How to Make Your Marketing 13 Times More Likely to Succeed, and Other Surprising Stats from 2014

2014 is coming to a close soon – wanna know how your marketing compared to everyone else’s?

Time to find out!

Just last month, HubSpot released their 2014 State of Inbound Marketing report – an annual survey of THOUSANDS of marketers that investigates what they did, what worked, what didn’t, and where the trends are going. (You can download it here if you want to read the whole thing yourself.)

After taking a look at the report, there were certain things that realllly jumped out at me – these are the things you’re gonna want to know. So as you start looking back on what YOU did this year, check out some of these statistics about what OTHER online marketers did, too. What did they struggle with? What were their top priorities? Did their efforts ACTUALLY pay off? Let’s take a look – you may find some surprising similarities between their marketing and your own!

But first, a quick refresher – what’s “inbound marketing,” again?

Get it? Got it? Good! So, what happened in 2014?

1. Inbound marketing is getting a LOT more popular

As of last year, the number of marketers practicing things like social media marketing and blogging was around 60%. This year? 85%. Not a bad jump, right? More and more people are getting the message – no matter how much you DON’T want to do this stuff, no matter how much you think you don’t have time, you HAVE to do it. We’re way past the point of this being the New Normal. It’s the New Mandatory. Not convinced that maintaining a blog for your business will actually boost sales? Read on…

2. When you make blogging a priority, you make bank

Turns out that marketers who made blogging a priority had WAY better return on investment for their marketing than those who didn’t. People who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to get positive ROI on their marketing efforts. That’s a pretty serious boost – certainly makes buckling down and putting together that editorial calendar seem like a better idea, doesn’t it? And that probably explains the NEXT big fact…

3. The agencies that reported the best ROI are the ones that spent the most time on blogging

Seeing the connection here? Blogging is super important because it helps you make money. The number 2 and number 3 activities? SEO/organic presence and then content distribution. (Just FYI.)

Inbound marketing top ROI in 2014

Source: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/inbound-marketing-stats-charts

“Okay,” you might be thinking, “but all those companies are like, super huge businesses with marketing teams and fat budgets and resources that I just don’t have! What if it’s just me and my marketing budget of like, almost nothing?” Well, funny you should hypothetically think that, becaaaauuuse…

4. Even businesses with the lowest marketing budgets are making this type of marketing a priority

Of all the businesses surveyed with marketing budgets of $25k or less, 80% still engage in inbound marketing. This actually shouldn’t be that surprising, either – one of the best things about marketing efforts like blogging and social media is that they can be completely free!

Yeah, you can do stuff like pay to boost your Facebook reach, and you might even spend a few bucks on things like professional design. But you don’t HAVE to – and that’s more than you can say for “traditional” marketing efforts like straight-up paid advertising. These sorts of things are basically as free as you make them, so whether you’ve got a low budget or no budget, it’s all within the realm of possibility.

But if you’re gonna focus on that stuff, what should your goals be? Well…

5. Lead generation is most marketers’ number one goal

Having names on your list is important – SO important that for most marketers, getting more names and growing that list is their top goal when it comes to inbound marketing. Get more followers on social. Get more subscribers (and readers) to your emails. Do what you’ve gotta do to create a community of fans and followers for your business, and worry about turning those people into actual customers LATER.

Speaking of turning leads into customers, though —

6. Determining the ROI of this kind of marketing is tough – but you’ve gotta make an effort

The biggest concern among marketers is their ability to prove the ROI of these activities. And that’s actually really legit, because it can be hard (or darn near impossible, sometimes) to draw a clear line between, say, someone reading a blog or a tweet and then later becoming your customer. It’s just not how this whole thing works. So if it’s something you’re struggling with, don’t worry – you are NOT alone.

Buuuuuut…

If you pay attention at least a LITTLE bit, it can pay off – big time. Marketers who measure the ROI of these activities are 17 times more likely to see that ROI either stay the same or increase from year to year.

So even though it’s frustrating not being able to lock down an EXACT figure for just how much your marketing pays off, you have to try. Just pay attention to possible correlations between what you’re doing (with things like your blog, your social, etc.) and what you’re earning, and experiment. Watch your analytics. Do what works, ditch what doesn’t – it may seem imprecise (because, well, it IS), but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.

What were YOUR marketing experiences in 2014?

So you’ve seen what the general consensus is among other businesses, but what about yours? Did you find yourself focusing more on social this past year? Were you frustrated by how hard it can be to measure ROI? Are you STILL putting off getting that blog started? Use the comments section below and share how you compare!

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About Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who gives businesses of all sizes the tools they need to make their mark on the web. She is the creator of the social media scheduling software Edgar, as well as social media marketing web courses like Creating Fame and Social Brilliant.

Comments

  1. Inbound marketing is certainly a convenient and cheaper option, the most difficult part is content creation to engage your target audience.

  2. Hello,

    Outstanding blog post! It is important to learn why subscribers leave, and what you can do to change that. I am going to look into some of your points above for my own newsletter.

  3. The answer is probably “yes”, but I still want to ask if this applies to B2B business. Because my husband runs a wholesale business, and he is not blogging or social media marketing yet, and we cannot find convincing reasons to do so. Any directions for further info would help. Thank you.

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      That’s actually a really important question! Content marketing for a B2B business can definitely feel a lot different than it does for a B2C, even if you’re doing the same things. While everyone’s business is different, I will point you toward two pretty interesting stats:
      First, B2B companies that blog generate an average of 67% more leads than those that don’t.
      Second, between 2013 and 2014, about 93% of B2B businesses decided either to continue creating the same amount of content or to create more. (Most of that 93% actually decided to create more.)
      Just a couple of things to keep in mind!

  4. I found this completely fascinating. Thank you Laura for extracting the good bits for us. Truly appreciated. My editorial calendar just became my best friend for 2015.

  5. I’ve found it so hard to convince clients in the past to invest in blogging – as in invest time into blogging, invest money into hiring a blogger or allow key members of your staff, those with something intelligent to say, to take 4 hours a week aside to write a brilliant blog post. It’s like speaking to a wall sometimes. This article just proves my point! Blogging works!!!

  6. I really went back to basics with my blog last spring, answering FAQ’s and writing about the most simple concepts and ideas that are really targeted to my audience. My web traffic has increased by 50%, my newsletter subscriber list has doubled, and from August onward I’ve been booked at least 2 weeks in advance! I’d been blogging for almost 3 years, but getting more targeted has really paid off. My social reach hasn’t grown nearly as fast, but I’d rather have people on my site and e-mail list, so that’s definitely secondary!

  7. Marc Ehret says:

    … 80% still engage in inbound marketing… Does a comment count as ‘Inbound Marketing’?