What are inbound leads?

Inbound leads are leads that come to you, through their own organic discovery, instead of you going after them. Inbound leads come to you independent of any specific action on your own part.

Instead of you actively pursuing people by writing emails or making phone calls, inbound leads find you on their own.

Then ideally they take some type of action, whether it’s reading a blog article, subscribing to a newsletter, or purchasing a product on your site.

Unlike paid search or paid social, inbound marketing is about creating content that people will find and opt into on their own, without being actively coerced.

Inbound leads rely on organic marketing to create content that naturally brings in web traffic to and then converting that traffic into paying customers.

Lead stages

Leads have different stages based on where they most reasonably fall on the buyer’s journey.

Lead stages are a type of “segmentation”, which is when you categorize your leads into different groups in reference to your marketing strategy and how your business outlines its sales process and your customer’s buyer journey.

The lead stage identifies what point a buyer is at mentally in regards to making a purchase.

inbound leads buyers journey stages

The lead stages also relate to the “quality” of a lead.

In certain sales processes, you need to qualify leads before advancing them further through the sales cycle to see if they’ll turn into a prospective buyer.

Lead qualification is based on the buyer’s readiness when it comes to intent and ability to buy. 

It’s best to disqualify people who aren’t a fit as soon as possible to save time for all parties involved and focus on prospects who are actually potential buyers.

The longer the sales cycle you have, the more lead qualifying you need to do typically. 

This is less common in eCommerce where you’re selling directly to consumers but is very common in B2B.

Benefits of an inbound lead generation system

An inbound lead system can be a massive benefit for most businesses.

Especially now in a post-coronavirus world where person to person contact is limited and many people have been forced to resort to remote communication or digital contact.

They can help lower your cost per lead while also helping you scale your business.

According to Statista, search traffic accounts for 65% of  all ecommerce sessions. 33% was a result of organic search, while 32% was a result of paid search.

Wouldn’t you rather bring in a high amount of search traffic without constantly spending ad budget to do so?

Lower cost per lead

Inbound lead generation, inbound marketing, and organic search traffic often translates to less money spent on each lead.

Less time, money, and resources on outbound practices can mean more resources available to invest in inbound marketing and better results.

Hubspot says that 53% of marketers reported inbound marketing gives their organization a higher ROI.

Lead quality

Inbound leads can be higher quality than inbound leads.

Only 18% of marketers believe outbound marketing generates high-quality leads according to Hubspot.

An inbound lead system can help you find the right leads you’re looking for in addition to being more cost-effective.

Scaling your business

If you can consistently increase your inbound lead generation you can optimize your resources. This is one of the concepts behind organic marketing.

By investing in high-quality content whether it’s blog posts, courses, landing pages, videos, lead magnets, or any other piece of opt-in content, you’re creating an evergreen resource. Evergreen content helps you build organic growth for your business while increasing your content library.

Because growth strategies like SEO and social media marketing have such a potentially huge upside, you can leverage your digital presence to a large degree.

By consistently creating good content you can get more traffic, customers, and sales without constantly needing to spend money on outsourcing, ads, or employees.

Industries that can benefit most from inbound leads

Any business or company can benefit from an inbound lead system but some can benefit more than others.

Especially since the internet and social media now allow any business to connect with almost any individual in the world.

90% of searchers haven’t made their minds up about a brand before starting their search according to Weidert.

That means any brand that doesn’t have a digital presence is missing out on being able to market to buyers who haven’t made up their minds yet on where to purchase from.

B2B businesses

B2B businesses typically rely heavily on outbound marketing in order to secure leads.

That makes inbound leads that much more valuable because you’re able to subsidize your pipeline with inbound leads and in B2B scenarios there’s usually a higher cost associated with the product or service being sold.

Higher prices naturally increase the ROI and cost-benefit of digital marketing and converted web traffic because even a single client or sale can justify an entire marketing campaign.

For example, if you have a conversion rate on your website of 1% meaning you get 1 customer for every 100 visitors to your site, if a single customer is worth $10,000 to you that means even $5,000 spent on marketing to acquire that customer would make sense.

Content creation is important because it usually takes someone being exposed to several pieces of content by the same brand before they opt-in to anything.

Weidert claims 47% of buyers saw 3 to 5 pieces of content before speaking with a sales person.

They also state that 68% of B2B leads prefer to do independent research online which makes it important to have a content strategy in place to capture those people in the research phase.

Inbound lead generation is critical for B2B companies to include in their marketing strategy.


The cannabis industry, which includes recreational cannabis, CBD, hemp, and THC is another industry that can greatly benefit from inbound lead generation because of its restrictions through conventional advertising methods.

Certain “vice” industries like cannabis are limited by advertisers and publishers. For example, certain television ads are banned when it comes to cigarettes, and ads for smoking recreational cannabis aren’t allowed on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

However, publishing original content on your own website is far less regulated and you can take advantage of inbound lead generation in order to connect with their target audiences. 

Location-based cannabis businesses like dispensaries can also take advantage of local SEO to bring more customers.

