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The days of opening a phone book and cold calling are over. People no longer pick up the phone on unrecognized numbers and are used to hearing only customized marketing pitches. Similarly, casting a wide net with online banner ads and even search ads have been proven to be less effective. Today, warm inbound leads are proving to be far more potent and valuable than any  other type of online lead. Inbound leads are changing the game and creating much more effective marketing campaigns.

Content Search

While banner ads and outbound marketing are trying to push information on a consumer, the most effective ads are the ones the consumer is searching for themselves. Companies that solve a problem for consumers must create content and information that answers questions about that problem. When the consumer seeks the information online, they will run right into the company’s landing page along with its products.

For example, imagine a hair loss treatment clinic trying to promote its facility. They could advertise on sports websites or engineering magazines where a majority of the readers are men. However, this would be casting an unnecessarily wide net. Instead, the company could simply create extremely high value content on its home page or blog. The content would answer all relevant questions and point to solutions for the problem.

The hair loss treatment company would then have a page or pop-up form where the consumer could ask for more information. This page could be before the consumer accesses the content or afterwards. Once they have filled out the page, they are now a warm lead.

Warm leads should automatically receive emails. Sales people can call to follow-up and ask them to make the purchase.

White Papers and eBooks

Besides short blogs, longer research including white papers and eBooks are also used for creating inbound marketing leads. These may be on in-depth topics like green building design, group health care plans, laws around financial management, materials science advances etc. They are for business audiences that are more likely to make larger purchases for more complex products or services. For example, an architecture firm looking for clients including developers and investors might put out the white paper on green building design mentioned above. Each sale could be worth six or seven figures to the firm.

Because they take so much time and effort to create, generally these longer content pieces can only be downloaded by the prospect after they fill out their contact information. That way, there is no chance that a prospect will read the information and leave no trace for follow-up.

Video and Photos

Photo and video ads are also becoming more and more popular. The benefit of these is that if they are entertaining, they can become viral as they are shared or liked by friends on social networks. The major social networks for these marketing materials are on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

Again, a company can create information or a piece of quirky knowledge through video or photo. Long videos may even have detailed discussions of the consumer pain point with a suggestion to purchase the product or visit the firm’s website. Either ways, this also creates inbound leads.

Podcasts

These strictly audio forms of content are also growing rapidly. Now that nearly everyone has a smart phone, they can listen to in-depth discussions in podcast form while they are commuting, traveling or just sitting at home. Podcasts topics include stock market investments, hair styling, beauty, fashion, TV, risk management, health, dieting and millions of other topics. Each could potentially be crafted by a corporation to create in-depth valuable content for consumers. At the same time, the podcasts forms and intimate connection with the listener and encourages them to buy the product or at least visit the website. This leads to a much higher closing rate.

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