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Inbound Marketing Yields Positive ROI… And We Can Prove It

As we’ve transitioned into the digital age, marketing has changed. And that can be scary for some — especially for those attached to the old way of doing things. Yet, one need only look at consumer buying habits to know which kind of approach is the most fruitful for businesses.

The writing is on the wall. Inbound marketing is the way to go.

But how do we know this is the case? For someone who hasn’t seen inbound marketing tactics in action, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical. By understanding inbound marketing’s effect on Return On Investment (ROI), we can see just how powerful its impact on the bottom line.

How We Know Inbound Works

So how does this work? What does inbound marketing really do differently? By answering these questions we can see how inbound marketing gets positive ROI.

Inbound marketing sees the consumer’s conversion as a process. Instead of focusing wholly on getting the potential customer to buy right at that moment as in with traditional tactics, it puts an emphasis on the steps that a potential buyer goes through to get to the point of purchase and provides them with what they’re looking for at that particular moment.

Here are the phases people go through during their research before buying (it’s called the Buyer’s Journey):

the Buyers Journey toward their purchase, and ROI for you


Let’s see this in action.

Illustration through a buyer's journey and positive ROI from Inbound Marketing: Bob bought a house Meet Bob. He recently got married and bought a new home and is now interested in possibly purchasing a home security system. Conveniently, your company sells home security systems.

Here’s the what the buying cycle for Bob really looks like:

The Awareness Phase

Bob begins in the awareness phase. He’s aware that he has a need for a home security system.

  • He does a quick search online for home security companies
  • He finds a paid media ad or a blog post that promotes your security company and winds up on your website
  • He may explore your site, explore your services, see what you’re all about
  • And then… he leaves, doesn’t do anything you want him to do. Bummer, right?

Because Bob didn’t buy right then, traditional marketing would say, “Bob isn’t interested in us. Let’s forget about Bob. Let’s focus on Carl.”

Inbound realizes that Bob is still a potential customer.

The Consideration Phase

Two weeks later, Bob comes back to look for security — but this time he goes directly to your site; he doesn’t need a paid media ad or a blog post to get to your site.

From there, he signs up for your newsletter through a form on your website. He hasn’t bought anything, but he is now in the consideration phase. Bob receives regular updates via email. He might even find your Facebook page and “like” it as well.

As he’s going through the transition of moving, he may not be searching for security systems or watching advertisements on TV. But he opens his emailed newsletter on his smartphone and reads about potential deals or reviews of the products.

The Decision Phase

Buyers journey to a purchase and positive ROI: Bob in Awareness phase Bob hears in the news that burglaries for his area are going up, and he decides it’s time to get that security system installed. He is now in the decision phase.

Bob has seen your company name in his inbox and on social media; he likes what he’s seen. So, he goes online and fills out a “free-quote” form and gets the purchasing process started.

Three months have passed since Bob found you online the first time. Think about all of the things that led up to Bob being in the decision phase. Traditional approaches only focus on the last part of the process — and that approach causes brands to completely miss out on business.

Calculating ROI

By using HubSpot (or other inbound marketing software), we know every piece of content Bob touched before he became a customer.

He clicked on one paid ad, read 3 blog posts, viewed your services, equipment, and pricing pages, opened two email newsletters you sent him (and even clicked through one to the site)… all before he contacted you to make a purchase. The average customer progresses 60 percent of the way through the purchase decision-making process before ever engaging with a sales associate.

Here’s how to calculate Return on Investment from Inbound Marketing efforts:

calculating Return on Investment from Inbound Marketing efforts

By simply adding the hard cost of paid media and the cost of the time and effort to create all of the content that assisted in the conversion, we know exactly how much it cost to make him a customer. In case you were wondering, you paid a lot less money than you gained from him becoming a customer. (An in-depth post on how to calculate the ROI of your Inbound Marketing spend is coming soon!)

The fact that Bob became a buyer without a gigantic, expensive traditional media campaign is remarkable.

The best part is it can be proven that you can make significantly more than you initially spend. How’s that for return on investment?

RUNNER focuses on making our clients visible and available to their potential customers at each phase of the buyer’s journey through a complete understanding of the mentalities and behaviors of potential customers and their needs at that particular time. Traditional methods just blindly target the masses and hope someone chooses them.

Remember how people buy in today’s fast-paced, “information overload” world when considering marketing tactics. You’ll see there are clues everywhere that the inbound methodology is a proven moneymaker for businesses.


CONTACT US today for a free consultation and see how Inbound can get you the ROI you’ve been looking for.

For more on ROI and Inbound Marketing, check out Inbound Marketing Stats that prove its positive impact on ROI

Caitlin McNeely

Caitlin McNeely

Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist

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