Blogging and social media are no longer the preserve of people discussing their personal hobbies. They have surpassed both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC) as lower cost strategies for getting new leads. If you’re looking for marketing strategies that lower your costs for generating leads, you must start integrating these two methods into your marketing toolkit as soon as possible.
Strategy #1: Blogging
If your business doesn’t have a blog yet, you’re missing out on a number of opportunities to support your long term marketing strategies. Not only are you losing out on countless potential leads that could be making you money but your losing an opportunity to help your customer and position your business as the go-to source for information in your industry. Not convinced? This data from a recent HubSpot report* could be the information that finally gets you moving.
The report stated that a huge 55% of companies had reported their blogs were generating leads at a lower cost than other forms of marketing they were using. This put blogging in pole position when it came to using inbound marketing methods to find new prospects and sales.
What does this mean for you?
It means that if you don’t have a business blog, you’re quite simply leaving cash on the table. You find the concept of blogging to cumbersome? Many business owners/marketers make the mistake of assuming they have to blog every single day or they won’t build an audience. This isn’t true. You don’t have to send out long treaties about the state of your industry either.
No, the idea is to connect with your audience without selling or preaching to them. If you can write a couple of blog posts a week (or even in a month) on an ongoing basis that appeal to your target audience, you’ll naturally start to build more interest among your existing customers, giving them a reason to return to your website to read more in the future.
And let’s not forget that having a regularly updated blog as part of your business website is good fodder for search engine optimization. Search engines are looking for sites with content that is updated frequently and reward those sites with a better search position (more traffic).
Strategy #2: Social Media
If you’re still a social media doubter, perhaps the following fact will make you think again. The same report from HubSpot showed that social media came in just behind blogging when it came to the best ways to get low cost leads. An impressive 47% of businesses that took part in the report stated that social media was generating leads at below average cost for them.
Meanwhile search engine optimization came in third with 39% and pay per click efforts managed just 27%. How do those figures correlate with the returns you are getting for your own marketing efforts right now?
In addition to this the report showed that the average company budget for both blogs and social media efforts almost doubled between 2009 and 2011. Budgets for blogging and social media went from just 9% in 2009 to a much larger 17% in 2011.
What does this mean for you?
It means that you need to get started on creating social media accounts to connect with your target audience. It’s easier than ever to join these websites and there are plenty of them to choose from as well. Do your research on a range of social media sites before you join however – Facebook and Twitter may well be the biggest networks around, but do they have a good proportion of your target audience waiting for you to connect with them?
Some business owners believe they need to join every single social media site in order to see any results. This is a quick assumption that most people make because they don’t want to make the effort at all. It’s easy to start with Facebook (Company Page) and Twitter to get you going. If you try to join all of the social networking sites you’ll get overwhelmed and quit before your ahead.
Remember to stay focused. Write down a few goals and imagine the potential that lies within these massive communities. You may find you have generated plenty more leads than you ever thought you would.
*2011: The State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot