Many people who start with inbound marketing ask themselves this question .
After you‘ve set up the process, you want to see results as soon as possible. Best of all, yesterday. Quick and easy, that’s what we humans have always wanted.
Unfortunately, that’s a significant disadvantage of inbound marketing:
“It needs time.”
There has to be some catch, right? Otherwise, it would be too good to be true.
But how long does it take now? The answer to the question is: it depends. On what?
We’ll take a closer look at that in this post.
Inbound marketing is not hocus-pocus
When you look at the benefits, you quickly think that inbound marketing is the solution to all of your problems.
You automatically think that it is elementary to set up the process. Then you magically win an infinite number of customers.
I am convinced that it is the answer to many of your wishes, significantly when growing your business.
But inbound marketing isn’t magic. It’s a cold, challenging, and calculating process that you have to diligently build and optimize, as with all other forms of marketing.
Still, it’s worth it because you’re slowly building an audience that will help you get your message across.
“This is about cause and effect.”
The more content you publish, the more visitors will find you. The more visitors, the more leads you get. The more leads you get, the more sales you generate.
All hard work. But no hocus-pocus.
Inbound marketing is a long-term strategy.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to do this work just once, but continuously. For a more extended period of time. Only then will you see success with it.
In the beginning, everything was a bit sluggish. But we slowly got the ball rolling, and now the machine is growing from month to month, on and on.
In general, that’s the nice thing about it: It’s a scalable marketing model. You can put in as much effort as you want. Depending on your results, it will behave accordingly.
But perseverance at the beginning is not easy. Rand Fishkin describes the SEO slog and the delta of disappointment very nicely. Seth Godin also went into this in ” The Dip. “
When you start with inbound marketing, you’re first going downhill. You have to work hard without getting any significant results. It’s just an investment in the future. You have to hold on here. If you can do that, you will have machinery that works and brings customers.
And what exactly do the phases look like here?
The 4 life phases of inbound marketing
Similar to our seasons, the start of inbound marketing is:
- Phase 1 (month 1) – It’s spring. You use this emerging time to create your inbound marketing strategy. After that, you’ll publish high-quality content regularly. You slowly get the stone rolling.
- Phase 2 (month 3) – It’s summer. Through your perseverance, more and more potential customers will find you. They like your content, and that’s why it’s shared. The search engine also recognizes your content and rewards you with the first positive ranking results. It’s slowly going uphill.
- Phase 3 (month 6) – It’s autumn. After your prospects find you, convince them to sign up for your calls-to-action. They become leads. From now on, your content hub will almost automatically generate new leads every day. Your work is bearing the first fruits.
- Phase 4 (Month 12) – It’s winter. After you generate leads, accompany them on their customer journey, and have established a connection with them, you will generate the first sales. You can finally trace your sales back to your inbound marketing activities. Positive saturation occurs. You come to rest.
You worked hard all year and invested in inbound marketing. Your work has paid off. Runs with you.
How quickly the individual phases develop in detail depends on several factors.
It depends on your market.
Some target groups are more receptive to digital media, content, social media, search engines, lead magnets, and email marketing.
Even when you go, Inbound Marketing is always about your potential customers to its customer journey to accompany. And a trip takes time. It just takes time for him to find you, become a lead, connect with you and then enthusiastically tell his friends about it. Above all, there are short but also long sales cycles based on your product or service.
It also depends on the content saturation. The less high-quality and customized content available in your industry, the easier it will be for you to dominate social media and search results.
It depends on your company.
After the market, it depends on your company. What is the status quo like? What do you start with? How well are you already positioned?
Mike Volpe, former CMO at HubSpot, lists five points that I fully agree with:
- The age of your website: how older your website and, accordingly, your company, the faster you will see results because you have a head start with your target audience and the search engine.
- The amount of content you have: The more content you have in use before you start, the faster you will achieve results because you can build on it.
- The number of inbound links: the more inbound links your website has, the faster you will see results as you have more authority and your content will rank better.
- The Competitors in Your Industry: The weaker your competition online, the faster you will get results, as less will be fighting for the attention of your potential customers.
- The effort you put in: The more time and money you put in, the faster you will see results as the bigger investment drives your growth.
It also depends on how often you publish content in what quality and how good you are at marketing it.
An established company that already has a lot of inbound links and a lot of content in use and only needs to align certain things for inbound marketing will likely see positive results within a few weeks.
For a company that starts from scratch in a highly competitive market, it can take months to see results. How many months exactly?
It takes an average of 6-12 months for you to see results
It’s always difficult to be precise about how long it will take you. There are just too many factors that are different for every company. But if you really want to have a guideline, then it’s about 6-12 months.
No matter where you start, if you persevere long enough, you should achieve the first measurable results after six months at the latest.
Joe Pulizzi, on the other hand, writes in “Content Inc.” that it takes an average of 15 to 17 months of regular content creation and marketing to achieve results. Maybe it’s a little too long. Therefore 6-12 months is a good mean. In addition to the hundreds of case studies that I have already seen, my experience also shows that 6-12 months is a good guideline.
But it can also be done much faster. Let’s assume you create five basic pieces of content and promote them via social media. More precisely via your Facebook page, groups and your private profile. This will get you 100 visitors. You will generate five leads from these visitors. A customer comes from these leads. Et violà! You have already achieved verifiable results with just a few weeks of work. If you support your content marketing with social ads, things can go even faster
Long term strategies are always unsexy, I know. But inbound marketing simply doesn’t work quickly and easily. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes time for your customers to find you, connect with them, and lead them to buy.
In principle, it’s the same as learning any other skill. At the beginning there is always a big hurdle that separates the wheat from the chaff. If you persevere long enough, you will learn this skill. After that, everything will be easier, more pleasant and more relaxed. With inbound marketing, you also have a steep learning curve at the beginning. The advantages come slowly at first, but then they accumulate more and more, to a point where it almost runs by itself.
The four seasons make a rich harvest possible. It’s the same with inbound marketing. Seth Godin says fittingly:
‘‘You should never give up something that has long-term potential just because you can’t handle the stress in the moment.’’
Everything good in life takes time.
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