Lead Generation: Paid vs. Natural Search

The B2B Lead Generation Blog brought to my attention some new data from MarketingSherpa that compares the effectiveness of natural search and paid search. The chart, a part of the 2009 B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey, shows both quality and quantity of leads for four different areas of search engine marketing: natural optimization, Google, other popular engines (Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and Ask) and vertical search engines.

The results showed that marketers collect more leads overall from SEO than from any paid search tactic. More importantly, those taking the survey felt that the quality of leads from natural search was much higher than than paid search. In fact, natural search actually produced as many high-quality leads as all of the paid sources combined. This is great news for marketers, since, in theory, natural search comes at a lower cost (but requires a lot more elbow grease).

Another interesting, though not surprising, fact was that highly relevant ads and landing pages (as opposed to generic messaging) increased click-through and conversion rates.

Pardot reporting can help you determine the quality of leads coming from your paid and natural search efforts. If you’re looking to improve your lead generation through paid search, try revamping your ads and landing pages for a more targeted approach or experimenting with new keywords. On the natural search front, your options include optimizing your website and focusing on content creation through your corporate site as well as blogs, social media, news, and link building.

MarketingSherpa Chart