Blogs are no longer an afterthought on most B2B websites. In fact, they've become one of the most cost-effective channels for generating sales leads in business-to-business marketing. Yet plenty of companies are missing the boat by not posting to their blogs often enough.
These are among the eye-opening findings a recent survey of more than 900 marketers, business owners, enterpreneurs, and executives. The survey, conducted in January 2012, is the latest update in an annual series of State of Inbound Marketing reports from HubSpot, Inc.
Here are the survey's key findings with respect to company blogs:
- Fully 81% of respondents rated blogs as "useful" (22%), "important" (34%), or "critical" (25%) to their marketing efforts.
- Blogs are the single lowest-cost source of leads, with 52% of respondents identifying them as being "below average cost." The next lowest-cost sources of leads are social media (according to 45% of respondents) and search-engine optimization (38%).
- Respondents identified their company blog as their most important media channel, well ahead of LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
- Blogs have grown in importance from 2009 to 2012, with 60% of respondents saying their blogs were "critical" or "important" in 2012. This compares with 52% in 2009.
- Among technology companies, 61% reported they had acquired a customer through blogging in 2011. (LinkedIn ranked equally with blogs as an important source of new customers for tech companies.)
- More than 30% of respondents said blogging, social media and search-engine optimization had become more important sources of leads in the prior six months. But blogging hasn't worked for everyone. Some respondents (12%) said blogs had become less important.
- A full 70% of respondents said they blog at least weekly, with 10% reporting that they blog daily.
- The frequency of blog posts correlates directly with the likelihood of landing new customers. A whopping 92% of those who blog multiple times a day said they had acquired a customer through their blog. Among weekly bloggers, 66% acquired a customer; and among bloggers who post less than once a month, the number shrinks for 43%. (See figure below.)
The companies ranged in size from a few employees to more than 200. Business-to-business companies account for 72% of respondents.
A future post will report other important findings of the HubSpot study.