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

“How long will it be before I see results? How long will it take to get a return on investment?”

These are common questions from business owners embarking on online marketing; naturally, you want to know when to expect results!

Although we don’t have a crystal ball and can’t answer this question with certainty, our years of experience have given us a sense as to when results typically start happening.

The most important thing to know is that online marketing is a long-term game. It’s about doing the right things consistently over time – not the “overnight success”.

At Core Online Marketing, we tell business owners that, realistically, they must think in terms of twelve months before they will see consistent results. And if we can get results sooner, that’s a bonus!

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 is absolutely achievable with online marketing, but it requires multiple activities that work seamlessly together. Once everything is in place and you are regularly executing and making refinements, you will start to build momentum.

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, ROI was slightly better than breakeven – an 18% return on investment.

Now, at the end of year five, they are seeing an 800% return! 80% of their business comes from the internet and 20% from other sources.

We have seen a nice steady and sustainable growth in revenue and ROI from online activities.

The Bottom Line

The buying process is changing for B2C and B2B businesses alike. Prospects are becoming increasingly dependent on online means to research and make buying decisions, while your competitors are likely making investments in online marketing to reach them. Don’t get left behind!

Online success is not about quick hits – you must take a longer term view and invest in the infrastructure and human resources to manage the day to day, ongoing execution. If you do the right things and make a commitment for the long-term, you will get results.

Our recommendation? Think in terms of breaking even in year one, and then a consistent and sustainable growth 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

About 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.