How Long Does it Really Take for Inbound Marketing to Work?

Inbound marketing earns 54% more leads at a cost of 60% less than leads from outbound methods. That’s a potential ROI that any business leader can get excited about.

How long does it take for Inbound Marketing to work | Link360

But to achieve this, leads must not only be highly qualified; they must generate easier upsell & cross-sell, higher CLV and more promoter activity.

Inbound marketing delivers.

But how long does it take for you to achieve this kind of success? Let’s take a look at how inbound obtains these results and what to expect on the timeline.

Consumer Demands Changing

People have always had a love-hate relationship with marketers and sales. They like how owning, wearing or driving a certain brand makes them feel. But they don’t like to feel like they’re being sold.

They want to feel like they’re in control and choose what to buy. This really hasn’t changed, but 2 very important things have.

1) Consumers Tuning Out

Consumers have greater ability to block advertising that they don’t want. Consumers can now block ads more easily. They have more choices. They can vote with their feet if you’re overwhelming them with ads. Let’s look at some stats that paint the current picture.

  • 78% of consumers unsubscribe to emails that are too “salesy” or if frequency is too great
  • 91% of people say ads are intrusive
  • 81% say they close ad-filled sites
  • 72% say that ads lower their opinion of a brand, not raise it
  • Ad blocking has cost the advertising industry over $22 billion in lost revenues

They’re tuning out traditional ads. But they’re tuning into something else.

2) Marketers Tuning into What Customers Want

Thanks to search engines, social media and improved email technologies, we can actually market in a preferred way. Consumers can learn about your brand and offerings on a deeper level through content that they find naturally — when they’re looking for something you offer. They feel connected to you because you add value to their daily lives. They continue their buyer’s journey independently.

They don’t put a guard up. They trust you. And they re-pay it with their loyalty to your brand.

The Big Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Inbound nurtures leads from inception to conversion to lifetime loyalty. You’re building trust and connection. This leads to long-term, sustainable and very measurable results.

Outbound focuses on quick conversion after quick conversion with little regard the lifetime value of that lead. It’s, therefore, a short-term strategy that has no sustainability. When you stop running ad campaigns, lead-generation stops.

This is why traditional marketing costs so much more and earns so much less in the long run. And it’s why inbound marketing has the returns that it does.

Let’s Look at an Example

A business leader just called your company to express interest in buying a new software for her company.

In the old days, before the Internet, when she called you, she didn’t know much about your product. She’d just seen an ad in a business journal. You’d need to explain the features, value proposition and why you’re better than your competitors.

You, as a salesperson, need to educate, entice, differentiate and then close this deal. That’s quite a tall order!

Fast forward to today.

According to research, 57% of the decision is made before she contacts you. Why? This same business leader is now:

  • Learning about your brand online
  • Enjoying branded content
  • Reading reviews
  • Watching testimonial videos
  • Comparing features

They don’t need a salesperson for that part of it anymore. This is how people today buy.

If you’re not investing in inbound strategies that contribute to this 57%, then when she does make that contact, it goes to those who provided the useful information with which she made the decision — not you.

This same scenario is much the same in B2C. A consumer checks you out online 7-13 times before they buy. Inbound is so effective because it works with — not against — the way consumers today buy.

The Slump Before the Snowball Effect

When there’s a slump, normally you want to identify and fix it. But in inbound, the slump is 100% predictable. During this time you’re picking up steam by developing content that increases brand awareness, builds relationships and furthers the decision-making process naturally.

This relationship-building creates momentum that makes inbound so effective. As it develops, it becomes an unstoppable force that continues to pay you back with minimal maintenance.

Research shows that once inbound benchmarks are reached for your size company, 90% of inbound leads will continue come in from content that you’ve already created.

But like many long-term and sustainable strategies, this means that the bulk of the work must be done up front to build this momentum. It, therefore, takes, on average, 6-9 months to begin seeing the returns in compound interest.

Once they begin flowing, like a snowball effect, the momentum continues to build and translates to:

  • Month over month increased sales
  • Reduced costs in marketing, sales and customer care

This is how inbound marketing achieves its astounding results. And, sadly, it’s why so many feel that their inbound strategies aren’t working. They look at their results after 2-5 months and may wonder why they’ve spent this money. We get it. We’ve even got a name for it. “The Delta of Disappointment” was a phrase coined by Rand Fishkin of Moz. Every business leader goes through this unless they fully understand the power of inbound marketing. But you can’t afford to invest 6-9 months in something that’s not getting results. That’s why micro-goals are so important.

The Importance of Early Indicators

As inbound marketers, we aren’t flying in the dark during this “Delta”. We’re harnessing the power of analytics to determine that we’re on track to meet and exceed marketing goals and earn those ROI’s.

We set micro-goals and analyze data to determine:

  • Whether we’re reaching the right audience/right time/right place
  • How well we’re engaging that audience
  • How quickly this target is moving through the buyer’s journey to conversion

All of these early indicators show us where to make adjustments and optimize to maximize results. We provide reports to clients so they can see the results and better anticipate their results.

Inbound Marketing for Long-Term, Sustainable Success

Inbound marketing is a long-term strategy that helps companies achieve ROI not possible with outbound. It focuses on building relationships that translate to loyalty, increased CLV and promoter activity.

Understanding how inbound strategies work will help you better manage your expectations and get excited about the compound interest you’re poised to earn through these strategies.

Free Checklist: How to Run and Inbound Marketing Campaign


Link360: Link360 is an Inbound Marketing Agency Located in Greenville, SC. We specialize in generating leads for our clients through attracting visitors to their website, converting them into leads and closing them as customers. If you have any questions, or would like your own free Inbound Marketing Analysis, please contact us now.


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