Measuring the overall ROI of many online marketing efforts, especially social media campaigns, is still a challenge. But research continues to show that social channels and other forms of inbound marketing deliver leads for less.
Inbound marketing refers to efforts that provide web users with information or tools of value to them, as opposed to outbound or interruptive marketing that pushes messages in front of them. According to research from inbound marketing solutions provider HubSpot, businesses dominated by inbound marketing have a 62% lower cost per lead than firms that do mostly outbound marketing. This result was similar to HubSpot’s findings from 2010.
Overall, respondents will spend 41% of their 2011 lead generation budgets on inbound channels and another 24% on outbound marketing, with the rest unclassified. Within the inbound portion, SEO dominated as the tactic with the greatest budget. Social media budgets increased between 2010 and 2011 to overtake paid search and the No. 2 inbound channel.
HubSpot also found that inbound channels were effective at turning leads into customers. Nearly three in five respondents had acquired a customer through a company blog or LinkedIn, while almost half had acquired one through Facebook and 42% through Twitter. Facebook proved the most effective inbound channel for customer acquisition for business-to-consumer firms, while LinkedIn performed best for B2Bs.
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