The best tools and applications for inbound lead generation

Inbound lead generation takes a lot of time and money so it makes sense to maximise your chances of success with tools and apps to smooth and streamline the process. Here I shine a light on some of the best ones out there…

Before we begin, I just want to let you know that this isn’t going to be a standard inbound marketing tools article that runs through an overview of the tool, some key features and the price. I wanted to take a different approach by giving you a summary with how the product is used and one really beneficial feature for the user that will definitely provide value within their inbound marketing stack.

I chose not to include the price of the tool, because there are products you need in order to build a highly effective tech stack and the benefit for all the tools mentioned in this article provides significantly more value than the cost itself.

First off, let’s have a quick overview of inbound lead generation, and why it’s so useful.

In today’s super-competitive marketing environment, businesses need a steady flow of leads to maintain growth. That’s why marketers spend a crazy amount of time and resources planning campaigns and creating relevant content. The goal is to generate new leads that will eventually turn into paying customers.

But coming up with creative and effective ways to attract visitors and convert them into qualified leads is easier said than done. The best way to turn visitors into customers – and, even better, promoters – is by numerous inbound lead generation techniques. This means using inbound marketing to help potential customers find relevant, useful information about your business.

By creating educational content for your audience that builds credibility, inbound marketing helps attract people who are most likely to become leads that turn into customers.

Visiting a blog and filling-out a form

Inbound marketing is a cost-effective way to generate targeted traffic that gives you the chance to convert these people into qualified leads over time. Down the track, you can engage, nurture, close and delight those customers.


As I said earlier, inbound lead generation isn’t the easiest thing to do, and lots of marketers struggle with it. They create engaging content that engages their audience but can’t seem to convert them into leads that result in becoming paying customers.
Many people find it hard to get the right information from their visitors and follow up quickly and smoothly. Simply setting up a meeting to convert them into paying customers can take ages and is a clunky process, with lots of emails back and forth trying to find a mutually suitable time to chat.

Step forward inbound marketing tools and apps

This is where inbound marketing tools and apps are worth their weight in gold. There are various ones out there, covering the whole process – from qualifying inbound leads and starting the process of converting them, whatever the size of your business.

These tools make it really easy for marketers or people working in the sales process to target and connect with website visitors, as soon as you have some of their contact information. They help you reach the right people at the right time with targeted content to grow your business.

So let’s take a look, here are 20 of the best inbound marketing tools and apps out there.

QikChat

QikChat’s advanced scheduling software gives businesses the fastest way to speak to their leads. This B2B software platform enables revenue-focused teams to assign, schedule and speak to their enquiries from their main digital channels instantly, giving a massive boost to conversion rates and productivity.

We aim to be a part of your best lead generation tools stack, by helping solve the problem that most businesses face, which is not receiving the most value out of your leads because you simply can’t have a conversation with them. This conversation enables you to start your sales engagement process, note – this is just one of the many inbound marketing examples.

You can schedule meetings with your leads hassle-free, speeding up the time it takes to schedule that first meeting, making more meetings happen within ideal timelines, increasing revenue and driving productivity.

As the lead comes in through the digital channel of choice, the lead is distributed to the assigned team members calendar based on their position in their round robin, which provides even distribution of leads between team members. That team member’s calendar is immediately shared with the lead, with available times embedded in the leads email, setting the lead up to select an available time with one-click.

It’s already set up, with no need for a separate scheduling link that has to be re-filled out by the lead again, reducing form non-completion rates significantly!

Feature spotlight: we’re going to keep this on the down low at the moment, but stay tuned to keep up with future updates as we are really excited about what we will be launching.

Sign up to our Beta list, to try QikChat for free now.

Tidio

If you don’t have much web traffic to engage with, then overpaying for some of your lead generation tools overtime will frustrate you as you simply won’t receive the value you sought after.

