Study: Company Blogs Lead Social Media Options
The same reasoning applies to MySpace, which was deemed to be the least useful social media property. "If you're in the music or entertainment industry, MySpace needs to be a priority for you," said Volpe. "But for business-to-business companies, you can basically ignore MySpace."
Overall, blogs and social media accounted for 8% of sales leads generated — the same proportion as trade shows. SEO drove 16%; pay-per-click ads 13%; email marketing, 14%; telemarketing, 9%; direct marketing, 7%; and "other" categories including public relations and print and online display advertising, 25%.
Blogs and social media, however, made up 10% of spending on lead-generation efforts, suggesting a lower return on investment than SEO — which was 12% of spending but led to 16% of leads, and email campaigns, which produced 14% of leads while accounting for 10% of marketing budgets.
Among other key findings, The HubSpot study also found that "inbound" marketing efforts — including blogging, social media, SEO and pay-per-click — had lower costs per-sales than "outbound" channels such as direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows.
Companies that spent more than half their marketing budgets on inbound methods averaged per-lead costs of $84 compared to $220 for those that allotted more than half of their budgets on outbound initiatives.
Small businesses have been especially aggressive in adopting inbound techniques, which emphasize permission-based marketing, according to HubSpot. Companies with less than 50 employees earmarked more than three times as much of spending on blogging and social media than larger ones, and 36% more on SEO.
Founded in 2007, HubSpot, which provides SEO and other digital marketing services, has raised more than $17 million from investors including General Catalyst Partners and Matrix Partners.