Online Marketing Frequently Asked Questions: When Will I See a Return on Investment?

“How long will it take to get results? How long will before I get a return on investment?” These are questions I commonly get from business owners who are considering an investment in online marketing. That’s completely understable. All of us want to make sure we’re spending our hard earned money wisely.

Although we don’t have a crystal ball and can’t answer these questions with certainty, our years of experience as online marketing practitioners have given us a sense as to when results typically start happening.The most important thing to accept is that online marketing is about the long-term game. It’s about doing the right things consistently over time. Not about quick hits. There are no “overnight successes”.

At Core Online Marketing, we tell business owners they must think in terms of twelve months before they will see consistent results. If we can get there sooner, that’s a bonus! But it’s prudent to proceed with realistic expectations.

Why Does Online Marketing Require a Long-term Commitment?

Like most things worth doing, online marketing requires time and effort to generate tangible results. It takes time to:

A positive ROI should absolutely be expected from online marketing, but it does require a multi-faceted, strategic approach. Once the right mechanisms are in place, and you are relentlessly executing, monitoring activities and making refinements, then you will start to build momentum. And it’s momentum that drives the results that lead to revenue growth and a return on investment.

A Real Client Example

When we started working with this client five years ago, 20% of their business came from the internet and 80% from other sources. In year one, the ROI from the online activities we established and executed was slightly better than breakeven – an 18% return on investment.

We have just concluded our fifth year with this client, and online marketing activities generated an 800% return! 80% of their business now comes from the internet and 20% from other sources.

Over the years we have been able to build momentum and as a result this client has realized sustained revenue growth and an exceptional return from their online activities. They understood from day one that this was about long-term success, and that  longer-term view has paid off considerably.

The Bottom Line

The buying process has changed. Prospects are becoming increasingly dependent on online means to research their options and to make informed buying decisions. You must meet their expectations in the online realm, and this requires investments in people and infrastructure to develop a strong online presence.

Online success is not about quick hits. You must take a longer term view. If you do the right things day in and day out and make a commitment over time, you will get results.

So if you are considering making investments in online marketing, think in terms of breaking even in year one and then achieving a consistent and sustainable increase in ROI over time. Ultimately, if you stick with it, online marketing will help you achieve your revenue and profit growth objectives. As practitioners, we see the power of online marketing every day.


Core Online Marketing is an outsourced online marketing agency with expertise in online advertising, content creation, content distribution, SEO, and much more! Contact us or sign up for our free online marketing seminar.
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Ben Molfetta

I co-founded Core Online Marketing (formerly Core Marketing Strategies) after more than twenty years of marketing, sales and general management experience in a large corporate environment and with start-up technology companies. I use my expertise in business and marketing strategy development to assist small and mid-sized businesses grow through effective use of online marketing.
Ben Molfetta