Lead generation is critical for any business, and conversion rates are one of the top key performance indicators (KPIs) evaluated for marketing and sales group performance. For software as a service (SaaS) and software companies though, it's often even more critical to be able to capture prospect information and the corresponding data to show conversions online. This is why software marketing benefits so well from inbound lead generation strategies.
However, one thing that's often underutilized with software and SaaS marketing strategies is the inbound methodologies that attract prospects and capture ideal customer information. The benefit of this process is the ability to execute lead nurturing campaigns for those who are still in the awareness or consideration stage of the buyer's journey. Not everyone who visits your website, sees you at a trade show, or on social media is ready to buy your software solution at that moment.
Let's discuss the top ways to increase lead generation and, of course, conversions and conversion rates in your digital marketing for software, hardware, and consulting services within the technology space.
Creating a Successful Lead Generation Infrastructure
Before you can start talking about a lead generation strategy, you have to create the proper infrastructure to capture prospective client information (via a form) and keep it (via a CRM). Although many WordPress and other content management system (CMS) platforms include form templates, many CRMs allow lead capture form creation within the CRM that can be embedded on any web page. However, one aspect we frequently hear from clients is the lack of integration between form submission and their CRM. Often marketing teams will use Zapier (or a similar middleware platform) to take the information from a website form and send it to their CRM. So when looking at your infrastructure, whether you're starting from scratch or evaluating the infrastructure you have, ensure that the components work well together.
Another option is utilizing a CRM that has forms built-in like HubSpot. Even if your website lives in another CMS, HubSpot CRM and forms are a great no-cost alternative to include an easily managed and successfully integrated solution for stylized forms that can be embedded on any webpage. Of course, as with most free products, it does include HubSpot branding.
If your budget allows, upgrading to Marketing Hub Pro is a great way to remove HubSpot branding and add additional functionality. The added benefit is the opportunity to nurture prospects via email messaging that triggers through automation immediately after the form is submitted.
How to Capture the Attention of a Prospect
High value content (HVC) is a popular way to capture a prospect's attention utilizing inbound methods. But not all pieces of HVC are created equal. Make sure you create HVC that aligns with your buyer persona and their stage in the buyer's journey. A traditional 3,000+ word eBook or white paper won't be a good fit for a busy manager looking for quick answers to help a team issue he just became aware of. And similarly, a data-driven ops manager won't find value in a 5-minute video that only discusses high-level ideas. A valuable piece of high value content can be a large variety of things. Choose the best fit for your product or service as well as your ideal buyer.
Types of HVC for SaaS
- Reports / White Papers / eBooks
- Informative or Educational Webinars / Events
- Exclusive Access or Beta Programs
Now that you have determined the ideal type of HVC and created it, your next step is to promote it.
How to Create a Clear Path to Conversion
Pieces of high value content can not stand alone. Creating the HVC piece is typically the heaviest lift. However, the HVC won't help if you don't have the right landing page that utilizes best practices to capture contact information with the proper follow-up to nurture the lead into becoming a customer.
Landing Page Best Practices
The point of a landing page is to get the page visitor to complete and submit the form. Creating the ideal landing page reduces distractions and helps them see the value, and motivates them to complete the lead capture form. Here are several tips for landing page best practices:
- Keep the important elements, such as lead intake forms and calls-to-action, at the top of the page.
- Create a compelling, keyword-optimized, headline and designate it as your H1 heading.
- Use value text on the page to fortify why they need to complete the form and download your content offer.
- Establish trust with social proof, testimonials, and awards or accolades.
- Keep it short and simple — both the page and the form.
- Clearly define the call-to-action (form submission button).
- Remove navigation and hyperlinks outside of the intended goal of the page.
Lead Capture Form Best Practices
The lead intake form can make or break your landing page success. Follow these best practices to improve conversion rates:
- Place the form on the right side of the page above the fold.
- Keep your form fields relevant to the value of your HVC (i.e. a request for a research study would necessitate more details than an infographic).
- Only ask for what you need (remember you can gather more information in the lead nurture process).
- Make sure your form fields can easily be added to your CRM.
Thank You Page Best Practices
This is what your visitor has been waiting for! The thank you page should be the reward for their time reading your landing page and completing your form. Use these best practices for the ultimate user experience that leaves a positive feeling about your company or product.
- Say Thank You! (yes, literally)
- Provide access to the HVC above the fold — they shouldn't have to jump through any more hoops to get their reward.
- Add consistent navigation — this page should have the same header and footer as the rest of your website.
- Provide additional relevant resources — encourage them to learn more about your product or company.
- Remove indexing so people can't organically find your valuable content without visiting the landing page and completing the form.
Don't Forget Your Follow up Communication
Your landing page visitors are now in your CRM database, and you know they were interested in this one aspect. Use that to stay in touch and help move them through the buyer's journey with email, SMS text, or other communication related to their stage of the buying process. You can now send them your email newsletters or event announcements as well.
This lead generation process is successful in the software marketing and SaaS industries. But if your tech stack isn't making it easy to attract and nurture those prospects, you'll be embarking on an uphill battle. HubSpot's Marketing Hub not only allows for all of these elements in a single platform (yes, including the CRM), but their tools also help you keep best practices top of mind. The optimization tips and default templates, tools, and reporting built into the platform help ensure you hit the mark with every marketing step you take.
We are HubSpot enthusiasts and would be happy to share more details. Or, if you aren't ready to talk, simply check out our HubSpot one-page resource (via the cute Buzzy button below).
Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or needs you have and keep us in mind if you're looking to purchase or add a Hub to your tech stack. As a solutions partner, we can often get up to 40% off list pricing (who doesn't love a deal?).