Whenever the IQnection team starts an inbound marketing campaign for one of our clients, it’s a safe bet that someone will ask: “How long will it take to see the results?
It’s a fair question. Inbound marketing takes time and effort. It relies on earning trust and building relationships with your customers online, and neither of those things happen overnight. But, just like your offline relationships with your most valued and loyal customers, nurturing those conversations is worth the payoff.
An inbound campaign often starts with a flurry of activity inside and outside the business. You’re focused on improving your online presence, whether that means changing your website or bolstering your social media presence.
Depending on how far back your web presence reaches, these improvements can lead to positive results. You might get a lot of leads in the first month or two. We like to call this “The Inbound Bump.” Still, we caution our clients not to get too excited. This honeymoon period is almost always followed by a lull in ROI activity. That’s because the campaign has moved into the “relationship building” phase. It’s a long, slow period, in which you’re earning your prospects’ trust and acceptance.
So, what are the steps you need to take to get your inbound marketing plan to deliver results in this relationship building phase?
First, content. And not just one piece of content. You need great pieces of content, and you need to make sure you have several. Continually offering high-quality, valuable content is a way to establish and continue your relationship with your potential customers. This content can include things like blog posts, eBooks, videos, and case studies, all designed to move your relationship forward and your prospects closer to your ultimate sales goal.
Second, promotion. Promotional tactics can involve various social media campaign, SEO optimization, and lead nurturing emails to get your content into the hands of your target audience. Content can be promoted to people in all stages of the decision-making process. Each piece is designed to address concerns and questions at a particular stage.
So what’s the answer to how long inbound marketing takes to deliver results? Depending on your industry and the power of your existing online presence, most inbound campaigns start to bear fruit after six to nine months. While that sounds like a long time, the content you create lasts a long time as well. After the initial six to nine months, your inbound marketing efforts will continue to move your brand forward. More content, more search engine optimization, and more promotion can eventually earn high search engine position and help you attract more and more business.
By engaging in inbound practices, you’re spending money on an investment that will payout well into the future. You’ve stopped renting, and are now an owner. You get to live in the marketing machine you are building.
If you are willing to commit to investing in something that will continue to build and generate leads well into the future, at a lower cost, inbound marketing is right for you. It will also help you convert more of those leads into sales over time.