Why Inbound Marketing is a Long-Term Strategy with Great Results

In a world of instant gratification, "Get it Now"s and real-time results, "long-term" has somehow become a dirty word.

You want leads, and you want them now.

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We get it, we really do. But short-term strategies are great for quick results, but it may not provide sustainable growth over time.

Sure, you may get some calls on the day your commercial airs or when all your direct mailers go out, but it's only a blip. It's a one-time tactic that leads to unsustainable results. If you want more leads, you have to be more strategic and invest in a long-term strategy.

That's Not How Inbound Marketing Works.

An inbound marketing program is a sustainable lead-generating platform that springboards your company's growth. It's not just a single marketing tactic, it's an entire marketing ecosystem. But just as Rome was not built in a day, inbound marketing also takes some time. You need to focus on individual tactics that when cohesively used together will build up a complete inbound markting program.

For example, you will need to build up your SEO value by publishing relevant content on your company blog, build up subscriptions to an an email list by publishing content offers, learn what works with your target audience by actively selling to those leads, and consistently measuring and tweaking your strategy to optimize your output. 

Can you get leads tomorrow?

Absolutely. If you take the time to explore your buyer personas, create the right content and promote it to the right people, you can definitely generate leads quickly. 

To give you an idea, we have been doing inbound marketing for our San Diego inbound marketing agency using HubSpot for the last three months. In that time, we have already generated 46 leads, most of whom are qualified to buy. None of these came from paid media, either. It was all from creating interesting content, promoting it on the right social media sites and capturing traffic with valuable offers.

 

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Of the leads we've generated through inbound, we have only closed one customer so far. Why? Because the majority of people you capture on your website are not ready to buy. They don't know you -- they need time. The sales process, or "sales lifecycle" takes some time.

What fuels inbound marketing is the exchange of value. By giving a lead useful content, they in turn will give you their information and identity. By giving them value, over and over, you are building trust with that lead. By investing in their career, in their business, you are investing in a relationship.

The Return on Investment of Inbound Marketing Increases with Time.

You will undoubtedly bring in leads when you launch your campaign, but even HubSpot has shown that the average inbound campaign takes about 6 months to really start seeing true growth. What is really remarkable with inbound though is that the more you invest in your marketing, the more your ROI improves.

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On average, HubSpot customers see a 2x increase in leads by month 6, 3x by 1 year and 5x by 2 years. 

And that's just the tip of the inbound ROI iceberg. Check out these stats:

  • HubSpot users experienced 4.1x more visitors per month within one year
  • 3x more leads per month within one year
  • 79% of customers saw an increase in sales revenue within one year

 

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Why Inbound Works So Well

There are some distinct features about inbound marketing that make it so effective as a long-term marketing strategy:

Content builds SEO wealth over time.

You might have heard the phrase "content is king." Well, Inbound marketing is all about content (just read this to see why and how). And, as you know, Google loves content. Good quality content helps SEO and increases your domain authority, thereby increasing the amount of organic search you get to your website over time. That means you're reaching your potential customers when they are searching for your products or services, or for solutions you provide to cure their pain points. 

Evergreen content is permanent real estate.

Every post you write will remain on the web until you decide to take it down. That means if you publish 2 articles each week, you have 110 articles out in the world. The next year you have 220, and the next 330. That's 300+ opportunities for someone relevant to land on your site. And once they land there, you now have the opportunity to convert them into a lead.

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Inbound is about educating and building trust.

Most people that land on your site aren't ready to buy today. In fact, a study by the Corporate Executive Board found that buyers are 57-70 percent through the decision process before they even contact your company. That means they're doing their due diligence before you hear from them. But with inbound, you have the opportunity to capture them during that decision process before they get to the purchasing phase. This means you get to be there, sending them content, helping them with their decision before the other guys. When they decide they're ready to buy, guess who they'll want to talk to first: You.

But SEO takes time. 

Why does inbound marketing take time? Because SEO takes time, and that is one of the primary aspects that drives inbound marketing. Expert SEO specialist and Moz CEO Rand Fishkin calls this wait "the slog." It takes about 6 months before you start to really see your investment generate returns. 

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Okay, so inbound takes 6-9 months to see results. Can you get results faster?

Yes, but it won't be purely with inbound marketing (which, by the way, is a combination of SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, sales and so much more). If you want immediate results, you're going to have to make an investment in some paid media to drive immediate traffic. This isn't a long-term solution though, as you need to keep putting money in to get money out. It's only a short-term carryover until your campaign starts bringing in sustainable results. 

You can learn more about that in our article regarding how to utilize both outbound and inbound marketing to generate leads.

Keep your eye on the prize

Just remember this: The more content and offers you create, the more you're going to get out of your campaign in the future. Inbound marketing does take time, but you are creating a foundation upon which you can build long-term growth, and are deploying a strategy that creates risidual value. 

Sure, you can have it all now, but remember what happened to the girl in the beginning of our story:

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About the Author: Gregg Anderson

Gregg Anderson

Gregg is principal and senior advisor of 41 Orange.