Happy almost New Year! Let’s talk about ROI, shall we? While it may not be as fun as a party hat and a noisemaker, marketing directors, C-level executives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners around the globe are going to kick the year off by taking a long hard look at their marketing strategies to determine what’s working and what’s not. Start the year off right with a quick audit of your inbound strategies and make sure you’re putting your efforts and your dollars in the right place.

Companies who use inbound marketing to attract leads, convert visitors into customers, and to cultivate loyal relationships with their consumers typically look at inbound marketing as a long-term solution. Fortunately, it’s a dynamic, flexible, and responsive approach to marketing that encourages businesses to deliver the content their clients need, when they need it.

A comprehensive inbound marketing plan encompasses a variety of online strategies to increase leads and boost sales. When you work with with a digital marketing agency that specializes in inbound marketing services you can expect include blogging, content offers, slideshares, landing pages and related content creation; social media promotion and offers; PPC advertising and SEO; email marketing and campaigns; influencer marketing and more.

5 Reasons Why Inbound Marketing Works

When you provide meaningful content, your customers appreciate it.

The Content Market Association found that 82% of consumers like reading content from brands when it’s relevant and are 60% more likely to be in the market for products when viewing content marketing. So get yourself out there!

Inbound marketing is relevant and unobtrusive.

84% of 25 to 34 year-olds have left a website that’s overly intrusive and features irrelevant advertising (Mashable).

Online is where it’s at.

Digital consumers go through about 57% of the buying cycle on their own without talking to sales. (Sales and Marketing Management).

Inbound finds the leads where they live.

54% more leads are generated by inbound marketing than by outbound (HubSpot).

It costs less.

Inbound marketing costs a whopping 61% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing (HubSpot).

Why Marketing Teams Love Inbound Marketing

It comes as no surprise that most marketing and communications professionals think that paid TV, print, and radio advertising are ineffective and overpriced. Take a moment to consider a few more key takeaways from HubSpot’s most recent State of Inbound Report:

  • Businesses and organizations that practice inbound marketing are 4x as likely to be effective.
  • 72% of organizations that calculate ROI believe that their strategies are sound.
  • Inbound fosters an alignment between sales and marketing and 82% of organizations with a service-level agreement believe their marketing strategies are effective.

So How do I Determine my ROI?

Depending on the size of your client base and the depth of your inbound efforts, the cost of inbound marketing software may range from $2000/year to $28,000. The cost of strategy, content, social, and other inbound services will vary depending on your needs. So how much does inbound marketing actually cost and what is the ROI of using a tool like HubSpot?

Start by determining your goals — make sure they’re strategic, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) — and then develop a marketing plan that helps you achieve your goals. Then, settle in and devote yourself to gathering metrics for a while. A week’s worth of data isn’t going to tell you much. Be prepared to give yourself or your marketing team at least seven to 10 months to gather data points for ROI calculations.

To make sure your data is as accurate as possible, make sure that your sales and marketing teams are closely aligned. Developing a closed-loop reporting system ensures that every step of the process is documented and shared among departments. This way you know how marketing feeds sales and sales feed marketing. While hard costs make it easy to determine ROI, don’t forget to factor in soft metrics like customer loyalty or social engagement.

To determine your current ROI, take a look at this calculator and start making smart ROI goals for 2017!