Tidio is a Live chat app, that gives your online visitors a touch point to converse with your team online instantly. This app comes ready, specifically with the out-of-the-box integrations you may need on their free plan. Add in the ease to create a custom flow, from what questions you will ask your visitors first to what visitor id fields you are looking to capture. If your traffic increases and you want to automate this process, they have you covered by providing a chatbot product in their next plan.

Sitting in your tech stack nicely by supporting your other inbound marketing platforms by acting as the first touch point from when people come on your site to find out more information about what you do. This product easily makes it into the special category of the top 5 inbound marketing tools.

Feature spotlight: it also provides a feature that allows you to simulate the series of questions the user will go through after you have set them up. Giving you the ability to visualise and test what the interaction will look like.

Typeform

There is always a stage within lead generation, where you will want to capture certain information about your leads. The questions you ask your leads require some level of personalisation, this is essential to include within your inbound lead generation techniques.

This is were Typeform comes in, a tool that gives you the ability to ask personalised questions to understand your leads respectively. The information you collect from these questions will empower you with the information to best position the kind of follow-up required to best engage your leads.

Use Typeform to create highly engaging forms or advanced surveys with their custom layouts or pre-built templates, this can see you ready to receive the answers you need from your leads in minutes. This is one of those lead generation tools that can be added to your website, sent to a subscriber list through email, shared via a link through any social media platforms or direct messaging apps.

Comes with a Slack integration to pass through the responses directly into your teams environment and a Mailchimp integration. Giving you the ability to automatically tag respondents and place them on suitable lists to segment them accordingly to a criteria of your choosing.

Feature spotlight: Let’s say you want a portion of your leads to skip a certain set of questions based on their responses, Typeform provides ‘Logic Jumps’. Allowing your leads to be taken to the most appropriate questions, skipping the ones that aren’t relevant based on their responses.

Hotjar

Sick of wondering what people are doing on your website when you look at Google Analytics? I don’t mean how long they stay on your site and the channel they come from, I mean on what page are they clicking though to and what part of that page are they click on.

Say hello to Hotjar, a visitor behaviour analysis app that generates video recordings of your visitors sessions. Alongside an infantry of features to collect feedback through on-site polls and surveys.

Providing deeper clarity on visitor behaviour with heatmaps to better understand the website journey and action the insights discovered according to the goals of the business. This is one of the many inbound marketing examples that can enable your business to exceed its goals.

This is a tool that needs to be added to your tech stack of inbound marketing platforms as some of the smallest changes on-site, can make the biggest difference for your visitors to turn into leads.

Feature spotlight: Each video session recording tells you which country your visitor is from, device, browser, operating system, number of pages visited, duration, entry page and exit page.

Engagebay

Sick of seeing an upgrade in your HubSpot account will cost you half of your marketing budget – yep, we were to! Its not secret that HubSpots pricing has gone up significantly over the years, for SMB’s, the value here is questionable as they usually only use certain parts of the platform.

Look no further than Engagebay. This platform has to be placed in the list – Top 10 CRM Tools. Why, you might ask? Because it has the same feature set as HubSpot but for 80% cheaper. Tell me that’s not a good deal! The problem with overpricing a CRM is that it’s a ‘set and forget’ product. Meaning most SMB’s will set it up as one of their main go-to inbound marketing platforms, where all there lead and customer data is stored. Then only really use a few of the core features a few times a week.

If you look at the sales and marketing ‘Starters’ HubSpot licences, then compare them with Engage’s ‘Free’ or even ‘Basic’ licence, they provide more or less the exact same features. Engagebay also provides customer service to all customers regardless of the licence you have, there is a minimum licence for HubSpot to receive this.

Engagebay also has a great email feature called email broadcasts, which is just another name for an email direct marketing campaign. That is just one of the outbound marketing tools included in such a well valued product.

Feature spotlight: The free licence has no limit to access the live chat customer service you can receive when your in your account, so cool! This provides a lot more value than some other CRM’s that put a limit to the customer service you receive based on the tier of your licence.

