Inbound Marketing: 61% Lower Cost Per Lead Than Outbound Marketing

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HubSpot’s “The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing” reveals the findings of a January 2012 survey of 972 marketing professionals. Among the key takeaways is that inbound marketing-dominated organizations benefit from a drastically lower cost per lead than marketing-dominated organizations.

“Inbound marketing is a set of marketing strategies and techniques focused on pulling relevant prospects and customers towards a business and its products,” according to HubSpot. “Inbound marketing is becoming widely accepted because it complements the way buyers make purchasing decisions today — they are using the Internet to learn about the products and services that best meet their needs.”

The average cost per lead for outbound-dominated businesses was $346, while the average cost per lead for inbound-dominated businesses was $135. This means that inbound marketing-driven businesses experienced a 61 percent lower cost per lead than outbound marketing-driven businesses.

This finding is “remarkably consistent from year to year,” according to HubSpot.

Blogs were cited as below average for cost per lead by 52 percent of respondents, followed by social media with a 45 percent response and SEO with a 38 percent response.

Meanwhile, trade shows were cited as above average for cost per lead by 46 percent of respondents, followed by direct mail with a 26 percent response and telemarketing with a 26 percent response.

HubSpot also found that 47 percent of respondents are increasing their inbound marketing budgets from last year, while 42 percent aren’t changing their inbound marketing budgets. Those that are increasing their budgets cited “past success with inbound marketing.”

The average portion of budgets set apart for inbound marketing rose from 32 percent in 2011 to 35 percent in 2012, according to HubSpot. In 2011, outbound received 24 percent of budgets. This figure shrank to 23 percent in 2012, increasing the gap between outbound and inbound from 8 percentage points to 12 percentage points.

In 2012, small businesses (1-5 employees) plan to spend 43 percent of their lead-generation budgets on inbound marketing. Large businesses (500+ employees) plan to spend 21 percent of their lead-gen budgets on inbound marketing.

HubSpot also found that SEO leads have a 15 percent close rate, while direct traffic has a 15 percent close rate and referrals have a 9 percent close rate. Meanwhile, outbound-sourced leads have a 2 percent close rate.

The report also showed that 62 percent of respondents said social media is the source of leads that has become more important in the last six months, followed by 52 percent who said SEO and 36 percent who said blogs.

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