound Marketing at Savvy Panda where he helps lead web and marketing success stories for medium to Fortune 100 companies. Additionally, Luke is also the head instructor of Master Inbound, a comprehensive online inbound marketing training course. Find Luke on Google Plus.

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