I will always promote blogging as a legitimate arm of a marketing strategy so it comes as no surprise to me when I read that blogs are now the number one lead generator for many businesses. Not only are they the best lead generators, they are by far the cheapest.

Whilst having a vested interest in the topic, HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog has released the results of a survey that supports the theory regarding blogging and inbound marketing in general.

In the report titled, “The State of Inbound Marketing”, HubSpot surveyed 167 professionals with 31% nominating blogs as being critical to the success of their online business. A further 21% nominated the blog as being important. That us total of 52% of those surveyed that thought a blog was important to their business.

The other statistics are also worth noting. YouTube and StumbleUpon were nominated by 25% of those surveyed as being important with Facebook 24%, Digg 21% and Twitter 20%.

HubSpot also reports that inbound marketing resulted in an average cost per lead of $84 whilst outbound marketing had an average cost per lead of $220 – that’s more than triple the cost of an inbound marketing lead.

There is a double effect gained from using a blog as part of your marketing strategy. You can more leads with each lead costing less – that of course results in higher profit margins – or the flexibility to offer significant discounts to further increase sales.

One if the features of blogging is the effect it has on search engines. If you create content on a regular basis then you will be visited by the search engines on a regular basis. More content equates to more exposure and a better coverage of keywords. If you want to increase the number of leads generated then having a company blog is the least expensive way to go. As a business owner, blogging is the most cost effective marketing tools available.

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