Leadpages

When your visitors come to your site, page load time, form structure, clear messaging, can often be an issue when trying to turn your visitors into leads.

Changing your main website is often costly and labour intensive, a great solution to this problem is to launch a landing page, especially when you have paid traffic coming to your site to generate leads. Having a well performing landing page is one of those staple inbound lead generation techniques that has become so standardised, it’s sometimes assumed.

Don’t fear, Leadpages is here!

Whether it’s their engaging templates, extensive A/B testing options, ready to use conversion tools like pop ups or alert bars, this platform is set with everything you need to create a high performing landing page.

Covering all grounds, making sure the tool calibrates all landing pages to be mobile responsive with lightning page load times, alongside a ‘Leads’ tab to see all your leads quickly with all the information you need.

Feature spotlight: Has a ‘Lead Magnets’ feature to allow you to go that one step further than just capturing lead information but also enabling you to send content like checklists, how-to guides and case studies to your leads to take them on an educational journey.

Zapier

This is an app that fits into your stack of marketing lead generation tools, because it glues all your other tools together. Whilst zapier sits in a different place in your tech stack, allowing you to integrate your lead generation tools, to create automation between menial tasks. What this does is save you endless amounts of time on the manual gaps that these apps create, when trying to get them to work together.

This could be anything from segmenting leads to certain lists upon converting, triggering standard emails to communicate with leads from and to all different channels, and much more. At its core Zapier is an integration app that provides workflow automation. Utilising a drag and drop functionality making it super easy to take advantage of the 3000 applications you can configure to create automated workflows that skyrocket work efficiency, reducing wasted time and your businesses expense base.

Zapier is a no code tool that lets you build ‘Zaps’, which is their name for an event that acts as a trigger. This is initiated by an action(s) when your trigger event occurs, firing this process that you have set up, completing the task you are looking to automate. This easily makes the list of top 5 inbound marketing tools, given its very expansive nature of being able to meet the automation needs of almost any business.

Feature spotlight: Zapier has built in actions like numerous types of logic, filters, delays, the ability to to internally format data – arming you with the ability to create a highly customised flow of data, creating the opportunity to develop superior internal and external processes, accelerating your businesses growth.

Let’s take a short break!

Check out the video below to see how you can use Zapier with Facebook Lead Ads, to pass lead information through and send an email to your leads after they submit the lead form.

Spoiler alert!

QikChat may be released with a direct Facebook Lead Ads integration, so you don’t have to set up this process and instead of just sending an email, you’ll be able to schedule meetings – how cool is that!

ActiveCampaign

This tool is very close to my heart as it is one of my ‘bread and butter’ marketing lead generation tools, as it really facilitates everything you need for email marketing, combined with the ability to create advanced email automation.

This tool gives users access to in-depth behaviour tracking, which allow you to surface which emails have the highest engagement from which email from your automation sequence. Note, delaying your second or third email send to a specific number of days from a warm list and then sending that contact an email based on whether they have read or clicked on a link, can yield unexpected successful results. Given you are matching the message as to how the lead has engaged in your emails, which is not easy to do on other platforms.

Being able to segment your lists is so important as it will allow you to really break down the most engaged leads from the least engaged. Then creating separate lists for these leads accordingly and delivering the most tailored offer to generate the most successful results. This is one of the few inbound lead generation techniques that are crucial to building a superior lead to customer experience, and ActiveCampaign makes this really easy to do so.

Feature spotlight: Their automation map is an extremely helpful feature that will allow you to see how your automation will be triggered and work together. It makes it super easy to see your automaton from a high level view and see if there are any opportunities for improvement or further customization to set it up for maximal success.

P.S. this could also fit into your outbound marketing tools tech stack, not just inbound.

