The question most often asked regarding inbound marketing is, “How long will it take to start getting leads?” It’s understandable that there would be a concern in this regard, for a few reasons. First, this type of marketing strategy is foreign to the fitness industry. While the inbound methodology makes perfect sense to club owners, GMs, and Marketing Directors, implementing inbound means they will be embarking on unchartered territory for their club, thus creating a fear of the unknown. After all, any changes made to their current marketing strategies are obviously meant to be done for the betterment of the club.
Second, inbound marketing requires an investment and like any worthwhile investment, it takes time to get a profitable return. How soon that return can be realized and how profitable the inbound investment will be is something any club owner and manager would want to know. Any savvy investor would want to get as much information as they can before investing, so they fully understand both the opportunity and the timeframe involved.
To accurately answer the question as mentioned earlier regarding leads, there are two things to consider. Let’s discuss both of them in depth:
It Takes Time to Build Your Reputation and Establish Your Online Ranking
The primary objective of search engines is to provide information relevant to the searcher’s request. For example, if a searcher typed “Best Fitness Club” on Google, Google is going to reward those clubs in the area that have already built up their online reputation by displaying them on the first page of their Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). You want to build up and firmly establish your club’s reputation so that your club is among those listed on the SERP. Ideally, you want your club to show up at the top of the page, above your competitors, as those listings are the ones that get the most clicks.
Building up your reputation takes time. How long? Several factors come into play including the amount of competitors in the area, which keywords you want to rank for, how well you’re optimizing the pages of your website, and how many blogs you publish each week. There is a lot of work involved, all of which will take time to administer. Your inbound agency can show you a few lead generating, short term tricks while they’re building your club’s online reputation and while the inbound system works its magic.
It Takes Time To Accurately Measure Results and Realize a Positive ROI
The results of inbound marketing should not be calculated on a month-to-month basis. There are too many variables throughout the year that can determine the number of leads your club will receive. For example, in the first few months of the year, new membership sales are extremely high due to New Year’s Resolutions. During the summer, new membership sales may drop off because people want to be outside enjoying the warmer weather. During the winter, new membership sales may begin to increase because of all the attractive Year End specials being offered.
A far more accurate analysis would be to compare a month from this year with the results of the same month from the previous year. Doing so would be a much better way of assessing the results of the inbound system. To go a step further, analyzing results on a yearly basis will offer the best way to see how well the inbound system is performing over time. If executed properly, inbound marketing will produce an ROI that will exceed any other form of marketing your club has ever done. The proof will be in the pudding, and in the numbers.