When would you say inbound marketing has worked?What would the parameters be to answer that? Would it be inbound lead generation, traffic or something else? Let us try to find out.Recently, we started doing inbound marketing for an IT Services company. As an Inbound Marketing agency, we do all the groundwork before starting the assignment, and same was done in this case as well.

The most important part involves analysing inbound marketing potential and that includes calculating the average search volume of relevant keywords we can rank for after proper SEO efforts. If we find inbound potential, only then we take up the assignment. Everything looked great, and we started with a lot of enthusiasm.After two months of continuous efforts, we were able to raise overall and organic traffic by 20%, which is remarkable considering the fact that most SEO efforts take time to show results.But after generating traffic, only half the battle was won, as inbound marketing is about lead generation. So, weren’t we able to generate leads? The answer is we did excellently well in this department as well by doubling the number of organic leads.So that means our SEO efforts were showing great results.Most of you must be thinking that we did an impressive job, but we seemed to disagree. Curious to know why? Read along..The problem that we faced was very few leads were of good quality, or in inbound marketing terms, very few matched our buyer persona.Our buyer persona included large companies having employee size above 1,000, but our inbound lead generation efforts resulted in small companies having up to 200 employees, or even less in some cases.So, did we do anything wrong in our planning? Could we have done anything different, had we foreseen this issue. Let us try to find out :

Did we align our SEO strategy for wrong keywords? :What makes a keyword wrong? A keyword cannot be wrong as long as it is relevant to your services, and that we take utmost care of during our primary keyword research. The only mistake we could have done was choosing non commercial keywords, i.e. those not having buying intent.As an inbound marketing firm, we prioritize keywords having high relevancy and buying intent. So, any traffic coming from those keywords, is likely to convert into a lead.

The visitor did not find what he/she expected for that keyword:It happens many a times that you searched for a keyword, went to a website, and then you exit out. The content or the offerings is totally different from what you were looking for.Did we do the same mistake of not aligning our context (not content) to the focussed keyword?Definitely not, coz if that was the case, we wouldn’t have seen a 100% increase in the number of leads generated.You won’t fill a form, when you don’t find what you are looking for.

Giving only BOFU Offer :Another root cause analysis would point towards a conclusion that we gave only bottom of the funnel offer to potential customers, who were just not ready to buy, but were compelled to fill the form, as we didn’t offer anything else suitable for their position in the buyer’s journey.The essence of inbound lead generation lies in how you nurture leads who are not ready to buy now, but would later become a strong prospect. We have over 100+ MOFU and TOFU offerings, which give us a consistent flow of leads. Add to that, we have a custom message fields in our BOFU forms, where a lead can express their needs in their own words.

Lack of clarity with Buyer Persona :So, let us assume the fact that we don't have a clarity with our buyer persona. To some extent, it is true. We are still trying to choose one out of a few personas which would be a perfect fit. But, had we known our persona, would our keyword strategy be different?Keyword strategy is aligned to the services you can offer, and your buyer persona searches for that keyword. It's not what your buyer persona searches, and you create content around that.So, having discussed all the possible factors for low quality leads, I leave it upto you to decipher what we did wrong.In my opinion, this is one of the rare cases that proves, having potential does not ensure quality inbound lead generation. Leads having low quality for one business, might be a strong prospect for other. It actually, is a limitation of the company we are working for, that their services are not fit for the kind of leads who are showing maximum interest in it. May be expanding to create services for SMB's would be a good idea.What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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