Just imagine being able to spend the exact amount of time on inbound marketing that is needed to obtain your sales growth goals.
You have an inbound marketing machine, driving high-quality traffic, plenty of leads and an ever-increasing amount of new customers.
Sound too good to be true?
It is not.
However, it’s hard to calculate the amount of time that you should spend on inbound marketing, especially when you are just starting out. Eventually, you want to get to the point of aligning the results of your activities to leads and customers.
For example, every 1 hour spent on marketing generates X amount of leads and X amount of customers.
In this article, I’ll give you 7 secrets to help you calculate the right amount of time you should invest into inbound marketing, based on your desired results.
Why is it important?
Your inbound marketing is the way that people find you. People look before they buy.
Typically, when you ask about the amount of time you should spend on inbound marketing, you are trying to determine the number of hours to schedule for pulling prospects into your business with inbound channels like these:
- SEO and PPC
- Link building
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Engagement
- Content Creation (ebooks, whitepapers, infographics)
- Influencer Outreach
- Public Speaking
- Video Content
- Press and Public Relations
Effectively executing inbound marketing does take time, but if you can distribute your time correctly, you can dramatically improve the results of your marketing efforts and your bottom line.
Secret # 1 Flip Your Script
If you want to calculate this time accurately, you must flip your script – reevaluate your way of thinking.
Basically, the first problem is that you don’t know what rate of return you are getting on your inbound marketing efforts. Therefore, you look at these activities as a cost rather than an investment.
When you schedule a time to write a 2000-word blog article or engage in social media, there’s no connection-to-business impact.
I will get more specific about the business impact in Secret #3.
Secret # 2 Understand Qualitative vs. Quantitative
I will clarify the difference between these words.
Quantity is the number or amount of something. Quantitative improvements mean increasing the number of somethings that you do. If you currently dedicate 2 hours a week to inbound marketing, it’s a quantitative change to increase that activity to 4 hours a week. Alternatively, if you publish three blog posts a week, moving to 7 blog posts is a quantitative change.
Qualitative is the nature of the thing itself. This means that you modify what is actually being done, rather than just doing more of it. For inbound marketing, a qualitative change might be a change from sending generic brand emails to personalized emails to targeted segment buyer personas. Another example is moving from writing a simple blog post to writing a blog post based on your buyer’s questions (keywords) and search habits. Qualitative improvements mean doing different kinds of things.
The most successful people do not just put in more time, or create more content, or send more emails. Your success with inbound marketing cannot be quantitatively compared.
While there might be quantitative differences, in the number of hours spent writing content, these are not (from my experience) the decisive factors to your success.
Successful people do things differently. They consider the skill, discipline, and attitude towards marketing, not just the amount of time spent on marketing.
Secret # 3 begin with the end in mind.
Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, taught us that highly successful people all “begin with the end in mind.”
In other words, don’t shoot in the dark.
Before you start inbound marketing, know your desired outcomes. Set that end goal in mind from the beginning.
Setting even basic, high-level goals will provide a compass to keep you on track with your inbound marketing.
Three buckets of high-level goals for inbound marketing:
- More Sales
- Cost Reduction
- Customer Happiness
Simple outline of objectives under the “More Sales” bucket:
- More sales: the number of desired new customers at your benchmark conversion rates.
- More leads: capture X% of your website traffic with various content offers.
- More traffic: create content based on what your target customer is searching for as it relates to your business and make sure it is optimized for search engines.
Each inbound marketing activity should be executed with a goal in mind. The goal should drive the amount of time that you spend on it.
Secret # 4 Tracking
A lack of data is one of the reasons why people struggle to accurately calculate the time it takes to execute inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is not random – you’ve got to know what, when and how long each activity takes and then create a plan to execute the activities for 6 months to a year.
To do so, track how long it takes you to complete each inbound marketing activity. Here are some time tracking methods.
Your time range will be based on the three dimensions stated above: skill, discipline, and attitude (towards marketing).
Once you know the amount of time that each activity takes, you’ll be able to set proper time expectations. Alternatively, you may determine it’s best to outsource inbound marketing rather than keeping it in-house.
