E-consultancy’s recently published
online lead generation report
shows that natural search, email marketing and paid search are still the most commonly used methods for generating online leads.

However, PPC claims the larger proportion of the budget, even though natural search is seen as the most effective method for lead generation.

Given that search engine optimisation provides the most perceived value for money, why aren’t more marketers investing in natural search over and above other methods?

This year’s Online Lead Generation (B2C) Report, produced by E-consultancy in association with Clash-Media, is based on a survey of 600 digital marketers carried out in May 2008.

Highlights from the report’s findings include:

  • Natural search (79%), email marketing – in-house lists (75%) and paid search (71%) are the most commonly used online methods for lead generation.
  • More than half of company respondents (52%) said that natural search was “very effective”. Just under half (48%) said that paid search (PPC) was very effective.
  • A greater proportion of lead generation budget is being spent on online (on average, 53%) than offline (44%).
  • PPC is getting a bigger proportion of online lead generation budgets (33%), even though natural search is perceived to be better value for money.
  • SEO now only gets 15% of the budget compared to 18% last year.

It is clear from the report that online lead generation is becoming more important to businesses. Despite this, just over half of company respondents feel that their company isn’t exploiting this type of marketing as effectively as they could be, illustrating that online lead generation delivers results but could be used better.

The report found that a greater proportion of the online lead generation budget is attributed to PPC, despite SEO being seen as providing the best value for money.

The report provides good news for SEOs and email marketers, clearly demonstrating that natural search and email marketing typically provide better value than other channels or techniques for digital marketing such as PPC, display advertising and viral marketing.

However, given that the perceived effectiveness of SEO doesn’t correlate with the budget for online lead generation, perhaps SEOs need to do a better job of persuading companies to buy their services.

For more information, including trends, charts and the latest statistics, check out E-consultancy’s Online Lead Generation (B2C) Report 2008.