When investing in a marketing strategy, making sure you get a return is paramount. After all, isn’t that why you invested in the first place? While increased revenue us one area you’ll be sure to track, there are a number of other returns that often get overlooked. Inbound Marketing is about more than just generating leads and sales, it’s about building a company that can scale and continue to grow over time. So what other returns on investment should you be looking for from your investment in an inbound marketing strategy?

What is ‘Return On Investment – ROI’

A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ( Investopedia) In other words, ROI measures the amount of return an investment produces relative to it’s cost. Here is the return on investment formula:

Return on Investment - ROI

When it comes to revenue generated from an investment, calculating the return is pretty simple. But what about the other benefits? Along with revenue, inbound marketing will also build brand equity, market positioning, and trust. All of these will help lead to more revenue over time, but can sometimes be harder to track. Nevertheless, all three are extremely valuable for any brand or company to establish.

Perception is Reality

How the public perceives the value of your brand is critical to the success of the messaging you put out. We’ve all heard the saying “perception is reality.” This statement could not be any truer. One powerful return on investment inbound marketing can deliver is the building and nurturing of brand equity. By developing consistent messaging it helps you to take control of your brand’s image online.

Your brand is one of the most important assets your company has, and brand equity is essential to increasing the financial value of the company over time. Measuring brand equity can be a little difficult, but it can be done. As Professor Kevin Keller of Dartmouth College observes “although the details of different approaches to conceptualize brand equity differ, they tend to share a common core: All definitions typically either implicitly or explicitly rely on brand knowledge structures in the minds of consumers – individuals or organizations – as the source or foundation of brand equity.” ( Brand Equity Management) The way we can measure brand equity is in terms of the knowledge consumers have about our brand. Learn some common ways marketers measure brand equity here.

Increased Market Positioning

Another return inbound marketing can deliver is increased market positioning. Business is a competitive arena. Every industry is packed with company after company vying for a larger piece of market share. The increased “noise” from everyone pushing their message makes it hard for any business to truly get heard. This is why inbound marketing is so effective. Instead of competing for attention, you seek to solve problems and invite prospects to engage with you.

Greater market positioning used to go to the brand or company with the largest advertising budget. If you could shout louder and farther, then you got the business. The internet changed that dynamic. Now, I’m not one to say that all traditional media is dead or that having a large budget won’t get you anything. What I can argue is that the way consumers interact is vastly different today and they have learned to tune out messages that don’t adhere to their worldview. Inbound marketing helps position your company as a thought leader and expert in the field. This helps attract people looking for solutions to the problems you solve. As you continue to educate and solve problems, your brand will begin to increase its market positioning.

Trust: The New Currency

Did you know that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? ( Search Engine Land) This stat still blows me away, but it also confirms one simple truth. People want to do business with people they can trust. Just for a moment put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. Think back to a time where you purchased an item or service and the company you hired didn’t follow through on their promise. How did you fell? Mad, angry, taken advantage of? Now think of a time where you purchased a product or service and the company far exceeded your expectations. How did you feel after that interaction? You probably have done business with the company again or at least recommended them to someone. Following through on consumer expectations builds trust. An investment in trust is an investment in your company.

So what does this have to do with marketing? Everything you do communicates something. It says something about your business to the world and, as a result, those who interact with your brand or its message begin to create expectations. If your message doesn’t match up with their expectations, trust is hindered. This is why understanding your audience is key to successful business development. Building trust starts with being consistent in your message and delivering on your promises. It takes time to build and only a moment to destroy, so don’t overlook it.

When investing thousands of dollars a month in marketing your business you expect a return. While the most tangible ROI is increased revenue, as described above, there are many returns that are just as, if not more, important. Building brand equity, establishing market positioning and acquiring trust are all critical to the success of your company over time. None of these happen by accident. When investing in a marketing solution for your company, go deeper than just expected revenue increase. The other intangibles are what set good companies apart from great companies.