Digital lead generation is fast becoming a go-to strategy. However, both digital and traditional marketing channels can drive business results.
Is there a difference between the two? Is one more effective than the other?
When it comes to lead generation, what tools or channels produce the best results? What role does lead nurturing play?
With digital lead generation, you get what you pay for. Let’s compare and contrast digital marketing and traditional marketing to get to the core of the matter.
Online Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
Seriously Simple Marketing found that digital marketing was far more cost-effective than traditional marketing. The cost of reaching an audience of 2,000 people could be as much as:
- $150 with broadcast channels
- $250 with newspapers
- $500 with magazines
- $900 with direct mail
With digital marketing, you’d only have to spend $50 on search, or $75 on social networking to reach the same number of people.
BusinessZone indicates that the primary benefits of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing include: Reduced cost, ease of measuring, brand development, more exposure and engagement, and so on.
These stats and facts represent generalizations of a far more complex issue. In some cases, traditional marketing can still be useful and even essential to the cohesiveness of a marketing campaign. Conventional and digital methods can also be complementary. WebpageFX says: “No one can tell you which marketing methods are and aren’t worth your time and money. Since your business and audience are both unique, it’s impossible to say that something will or won’t work for you – and that applies to new media, too.”
No one knows your audience as you do. Depending on what industry you’re in, the methods you use to generate leads will differ. You need to customize and tailor your approach to your audience for the best results.
The ROI of Digital Marketing & Digital Lead Generation
What follows is an analysis of several digital marketing channels. We’ll be looking at how each contributes to ROI, lead generation, and lead nurturing. Also, how they stack up against traditional forms of marketing.
Per Campaign Monitor, email marketing has an ROI of 3800%. They also show that the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than social media; email’s ROI was 28.5% compared to the 7% of direct mail. For every $1 spent, email marketing generated $38 in ROI.
Building an email list, however, can take time, as with any digital strategy. If no one is subscribed to your newsletter, it doesn’t matter how high of an ROI it can potentially generate. And, in case you’re thinking of buying a list, it usually isn’t worth your time due to low relevance and a high number of unsubscribes. Additionally, social media, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, SEO, and other tactics can all play into how fast you can build your email list.
Email marketing is unlike content marketing, which typically takes at least six months to work (more on this in a moment). With email marketing, it’s challenging to determine precisely how long it could take to build a good list. Kissmetrics has an excellent post detailing 11 effective strategies you can use to “quickly” build your email list, and it’s worth a look.
Meanwhile, most marketers know how important email is when it comes to lead nurturing. HubSpot notes that lead nurturing emails get four to 10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. Lead nurturing emails also generate an 8% CTR compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% CTR.
Many entrepreneurs and companies aren’t exactly sure how to measure social media. But it has nevertheless become an essential part of a digital marketer’s routine.
Relevant stats on HubSpot show that:
- 80% of marketers said their social media efforts increased traffic.
- More than 50% of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least three years reported it has helped them improve sales.
- By spending as little as six hours per week, over 66% of marketers saw lead generation benefits with social media.
- More than 50% of marketers with at least one year of social media experience were generating leads with social platforms.
These stats help us draw a few reliable conclusions about social media. One, it requires regularity. While you may not need to spend more than 30 to 60 minutes per day on social networks, that consistency can make a difference. Two, with little more than a year of experience, you can begin generating leads on social media. Three, with three years of experience behind you, you could even be generating sales on social media. It is not an exact timeline, and some marketers will take less, some will take more time to get the same results.
Marketing Insider Group also found that social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate.
Protocol 80 found that PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. PowerTraffic discovered that the top three advertising spots get 46% of the clicks on the search engine results page.
These stats show that PPC advertising is primarily used to generate sales. It doesn’t mean it can’t be a useful lead generation tool. But per Prospectr Marketing, three of the worst lead sources for B2B businesses are traditional advertising (3%), PPC (6%), and direct mail (6%). Likewise, with B2C companies, the three worst sources were telemarketing (3%), trade shows (6%), and PPC (6%).
PPC advertising can help you reach a broad audience quickly. It can also integrate well with some of the other digital marketing strategies explored here. But what we can see from the above is that it’s better used as a sales tool compared to a lead generation tool. Email, social media, and SEO are where the majority of leads come from for most types of businesses.
There are many compelling stats connected to content marketing. Per Content Marketing Institute, content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders. They also point out that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, and still generates three times as many leads. Content marketing can also boost conversion rates by as much as six times higher than those who haven’t implemented this strategy.
These stats are not consistent across the board. Content marketing initiatives can fail. And for some companies, other forms of marketing are considerably more effective. With any strategy, it’s crucial to be all-in or all-out, and dabbling in content isn’t likely to give you a high ROI.
Castleford has a post that details what content marketing can do for you in one, three, and six-month increments. In the first month, most companies can gain a better understanding of their audience, put tracking tools in place, created a documented strategy, and determine what metrics to track. After three months, you could be publishing content and promoting your content on different channels. In six months, you’ll begin to see traffic coming to your website and be able to create your first report. You can also start to diversify your content creation and promotion efforts.
From this example, we can see that content marketing takes time, and it may take six months or even longer just to start working. A long-term view is necessary if you want to succeed with content.
Per Jordie van Rijn, 67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more. B2B marketers also see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads versus non-nurtured leads after successfully deploying a lead nurturing program.
As we’ve already discussed, lead nurturing is key to generating warm and qualified leads. It is where marketing automation shines. It makes it easy for you to automate the sending of reports and white papers, webinar and demo invitations, and other messages and marketing assets. Even a 10% increase in sales opportunities is significant, but some companies also see as much as a 30% increase by using marketing automation. That is significant.
Once set up, the time you need to put into marketing automation is relatively short. You may need to tweak your offers or webinars from time to time, but much of it can work in the background on autopilot.
With traditional marketing, the cost is higher, and the close rate lower. Is this applicable in 100% of cases? No.
And whether traditional or digital, different marketing channels take varying amounts of time, effort, and budget to work. Content marketing, for instance, might be one of the most intensive of all digital marketing efforts. It requires an ongoing commitment to developing and publishing relevant content for your audience.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that digital and print can be integrated. You could utilize print or direct mail ads as part of your marketing automation process. You could even send handwritten cards to your clients. A personal touch is often welcome and also appreciated.
What matters most is your audience and how they like to communicate and receive messages from you. If you aren’t sure, you can survey them or even talk to them directly. Familiarly delivering marketing messages is the best way to reach your audience, whatever medium that might be.