I just received The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing from HubSpot. I’ve talked about social media marketing and inbound marketing in the past. Inbound marketers offer their audiences useful information and tools to attract them to their websites while outbound marketers push messages out to their audience. Examples of outbound marketing include television and radio commercials, print ads, telemarketing, direct mail, trade shows and e-mail spam. Inbound marketers use blogs, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and search engine optimization.
The report uncovered some key findings:
- Inbound marketing costs less: The cost per lead is 62% lower for companies that use inbound marketing.
- Blogs and social media generate customers: 57% of companies using blogs reported new customers generated directly from their blogs.
- More businesses are blogging: Companies that blog grew from 48% to 65% in the last 2 years.
- Company blogs are highly valuable: 85% of businesses find their blogs valuable, 27% rate them as critical.
Low Investment for a High Return
To me one of the most significant findings was that the average cost per lead for blogs, social media channels and search engine optimization (SEO) were cheaper than outbound marketing methods. Blogs were reported to be the least expensive. I think part of the reason that blogs can help in multiple ways. They increase content on your website which increases your SEO with key words and increased opportunity for inbound links. Blogs also give businesses something to promote on their social media channels.
Generate More Customers
57% of companies using blogs reported new customers generated directly from their blogs with an equal amount getting new customers from LinkedIn while 48% acquired new customers from Facebook and 42% from Twitter. But there was a difference between B2b and B2C businesses. While blogging is important for all companies Facebook and Twitter have the edge for B2C companies and LinkedIn has advantages for B2B companies.
Blogging is Very Effective
While blogging generates more customers there is a direct correlation between frequent blog posts and acquiring new customers. What I found very interesting were the industries where blogging was most effective. Over 50% of the respondents in Higher Education, Professional Services, Consulting, Technology, Communications and Sales reported higher customer acquisitions through blogging.
Each Company Different
It is important to remember that each company is different and their social media marketing mix will be different. While some companies should be more involved with Facebook other companies should spend more time in LinkedIn, although this report shows every company should be more involved in blogging. What do you think of these findings? What is your business doing? Do you have a blog and is it effective? Let me know and comment below.
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Graphics courtesy of HubSpot