Mailchimp

If you have done any work in email marketing, you probably would have heard or come across MailChimp. MailChimp is one of those tools thats been around for so long and once dominated the email marketing category as the categories go-to platform. It comes equipped with an easy to use drag and drop email interface, autoresponders, select delivery times based on a lead’s time zones and you can also segment leads using their respective geolocation.

This is one of those inbound marketing platforms that unfortunately does miss marketing automation features as compared to other platforms on this list. However it does come with over 250 app integrations on the free plan, alongside email support for 30 days, for a free plan – thats a lot of value!

Starting off on their free plan, it allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2000 contacts, thats six emails per contact, not bad! Unfortunately it does not come with some of the key features like advanced segmentation of multivariate testing, also their branding will still be in your emails.

Having said that, still add this to your lead generation tools stack as there is still plenty of quality email strategies you can implement with just the free plan.

Feature spotlight: You can add in a significant level of customisation to their custom forms, from your company’s logo to social media handles (great for fast user sharing).

MobileMonkey

Mobile Monkey is a chatbot marketing platform that started out with a focus on Facebook Messenger Marketing. With Facebook Messenger used by 1.3 billion users around the world, whilst also being a pure messenger app, it’s easy to see why this has started out as its core focus as it is known to yield really high engagement rates. This is due to the high frequency of people checking their messaging apps, coupled with the ability to generate a one-click response and continue on a conversation.

This is one of those marketing lead generation tools that will allow you to execute your chatbot strategy without needing too much time to learn how to use the platform, given its ease of use.

What it will enable you to do is implement an onsite chatbot with a custom questioning based on what the visitor asks or selects. Run a multichannel chatbot marketing campaign through your preferred messaging channels, inclusive of Facebook. Remember Facebook has strict guidelines for this type of marketing and Mobile Monkey arms you with the tools to make this process easy.

Depending on which side you want to use, this platform can also comfortably sit in your outbound marketing tools stack,

Feature spotlight: Mobile Monkey has a feature called ‘Chat Blast’, this allows you to push a custom chatbot workflow to all your desired contacts, creating the opportunity to reach large audience quickly. When implemented correctly, a Chat Blast can generate an open rate of over 80%, that’s huge!

Hunter – MailTracker

MailTracker is an email tracking chrome extension that enables you to see when your email has been opened. It comes equipped with providing a historical view of how many times your email was opened with the exact time and on what device. Knowing when to send a follow up email on an inbound inquiry is just as important as the first email as this is what sets up an enjoyable sales engagement experience for this potential customer.

This chrome extension is in my ‘Free Inbound Marketing Tools’ list of favourites and is something that provides value quickly, giving you the insight you need to time your email response perfectly.

On the other side, you’ve identified the right stakeholder that has significant buying power for your product, the next step would be to send them personalised communication, through a channel of choice, most of the time this is by email.

Within your lead generation tools stack, you need to be able to locate this person’s email. Hunter, an email finder and email verifier, to know you are sending your outreach to not only the right person but a real email.

Feature spotlight: This chrome extension is super easy to use and sits comfortably within your gmail account, giving you the ability to see the historical view of when your recipient has viewed your email. It is a joy to use this tool as it provides real immediate value.

Sparkloop

Ever wondered how to turn your subscriber base into advocates that can offer anyone they know a deal to sign up to your product? Or how to achieve virality from your own subscriber base? This is where SparkLoop comes in, referral software that provides a unique code to all recipients in your email list, facilitating end to end tracking. Allowing you to provide rewards to your subscriber base for sharing your product or service, giving you the ability to create a cost effective growth channel through your own subscribers.

Alongside an out-of-the-box activecampaign integration, so you can customise your emails to fit your brand.

Tell me that doesn’t fall under the category of lethal inbound lead generation techniques? I’ll wait.

One of the key problems in any type of referral marketing is tracking the referrals to provide the incentive based reward. Sparkloop solves that seamlessly by not just providing unique codes with every new referrer, but also showing you how many referrals that person generated. Their dashboard is impeccably clear, giving you the insight to provide those rewards quickly to those people that are sharing your message.

