You remember that math problem? The one that goes: “The Silver line train is traveling 55 mph headed West and the Blue line train is headed 63 mph East. How long will it take them to cross paths if their original departure locations are 500 miles apart?” A completely pointless calculation, right? Why would anyone ever want to know the answer to that question? And, more importantly, why are two trains on a path to certain death, anyway? The other day I was talking to a prospect and he asked what, in my experience, did I know to be the tipping point of Inbound? At what volume of blog articles, social media posts and content offers would we inevitably begin to close a certain number of sales? It was as though he wanted me to pull out a formula and calculate it all based on his budget. Now, don’t get me wrong, generally you can guesstimate a certain percentage of return based on your investment – but when it comes to inbound there is no “ tipping point” for success. Success can vary widely depending on budget, client cooperation, industry and a slough of other factors. Lets look at a few factors to consider in determining what the tipping point in inbound marketing could be.
As you may know, part of the inbound methodology relies on product or service evangelists in order to get your information in front of the right audience. This might be done via guest posts on an industry website, other companies or customers retweeting your posts on Twitter or any number of other actions. Some industries, for example, software developers or technology specialists, will have a wide network of individuals and companies that spend their time on social media, while the print industry, say, might have significantly less. While the majority of the time it’s just a matter of looking in the right place to find the your brand evangelists, some are more easily accessible than others.
Timing is a funny thing, isn’t it? One decision in your day can impact your life and the lives of others. The same is true for a single social media post. Tweeting your most recent article in the afternoon and having one of your biggest industry influencers share it can mean hundreds or even thousands of new visits to your website. While these occasions don’t occur on an everyday basis, and there are certain times that are better for posting content on social media than other, there is no way to predict 100% how your content will be shared or who will share it.
The quality of the content that you are posting has a huge bearing on what you stand to gain from it. If you’re simply regurgitating information and pulling from other popular blogs or articles in your industry, it’s unlikely that any news source, influencer or even customer will share your content. However, if you have proprietary research, unique perspectives on popular topics or are just a great writer, your odds increase significantly. Though horribly overused, the term “thought leader” applies when considering which information you should be blogging or posting about to your following. Being original and providing useful information to your ideal buyer persona is a perfect recipe to get your noticed more quickly than any volume of blog posts.
While I would love to provide you with a magical formula for success in inbound, the truth of the matter is there is no defined “tipping point” at which you’ll find a certain amount of success with your efforts. However, based on the experience that we have, we can create goals together and meet milestones that will inevitably mean business and customer growth.