Inbound Marketing Doesn't Happen Overnight

Chris Hawkins

Written by Chris Hawkins on Wed, Aug 27, 2014

Inbound marketing is like saving for retirement. It requires a plan with goals, targeted effort and most important, time. And like saving for retirement, the earlier you start the better.

Inbound Takes TimeInbound marketing doesn’t happen overnight.

Fortunately, the work performed now, in two weeks, two months and even a year from now will continue to pay dividends into the future. 

Behind the Scenes

A well-thought-out strategy, one with measureable, achievable goals sets the foundation for all that follows for inbound marketing. This part of the process is not as sexy as content creation, but just as important, if not more so.  

The decisions made behind the scenes for a company’s strategy can mean the difference between seeing results in the next quarter and never seeing them.

When we first engaged with one of our partners, they had a great company story but it wasn’t being told on their website. We first helped them develop their story. Then we created a content strategy with goals, an editorial calendar, and a way to track results. All of this was done in about eight weeks and before any content was created.  

They saw remarkable results for a number of their KPIs, but it took over three months for the strategy and associated tactics to even begin bearing fruit.

One Step at a Time

Inbound marketing has many different actors, each with a different role to play. Some have starring roles; some bit parts.

We recently started working with a partner on SEO implementation. Within a week we had them ranking on page one of Google for a targeted phrase. The search volume for that phrase is low—the reason for the quick ranking.

The dozens of other targeted phrases will likely take months to rank. And that’s okay because this ranking will be just one of many little steps we’ll take using inbound marketing.

For the partner, this means:

  1. Ranking on page one for this service, one of their key offerings.
  2. Even though the search volume is low, anyone looking for that service will find them, providing an opportunity for conversion.
  3. Though the phrase’s search volume is currently low, it’s expected to increase sharply in the next few years giving the company a competitive advantage and potentially lots of traffic.


If your company is new to inbound marketing, that’s great. It means lots of room for improving your online marketing. It also means starting from scratch.

That was the case with one of our partners: no social media presence, no blog, no lead generation, and no online marketing plan. Within six months we were able to increase their leads by 83% among other impressive results.

But the best part of this story is that after the second year, the momentum intensified. Leads grew 168% over the first year. Ranked keyword phrases increased from 52 to 136. And visitors jumped 181% over the previous year.

Part of the second-year results can be attributed to not messing with success—continuing to do the same things we’d done the first year. Another part can be attributed to incubation.

This means the content created—though it goes out on the Internet immediately—doesn’t necessarily gain traction with potential clients right away. It may sit out there getting warm, slowly building trust with prospects and credibility with search engines. 

A prospect will eventually find a relevant blog post, maybe subscribe to the company feed, and hopefully, continue to come back to the site when their questions need to be answered.

Don’t Believe the Hype

“We will increase your traffic by 1,000% and get you ranked on page one for 30 keyword phrases within the first week.” 

If you hear claims like this from anyone providing inbound marketing services, content creation or SEO services—don’t believe them. At best they’re misleading and at worst they’ll employ black hat techniques to get these results… and get your business in trouble.

Inbound marketing—done right—takes time.

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