As usual, I have to provide information about the source of the survey, which few bloggers ever do. Optify, the source of the survey, sells inbound marketing software that helps you track social media and email campaigns.
The survey, the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report by Optify, analyzed over 62 million visits and more than 350,000 leads from 600+ small and medium-sized B2B websites. It concluded that Google is tops for traffic to websites from organic searches, social media provides a small fraction of traffic to these websites, email is a top lead generator and conversion activity, and that paid search is declining among B2B marketers.
It’s no surprise that Google is tops – at least two thirds of all searches online are done through Google. And, there are those of us who know that social media works, but the fact is few B2B marketers have succeeded in implementing social media successfully. I think that is why the survey shows social media is a small fraction of traffic to websites. I’m also not surprised by the decline in paid search (we’ve done little paid search since 2005; see my recent post on this, PPC Joins SEO as a Tactic that Should Go).
The success of email as a driver of traffic to websites is not a surprise either – this has been a top tactic for the last 15 years, and while it’s true younger people have moved to social media and text messaging, baby boomers are still big email people (and for some marketers may constitute their biggest target audience).
One interesting result of the survey is that, of the small portion social media contributes to B2B website traffic, Twitter constitutes 82%. According to the Optify survey, Twitter leads have a higher conversion rate than organic search. The fact that Twitter constitutes the most social media traffic surprises me, but I wonder if it’s because Twitter is much easier to implement than LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
I recommend that B2B marketers continue to focus on Google as they optimize their sites and content, continue email marketing but (please) try to keep it fresh, creative and spam-free. And, make sure you have a good presence on Twitter – don’t be a robot like many B2B companies who get on Twitter and just spit out boring sales statements. Add value, tweet other people’s content, and engage with people by having conversations.
Do you need help with social media, email marketing, getting found online? Contact New Incite today. We provide strategic planning, training and consulting, and implementation services for B2B companies.