A question we hear frequently — and a great one to ask — is, “How long does it take to get results from Internet marketing?” As you might expect, the answer is complicated, but it is possible to make some general statements. Before getting into timelines for ROI on various Internet marketing activities, let’s first take a look at five of the most important variables.
Key Variables in Getting Internet Marketing Results
- Your objectives. Are you trying to generate 10 online leads a month or 1,000? Do you want to increase brand awareness in a local market or globally? Do you want to accomplish one thing or several? The more objectives you have and the more ambitious they are, the longer it’s likely to take to achieve dial-moving ROI.
- Your starting point. Is your product or service already established in the marketplace, or is it brand new? Do you have a website that’s SEO-ready? Do you have a well-qualified, up-to-date, relevant, segmented and large in-house mailing list? Variables such as these greatly affect ramp-up time on new Internet marketing campaigns.
- Your competition. Are there thousands or just a handful of competitors chasing the same target keywords? Do you have major, deep-pocket competitors challenging you head-on with aggressive Internet marketing campaigns, or is the playing field fairly level? The bigger and tougher the competition, the more time it takes to hit back with effective counterblows.
- Your budget. Only so much can be done for $500 a month — much more can be accomplished with $5,000 a month. Typical Internet marketing campaigns for small and midsized companies fall somewhere in this range — the important thing is to keep your budget in line with your objectives. Big plans and small budgets produce very few results.
- Your agency. There are hundreds of possible campaign strategies and even more tactical options for execution. Agencies with the best expertise, best execution processes and deepest staffs get the fastest results.
Timelines to Get Results From Internet Marketing Campaigns
- SEO. SEO is a long-term proposition. Google looks for consistent effort over time when it evaluates the quality of website content, so there are no get-rich-quick schemes available, despite what you may hear. Depending on the variables noted above, achieving dial-moving results typically takes anywhere from several months to well over a year. It’s also important to note that as you move up in the rankings, it can become more difficult to advance further. For instance, you might be able to move from page 10 to page 2 for Google’s organics results in a few months or less, but to move from number seven on page 1 to number five could take a year.
- PPC, display and social media advertising. PPC and other forms of online advertising produce results quickly with the right campaign and budget. The beauty of PPC is that it enables you to move right to the top on Google and connect with people searching for what you sell. However, if the wrong keywords are targeted and the budget is too small, you probably won’t get enough conversions and leads/sales to generate ROI, because your ads will display to the wrong people and/or not often enough. The same logic holds for Facebook ads and retargeting. Retargeting has the additional advantage of displaying ads to people who have already shown an interest in your products/services by visiting your website.
- Email. Results for email marketing are heavily dependent on your specific goals and the quality of your mailing list. If you’ve already built a solid and substantial house list of customers and/or prospects, you can expect to see results after two to five emails. If you have to build your list from scratch, it could be several months or much longer before leads and orders come pouring in.
- Social media. Social media campaigns starting from scratch, where you have no presence or a limited presence on social media platforms, usually take many months or even years to gain traction. Unless you have something really exciting and engaging to sell, social media users tend to take their time engaging with new arrivals. On the other hand, if you already have a solid social presence, social can generate conversions on a new campaign rather quickly — whether it can generate enough conversions to produce dial-moving ROI is often the question.
Bottom line: Paid online marketing has the potential for the fastest results. Organic online marketing (SEO, social media) takes more time. Email marketing is a bit of a wild card, but almost always takes several emails to get the attention of anyone.
Want to discuss speeding up the results of your Internet marketing? Please contact us now to discuss your objectives. We’re ready to listen!