Social Media Increases Success Rate of Inbound Lead Generation

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A key challenge for many small and medium-size  businesses is finding cost-effective ways to generate leads. Historically, direct mail or print ads in local or trade publications yielded the best results. But many SMBs are finding that new media can  generate a higher flow of leads for less money. And HubSpot, an industry services provider, says that consumer contact coming from sources such as blogs or social media sites can be easily turn into leads. This strategy, often called inbound marketing,  now claims 39% of the 2010 lead generation budget for SMBs.

HubSpot surveys show that SMBs report  the following forms of inbound marketing have become more important in the last six months:

  • Paid search 22%
  • Social media 60%
  • Blogs 48%
  • Organic search 59%

In 2010, 51% of firms expect to spend more on inbound marketing budgets. The increased focus stems from the less-expensive per lead cost for inbound marketing techniques and the proven success of these methods. For example, the following percentages  of companies who specialize in B2C commerce say that social media is bringing them new customers:

  • Twitter 51%
  • Facebook 68%
  • LinkedIn 26%
  • Company blog 57%

B2B operators have a similar but somewhat lower success rate in obtaining new clients from social media:

  • Twitter 38%
  • Facebook 33%
  • LinkedIn 45%
  • Company blog 43%

The HubSpot research shows that businesses who blog regularly can expect to generate up to 15 new leads a month. And the number of monthly leads appears to correlate positively to the number of blog articles posted – more blog posts equals more leads. Similar results are reported by Twitter users.  B2C businesses say that having up to 20 Twitter followers a month yields 11 new leads while a Twitter base of 500+ followers brings in 32 leads monthly.

Numbers like these are sure to catch the attention of SMBs who may be working with limited ad budgets yet still need to generate leads to build sales.

[Source: State of Inbound Marketing. HubSpot. April 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2010]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.