Want customers? Invest in social media

 

If you aren’t generating leads through social media, it’s time to rethink your marketing game plan. That’s a major takeaway from The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, a new report from marketing software provider HubSpot. Among the report’s conclusions: 62 percent of companies say that social media has become more important as a source of leads in the past six months. And 81 percent of businesses rate their company blogs as useful, important, or critical.

Based on response from nearly 1,000 executives, The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing assesses how businesses use inbound marketing – or tactics such as social media, content publishing, and search engine optimization that are designed to “pull” prospects and customers toward your business. Why the focus on inbound marketing? Because brands that invest in inbound marketing report a 61-percent lower cost per lead than those that focus on outbound marketing tactics such as telemarketing or trade shows, according to HubSpot.

Moreover, inbound channels produce higher quality leads: leads from SEO have a 14.6 percent close rate, compared to a 1.7 percent close rate for leads from outbound marketing sources.

One of the major findings of the report is the impact of social media and company blogs on lead generation According to the report, “The use of social media and company blogs not only gets your company better brand exposure, but it also generates leads that result in real customer acquisition. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are becoming more useful ways to acquire customers with significant growth in 2012. Similarly, company blogs continue to be strong performers as 57% of companies have acquired a customer from that channel.”

Other major takeaways:

  • More marketing dollars are going to social: the average budget spent on company blogs and social media has increased from 9 percent to 21 percent in 2012.
  • Company blogs usually lead to customer acquisition: nearly six out of 10 companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog.
  • Frequent blogging makes an impact: 70 percent of companies that blog at least two-to-three times per week have acquired a new customer from their blog. Only 43 percent of companies that blog less than monthly have acquired a new customer from blogging.
  • Facebook delivers customers in the business-to-consumer world: 77 percent of B2C companies say they have acquired a customer through Facebook.
  • LinkedIn delivers results for business-to-business companies: 65 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.

The message is clear: social media is more than a brand-building tool. Social media delivers customers. For more information, check out this blog post from HubSpot. In addition, on March 1 at 1:00 p.m. EST, HubSpot will discuss the report via a webinar – register here. Let me know what you think of the report.

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