How Long Until Your Online Marketing Pays you Back?

How Long Until Your Online Marketing Pays you Back?Can you build a business that collects leads passively online?

And if you can, how long is it going to take?

More than likely, you’re already investing money and time into online marketing and you’re wondering how long it’s going to be until those dollars and hours pay off.

Or maybe you haven’t committed yet and you’re simply wondering how much time and money you should invest before the leads start piling up.

And then there’s your main fear: What if the leads NEVER start piling up? 

What then?

Should you throw in the towel and cut your losses?

Or should you keep investing, praying for results?

3 Questions that Impact how Fast you’ll See Results

Before determining what realistic expectations look like for your business, answer these questions.

1. What is a “Result”?

Someone might claim that generating leads ties directly to revenue, but they’d be lying.

Closed leads generate revenue… leads don’t. Of course, you can’t have a closed lead without first having a lead. And without leads, you’ll never make a dime.

But, in the end, you want to measure your success by the number of people who pay you money, not by the number of people who show interest.

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You want to make money, after all – that’s the goal.

And to build a thriving real estate business, you need clients who pay for your service. Your online marketing efforts could generate thousands of leads, but if none of those leads turn into deals, you’re doing something wrong.

Take it from the yoda-esque words of Jeremy Smith over at Marketing Land:

“Every aspect of marketing is entirely useless unless it produces conversions.”

Or better yet…

Every aspect of marketing is entirely useless unless conversions, it produces.

So what does all of this mean, practically?

It means that your goal isn’t to generate more leads, it’s to generate higher-commitment leads. And to do that, you need to focus on ads, keywords, and content that targets the right people.

Remember, your goal is to generate revenue, not leads. And for that, you need to close deals.

If you set out with this mindset shift, you’ll experience results far faster than the person who is just scrambling to find leads.

2. Is your Website Optimized for Conversion?

Now that you’re trying to generate the right kind of leads, make sure that your website is prepped and ready to convert your target market. Ideally, you won’t let a single ideal customer slip through your website’s forms without capturing their contact information.

Of course, that isn’t the case for most websites.

Most people create websites as a sales-funnel after-thought.

I’m gonna run Facebook ads and PPC campaigns but… oh! I guess I need a website to drive those people to, is how most inexperienced online marketers think.

As if the ads themselves are going to drive conversions.

Psh – they’re not. They’ll drive traffic. Sure. But your website is what will make the final decision about whether someone remains a visitor or becomes a lead.

Fortunately, if you’re a Carrot member, then we’ll take care of this part for you. Backed by thousands of in-house A/B tests and 1.4 million real estate leads, your Carrot site will be ready to convert visitors the moment you hit publish.

If you’re not a Carrot member, though, then check out our conversion optimization website checklist.

Get your High-converting Website Now!

3. Paid or Organic Traffic?

Whether you’re paying to generate conversions or trying to drive traffic organically has a massive impact on how quickly you can expect results from your online marketing efforts.

Paid Traffic

If you want to generate leads within the next week (or even month), then you’ll want to set a budget and invest in paid advertising. Generally speaking, paid ads see results significantly faster than SEO, organic social media growth, or other marketing methods that cost less money and more time.

To generate leads quickly, set up a high-converting website, determine a healthy budget where the ROI makes sense, and drive paid traffic to that website.

For determining your ideal budget, you can use this calculator we created

Let’s imagine, as an example, that I’m going to make about $10,000 per deal, it takes me 15 leads to close one deal, my cost per click is $4, and my website conversion rate is 10% – with a Carrot site, those are fairly safe averages.

Here’s how that turns out.

This means that I should expect to spend no less than $600 and no more than $780 before landing a deal with paid advertising. Which, if I make $10,000 is a wonderful ROI. In the words of middle-school teacher turned top wholesaler in Dallas Texas at $600,000 per year…

“Would you pay $3,000 to make $30,000? I don’t know about you, but I’d take that deal all day long.”

Use this calculator to determine a realistic budget for landing your first deal though online marketing. Then, invest what you’ve committed to. Just make sure you set out with realistic expectations.

How to Calculate Your Max Cost Per Real Estate Lead | Real Estate Strategy

How long it will take to see results from your paid advertising efforts largely depends on how much you’re willing to spend and how fast you’re willing to spend it.

A bigger and faster budget produces bigger and faster results – so long, that is, as you’re advertisements are optimized for clicks.

Learn more about Facebook Advertising or AdWords Campaigns. Or check out our Marketplace if you’d rather outsource your paid advertising

Organic Traffic

To generate quick results, many people will invest in paid advertising without dropping a dime (or an hour) into SEO.

Don’t be like many people.

In the beginning, paid advertising will likely be your go-to strategy for generating leads and closing deals. It takes you to the top of Google results and targets a high-commitment audience for a relatively low price. And as long as paid advertising keeps producing a positive ROI, you should keep investing.

But, of course, if you could get those leads for free rather than paying for them, that’d be even more lucrative (not to mention, a whole lot less work).

That’s exactly why you should consistently invest time and money into organic traffic growth from the very beginning. Most sources estimate that it will take 6 to 12 months to see your SEO efforts pay off.

But don’t let that discourage you – once those 6 to 12 months are over, you’ll be happy you invested time and money into organic growth.

However, this does mean you need to do two mission-critical things…

  1. Optimize your website for your market’s high-commitment keyword phrase – with a Carrot website, we’ll take care of this for you.
  2. Create consistent blog content on your website.

In fact, business websites that blog 20 times or more per month receive 5 times more traffic than those who blog 4 times or less every month.

how many times to blog per month

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Of course, blogging is time-consuming. With Carrot, though, you have two time-saving options…

  1. For pennies on the dollar, you can use our VideoPost feature to turn your short videos into long-form blog content.
  2. Better yet, with our Content Pro plan, you’ll receive 12 blog posts every month from our expert writers. And with our Advanced Marketer plan, you’ll receive 24 expert written blog posts (12 Content Pro articles and 12 premium articles).

Whether it’s time or money, you should start investing into your website’s organic growth as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll see results. Usually, though, that timeline will be about 6 to 12 months – so just make sure you’re committed over the long haul.

Sign up for our Content Pro or Advanced Marketer plans and we’ll write SEO-ready blog posts for you!

Conclusion – Ask a Better Question

So how long will it take for your online marketing efforts to pay off?

With paid advertising, it depends on how quickly you spend your pre-determined budget.

With organic growth, 6 to 12 months – shorter if you’re consistent and dedicated. Longer if you’re inconsistent.

Now that you know how long online marketing takes to produce results, let’s ask a better question…

How much time or money are you willing to invest before you expect to make a profit? 

If you don’t answer that question before building your business, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. End of story – it’s sad but it’s true.

Set a time limit for how long you’re going to commit to your business. Six months to a year tends to be a healthy commitment range.

Then commit to a startup budget that you’re willing to spend before landing your first deal from online marketing. This is probably somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000.

Write those commitments down, tell your family, and sign your name. Then, pursue those commitments relentlessly and I’ll bet that by the end of 6 months, you’ll be side-by-side with Carrot member and top wholesaler in Dallas, Texas, Brian Rockwell…

“It’s awesome because once you know the formula of how to do this, it’s just do it again and keep going and going and see how you can grow it.”

Brian Rockwell, Rockwell Homes, LLC

Mike Blankenship

Michael is a freelance copywriter who helps startups build bigger, more sustainable businesses. He’s been mentioned on Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise as a writer, and he's written articles for SUCCESS, SmartBlogger, GetResponse, AdWeek, Jeff Bullas, and a whole slew of other publications. You can learn more about him at or connect with him on Facebook.

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