Any kind of marketing takes up a lot of resources - that’s a given! Especially valid for results from inbound marketing, you have to allocate a huge chunk of resources aside before starting with it. The most treasured resource is TIME. Yes, if you’re not prepared, you’ll end up hopeless and aimless.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be in that situation. You just have to accept a few facts and follow the rules.
Inbound marketing, when done well and given enough time, is a gold mine for getting qualified leads for your business - both B2B and B2C. By definition itself, it is a way to get people looking for you without you going after them to pitch your product. That’s the reason, everyone is asking about inbound marketing these days because nobody likes to go hunting aimlessly.
The best part about inbound marketing - Your prospects get to decide whether they qualify for sales or not. How amazing!
They have to be ready without an external push, to come to you and pay you in exchange for your product or service. Such a positive and healthy turnaround for your business - Don’t you think it’s magic?
Hey, No. This brings us to a question- How long does it take for inbound marketing to show results like these?
It’s a matter of months, sometimes years, definitely not days.
This kind of organic growth can happen only when you’ve a fixed path to follow for a long time, without break, watching over the activities, and and and - NOT asking for baseless results like leads, traffic etc. I know how important it is for you to get website/blog traffic and have customers to pay for your product. But, if you’re following the inbound path, which, you know, is completely organic, you should not expect for these numbers quickly. That’s the reason, you must simultaneously run paid advertisements on Facebook, Adwords and relevant platforms so that your sales pipeline is never empty. As a matter of fact, it keeps you motivated through this test and keeps you going.
A few of my clients for inbound marketing have given me real tough experience, so much so that I want to share it now. I’ll try to be very brief.
(Not mentioning the names because of privacy concerns)
Before onboarding them, I and my team made them understand how inbound works. It was like breaking an eggshell and pulling out the chicken. After a few discussions, they seemed to accept it and we began. Not to our surprise, each one them came running just after a month or so, complaining that inbound is not working for them.
Why? Because they’re not getting any leads.
Another round of discussion, another one, and one more - they looked pretty convinced and allowed us to move ahead with a medium budget advertising on Adwords. Leads started showing up instantly. Now, it was completely up to their sales team to convert those leads and sell the product.
Sales didn’t occur much. Again they complained about 80% of the leads not getting converted. Do you know, 'that 80%' will never get converted on their first interaction with any brand?
People need to know your brand, have goodwill for your brand, and only then you can expect them to buy from you after a few weeks, months or years. It’s a long process. That’s what inbound marketing is all about. Through the journey, people come to know about you on their own, get help from you, start trusting you without getting pushed, start referring you to their friends and contacts, and one fine day, they start buying from you. They become comfortable in your presence. And, that’s what takes time to show you results from inbound marketing.
Hard to swallow, but true.
You have to accept that "Buyer's Journey" must not be interrupted in between. Sales will not happen quickly.
Brands who were patient enough, are still with us and seeing their graphs pointing the moon.
But, by when should you expect awesome results like that? Can’t say. Nobody can. Because a lot of affecting factors are included you must know about. Few of them are:
- What steps and activities your salesperson needs to go through for closing a sale?
- What’s your broad target market and exact buyer personas?
- How much SEO-friendly content are you creating and at what intervals?
- Are you considering your buyer’s pain points while creating content offers?
3 ways to see results in inbound marketing
1. Long-term organic growth strategy
For any inbound marketing campaign to show any results, you must have patience for at least 6-9 months. Yes, that’s how much time it takes genuinely.
For some, it would be lesser than or more than this timeframe.
Once you setup your inbound marketing campaign, you need to build a long-term strategy that aims at providing solutions to your prospects. Nowhere do you have to “sell”. According to your buyer personas, chalk out their pain points, and start creating content that shoots and hits directly to those problems.
Doing this continuously over a long period of time will gain you visibility, authority and trust among the audience.
This is what you must include in your long-term marketing strategy:
- Blogging: Prepare a calendar for next 6 months with at least the blog title and publishing date.
- Social Media: Setup all the relevant social media pages for your brand and prepare for being super active. Create a social media calendar month on month with the exact content and dates.
- Keywords: Do a research and fix a few long-tail keywords. This will help you while writing blog posts and other content anywhere online.
- Offers: Plan your sales process in advance, and decide what offers you’d like to make to the prospects at every stage to help them move to the next stage.
- Value proposition: Take time to improvise and build on your own value. This will give a direction to the content you’ll create throughout the process.
2. Building relationships with prospects
This is the very base of inbound marketing. Whatever you’re doing in this direction must be with an intention to build relationships. Grow your network with the people who like to interact with you, read your blog posts, comment on your social media posts, and engage with you.
Write a blog post and make it reach the maximum of your audience. Work on getting more and more genuine blog subscribers, and keep them updated through newsletters, only with their permission - very important.
Social media has a huge potential to build a brand, stay in touch with real people and get feedback regularly. Create the kind of content that your audience would like to share it with others as well.
To build relationships, you will have to:
- Understand your audience very well
- Be active on social media by asking questions, responding to messages and comments etc.
- Create the right content
- Create original content
- Show interest in other people’s content by commenting on their posts and sharing them.
3. A lot of content
Inbound marketing, although takes a lot of time to show results, it can be accelerated.
Yes, you heard it right. Inbound marketing results can be sped up, and that can happen by creating a lot of content. A lot of content.
Increase the frequency of your blog posts. If you’re publishing once a week, start publishing twice a week, then three times and so on. But, this doesn’t mean that to increase the number you have to reduce the quality of content. Work on the relevant topics, keywords, blog structure and sharing it through different channels.
Apart from publishing blog posts, you must consider guest blogging on popular blogs, creating videos in your niche, on-page SEO, social media engagement, landing pages, lead forms and Call to actions.
Expected Results in Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing lays the foundation for organic search. The content that you create throughout the journey of inbound, is well versed with the right keywords and is optimised for search engine. This helps you grow an audience, a user base that has known you organically.
These inbound users know you so well because you’ve been addressing their problems directly through your blog posts. They believe that you can provide a solution so they will stay with you.
For getting your incredible content on Google’s first page, your blog must have blog posts that are well-written, and your website’s domain authority must be good. Google’s algorithm understands older domains as more authoritative than the new ones. So, be an old and active blog, you must continuously publish great content on your blog for at least six months. This is to gain Google’s trust, that’s it.
First six months are very crucial for inbound marketing to show you results.
You require the first couple of months of inbound marketing for making the foundation ready. All the What, Where, How and When will be known by that time. In another couple of months, you may see some shift in the weekly graphs of metrics.
By the end of six months, you may actually start seeing some leads coming in organically. This complete six months graph will give you an idea of what kind of results you can expect by continuing with inbound marketing.
But, this six can be four, or eight, or twelve; it differs from business to business. Your inbound marketing game may see a good boost through awesome social media campaigns, lead magnets etc. It may sometimes take a dip due to low frequency or bad quality content.
So, roughly, the first six months of inbound marketing gives you a path to follow for the coming months.
No fixed answer to how long would it take to get results from inbound marketing for your business. All depends upon the amount of investment you make, the kind of business, and the time you put in. You need to go all-in for inbound marketing, unconditionally.