Report: Inbound Marketing Channels More Cost-Effective for Ad Agency New Business

When it comes to ad agency new business, blogs and social media can deliver inbound leads for less.

I often say, “people want to work with other people that they KNOW, TRUST and LIKE”. Social media is an efficient and affordable way to build new business relationships quickly.

According to research from inbound marketing solutions provider HubSpot, businesses dominated by inbound marketing have a 62% lower cost per lead than firms that do mostly outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing refers to efforts that provide web users with information or tools of value to them, as opposed to outbound or interruptive marketing that pushes messages in front of them.

Traditional outbound marketing techniques for ad agency new business – including direct mail and cold calling – are becoming less effective. Your prospects have the capability to evaluate agency services on their own.

Inbound marketing offers your audience useful information and tools that attract prospective clients to your site, while interacting and developing relationships. Inbound marketing tools include blogging, content publishing, search engine optimization and social media.

Here are the top 10 key takeaways from the “State of Inbound Marketing Report”:

  1. Inbound consistently delivers a dramatically lower cost per lead than outbound. In 2011, the average cost per lead for outbound-dominated businesses was $373, while inbound businesses reported their leads cost on average $143.
  2. The gap between spending on inbound v. outbound continues to widen: In 2009, inbound marketing had a 9% greater share of the lead generation budget; in 2011 inbound’s share was 17% greater.
  3. Blogs and social media channels are generating real customers: 57% of companies using blogs reported that they acquired customers from leads generated directly from their blog.
  4. More and more business are blogging: Businesses are now in the minority if they do not blog.  From 2009 to 2011 the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48% to 65%.
  5. Three out of four Inbound Channels cost less than any Outbound Channel: In 2011, the average cost per lead for outbound-dominated businesses was $373, while inbound businesses reported their leads cost on average $143.
  6. Businesses are increasingly aware their blog is highly valuable: 85% of businesses rated their company blogs as “Useful”, “Important” or “Critical”; a whopping 27% rated their company blog as “Critical” to their business.
  7. The majority of businesses are increasing their Inbound Marketing budgets:54% of those surveyed are increasing their inbound marketing budgets. Among the 54% of respondents with increased inbound marketing budgets, the most commonly cited reason was ―past success with inbound marketing.
  8. Social Media and Blogs generate real customers:57% of those using company blogs have acquired a customer from a blog-generated lead; this is an increase of 11 percentage points since 2010. Facebook and Twitter users reported customer acquisition rates of 48% and 42%, respectively.
  9. Company blogs are increasingly valued. The blog is the channel most frequently reported as critical or important, both in 2009 and 2011. Higher Education, Professional Services & Consulting, and Software & Biotech found blogging was highly effective. All of those industries had over 50% of respondents indicating customer acquisition through their blog.
  10. Most company blogs publish at least weekly. 71% of respondents indicated they blog at least weekly. Despite the evidence showing that increased blogging correlates with increased customer acquisition, blogging frequency remained relatively steady between 2009 and 2011.

HubSpot’s  “State of Inbound Marketing Report” is available for download. The report is based on data from a recent survey of 644 professionals familiar with their business’ marketing strategy.

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About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Great article. Lead Generation is the most talked about topic on any sales and marketing forum. And needless to say that it is the most hyped about too. There are lot of companies using different ways and techniques to generate leads. There is no “right” or “wrong” here. It all depends on what kind of leads are you looking for, what kind of business you are in, and furthermore, what kind of market size you and your customers belong to.


  2. Curious Michael if there was any information about size of opportunities generated via social in this study.

  3. Mark,

    I’m sure it didn’t include the size of the opportunities.

  4. Thanks for the valuable information

  5. Bob Titus says:

    Michael, i could not agree with you more .. Great blog

  6. Thanks Bob. I look forward to meeting you next week at Media Synthesis!

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