Blockchains and cryptocurrency

The blockchain space including cryptocurrency is another cutting edge industry that shares some similarities to the cannabis space. 

It’s misunderstood, is seen as fringe, and requires a lot of educating. Also similar to the SaaS space, blockchain and cryptocurrency companies have the challenge of translating complex technological innovations into a helpful, problem solving, or cost-effective business solution. 

Blockchain-as-a-Service and cryptocurrency companies are industries that are in their infancy. Even how the government classifies them is ever-evolving.

It’s important for companies in that space to be able to educate and inform people as well as tell their own stories and shape the narratives in their market.

Since it’s a topic many people don’t know about, it’s important to be able to reach people who aren’t familiar with it and be proactive in creating content that draws people in.

Products and services that require education and thought leadership

Anytime you sell a product or service that requires education or thought leadership, you have an opportunity to market to people and establish your brand by being a resource for informative and educational content.

This is is often the case when it comes to industries like technology, SaaS, healthcare, finance, consulting, marketing, investing, and more.

Your content can be a huge differentiation factor when it comes to attracting attention.


How to get inbound leads

Getting inbound leads is all about how much you can maximize your traffic while optimizing your conversion rate.

So the first thing to focus on is how you’re getting traffic to your website. This is mainly done through content marketing, SEO, and social media.

The second step is your conversation rate which will be determined by how often people take action on your website like subscribe to an opt-in form, set an appointment, or make a purchase from a product page.

The percentage of sessions that result in the desired action on a webpage, divided by the number of total sessions to that webpage, gives you your conversion rate.

Measuring the effectiveness of inbound leads is all about traffic measured against conversions.

Social media

Statista states the following are among the top reasons that businesses employ social media marketing practices:

  • Improved traffic
  • Lead generation
  • Growing fan loyalty 

Social media is one of the best places to find inbound leads because you can distribute your content into channels that are already filled with people that are interested in that niche or product/service.

Social media is also great to take advantage of because people who follow you are in essence saying they consent to you sending them content and have a desire to consume your content.

Social media is a huge traffic source and no digital marketing strategy can be complete without it.


Search engine optimization is another critical area for getting inbound leads. SEO will help you make your website more visible in search engines and bring in organic search traffic from Google.

BrightEdge states that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

Can you afford to ignore that much potential traffic?

There are local SEO strategies for location-based businesses as well as global SEO strategies to rank content higher for certain keywords and phrases. 

SEO is similar to social media in that it lends itself to organic growth because websites that are seen as authoritative by Google and rank well, are more visible.

So the better job you do of optimizing your website and creating SEO friendly content, the more traffic you’ll get. And the more traffic you get, the more opportunities you’ll have to get more traffic. 

Marketing automations

Marketing automation is the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to inbound leads.

You’ll use your marketing automations to:

  • Set up lead magnets, landing pages, and other opt-in forms
  • Collect email addresses and user information
  • Segment and organize your leads
  • Send automated emails 
  • Monitor analytics
  • Run A/B testing

Hubspot states that 20% of marketers are using automated email marketing campaigns.

If you’re a part of the 80% who isn’t, you may want to ask yourself why.

The trick is your marketing automations must be woven into your other digital marketing strategies.

What kind of downloadable content you offer your audience, the use of your landing pages, building your brand’s visibility on Google with SEO, and sharing content and gaining followers on social media will all have a big impact on how effective your marketing automations are.

Properly implemented marketing automation will help you increase your conversion rates while you bring in traffic from Google and social media.

Average consulting costs for inbound lead generation

The average cost range for outsourcing your inbound lead generation can vary based on a large number of variables.

Depending on the terms of the agreement and how much or how little content they’ll be creating for you will be a significant factor.

Expect to pay anywhere from $2800 to $16,000 a month for an agency to help you with inbound lead generation.

What impacts the price of inbound leads?

An inbound strategy can be impacted by several factors based on the client’s growth expectations, content requirements, and, of course, budget. 

On average, still-graphics (social media graphics) cost less to create than comprehensive infographics, which cost less than videos, webinars, and podcasts.

An inbound service provider should walk the client through the custom pros and cons of several, content or growth-related scenarios before proceeding to an agreement.

How to determine where you fit in

Every business has a unique set of circumstances when it comes to their brand, their website, their business model, and their marketing goals.

Think about your overall marketing and revenue goals, what you want to outsource versus what you want to cover in-house, and how much budget you’re ready to spend on marketing over a 6-12 month period.

BRDG Agency can offer professional consulting on what strategies and opportunities would work best for your business and what it would take to carry them out.

Final thoughts on inbound leads

Inbound leads are one of the most sought-after kinds of leads by business owners, marketing teams, and salespeople alike.

For good reason, because inbound leads can be lower cost and higher quality than outbound leads.

Inbound marketing is also great for scalability once you incorporate consistent web traffic and marketing automations.

Then you can focus your time on other tasks that are core to your business.

The challenge is how do you generate inbound leads?

BRDG helps organizations with creating content and bringing in web traffic from search and social in order to convert them and make sales.

For help on implementing an inbound marketing strategy, click here and schedule an appointment.