We humans aren't known for our patience, but even so, what's a reasonable expectation for inbound marketing? When should we expect to be #1 on Google and start generating positive ROI? Why does it seem like we're spinning our wheels? Well, let's start with the expectations part first, then look for some fixes.
What are your expectations for inbound marketing? Are they realistic? Let's try working backwards from the business goal. For example, I am a widget manufacturer, and I sell 1000 widgets per month at $100 per widget. I would like to improve sales by 25% this year, so that's an additional 250 widgets per month or $25,000 a month in added revenue. Let's assume my production costs and overhead are $15,000 per month, so we're looking at $10,000 net revenue prior to marketing. In other words, if I spend $10,000 per month in marketing, I'm at break even. My goal now is finding the right mix of marketing that brings in 250 widgets per month while preserving a reasonable profit. Let's say I'm looking for a 10% profit. That means I can spend up to $7,500 per month in marketing, as long as the 250 new widget sales come in each month.
Our next step should be defining a marketing strategy that has the highest probability of success. That means understanding our customers - who they are, what they are looking for and how to reach them. We could easily spend our $7,500 on TV/radio ads, billboards and e-mail blasts, but will they work? Do people respond to those media in our area and industry? You probably already know the answer from previous marketing campaigns. Let's jump ahead a bit and assume that you're already working harder on your Internet marketing strategy - new web site, blog, social media accounts etc. Why is it so hard to make an immediate splash - lots of new sales in a short period of time. You hear lots of stories about viral marketing and companies taking it to the next level in inbound marketing. Why not yours? Here are some things to consider:
But how long is long enough? If you're committed to your inbound marketing strategy, you should see a steady gain in following, leads and sales over time. You can provide a surge of energy periodically by doing a social media campaign or a special event. Mixing in traditional marketing campaigns can also be very effective when blended with social media. These things cost more money than blogging and other routine online tactics, but they may provide a significant boost in brand awareness and sales. Focus on the growth in leads and sales from period to period and don't worry so much about your Google search results or web traffic. Adapt and adjust your marketing campaign as you go. Remember what the goal is - improving sales over time until positive ROI is achieved. Convert every lead and win every sale - that's your formula for new media marketing.
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