What to expect when you start an inbound marketing programAfter reading about online marketing, talking to others and researching the best strategies for their business, well-informed business leaders always come to us with one burning question:

What can I expect when we add an inbound marketing campaign?

The answer is that they can expect measurable increases in website traffic and leads within the first six months of the campaign. And there’s so much more to it than that!

Results and ROI are important factors to monitor throughout the process, but it’s important to understand that inbound marketing is a powerful long-term approach to growing your business. Instead of traditional media’s quick-and-easy spike from exclusively marketed promotions, inbound marketing develops deep, rich leads over time, and provides an increase in lead generation for 93 percent of companies that use it.

It’s time to satisfy your natural curiosity. Here’s what to expect during the first six months to a year of an inbound marketing program:

Months 1-2: Develop Strategy and Get to Know Your Ideal Customers

The first two months of an inbound marketing program are dedicated to developing a customized marketing strategy to best suit your business. We look to create a strategy based around content and the best places to promote that content to get your business the most awareness possible.

The process begins by creating detailed customer personas for your company and planning an intensive, three month campaign calendar to speak to those personas. Your inbound marketing partner will perform subject matter expert research and interview members of your team to collect information for the first month of blog posts and other content.

During this process, we'll also identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that clearly outline campaign performance.

After thoroughly researching and brainstorming topics within your niche, your inbound marketing partner will develop valuable deliverables that market your brand to your target audience, such as keyword-optimized blog post titles, premium resource guides and eBook content, and strategic website landing pages meant to generate new business leads.

Months 3-6: Creating the Flow, Then Going With It

During months three through six, your inbound marketing firm will schedule and release your premium content and start building traffic. The firm will write the blog posts and publish them to your website, and promote it through your unique social media channels and email marketing lists.

Here’s where the action starts heating up -- and it’s also where your action-items get discussed. You’ll meet with your inbound marketing firm each month for a detailed, live account review meeting. In this meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to review a dashboard of KPIs and discuss any shifts in strategy. This is a great opportunity to do a review of your business and for you to fill your marketing partner in on what's going on with the business.

You can also ask questions about the campaign direction overall and provide suggestions and impressions from the first six months.

Months 6+: Refining, Targeting, and Converting

As the months move forward, your inbound marketing firm will make plans to expand your strategy to narrow in on what is truly working. This may include lead nurturing through email, paid media marketing, retargeting, social media and other awareness strategies to get your company noticed by those that really matter.

The period of six months and beyond is the period with the most potential. Your inbound marketing firm will study and analyze the data collected and continue to refine and re-appropriate your methods to drive more leads. This process also improves lead quality.

The thorough research and tireless implementation of the inbound marketing process are well worth the results: time and time again inbound marketing provides greater levels of traffic and more lucrative conversions than traditional marketing tactics alone. And that’s exactly what you can expect from the first year of implementing an inbound marketing program for your business.