ENJOY 3 MIN READ
In a world where ‘instant’ thrives, it’s hard not to want to get immediate results for whatever action you take. You’ve published a blog and you expect instant feedback. You expect your social media campaign to produce a result immediately. You want to drive in traffic, get leads and increase sales all in an INSTANT.
More often than not, it feels like you need instant results to stay competitive and relevant.
I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news but it doesn’t always work that way.
But we live in a digital world. Shouldn’t the results be immediate?
Yes, I know! Since we live in a digital world, some business owners expect to see results once they launch a campaign. Not always the case. This leads to an important question:
How long does it take to see my digital results? A month? 3-6 months? A year or more?
In this blog, you will learn some factors that can affect your digital marketing results. They are your goals, budget, product life cycle stage and digital marketing service.
To answer the question, I’ll say it depends. The reason being that each site and niche are different.
There’s no general rule stating when to expect results. But studies reveal you can start seeing digital marketing results in 6 months.
Let’s dive in….
What kind of business do you run? Are you a business-to-business (business conducted between companies)? Or a business-to-consumer (business conducted between a company and consumers)?
For a business-to-consumer company dealing with food, results show on time since your audience already know what you’re about. But, for a business-to-business company, results tend to take a while since your audience is yet to figure out what you’re about. In other words, the more general your brand is the wider your audience.
The importance of goal setting can never be over-emphasized. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. These are the kind of goals you should set if you hope to see results.
Do you want to increase sales by 30% by the end of the year? Do you want subscribers to double up within four months? Do you want to have 2000 website visitors by the end of the year? All of these are examples of SMART goals.
In other words, if your goals are SMART, you are more likely to see results.
How long you’ll see digital marketing results will depend on your budget. Do you have a part of your cedis allocated to paid ads? Are you willing to pay to boost or promote your content? If you are, you’re much likely to see results pretty fast.
Digital Marketing Activities
Your digital marketing activity also contributes to how quick results begin to show.
You have a great content, keywords are on point and goals well defined. But, it’s hard to see immediate results. When it comes to content marketing, it could take about six months before results begin to show.
You could start seeing results anywhere from 6-9 months. Companies with more than 400 published blog posts get more traffic than those with less.
It takes between six and nine months for a content marketing strategy to start working.
Companies who blog 20 times a month gets five times more traffic than those who blog four times or less. It takes an average of 15 to 17 months of consistent content creation and distribution to reach results.
To boost your content marketing results, you need to pay attention to SEO. Also, how consistent you are with your posts, the quality of these posts and its relevance to your industry counts.
Source: Hubspot, Lead Generation Lessons from 4,000 Businesses, 2011
Developing a clear strategy is key in defining how long it’ll take to see your digital marketing results. Now, this doesn’t mean results will show up at once. Having a good strategy means you have a defined audience and know how they buy.
You might have a great content but that doesn’t mean you’ll produce immediate results once you publish a post. It could take some time before your content begins to rank in Google.
Content marketing results happen over time. With some patience and consistency, you can produce valuable and lasting results. The key is to create content that consumers value and trust.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Wouldn’t it be lovely to see your site ranked #1 on Google? That’s the main aim of SEO after all, isn’t it? For Search Engine Optimization, seeing results could take up to four or six months. It’s worth mentioning that SEO is never a onetime deal. It’s an ongoing process.
Results could take as little as 2 weeks or as long as six months. Your SEO result will depend on certain factors. These include website design, domain age, geographic location and competition. Keyword, website content, target audience and meta-description are also included. When it comes to SEO, results grow over time.
SEO is an investment. Before you can begin to see results, you will have to be consistent over time. Only then can you deliver greater results in the long run. It’s an ongoing process which means you will have to optimise your site from time to time.
If there’s one area of digital marketing that takes time, it is social media. Why? Partly because it’s hard to define what metric to track. Do you focus only on shares, likes and followers? When it comes to social media, engagement is key!
And creating an engaging post will depend on your kind of industry. Business-to-consumers industries are more likely to see results faster than business-to-business industries.
It’s a lot easy to see results such as an increase in followers, likes and shares. But when it comes to Return on Investment (ROI), it takes more time.
From the chart, about 80% awareness growth produced a 30% sales in less than a year. The chart shows that social media has a great impact on your awareness and sales.
PPC is often considered the fastest way to get results and increase sales. But, PPC results will depend on your budget and goals. PPC increases website traffic, brand awareness, sales and profitability at a fast pace. But it could take six months before you see optimal results.
If you research your PPC keywords well, you can see results from your PPC campaigns immediately.
Product Life Cycle
This is a marketing concept used to describe the various stages a product goes through. From the period it’s developed to the time it’s removed from the market. These stages include the introduction, growth, maturity and decline.
Knowing which stage you’re in helps you know how much digital marketing effort to put in.
Here, the public becomes aware of the product and begins to create demand for it. This depends on the number of competition and how new the product is.
The company seeks to build brand awareness about the product and develop a market for the brand. The importance of the introduction stage is to create awareness for demand generation.
At this stage, you can go for paid ad campaigns (social media ads, PPC).
Now the public is aware of the product and sales and revenue begins to increase. Consumers have come to trust and accept the product, thus, causing the company to gain a wide audience.
At this stage, brands are looking to establish their position in the market. And also to increase sales and improve profit margins. As a business owner, you would want to position your brand as an authority. Thus, investing in content marketing.
Here, companies want to maintain their market share. This is because of the number of competition and the challenges they face. Sales are at its peak and the market becomes more saturated.
It’s difficult for companies to increase sales and make profits. At this stage, you can invest in online or social media reputation management.
This is the last stage of the product lifecycle. At the stage, the product ‘dies’ because of a drop in sales. Competition, change in technology and customer needs causes the product to decline.
Companies will be looking to redesign their website, re-strategize or change their logo. At this stage, your option will be to invest in social media campaigns and content marketing.
The length of a product depends on the product’s complexity and newness. Also, how it fits the customer’s needs and the presence of competition.
At any given stage of the product cycle, digital marketing activities will differ. This, in turn, will determine when you’ll see digital marketing results. It’s important for business owners to know at which stage their service or product is.
Consistency is key! Don’t expect to see results immediately. That doesn’t mean you should be inconsistent in your social media posts or in the publishing of blogs. These things take time. Yes! But posting 3 times a day and then waiting for a whole month before another post comes, will not bring in results.
So, how long will it take to see results from digital marketing? It depends! Your level of commitment makes a difference. If you’re investing in digital marketing, how long did it take you to start seeing results?
Please share your experience in the comments below. Let’s know what worked and what didn’t.
Judith is a content marketing manager at Sidekick Social Media and also writes for She Leads Africa. She loves to write and when not writing, she loves to listen to a long playlist of good music.