I like to think of inbound marketing a lot like exercise. There are huge benefits in both the short and long term, they just look very different from each other. The day you start exercising, your body starts reaping benefits, including reduced blood pressure and improved mood. Those benefits just look very different – and aren’t nearly as evident from the outside – as the long-term benefits of exercise that people typically think of like weight loss, muscle gain or performance improvement.

While they may not be as glamorous, I’d argue that the short term inbound marketing results are just as important as the long term ones. It’s just about changing your perspective and setting your expectations.

1. Change your mindset

The first step you can take is adjusting your mindset. An inbound mindset makes you a better marketer and your company a better place for customers. Getting started on an inbound marketing strategy requires you to dive in and understand your buyer personas and current customers better. Part of this process will often uncover new ways to solve their pain points and may even give you ideas for how to delight those individuals. Don’t let those lessons sit unused!

Start putting the ideas you gain from an inbound perspective to use with your current clients and prospects right away. This will help drive the prospects you already have closer to the bottom of your sales funnel and give your current clients a reason to keep coming back.

2. Set realistic and SMART goals

You wouldn’t walk into the gym expecting look like Arnold did in his Terminator years after just a couple of weeks of working out, would you? The same goes for inbound marketing.

When should you see results from inbound marketing?bg-twitter.png

I won’t lie, building up SEO street cred doesn’t happen overnight. But it doesn’t have to take years either. The keywords you pick are hugely important. While you are working on building SEO, there are plenty of strategies that can help bridge the gap until you’re ranking like a super star. Understanding which activities are meant for your long term goals and those that are meant to work quickly will help you decide where and how to spend your time. Your inbound marketing strategy should include appropriate (and measurable) goals for both types of activities.

3. Utilize key short-term strategies

You’ll never get the killer results you want from the gym if you’re still living on a diet of nothing but donuts and potato chips. The real results kick in when you combine diet and exercise. Thinking about the synergy that can be created when inbound marketing is combined with other types of marketing strategies will multiply your short-term results many times over.

4. Create healthy habits

Each time you hit the gym or get your body moving, it gets one step closer to cementing exercise as a lifelong habit. Creating regular habits around blogging and releasing content will give you plenty of linkable material in the short term while helping cement that lifelong healthy SEO habit.

Use the early days to set the right basic habits in place: Just start somewhere. It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending hours and hours agonizing over getting content perfect, but it won’t help you get anywhere. Set the habits now, get your strategy moving and iterate as you go.