Secret # 5 Get the most bang for your buck
Now that we know a realistic timeframe and your end goal, let’s make sure the time is spent in areas that will help you reach your goal. Don’t just mimic what others in your industry are doing, focus on the areas that best suit your target buyers.
Remember that Inbound Marketing is most successful when the target audience is most clear.
Create clarity on the proper preferences and behaviors for uncovering answers, information discovery, content consumption, and sharing habits.
If you spend time speaking to the wrong audience, even the right marketing activities will be wasted.
Secret # 6 Calculate your marketing budget
Inbound marketing (SEO, social media, content marketing) aligns with the way your customers buy online. You should expect to increase marketing budgets for inbound marketing, as it is one of the most cost-effective methods for getting in front of new prospects and gaining more customers.
A marketing budget based on customer lifetime value and your desired growth goals enables your company to determine the sustainable and profitable percentage of the budget that has been set aside for your inbound marketing efforts.
If you are not sure that you’re calculating your marketing budget correctly, use our Marketing Budget Calculator Tool.
- 69% of senior marketers are currently allocating their digital marketing funds to website content, development and performance optimization. 53% are spending part of their budget on social media community growth and engagement. May 2015 (source)
- 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing. February 2015 (source)
Secret # 7 Build a Detailed but Simple Execution Plan
Once a marketing budget is in place and goals are set, a specific plan of attacking inbound marketing can be prepared. By a ‘specific plan of attack’, I mean the number of hours you need to spend to reach your desired goals.
When building your execution plan, follow the top, middle, and bottom goals.
- Top of the funnel goals – raise general awareness of your brand; increase website traffic
- Middle of the funnel goals – raise awareness of your products and services, convert traffic to leads
- Bottom of the funnel goals – get prospects to choose you over competitors, convert leads to customers
Next, we align these activities to your budget. If your budget doesn’t provide enough bandwidth to reach your goal, you have two options. First, change your goal. Second, change your budget.
The next step is to define the plan. For example, your plan must take into account these ongoing inbound marketing activities:
Attract More Traffic
- Facebook Ads
- Write Blog Article
- Build Backlink
- Interact in Social Media
Convert Traffic to Leads
- Build Offer
- Build Landing Page
- Build Call to Action
Convert Leads to Customers
- Build Lead Nurturing Email Sequence
- Segment Database of Leads
- Send Email Campaign
- Admin (reporting/strategy)
Write down the amount of time needed to complete each of the above activities, and calculate the total hours it takes to complete all of your inbound marketing activities. It might take you 20 hours to complete every activity once.
Depending on the desired growth goal of your business, you’ll allocated a certain percentage of time to the activities above, and assign more frequency of activities based on the desired result.
For instance, you might build multiple offers in one month to capture your current traffic into leads versus writing 6 blog posts per week to pull in more traffic.
IMPORTANT! Your program of activities isn’t static, it is dynamic. Review your progress each week to ensure a proper amount of impact each and every month.
Also, maintain a regular frequency of all inbound activities.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “how much time should I spend on inbound marketing?” You must use the 7 secrets shared in this post to calculate and schedule your inbound marketing activities.
Inbound Marketing, as a strategy to attract and close customers through compelling multi-channel content distribution, is on the rise.
As stated above, inbound marketing consists of using many channels to convey its content. These include social media, blogs, e-newsletters, videos, articles on other sites, case studies, workshops/seminars, and others through search engines, social media, and email.
Much of inbound marketing will boil down to your company’s abilities in these areas of both time and skill: produce content, improve the website, leverage social media, SEO, etc. It can be difficult, and many organizations prefer to engage outside help.
Note*** At Uhuru Network, your inbound marketing calculation funnels through a team of skilled digital marketers. As your partner, we ensure that your activities are getting the qualitative improvements needed for success and growth. Typically, inbound marketing campaigns are 12-month engagements, so you have the highest opportunity of reaching your goals.
Note*** At Uhuru Network, we have programs based on your need. Our retainer clients are in the $5-$15k monthly cost range, whereas the “training only” clients generally spend a one-time fee of $3.5-$5k, depending on their needs.
All small businesses can benefit from investing time towards inbound marketing. It is the lure that will pull in your ideal customer.
Don’t wait – start today with an inbound marketing program that you can leverage to reach your goals.