Don't Give Up: 10 Charts That Show Why You Should Persist With Inbound Marketing

A graph showing a clients SEO progress since working with JDR on their inbound marketing.In 20 years of business, we've worked with many different clients and are fortunate to have some clients who have worked with us for many years. Like any marketing agency, though, we also have clients who leave (for many reasons - budgets, business circumstances changing, changes in personnel, changes in strategy, etc).

Inbound marketing is a long term marketing play, which includes using consistent content marketing and SEO to build up website traffic and rank in Google for more and more different search terms over time. Reports from renowned SEO platform SEMRush can show us how our clients are getting found for more and more different keywords as they build their content over time.

It can also show us how these results drop off if not maintained. So in this article, we're going to share 10 charts from clients that began an inbound marketing programme with us, and then stopped. In each one, you can see the progress made, and also the drop off once they had stopped. You can also contrast these charts with our case studies, showing results from current clients.

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We'll start by sharing the charts, and then discuss why this is happening.

1. Business grows website traffic from zero, then traffic halves within two years

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 1

In the example above you can see how JDR helped this client achieve results from a standing start, with gradual and consistent growth which was building nicely over a period of 6 years. Following a change of personnel, they decided to go in a different direction with marketing, and results have since halved.

2. Traffic doubles in 3 years, then drops by over 50%

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 2

In this example you can see some great progress made over a 3-4 year period, which then sharply dropped off and has since not recovered. This was a client that decided to take their marketing in-house - but since doing so have not been able to consistently achieve the same results.

3. Five Year's Worth Of Growth Lost

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 5

In the example above, you can see a website which was growing nicely over a number of years from a low base. In a move to speed things up, the client tried an alternative strategy - and the progress was unfortunately lost.

4. Three Year's Traffic Growth Lost (In less Than 12 Months)

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 7

In the example above, you can see a client that started from nothing in terms of their web presence, and built up before a downturn in their market led to them cutting their marketing budget and ceasing marketing activity.

5. Traffic Built From Zero Drops Off Sharply

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 3

Another example of a small business who were starting to build a significant web presence before giving up in order to save money - and then seeing the progress made tail off. 

6. Four Year's Worth of Progress Lost

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 10

This client made good solid progress, doubling their website traffic over a four year period, but following a rebrand they decided to try a different approach - which led to web traffic dropping right back down to near-zero.

7. Business Flatlines After Three Year's Of Growth

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 9

This client was looking for a new way of generating leads, and so working with inbound marketing for a three year period during which they saw their keyword rankings soar. Following a change of provider and a new website, their gains were lost and they have since flatlined in terms of results.

8. Business Reaches All-Time High, Then Back To Square One

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 6

In this example, you can see how this client had made a breakthrough in terms of results and was really starting to climb - when things changed following a change in the business ownership, this progress was lost.

9. Business Rebuilds Website Traffic, Then Loses It Again

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 4

Many business owners are always looking for the 'one thing that works' in marketing. Sadly, there is never 'one thing' - but the search for it can lead business owners to chop and change, lurching fro one tactic to another. The above graph is a reflection of that approach, with one agency helping them get results between 2016-2017 before switching to a different provider. JDR Group took on the task in 2018, and helped rebuild the website traffic before the client changed providers again a few year's later.

10. Steady Progress Followed By Gradual Decline

JDR Group Case Study - before and after stopping inbound marketing - 8

In this chart you can see great initial progress, which dropped off and was rebuilt following a change of website. In the search for faster results, the client took their marketing in-house - and before long it dropped off.

Why do results sometimes drop when you stop investing in inbound marketing?

Because customers change and market dynamics change all the time, not to mention search technologies and Google algorithms, it’s easy to lose results if you take your foot off the pedal with inbound marketing. 

Let’s say that, while you are investing in inbound, you publish four articles a month on your company blog, plus one article on LinkedIn and several updates per week on LinkedIn and Facebook. You stop investing in inbound and your output drops, so maybe you now have only have time to put out one blog article a month, and your time to spend on social media slips.

At first, you may not think this matters, because you have all the leads you and sales you need. However, from the perspective of your sector, your presence and authority become diminished. Now, when prospects and customers are searching for answers to questions, who or where do they turn to if not your content? Nature abhors a vacuum, so you’ll probably find someone else steps in to provide this up-to-date information.

This doesn’t devalue the digital assets you’ve already published. They stay online permanently, but the search engines are fickle. You might find that their search position drops due to Google favouring websites that are more regularly updated. You may also find that you were less prominent in industry -related searches on LinkedIn.

Ultimately, SEO requires ongoing effort for long-term success, as does content writing – and this is best achieved through an agency partnership. It’s not easy to get regular articles published as a small business unless you have a dedicated writer and marketing team, and very few companies do this consistently or effectively. When you no longer have third party like JDR driving your content and writing your content, you can quickly lose momentum.

Why do businesses cancel their marketing investment?

There are various reasons why businesses stop working with their agencies. Sometimes it’s raw economics – they feel like they can no longer afford it, there’s a downturn or changing business circumstances. Sometimes it’s just frustration, or even impatience to turn traffic growth into business. Sometimes people’s heads get turned by another marketing approach that they feel is more profitable, or easier in some way.

In our experience, these issues can normally be addressed through candid communication. If you’re concerned, talk to your agency. If the agency is doing their job properly then the fees should pay for themselves, with interest! However, inbound marketing isn’t a short-term solution – it’s a long-term growth strategy – so it’s important to set clear mutual expectations at the beginning of the relationship so that frustrations don’t arise. A good agency will be happy to talk through any concerns and offer solutions.

In other cases, however, it isn’t a lack of success that causes people to cancel, but an early flurry of results. The business has seen inbound marketing working, and has decided that, either they can continue the momentum in-house themselves, or that they’ve achieved their goals and don’t need to keep spending money with the agency.

As we have seen, momentum can be difficult to sustain with inbound without consistent investment into content and visibility. 

Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time. - Henry Ford


So, what next?

At JDR, we have been running marketing campaigns for small businesses for 20 years, and the story for all our customers is fairly consistent. While they are working with us, customers have seen their traffic graph continue to rise, along with leads and enquiries. The sad thing is that, in the case of these 10 clients that cancelled, we know that if they had stayed the course, they would be in the same position.

So, if you are making progress in your website and marketing efforts, our advice is to keep going - the results always come in the end. If you’ve got any questions about inbound marketing or are concerned with your campaign in some way, please reach out to your account manager and we will be happy to help and reassure you in whatever way we can.

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