What Are Marketing Qualified Leads?
Before you can get a better understanding of how to get more marketing qualified leads, you must first gain a bit of essential context about what they are and why they're so important in the first place.
In essence, a MQL is a lead that is immediately judged as more likely to become a valued customer based on marketing analytics and other sources of intelligence that you have access to. Essentially, it's someone who enters the sales funnel much closer to a purchase than your average lead. Oftentimes they've done more research on their own and, because of that, your marketing and sales teams have to do less "convincing" and other legwork. Well-nurtured leads that already arrive therefore require less work to actually generate a sale, meaning that you have to invest less money into each one before they start turning a profit.
To put it another way, it's the difference between someone who walks into your store and who isn't really sure they want to make a purchase at all versus someone who walks into your store and knows exactly what they want with minimal effort required on your behalf. Obviously, you want as many people who fall into that latter category as possible.
How to Increase Leads to your Website: The Basics of MQLs
By and large, the best way to get more marketing qualified leads is through the right type of inbound marketing strategy that is both A) aligned as closely as possible to the needs of your audience, as well as B) aligned with your own long-term needs as an organization.
Consider the ripple effect that an inbound marketing tactic like content marketing creates almost immediately, for example. When you create a helpful blog post designed to answer a question, solve a challenge or provide real value to one of your customers, you're both establishing yourself as an authority in your industry and giving people an opportunity to reach out and make contact at the exact same time.
However, these are just the immediate benefits of content marketing. Consider the following:
- According to a 2015 HubSpot study, companies that publish at least 16 blog posts per month (although preferably more) get as much as 3.5 times the amount of traffic that companies who publish four or fewer posts do.
- Another HubSpot study revealed that over the course of its lifetime, one single blog post creates as much short-term traffic as six aging or "decaying" posts.
- Yearly growth in terms of unique site traffic tends to be 7.8 times higher on average for brands that employ content marketing when compared to those that do not.
- A DemandMetric study revealed that while content marketing alone generates about three times the amount of leads as a traditional outbound marketing tactic, it also costs about 62% less.
So instantly, the decision to start a quality blog is one that essentially pays for itself by way of increased traffic volume and quality over the short-term. However, the benefits don't end there. In a lot of ways, they're only just beginning.
That one simple decision to start a blog also begins to affect other areas of your campaigns, too, with SEO (search engine optimization) being perhaps the most direct.
Because of the way that Google's algorithm works, sites are essentially rewarded for meeting certain characteristics like publishing quality, valuable content on a regular basis. So the more content you publish, the higher your sites will rank as a result. This, too, brings with it benefits like:
- It helps you significantly improve your local SEO efforts, which are hugely important to small and medium-sized businesses in particular.
- It lets you tap directly into the booming mobile search market - remember that as of 2015, more Google searches took place on mobile devices than on traditional computers in major countries like the United States and Japan.
- According to SearchEngineJournal, 70% of the links that users of sites like Google click on are organic. The more content you publish, the higher your organic pages will rank and the more traffic you'll enjoy as a result.
- It's also important to note that between 70% and 80% of all users tend to ignore paid ads entirely - meaning that if you're focusing more and more of your efforts on inbound marketing, this is something that you literally don't have devote even an ounce of worry to.
At this point, you can start to see a few trends developing. First, inbound marketing techniques are all directly related to one another - unlike something like cold calling or direct mail, results generated in one area tend to feed into and empower those in another. Focusing on content marketing and blogging allows you to make gains in terms of other areas like SEO or even search engine marketing, almost by default.
Secondly, after awhile, these efforts quickly begin to create their own momentum. The more content you put out into the world, the more opportunities you've given people to see your brand as an authority. You've also worked to create a more informed, educated audience - meaning that they're coming to your sales funnel at a much farther stage than they would have if you'd have just sent them a postcard in the mail one day.
Once someone IS ready to make a purchase, these types of efforts help in other ways, too. They're a way to break down the silos that used to exist between your marketing and sales teams, essentially allowing them to act as one in the same. Because of this connection, you're also in a position to better serve those customers - meaning not only do you have an easier time closing a sale, but you tend to end up with a much more satisfied customer as a result.
In the end, all of this gives you and your teams the ability to spend less time "selling" and "marketing" and gives you more of an opportunity to focus on running the business you've already worked so hard to build in the first place, which is really the most important benefit of all.