How Small Businesses Boost Online Lead Generation

by on March 1, 2012

If looking for ways to boost online lead generation for your small business, consider where the innovators are heading. A recent survey, reveals how some businesses are realizing 61% lower cost per lead by targeting inbound marketing channels. Responses from these leading small businesses recount their Internet marketing strategies and techniques that bring new customers.

According to the Hubspot survey report*:

“Traditional outbound marketing techniques – including direct mail, print advertising and telemarketing – are becoming less effective. Buyers are not only finding ways to tune these messages out, but more importantly, they now have the capability to evaluate the products and services they need on their own.

As a result, businesses are transforming their marketing efforts to focus more on inbound programs that allow customers to find them.” . . .

“Given the digital nature of inbound marketing, the marginal cost per customer acquisition is typically close to zero, meaning that as buyers continue to shift how they make purchases, the cost per lead for a given business will continue to decrease.”

The average cost of $346 per lead was reported by companies spending 50% or more on outbound marketing channels, as compared to $135 per lead by businesses using predominately inbound marketing channels. Company blogs, other social media, and organic search (search engine optimization) are the inbound marketing channels yielding this efficiency.

Company blogs are considered strong lead generators because 57% of businesses acquired customers through a blog. An important factor in acquiring customers was how frequently posts were published. The more frequently posts were published by a business, the more businesses reported acquiring customers through a blog.

While 60% of businesses published weekly posts, the following results can help your business decide what frequency is suitable. Their responses indicate what percentage of company blogs yielded customers by publishing frequency:

92% posting multiple times a day;
78% posting every day;
70% posting 2 to 3 times a week;
66% posting weekly;
56% monthly; and
43% posting less than monthly.

Other information useful for planning your inbound or Internet marketing strategies:

  • Small companies plan to spend 43% of their lead generation budget in 2012 on inbound marketing, as compared to 21% for larger companies.
  • Industries that reported blogs as highly effective were: technology, communications and media, retail and wholesale, education and professional services and consulting, with over half indicating that customer acquisition comes through their blog.
  • The retail industry experienced most success with Twitter and Facebook, however, half of all respondents from every industry, except retail and wholesale, indicated customer acquisition coming through Linked-In.
  • Blogs remain the most important media channel with over 81% of businesses stating blogs are useful, important or critical to their business.
  • Other social media, in comparison, is considered useful or stronger by over 60% of these business respondents.

Blogs are a strong lead generator, so here are tips for achieving or increasing the publishing rate of your blog posts:

      1. Assign responsibility for writing, publishing and managing your blog.


      2. Identify topics about 4 weeks in advance, based on post frequency.


      3. Consider retaining a skilled writer, and providing topics and resource links.


      4. Order the writing of posts in sets, to build a forward inventory.


      5. Optimize with

seo services

      , using relevant keywords and other search factors.


    6. Publish posts followed by a link to it on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linked-In.

*Note: The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing survey reports responses gathered from 150 businesses and 972 professionals – including marketers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives at companies of various sizes.

What are your experiences using online lead generation or related Internet marketing strategies for your business?

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