When you own a business, it’s not enough to be good at what you do. Having the best products or services means nothing without a customer base. In the digital age, marketing your business means having a strong online presence to attract customers. This is known as inbound marketing. Unlike outbound marketing where you’re pushing your message out to as many people as possible, inbound marketing is designed to attract customers that are in the market for your product or service. These organic leads will help your business grow and reduces wasted ad budget.
But how long will inbound marketing take to produce results? Building a customer base through inbound marketing is similar to building a house. At first it may seem overwhelming and it won’t look like much, but with the right tools, an experienced team, and the right amount of time, you can build something dependable that will last.
Depending on the type of inbound marketing, results may show as early as 3-4 months after implementing your strategy. However, the more time you allow your inbound marketing to work, the more results you will see.
The general timeline for initial results from inbound marketing is around 6 months. The goal in this time frame is to get found, convert, and analyze. Use marketing to help your future customers find you. Use your sales team and tactics to convert shoppers into customers. Then analyze your marketing strategy and adjust based on results.
Let’s take a look at the timelines for common inbound marketing strategies:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO marketing strategies are known to be very effective but can take longer to produce results. However, once you begin seeing results and showing up on the first page of results on Google, you will find that your customer base will quickly grow too!
1-2 months Technical Repairs: SEO begins with repairing technical aspects of your site (page speed, alt tags, image captions, and much more). If these items aren’t fixed, Google’s algorithms won’t be inclined to show your site on the first page (or first ten pages) of results.
3-4 months On-site and Off-site Repairs: Google wants to show industry experts on the first page of results, so we prove to Google that you are an expert in your field. This is done by correcting and adding content to your site in the form of blogs and static content. This content contains all the keywords that are being searched for when customers are looking for your business. Internal and external link building is also imperative to this process and takes place in this timeframe.
5-6 months Analyze and Optimize: As monthly technical repairs and site content building continues, we’ll analyze your results to see which keywords are helping your business, and which ones still need work. By this time, you’ll start to see tangible results.
PPC (pay-per-click) Online Advertising
PPC is known as a faster alternative to SEO, but you will only get results as long as you’re paying to run ads.
1-2 weeks Initial Campaign: Once your initial PPC campaign is built, Google will be in “learning” mode. The search engine will be assigning your ads a Quality Score based on how shoppers interact with your ads and landing page.
1-2 months Campaign Optimization: the results from the first two weeks will give us enough information to understand how to tailor your ads to your target customers. Each industry and each business is different!
3-6 months Analyzing Strategy: Your ads will need to continually be monitored and optimized based on the many factors of the business world – seasonality, competitors, etc. Continue optimizing your ads based on the previous month’s results and your results will be positively impacted!
Social Media Marketing
Being active across multiple social media platforms is an important inbound marketing strategy! Stay active and engaging and the customers will continue to visit your social pages. Share positive reviews, post contests, and be personable! This is the perfect place to connect with your customers and give your business a personality. Followers (and customers) will grow exponentially, meaning slowly at first then more rapidly each month.
Website Presence and Online Listings
Having a strong website and being present on online listing directories go hand-in-hand. Depending on the needs of your business, a proper website build can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Once your website is live, spread the word!
Make sure your website domain and other important business information is correct across the web, anywhere a customer may find you. Most importantly, claim and optimize your search engine listings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo (what we like to call the Big 3).
1-2 months Website and Big 3: Build and perfect your website. Claim, optimize, and verify your Big 3 search engine listings.
2+ months Growth: Each month your online citations will continue to grow. As there are always new sites populating, your citations could theoretically continue to grow forever. Aim to correct your citations on review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor) and resource sites (BBB, Chamber of Commerce) first.
Remember that no two business are the same, so each timeline is a rough estimate. Many factors could affect how quickly an inbound marketing strategy will show results: industry segment, products, services, location, and even the customer service of your employees. Inbound marketing will take some time to prove results, but those results will last. Make the most of your marketing resources with inbound marketing!