Despite varying opinions about the efficiency of SEO and social media, both of these "inbound" marketing methods seem to be increasingly favored by companies for lead generation. According to the 2013 "State of Inbound Marketing Report," published by HubSpot, 21 percent of companies say social media has grown more important as a lead source over the past six months, with 16 percent saying the same about SEO. The report also indicates that 15 percent of companies say SEO delivers "above-average" sales conversions.
According to the report, Facebook is the top lead generation channel: 52 percent of companies' leads have been sourced from Facebook in 2013, followed by 43 percent of leads from LinkedIn and 43 percent from company blogs.
An even more interesting statistic might be website conversion rates. Companies that utilize inbound marketing see an average website conversion of 12 percent -- double the website conversion of companies not using inbound marketing.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing capitalizes "on the way consumers make buying decisions today. Inbound marketers understand that people value personalized, relevant content and connections -- not interruptive messages -- at every stage of the marketing funnel." Inbound marketing generally includes the use of SEO, social media, blogging, email, and websites.