The economy is picking up (or so “they” say) and you need to ride the wave and keep your retirement communities fully occupied. Inbound marketing seems to be the way to go, but nobody appears to be able to tell you convincingly just how long it will take for you to start seeing results. And you don’t have time to waste trying out something that might or might not lift off. We’ve put together some typical scenarios to give you an idea of the sort of timeframe to expect.
A 3-Stage Approach
A recent study commissioned by inbound marketing pioneers HubSpot found that the process works in three stages. Each stage in a new campaign needs a certain amount of time to produce results and they typically occur in sequence. For example, you can’t get personal information from people who haven’t yet become website visitors.
Stage 1 – Attracting Prospects
This stage of the process typically shows significant results within a 6-month period, according to the study. Ok, that sounds a bit long when you need to see a return on your marketing investment right away, but consider this: The only other form of marketing shown to produce results faster is mainstream TV advertising, which costs a fortune. To make this happen, follow these steps:
- Update your online presence, making sure that your website design follows best practices for search engine optimization (SEO).
- Add content in the form of well-written landing pages, blogs, white papers, video, images and e-books.
- Drive niche users to your site by sharing the content on social media.
The secret here is that more really is more. The more keyword-rich content you add, the more frequently you share and distribute links to your site, the more traffic you’re likely to generate.
Stage 2 – Generating Leads
As soon as you start getting more traffic, you’re likely to see the number of leads you get from your website rise. For effective lead generation, don’t make users have to hunt for ways to contact you or leave them in doubt about what you can offer! You’ve seen the websites where you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page you’re on and look for the Contact Us link just to get a telephone number to find out more? There are better ways for this aspect of inbound marketing to work.
- Add dynamic calls to action (CTAs) to every piece of content you produce. These should be single-click options that go through to appropriate landing pages and convince the user to provide contact information.
- Leads increase in proportion to page views, so the more content you add the higher your traffic will be and the more leads you’ll get. Companies with between 11 and 15 landing pages got double the leads compared with companies that had fewer than 5 pages.
- While inbound marketing starts to work within 6 months, the real ROI comes after 12 months and more. The study found that companies starting with fewer than 5 monthly leads saw 8.5 times more leads after 6 months, but 41 times more leads after 12 months.
This shows that while the timeframe seems to indicate an almost immediate response, the real numbers only come a year down the line.
Stage 3 – Converting Leads into Sales
Converting leads to retirement community tenants takes the most effort. You need to nurture them along using tactics like email marketing, direct mail, event marketing, newsletters, special promotions and discounts. The study found that involvement of the sales team was vital to the success of the inbound marketing campaign, and that the quality of the leads determined the team’s level of buy-in. More than half of the companies surveyed reported increased sales, with 58% of those confirming that it occurred within 5 to 7 months of implementing the campaign.
So how long will it take you to see a return on your marketing investment? The short answer is that while you may begin to see results right away, you’ll only realize the true value of the process after 12 months or more.