What is the best way to market your practice? There are many answers, all of them right. Legal marketing expert Larry Bodine extrapolates data from a recent Hubspot study, and offers his insights on the value of social media marketing.
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According to the new "State of Inbound Marketing Report" from Hubspot, inbound marketing is continuing to grow in importance at the expense of outbound marketing. The top three most important inbound marketing techniques are:
- Social media
- Search engine optimization
These three lead generation approaches plus pay-per-click advertising are what Hubspot calls “inbound marketing.” “Outbound marketing” is lead generation using direct mail, trade shows and telemarketing. Importance is weighed according to how much business spend on lead generation. (Advertising, directory listings and printed marketing materials are not considered lead generation methods.)
The three key takeaways are:
- Businesses are generating real customers with social media and blogs. Some organizations are still unsure about the utility of social media and blogs. Are potential customers really reading Twitter? Does Facebook do anything more than build brand awareness? The answer is, “Yes!” For Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and company blogs, over 40% of our respondents who use those services for marketing have acquired a customer through each of those channels. Social media is not just for brand awareness; it can be used to directly generate leads that translate into customers.
- Inbound marketing channels continue to deliver dramatically lower cost per lead than outbound channels do. Businesses spending 50% or more of their marketing budget on inbound marketing activities spent 60% less per lead than businesses spending 50% or more of their marketing budget on outbound channels. This number is remarkably consistent with the 61% lower cost businesses reported d a year ago. Clearly, inbound marketing channels are maintaining their low-cost advantage.
- Social media and blogs are the most rapidly expanding category in the overall marketing budget. Social media and blogs are becoming marketing powerhouses. They are the fastest growing category in lead generation budgets and hey continue to be ranked as the lowest cost lead-generation channel. In addition, more than any other channel, social media was ranked as a source of leads that has become more important in the last six months.
Lead Generation Budget (% of Total)
While blogs and SEO grew slightly in importance, social media dramatically increased in the percentage of businesses considering this channel important, from 46% in 2009 to 60% in 2010.
Lead Sources Considered Important (% of Respondents; Multiple Response OK)
Paid search/ad words
SEO (organic/natural search)
Source: Hubspot, April 2009
Slightly more than half of businesses are increasing their inbound marketing budgets this year, with 37% enacting no budgetary change.
Inbound Marketing Budgets Compared to 2009 (% of Respondents)
Budget for 2010
% of Respondents
Source: Hubspot, April 2009
More than four in 10 companies overall have acquired a customer from four major social media channels, according to other findings of the Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing report. 41% of companies have acquired a customer from both Twitter and LinkedIn. That figure rises to 44% for Facebook and 46% for a company blog.
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