How long does it take for a digital marketing strategy to pay off?

digital marketing strategy - what's the payoff?This month’s question is: How long it will take to see a return on a digital marketing strategy, specifically from:

  • New lead to opportunity
  • Opportunity to client acquisition
  • Client acquisition to new revenue

For many companies the answer will vary, depending on your content and your sales cycles, but here is one way to break it down.

Start by assessing your Buyer Map

Start with your buyer map and how it is applied to your website and web presence. List all of the things people can do on your website or interact with your web presence that are part of the buying process. Where and how are you capturing information today and how do you vet that information to determine if it’s an opportunity? For many companies, the more detailed the process on the website, the faster you can move people from casual interest to actual lead.
For example, if you know that your target audience needs to see some sort of software demo if you sell software and you have provided videos on certain pages of a website, track to see if the next clicks are through to a pricing page and then perhaps to download a brochure. You can determine using your website, how many pages someone views and what they do with the information before they provide detailed contact information.

Assess Lead to Opportunity with content and page views

If you receive a valid request via your website and you start to have a conversation about “fit or no fit” to your solution, the next thing you can do is map the opportunity to the frequency of content you are distributing once you have someone on your list. Depending on what you sell and who you are selling to, it’s safe to say that after five to seven email sends of blog posts or value added content, you can see some trends on how people are using the information and if they open content, download content or unsubscribe. One of the fastest and best ways we have noted to see if an opportunity is real is if they stay on your list and if they read your content.
If you send something out bi-monthly, this could take three months depending on your sales cycle but you could move them along faster depending on the relevancy of your content and if it addresses the actual problem they are looking to solve. You can use content to determine faster “fit or no fit”.

Create the foundation to move client acquisition to revenue

We have worked with many B2B companies that sell complex products and services that generally exceed $25,000 in revenue and have a sales cycle of six to 12 months. This is the formula we find works best for getting a timely return on investment:

  1. A strong value proposition directed to your well-defined ideal customer
  2. The right buying process on the website
  3. Regular content distribution and testing based on business problems and buyer stages

These clients will see their digital marketing strategy start to pay off within three to six months and likely secure revenue as a result in under 12 months.
It takes to time to build the right digital marketing strategy, develop the right content and consistently execute, but once those pieces are in place, the results are very good. On average, clients with a documented plan and consistent execution will close one to three deals within the first 12 months of a well-planned program which more than covers the cost.

The key to better digital marketing strategy ROI

  1. Have a clearly stated value proposition for your digital marketing strategy and marketing program from which digital content can be anchored
  2. Have a clearly defined buyer process on your website with buyer-staged conversion points that can be tracked
  3. Commit to consistent monthly execution and testing of your content marketing to determine interest and move a prospect faster through the buying process at the start
  4. Track and measure everything including views on LinkedIn, email opens and unsubscribes, website traffic and page views to adjust content to improve the process


If you or someone in your organization is interested in learning more about how to get the right content on your homepage, don’t forget to register for our Content Market Workshop: How to use Google Analytics to redesign the next version of your website.

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