Feature spotlight: This platform comes equipped with a basic landing page builder and a basic form. So if you don’t have the ability to capture user information, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered!

ContentStudio

Nobody wants to have to post organic social media content across all social media channels manually and then report on it. Anyone who has done that will tell you how time-consuming and draining it can be. You need inbound marketing tools like ContentStudio to automate this entire process for you, which will also allow you to accelerate your content strategy by enabling you to post higher quality content more frequently.

What this will do, is increase social media engagement, spreading it on people’s feeds but also increasing the shareability of your content. Creating a pathway to assist your business in achieving some form of virality.

Coupled with really cool features like providing the ‘Best Time To Post’ and UTM tracking, this is definitely an all in one solution. And don’t worry! Whilst this not one of those inbound marketing platforms giving you random metrics that don’t matter, their reporting is highly extensive too, providing insights that could have potentially missed.

Feature spotlight: This tool comes equipped with an AI caption generator, along with hashtags suggestions, removing the need to come up with new captions every single post. Having used the caption generator, I can personally confirm how efficient it made the execution of our social content strategy, having saved us bucket loads of time.

Proof

Social proof statistics will tell you that 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations, before a purchase is made. It’s no surprise that giving your online visitors the ability to see that people are purchasing your product is really powerful when building authority that new customers coming across your product for the first time, need to buy it.

Behold, Proof. This platform gives you the ability to show the actions that people have taken on your website. These actions consist of who purchased a product, to recently purchased a product or started a free trial. Also providing a live visitor count for special offers to increase excitement and scarcity, if it’s a limited time offer.

This has got to be one of the best lead generation tools to drive online conversions in the form of leads, that leverages your existing traffic, potentially reducing the pressure on paid advertising to bring in those leads. There’s no telling how much a product like this could increase your online conversions.

Feature spotlight: Proof has a ‘Live Visitor Count’ feature, showing the number of people currently viewing your whole site, great for limited sales offers. What this can do is drive conversions, by presenting a level of scarcity.

Rebrandly

A user signs up to your product and they receive that classic welcome email. In this email is a link for the user to click through, to the next stage with a unique link. Anyone that has worked in marketing knows that while making a link look nice, isn’t the biggest problem, the problem is getting people to click on it, thats what a shortened and branded link can do – say hello to rebrandly.

This is an all in one link management platform that allows you to brand, shorten and track all your links to maximise user engagement wherever required. This is in the marketing lead generation tools stack that will give you the ability to get the most out of your traffic or subscriber base.

Feature spotlight: This platform comes with ‘Link Retargeting’, enabling you to fire your pixels from your marketing channels, right from your very own branded links – how cool is that! One of the few inbound marketing examples, where you can sit back and watch your retargeting lists grow.

SurveyPlanet

Do you ever want to know more about your customers, wish you could just ask them a question? Send them a survey with Surveyplanet, this platform does most of the work for you. With over 90 pre-written surveys accompanied by all the survey themes you need, to make your survey stand out, setting up your survey should be about as quick as your lunch break.

Using this as one of your inbound marketing tools, given its easy to use interface, not taking long to learn, will allow your team to build and send surveys quickly. As the template list is very comprehensive, repurposing is another option that can be done really quickly as well.

The best part is, this is all covered in their free plan, that’s a lot of value! For all those logic fans out there, it comes with skip logic and question branching, for most basic to intermediate surveys, that’s really all you need.

Feature spotlight: Within their free plan, they offer unlimited surveys and responses, the value just doesn’t stop!

Leadfeeder

Another one of the best inbound marketing tools for performance-driven teams is Leadfeeder. This tool enables marketing teams to generate leads from website traffic by connecting to Google Analytics to identify companies from anonymous website visitors.

