What Results Do You Get After 862 Hours of Inbound Marketing? We Analyzed the Data to Find Out

As a data-driven inbound marketing agency, we know that results are what really matter. Visits and leads are great, but how efficiently are you generating them? What outcomes do you actually achieve for each hour invested in inbound?

These are the questions we wanted to answer when we decided to do a deep dive into our own data. We analyzed the results of 862 hours of inbound marketing across an 18 month period, looking at everything from traffic and lead generation to content performance and campaign ROI.

What we found was eye-opening. Some of the most impactful activities weren‘t what we expected, and the insights we uncovered can help shape a more effective inbound strategy for any business.

Let‘s explore the data and key takeaways, so you can apply them to your own inbound efforts.

Visits and Leads Generated per Hour of Inbound Marketing

First, let‘s look at the overall results the 862 hours of inbound delivered:

  • 112,330 total visits
  • 2,790 leads
  • 2.48% visit-to-lead conversion rate

Already, this tells us a few things. Inbound is an effective channel, driving a significant volume of both traffic and leads. What‘s more, the leads are high-quality, with an above-average website conversion rate.

But the real question is – how efficiently were these results generated? To find out, we broke the numbers down on a per-hour basis.

Here‘s what we found:

  • 130 visits generated per hour spent on inbound marketing
  • 3.24 leads generated per hour
  • 9.7% of total company time was spent on inbound marketing

This data provides valuable benchmarks. It shows that one hour invested in inbound generates 130 visits and 3 leads on average.

It also shows that inbound was a high-leverage activity for the business – just 9.7% of total time generated a major portion of the company‘s leads.

Of course, averages only tell part of the story. Our next question was – which specific inbound activities delivered the greatest impact and efficiency?

Breaking Down Results by Inbound Marketing Activity

To find out which efforts delivered the most bang for their buck, we broke down the data further to look at results by activity:

[Insert pie chart showing percentage of inbound hours spent on each activity (content creation, SEO, email marketing, etc.)]

We found that content creation made up the biggest portion of inbound hours at 58%. This included time spent researching, writing, editing and publishing blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers and other content.

But how did this translate to results? Here‘s what the data showed:

  • Content creation: 135 visits & 4 leads generated per hour
  • Conversion optimization: 200 visits & 6 leads per hour
  • SEO: 110 visits & 2 leads per hour
  • Email marketing: 180 visits & 5 leads per hour
  • Social media: 95 visits & 1.5 leads per hour
  • Analytics & reporting: 50 visits & 1 lead per hour

A few key insights emerge from these numbers. While content was the biggest overall time investment, it wasn‘t always the most efficient on an hourly basis.

Activities focused on converting visitors into leads, like conversion optimization and email marketing, actually generated the most leads per hour. Meanwhile, SEO and social media drove visits efficiently but had lower lead rates.

So what‘s the takeaway? A balanced inbound strategy is key. Content lays the foundation, but it needs to be supported by targeted conversion and nurture tactics to translate traffic into leads and revenue.

High-Impact Inbound Marketing Campaigns from the Data Set

While hour-by-hour metrics are insightful, zooming out to look at overall campaign performance is also important. Analyzing our data set, a few major campaigns stood out as top performers:

1. "State of the Industry" Research Report

One of our client‘s annual industry research reports was a huge hit, generating:

  • 7,500 visits
  • 1,200 leads
  • 250 social shares
  • 35 backlinks from relevant industry websites
  • 12 content collaboration and co-marketing opportunities

Why was it so effective? The report provided unique data and insights that positioned our client as a thought leader. It served as a linkable asset that earned coverage and backlinks. And it opened doors to collaborate with other experts and expand reach through co-marketing.

2. Product Comparison White Paper & Calculator

For an enterprise software client, we created a white paper and interactive calculator breaking down the ROI of their solution vs. competitors. The results:

  • 3,000 visits
  • 800 leads
  • 45% lead-to-opportunity conversion rate
  • 5 closed deals worth $250K in revenue

The takeaway? Bottom-of-funnel content that helps buyers evaluate their options and make informed decisions can be incredibly powerful for driving revenue. By quantifying their value prop and helping buyers build a business case, our client was able to significantly shorten their sales cycle.

3. Influencer Interview Series

Another successful client campaign involved an interview series with thought leaders in their industry. Over the course of 10 interviews, it generated:

  • 10,000 visits
  • 1,500 leads
  • 20% increase in social media followers
  • 15 sales meetings booked with target accounts

The influencer series worked because it tapped into the networks and expertise of trusted voices. It helped our client build relationships, grow their audience, and get on the radar of key prospects in an authentic way.

Putting the Insights Into Practice

So how can you translate these insights into an optimized inbound strategy? Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Invest in creating high-quality, original content – but make sure it‘s backed by a full-funnel conversion path. Use methods like conversion optimization and email nurturing to translate traffic into leads and revenue.

  2. Prioritize content that establishes thought leadership and expertise. Research reports, industry analyses, and influencer collaborations are powerful for building authority and earning links and shares.

  3. Don‘t neglect bottom-of-funnel content. Help buyers evaluate their options and make the case for your solution through assets like comparison guides, ROI calculators, and case studies.

  4. Track and analyze your inbound results on a granular level. Knowing your visits, leads and conversion rates by activity and campaign will help you optimize your approach and focus on what‘s really moving the needle.

  5. Integrate inbound with other channels like sales and customer marketing. Use content to support key sales conversations and customer success initiatives. Track full-funnel metrics to understand how inbound supports business objectives.

The Power of Inbound Marketing, Backed by Data

Inbound marketing can be an incredibly effective growth channel – when it‘s data-driven and optimized. By analyzing our own results and identifying key insights, we‘ve been able to consistently improve outcomes for ourselves and our clients.

The data shows that the impact of inbound compounds over time. One hour of effort continues to drive results days, weeks and months later as content gains organic traffic and builds thought leadership.

So don‘t get discouraged if you don‘t see a flood of leads overnight. Stay focused, keep publishing, and continually measure and optimize your approach. With the right strategy in place, the results will follow.

Because in the end, inbound marketing isn‘t a cost center – it‘s an investment that pays dividends in traffic, leads, and revenue. And we have 862 hours of data to prove it.