Commentary

SEO The No. 3 Effective Tool For Lead Generation

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the No. 3 most effective lead-generation tool, followed only by company Web sites at No. 2, and events and conference at No. 1, according to a recent report surveying B2B marketers on generating high-quality leads. Paid-search advertising sits at No. 7.

Some 61% of B2B marketers participating in the BrightTalk study admit that lack of resources like funding, staff, and time remain the biggest barrier to creating a successful lead generation strategy. Lack of high-quality data to drive campaigns follows at No. 2 among 42% of marketers.

The B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn led by BrightTALK conducted the 2015 lead generation survey to understand how marketers adjust to challenges and identify new trends and best practices. More than 600 marketers sent responses to help identify marketing plans, campaigns and budget allocations for the B2B Lead Generation Trends Report.

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Some 59% of B2B marketers identified generating high-quality leads as the biggest challenge when it comes to lead generation. The BrightTalk survey also finds that 68% of marketers point to increasing lead quality as their No. 1 priority this year, followed by increasing lead volume at 55%, and measuring the impact at 41%.

Aside from generating leads, 42% of B2B marketers say converting leads into customers is the second-biggest challenge, followed by delivering effective lead nurturing programs at 37% and demonstrating the impact on revenues and return on investment (ROI) at 36%.

Despite marketing priorities shifting to quality over quantity, 59% of marketers still rely on total lead volume as a top metric when measuring marketing ROI. Least popular at 15% are metrics that measure the reach of campaigns, customer lifetime value at 17%, and the time to close at 19%.

Most marketers are not satisfied when gauging the effectiveness of their lead-generation programs. In fact, 80% report their efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective, while just 16% rate their efforts as very or extremely effective. Some 4% report their lead-generation programs as not effective at all. 

When it comes to content and what drives the call to action, whitepaper and eBook downloads are the top producers of leads, according to 59% of respondents. Other tools are contact forms at 39%, webinars at 37%, and free trials at 35%.

Finally, there's no surprise here. Creative and graphic design are the most commonly outsourced marketing function at 30%, followed by public relations at 29%, SEO at 28%, and paid search at 27%. Marketing automation, campaign development and virtual event planning are the least outsourced.

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