Leadfeeder uses custom segmentation to score and qualify visitors based on their web activity. It also enriches the data so you can identify key prospects and their contact information. You can sync your leads to various CRM and automation tools, fill your sales pipeline, and better monitor and analyse your inbound marketing efforts.

Tracking your website visitors on an account level has never been easier, and it fits well with any inbound lead generation techniques.

Feature spotlight: This platform has a strong set of collaboration features that allow you to assign the territory of your website traffic to a particular team member. Coupled with a LinkedIn integration, you can send off a connection request from the visibility of knowing that the company has been on your website.

HubSpot

HubSpot is an all-in-one suite of inbound marketing tools that lets a single person do the work of an entire marketing team. You can easily create and optimise custom landing pages and lead magnets, and nurture emails.

With HubSpot, you can cater to each component of your campaigns, no matter what the channel, providing a seamless customer experience and converting more leads.

You can track and log your leads’ activities and discover where they are and what they’re interested in. The built-in analytics and reporting make it a breeze to learn which pages, ads, offers and traffic sources drive the most conversions.

hubspot dashboard

Feature spotlight: Hubspot’s sequences feature has to be the winner here. Whilst it may only be used by certain teams, one thing that stood out is the ease of setting it up, the simple but very effective logic you can add in and the clarity in tracking what has been successful or not.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

This smart tool lets you pinpoint and connect with the right decision-makers and sales prospects on LinkedIn. You get much better visibility of the right people as you can filter LinkedIn profiles to refine your search to only the most suitable prospects.

It simplifies the process of searching, contacting and staying connected with customers and prospects, and has advanced alert functions so you stay up to date with any changes as they happen. No need to spend long hours manually tracking the right prospects.

Not only that, you get insights to help you sell more effectively, turning cold calling into warmer, more relevant conversations. Any LinkedIn user can pay for this tool, with the choice of various types of subscriptions based on your business needs and team size.

Feature spotlight: The ability to save lists is so helpful, as these lists update automatically when new people on LinkedIn match the list criteria that you have selected. This is one of the many inbound lead generation techniques that can save you time by not having to create new lists when you want to locate new leads.

Semrush

Implementing any SEO strategy is never really a simple task as it requires research that is technically sound. For example, selecting the wrong subset of commercial intent based keywords can bring the wrong traffic that in turn, don’t end up converting and growing your business.

Start off by identifying keyword opportunities through the tool’s ‘Keyword Gap’ tab and enter your competitors in. Then according to your strategy select the position, volume, KD and intent. With search intent remember, a lot of content will always fall under the informational category, go through the results and sort the keywords by KD (Keyword difficulty) to uncover which informational articles that are ranking the highest have the lowest competition.

And there it is! Your content ideas right in front of you.

Semrush is one of the many inbound marketing examples of a platform, that has everything you need to implement all types of SEO strategies, whether it be simple or extremely complex.

Feature spotlight: In the organic research tab of the platform there is a section called ‘pages’ you can locate your competitors top performing pages after you sort the dashboard by ‘traffic’ or another metric of your choosing. Going one step further, their Backlink Analytics tab has everything you need to uncover key backlink opportunities that can come in the form of lost links, this is all on the entry level plan.

Lead generation tools boost your chances of success

Inbound marketing is one of the most powerful ways to drive new leads that result in sales. And by using some of the marketing lead generation tools I’ve just talked about, you make everything easier, smoother and more effective. They help you schedule more meetings with your leads, turn traffic into leads through engaging content, and capture data points through key analytics that you can use to make intelligent decisions.

Best lead generation tools FAQs

What are inbound marketing tools?

These are tools that allow you to engage website visitors to turn them into leads and then customers.

What are the top tools you use everyday for inbound marketing?

QikChat, Tidio, ActiveCampaign, Hotjar and Zapier.

Which platform is best for lead generation?

QikChat.

What are examples of inbound marketing?

SEO and Paid Ads.

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