Over 6,000 people (including Klik Marketing!) Thursday attended a webinar on The State of Inbound Marketing in 2012. Hosted by HubSpot’s CMO Mike Volpe and Inbound Marketing Manager Melissa Miller, the session outlined findings on “permission-centric” inbound marketing channels from a survey of North American marketing professionals conducted in January.
The HubSpot report reveals some serious advantages of spending more of our budgets on inbound marketing. Not only are inbound marketing leads less expensive, they are also more likely to convert to a sale:
- Average cost per lead for inbound marketing-dominated businesses: $135 dollars. Meanwhile, the average cost for business primarily using outbound marketing rang in at $346 dollars per lead!
- 89% of marketing professionals say that they will either maintain or increase their budget for inbound marketing this year
- 47% of respondents said they will increase their marketing budgets. Of those, over half said this was because of their past success with inbound strategies.
- Of those not planning on increasing their inbound budgets, 62% said it was because of the bad economy and 21% cited a change in management. Only 4% said it was due to past success with outbound strategies.
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads only close the sale 1.7% of the time.
“Even the people not increasing their spending on inbound, there are other factors driving it,” noted Mike. Melissa and Mike let us in on some interesting quotes from the respondents regarding outbound marketing failures. One individual had zero return on an outbound marketing campaign.
“This past year we spent a few hundred dollars on a door hanger marketing campaign, we got zero response.” – A small professional services business
Another said that the worst mistake his company made was attending trade shows which provided no return on investment. On the other hand, a marketing professional at a manufacturing company raved about the benefits of social media and blogging.
“The best thing we’ve done is embrace social media, establish a blog and convince the ownership to embrace inbound marketing.” – Manufacturing company
Small businesses, defined in the report as having 1-5 employees, said that they planned to spend a whopping 43% of their lead generation budgets on inbound marketing.
“Small businesses are leveraging inbound budgets more than large businesses,” said Melissa. Large businesses plan to spend only 21% of their budgets on inbound marketing.
Mike added that if you want the most efficient marketing budget, you should focus on inbound and ROI. But as your business grows, you will start to have other objectives, like branding, that might require other outbound media channels.
Blogging and Social Media
The webinar emphasized the strengths of blogging and social media as part of an inbound marketing campaign. In the survey data, blogs were most frequently cited as having a below average cost per lead.
In the past four years, businesses have more than doubled their spending on blogging and social media. The HubSpot report noted a correlation between the frequency of blogging and return.
“The most successful category is those who blog multiple times a day,” said Melissa. 92% of companies that blog several times a day reported acquiring a new customer because of their blog. A surprising 25% of respondents said that their blog was “critical” to their business and 81% said that they viewed their blog as being “useful” or better.
Melissa and Mike acknowledged that though social media generates leads, it should be judged for appropriateness in relation to the industry. For example, one marketing professional said that he didn’t target social media because his client sells expensive software to banks, and those bankers don’t spend a lot of time on social media sites.
Generating great blog content isn’t easy, said Mike. The biggest problem for companies starting a blog is that they don’t know what to write about. One of the easiest ways to get good ideas is to consider the type of questions you are getting from leads and customers on a regular basis. Plus, the blogs will get more traffic because they are addressing keywords for which users are already searching.
Mike told webinar attendees that blogging is difficult, but that we should be glad it is.
“The more content the better. No one said that these things are easy. But we did say it works. The reason why it works is because not everyone can figure out how to do it.”
If everyone knew how to blog well, Mike added, “The entire internet would be flooded with this kind of stuff.” This gives us an advantage in using this strategy proven to convert leads into customers.
The HubSpot hosts also said blogs should be integrated with social media to be effective.
“It’s important to remember that a lot of these techniques tie into each other,” said Mike. “A lot of the effectiveness [HubSpot has] had with social media is because we have a strong blog to support that social presence.”
During a question and answer session, Mike and Melissa responded to Twitter comments asking how to effectively use a blog to increase leads and sales. Mike said that blogging “gives you great content to use within social media.” It also helps to attract more people to your website through SEO by creating content with keywords, and attracts links with relevant content. The effectiveness of your blog can be measured by the number of page views and inbound links for each of the articles you write.
- Include a call to action at the end of every blog. Point people to a lead generation form
- Share blog content on social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Klik Marketing’s team includes SEO professionals and copywriters who can effectively manage your blogging and social media needs. Request an SEO Quote Today!
The Klik Blog is written by Klik Marketing founder and President Eric Fransen. Eric has been involved with the Internet Marketing industry since the late 1990’s.