Traditional marketing: it’s a pop-up on your computer, an ad you don’t want to watch or an automated phone call you’re forced to endure. In other words, it’s an interruption. This mindset has led to a revolutionary shift in buyer behavior, and paved the way for inbound marketing. So when can you expect it to have an effect on your bottom line?
1. How long does it take?
Traditional marketing provides immediate gratification in terms of results, which is why this tactic often appeals more to decision-makers. The subsequent jump in website traffic or surge in sales will fizzle quickly until the next big push (and more big bucks).
Inbound marketing takes time to ramp up and execute, but smart marketers know that the long-term results are worth it.
So, the question on everyone’s mind is:
When will my company increase sales/leads/contacts/customers from inbound marketing efforts?
Before you can expect inbound marketing results, you must first know that it takes a lot of work. There is no “easy button.” Steady growth will result from steady inbound activity. We generally tell our clients to expect results within the first six months to eight month.
For insight, let’s look to to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2015, a survey aggregating marketing data across thousands of B2B, B2C and nonprofit businesses. According to the research, within seven months of launching inbound marketing:
- 85% of businesses increased their website traffic
- 84% of businesses increased their leads
- 69% of businesses increased sales
Inbound marketing is often cited as “a marathon, not a sprint.” Sure, training for a marathon is arduous and lengthy, but in the end you’re running 26.2 miles. In contrast, we’ll equate traditional marketing to a Fun Run – anyone can participate, just as long as you’ve got the cash to continue signing up for races.
If given the choice, would you choose the marathoner or the Fun Run participant to win your race? Customers are placing their bets (and their trust) on the marathoner for obvious reasons.
2. What kind of expectations you should have?
By now, you know that inbound marketing is radically different from traditional marketing. Instead of spending money and seeing an instant spike in results, you're going to see slow, steady growth with inbound marketing.
A common misconception is that inbound marketing results can’t be tracked. “Content marketing” sounds a bit more nebulous than “30-second television ad.” But the results are just as traceable.
Before jumping into an inbound marketing strategy, companies must know what kind of expectations they should have in terms of tracking, timing and even their own behavior. Generally, we prepare our clients to expect the following when they begin an inbound marketing strategy:
- Form new marketing habits that coincide with inbound strategies (this mindset change can be difficult for some.)
- Anticipate no visible results for the first quarter of inbound execution.
- Expect to get what you put into it. The more valuable, helpful content created, the shorter the timeline in seeing results.
- Know that the extent, degree and timeframe of inbound marketing results varies from business to business, but the long-term benefits are undeniable.
3. Who can help you execute inbound marketing?
If you’re sold on inbound marketing, the next step is finding the right mix of talent to accomplish your needs.
Who knows more about your company’s products and/or services that your own employees? Most companies that are really good at inbound marketing write at least some of their own content. But content is only the beginning. To be a successful inbound marketer, you’ll need someone to handle:
- Social media
- Paid search (Google AdWords)
- Website development focused on conversions
- Graphic design
- Tracking and analytics
Depending on the size of your marketing team, all of these aptitudes may be split up among your own team. However, many companies struggle to guide these tactics together to increase sales/leads/contacts/customers. If inbound marketing lacks leadership with a thorough understanding of this methodology, your efforts might not have as much impact.
Using a freelancer can be very helpful in filling the talent gaps on your team where you wouldn’t necessarily hire someone full time. They can help you keep costs low while getting the professional help your company needs. Additionally, freelancers are often very specialized in the services they provide. Not sure how to execute a Google AdWords campaign? A freelance expert may be your best bet, as training someone internally may not yield results. A freelancer is already trained in their discipline, but will need insight on your expectations.
Wondering if your in-house team or freelancers have the chops to execute a results-driven strategy? It’s time to reach out to an experienced inbound marketing agency. Organizations that launch an inbound strategy staffed solely by in-house staff often end up hiring an inbound marketing agency. As workload capacity dwindles and targets become unfeasible, the benefits of a dedicated inbound agency are clear.
Not only can agencies compensate for skill gaps on an internal team, they also have the leadership capabilities needed to weave your marketing tactics together into one comprehensive strategy. Working with an inbound marketing agency provides easy, scalable ramp-up/ramp-down, along with a broad range of skills and ever-growing industry knowledge.
Savvy businesses are investing more time and budget in inbound marketing. Wondering how you’re inbound marketing strategy measures up? Cick on the button below to schedule a consultation and find out if your company could benefit and grow from outsourcing a portion of inbound marketing.