A new study from Hubspot, who canvessed 167 small to medium sized business owners and executives, is both encouraging and confusing.
The percentage of leads from each source was broken down as:
Other (including public relations and print and online display advertising) 25%
Email Marketing 14%
Pay Per Click 13%
Blogs+Social Media 8%
Trade Shows 8%
Direct Mail 7%
I find this very encouraging – particularly as we offer services for PR, SEO, email, PPC and Social Media, that’s 76% of the leads right there! – it’s certainly good to know that more and more businesses are trying a variety of methods to generate leads, rather than sticking to whatever they have done in the past. That has certainly been my feeling from talking to clients in all kinds of businesses lately.
However, I’m also slightly skeptical of the accuracy, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you’re in are a small or medium sized business yourself, you know the difficulty in pinning down exactly how a lead found you.
If they remember you from a trade show, but Google* you to find your contact info, does that count as SEO or a trade show?
If you send offers via both email and direct mail, as many of our clients do, which one gets the credit for the sale?
And Mike Volpe, Hubspot’s VP of marketing, even goes on to say that there are additional benefits to blogging,
“Not only are you creating a community around blog articles, but all those articles get indexed by search engines, so blogging has elements of search engine optimization (SEO) as well”
So how can we accurately claim that SEO is 16% vs Blogging’s 8%? I don’t feel that we can. But I also don’t see that as a problem.
One thing we try to stress here at Step Ahead is that your marketing efforts, particularly onlne, will help each other. Being active on Twitter can drive traffic to your blog, which can help with your SEO, which can get people to sign up for your email marketing, which can inform people about your trade show appearances, which, well, you get the idea.
One final thing which jumped out at me from this was this statistic:
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.
On the Internet, there is no reason the small companies can’t compete with the Big Boys. In fact, the lack of barriers to getting things accomplished, which plague many a large corporation, can be to your advantage. If you aren’t already blogging, tweeting, facebook-ing, etc, you can start right now. You don’t need to organize all the different departments, have a bunch of strategy meetings, get the lawyers to overlook things, and waste months of everybody’s time. Just sign up for an account and jump in.
So, what are you waiting for?
*I really don’t like using Google as a verb, but everyone else does it!