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ROI of inbound marketing. How much content is enough?

Written by Alex Embling

Aug 30 2014

A common question we get asked by our B2B clients, existing and prospective is how much content do we need to produce to start seeing ROI? What results can we expect by investing time and effort into top of the funnel, thought leadership blogs and social commentary? Budget holders and marketing professionals alike need reassurance that their time and effort has a chance of showing some reward in the short to medium term in order to unlock budget for further investment.

Inbound Marketing Volume

Inspired by this, we decided to run our own small scale experiment that replicated a moderate amount of content production across a short time period; forty blog posts in four months was the benchmark, backed up by what we perceived to be a moderate level of social activity. There have been many other studies done on this subject for which I will provide links at the end of this post, for now though our focus looks at replicating the volume of content that could be realistically produced by a business in the early adoption phase of an inbound marketing campaign.

Benchmarks and KPIs

The following were some of the metrics we used to measure the impact of this test inbound marketing campaign:

  • Time invested to produce content
  • Time invested to manage and socially promote content
  • Impact on traffic (total)
  • Impact on traffic (by channel)
  • Lead Gen opportunities created

Social media promotion

We posted on average ten times per day across the channels and hashtags that matter to us, primarily twitter, linkedIn and google plus. This frequency alone had a dramatic affect on our social reach and following, with twitter followers increasing from a low point of less than 100 to circa 2400 over this period. Engagement within our own personal LinkedIn profiles increased dramatically as did the number of connection requests.

Click here to view our growth on twitter in the last 4 months:

Growth of twitter followers for inbound marketing campaign


The results

Total time invested: 203 hours
Number of blog posts produced: 40
Average Number of social posts per day: 10
Starting Month: May 1st - 2014
End Month: August 30th - 2014
Impact on traffic (total): 66% increase in visits
Organic visits increased by 20%
Social visits increased by over 500%
Referral visits increased by over 128%

And finally, the most important metric;

Number of new leads generated: Three


In summary

So, does three enquiries in four months constitute a return for over 200 hours of investment? Well for us the the answer is yes. All three leads were exactly the types of clients we have profiled in our persona development. The potential lifetime value of these clients exceed the initial upfront cost and because of the methodology used to acquire them, attracting them via content designed to answer their issues and challenges, the trust built and potential for longer term relationships is high. It's also important to remember that the content produced over this four month period will remain on our site and will continue to work hard for us, so that initial cost can be amortised over the coming months and years.

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