What is the ROI of inbound marketing? How long is a piece of string?

June 13, 2018

Let’s just jump straight in shall we? From the outside, judging the ROI of inbound marketing can seem tricky. It can also take some time. We're the first to admit this, but also the first to defend the process - Rome wasn’t built in a day and look how many people still visit the Colosseum!

This analogy pretty much sums up the power of inbound marketing if you think about it. You need to really consider your audience, take the time to identify their problems and offer valuable solutions. Appeal to their interests to build something beautiful, and the people will come.

Inbound Marketing Strategy Guide

Calculating the ROI of inbound marketing can take time

Lets consider a simple email campaign. You pay for the creative, mass send, track opens, track clicks, see who has visited your site and then measure any potential purchases. Calculate how much was bought vs. how much you spent. Boom. Done.

Calculating the ROI of inbound marketing campaigns doesn't always come so easy, though. Imagine a new lead first interacted with your brand on Twitter two months ago, then watched a video about your service, then signed up to the email newsletter, and after reading your blog updates for three weeks decided to request a guide, finally moving the conversation to the phone where your sales team can become even more valuable.


Calculating the ROI of inbound marketing can take time


Yes, I know what you are thinking. Damn this could be a long process. You would be right, and marketing strategies should always be chosen to complement your industry sector. Let's say you want to move fidget spinners at a dime a dozen. Fast moving consumer goods generally don't suit the inbound marketing methodology, so we would probably wish you well and put you in touch with a social hacker. 

However, if you have a complex B2B offering with a hefty price tag and your customers have quite a few hoops to jump through before making a purchase decision, inbound marketing is the one for you. Not only can you attract leads into your marketing funnel, you can also nurture them through it to the entire sales process with helpful content and intuitive touch points that make individuals feel supported, valued and understood.


Inbound marketing doesn't come with an on/off switch

Once in place and set up properly, an inbound marketing campaign can deliver a consistent stream of high quality leads. However, it isn't a magic lead tree.

I had a call recently with a property investment company who wanted to know if we could provide leads for her at a cost per lead, essentially buying in lists. This isn't the way we work and not something we would recommend people do. Instead of simply saying no however, I asked her a few questions around the quality of leads, the likelihood of conversion and what the cost was to her.


Inbound marketing doesn't come with an on/off switch


The reason I asked this was because once an inbound marketing campaign is in place and firing, the quantity of leads will only increase while the quality of leads remains high. As a result of this, the ROI of inbound marketing is essentially proportional to your investment. The more resources you commit to your campaign, the bigger the impact it's likely to have.

This doesn't mean throwing everything you have at a wall and hoping that some of it sticks. However, you need regular content being published, social media being updated and workflows being analysed. You need to put the time in to get the results.


HubSpot helps to optimise inbound ROI

The good thing about Inbound and especially the way that we work is that everything is trackable. We can see where a lead has come from, what content they have consumed, the journey they've taken and what they have looked at. Thanks HubSpot!

Thanks to our favourite marketing platform, it's easy not only to calculate the ROI of inbound marketing, but to actually improve it too. We can see where your most valuable leads are coming from, and increase efforts in that area to attract your ideal customer’s persona. We can also see where leads are getting stuck, and spend time optimising your nurturing workflows to ensure that any issues are dealt with.

Inbound marketing doesn't happen overnight. There is no magic switch. If you want 350 leads a week starting from tomorrow, we'll say goodbye now (but could you buy me a lottery ticket when you're done please?) If, however, you want warm leads that match your target persona and represent a valuable prospect in the long term, get in touch to talk more about inbound.


Inbound Marketing Strategy Guide