“What’s the ROI on this?” That is the most often asked question in our inbound marketing recommendation overview with copier dealership prospects. Like any consultant, we give the standard answer, “It depends.” Not to be annoying, but because there are a few different answers and things to look at when measuring success.
Here’s what we look at and our typical response to the copier dealerships who ask.
Hang with me; I need to give you some context behind how to get to the ROI first.
First, we need to understand website traffic. With few exceptions, the traffic coming to the sites are 50% service, supplies, and meter reading entries. So right off the bat, the “great traffic” these office technology dealerships think they’re getting is cut in half.
We begin here.
Our initial goal in what we call "Phase 2" is to begin generating traffic and awareness. For the record - “Phase 1" is planning, building, and strategy. Until Google (and the other search engines) know you exist, it’s hard to generate leads from the initial trickle of non-customer visitors.
A search engine’s job is to find the best answer to the question someone is asking in the search box. Google has a bias to deliver results from websites that are frequently updated with quality information.
Frequent updates (with quality content – that means non-salesy, we’re wonderful, buy our products and services content) draws traffic and the attention of Google. We will not promise to get you to number 1 on a search results page (that’s an entirely different blog post – also, run away from anyone promising you this), but our goal is to get you as high up the rankings as we can. Why? Because the higher you are on the search results page, the more relevant you are.
We need to attract quality traffic. So what do we do to increase traffic and ultimately authority? We create content. What’s that mean?
Phase three rolls in the nurturing and conversion components of inbound marketing. Now that we have the prospects exploring your content and winning their trust with insight and education, we can start asking them for their information. The basic exchange is simple: You give us your contact information, and we’ll give you an eBook to educate and help with decision-making related to managed IT, copiers, document management, etc. We're generating quality leads for the sales reps.
Then there is the hand off to sales. This is where a salesperson enters the mix. This is NOT where your reps simply call up and ask “So you completed a form on our website, how many MFPs do you want?” No. A million times, no.
The information collected provides sales reps an opportunity to begin to dig into the core of the prospect’s needs. Inbound lead generation is about generating leads, not dropping "ready to go sales" into the reps’ laps.
So, What’s In It For Me?
You’re probably thinking about now, what about ROI? We’re getting there, but as we’ve pointed out in other blog posts, inbound marketing takes time. If you aren’t interested in building slowly and effectively, inbound marketing isn’t for you. Good luck.
Still with me?
Let’s look at one client we have been working with for a year now. They are seeing the following results from the time we began publishing content with them until today (average 8 months of content starting from ground zero):
- Overall organic traffic is up 62%
- Organic traffic to the blog is up 1,542%
- 10 highly qualified leads/ month (on average)
- 2 closed deals
- ½ a dozen more in proposal phase
These are great results for the office technology industry. And these guys aren’t the only ones. Check out the results from another dealership who adopted the inbound methodology back in 2013. They’re way ahead of the game because they now have a solid inbound marketing and lead generation strategy in place.
While we’ve only been with many customers for an average of 10 months (hey - Convergo was just founded in January of 2015), the upward trends and results are proving to be quite exciting.
At first, we didn’t have any statistics to base our expectations upon. We signed on with the marketing automation platform, HubSpot, and they had great success stories and stats for their clients’ successes. The clients spanned all industries and the success numbers were a combination of all HubSpot customers.
We quickly realized that in order to set realistic expectations for office technology dealers, we would have to use our own industry stats. Being primarily geo-targeted, using the global stats from HubSpot were proving unrealistic – there’s simply a difference in scale between a national or global campaign and one targeted to a state or a portion of a state. We’ve been keeping a close eye on the results we’ve seen with our own clients.
What we can share from the HubSpot supporting information speaks to the successes other businesses have seen and do ring true to what we anticipate to see with our copier dealerships’ continued successes:
- Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads.(HubSpot)
- Inbound marketing tactics, when properly executed, are 10x more effective for lead gen than outbound (Gartner)
- Companies who have prioritized business blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive Inbound Marketing ROI. (HubSpot)
So, You’re Saying the ROI on Inbound Marketing “Depends”?
Yup. The most effective aspect of inbound marketing ROI is that it compounds over time. The assets (downloads) you create for lead generation in the initial stages of your engagement can continue to generate leads for years.
Here’s the key: the sooner you start – BEFORE your competition – not only will you remain ahead; you’ll increase your lead. You’ll capture the prospects seeking informative and educational content to help them make an educated decision. This is how we buy today. Our behavior is so different from 15 years ago when traditional advertising was the mac daddy. The shift to online selling isn’t happening – its already happened. From the day you begin producing high quality, educational content on your website, you can expect to see 50% organic growth in traffic inside of about 9 months. Google needs time to give your site the authority that makes it worthy of their searchers. This is when the leads begin to flow in from your hard working, 24/7 sales rep – your website.
Within your company and sales reps are tons of educational information. You just need help getting it out of your heads and shared with your customers – and future customers. It’s time to translate it into the language your prospects are speaking and put that content in the places your prospects are looking.