Inbound marketing offers limitless possibilities to capture audience attention, build relationships, and propel action. In fact, according to Hubspot, companies are more likely to see a higher return on investment (ROI) on inbound marketing as outbound campaigns. Proof that a strategic and dynamic inbound marketing program should be at the foundation of business plans across industries.
How much does inbound marketing cost? Depending on the size of your business, and its particular needs, the amount you’ll need to appropriate in your budget will vary. It can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands per month. Understanding the scope of services available, and what each one entails, will help you to decide what percentage of your overall marketing budget is right for you.
Costs to Consider When Developing an Inbound Marketing Plan
Inbound Marketing Strategy
Prices range from $2,000 to $20,000.
Strategy encompasses the development of a comprehensive inbound marketing program catered to your industry, target audience(s), and a full line of products and or/services in alignment with your short-term and long-term business goals. It takes into consideration not only the most effective overarching digital footprint but also potential geographic strategies on a local level too. The 24/7, global reach of the internet brings the world to you, but it’s important not to ignore the power of the local community.
Creating a vision statement and overall goals in sales, revenue, conversion rates, lead generation, brand positioning and more is all part of a fully-developed inbound marketing strategy. Your costs will be determined by how in-depth you choose to go. Prices typically range from $2,000 for a short-term strategy, while more robust strategies built for a long-term plan can go as high as $20,000+ due to the weeks and/or months of strategic planning and research. When developing your Inbound Marketing Plan and Strategy, be clear about your goals to eliminate wasted time and effort.
Prices range from $1,000 to $8,000 per month.
A significant portion of inbound marketing is content production. Content is what attracts, excites, and engages your customers (and potential customers) each day. Content marketing often includes:
- Custom Graphics and Presentations
- Specialty Online Research and Content
- Website Copy and Rewrites
- Email Campaigns
- Blogging and Newsletters
- White Papers
- Outreach Guest Blogs, and more
Great content speaks directly to your customer’s needs — addressing specific pain points that are current. Content gains trust and strengthens loyalty. It is the voice of your brand.
When determining costs for your Inbound Marketing budget, you’ll need to consider the different types of content you will be producing along with the frequency. For instance,
- Will you be blogging daily or once or twice a week?
- Do you need to send out a weekly or monthly email newsletter?
- Will you be creating eBooks and whitepapers quarterly or yearly?
You will also need to consider how you will be promoting your content. Just having it on your website isn’t enough. Be sure to budget for Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, and other marketing drivers to get your content out there for your audience to see.
What are some of the benefits of hiring an inbound marketing agency? An agency can determine your content needs based on your strategy and develop a plan and schedule to ensure your content goals are met. Also, with expertise in various marketing tactics, such as SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Email Marketing, they’ll know how to optimize your content for each channel to ensure optimal engagement and conversions.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Prices range from $750 to $5500 per month.
What good are your marketing efforts if your customers can’t find you? SEO continues to be relevant and extremely important in helping new customers find you while targeting the complex needs of existing ones.
Since SEO is such an important aspect of your marketing efforts, understand that you will need high-quality SEO services to achieve your goals. You don’t want to DIY it or go cheap. Otherwise, you could damage your brand and negatively affect your business. Spending money on experts to ensure your website ranks and your business is found online is well worth the investment.
For high-quality SEO, you’ll spend on average $750 to $5500 per month. Again, these costs vary based on skill set and goals. You’ll need to do your research to find a reputable inbound marketing agency that is well-versed in SEO. An agency can perform a strategic analysis of your website copy, social media efforts, and other digital marketing areas to maximize your opportunities when it comes to SEO.
Paid Search (PPC)
Prices start at $1,000 per month.
Paid Search is often an underutilized area of inbound marketing, but has so much potential. With a laser focus on lead generation, Pay-Per-Click is an investment in real customers. Do you have a high bounce rate on your site? Does the traffic to your website seem like it is running bumper-to-bumper on the interstate? PPC campaigns multiply your reach and invest in real customers. Plus, the added beauty of this technique is its ease. With a simple click, people can find what they need.
To really make an impact with Paid Search, you’ll need to begin with a minimum media budget of $1,000 per month, to start. As your company begins to see success, you can increase your spending to drive more leads to your website and business.
Social Media Marketing
Prices range from $300 to $7,000 per month.
Building an online community around your company makes your business much easier to find, persuade, and retain more customers. The power of social media has exploded in the last several years — facilitating incredible connection and brand storytelling options never before available. But you can’t just throw stones in the ocean. You need to have a clear understanding of your demographics and which social media platforms they spend their time on the most.
From Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and more, you can zoom in on your best customers and potential buyers with stunning images and words that motivate people into action. Costs can range anywhere from around $300 for basic social media services up to an industry average of about $4-7K per month. Yes, that’s an incredibly wide range. Discussing your goals with an inbound marketing agency is key to narrowing this down. The greater the quality of the social media marketing program, the higher the ROI. Don’t let your posts just fall into the depths of the internet, descending aimlessly into the abyss.
Prices vary per platform.
It takes multiple resources to run an effective inbound marketing program. From CMS to marketing automation software and email marketing platforms, many businesses just don’t have the expertise or easily accessible resources for efficient, targeted campaigns.
Some inbound marketing platforms to consider:
Marketing Automation Software
Prices range from $50 to $20,000 per month.
- Email Marketing
- Lead Nurturing and Scoring
- Website Personalization
- Create Landing Pages
- Measure ROI
Popular Marketing Automation Software
Email Marketing CRM (without Marketing Automation)
Prices range from $15 to $1000 per month.
- Email Marketing
- Email Lists
- Performance Tracking
Popular Email Marketing CRMs
- Campaign Monitor
- Constant Contact
Social Media Marketing Schedulers
- Schedule Social Posts
- Optimize Posts Per Platform
- Performance Tracking
- Sprout Social
High-quality inbound marketing agencies have the latest software and a myriad of digital resources (including image libraries) as well as the personnel with the expertise needed in multiple platform management. Not to mention, the costs of these platforms are usually included in your monthly marketing “packages”.
Budgeting by the Numbers
Costs always come down to numbers, so let’s explore some general guidelines. These guidelines can be personalized for your specific business goals and also help you prepare your budgets accordingly for the short and long term.
The Small Business Administration recommends that companies should be spending around 7-8% of gross annual revenues on marketing efforts to elicit proper growth. This number can fluctuate as business owners can be more aggressive around certain retail holidays or seasonal industry events.
Evaluate your full marketing budget, and keep in mind that inbound marketing leads cost about 61% less than outbound marketing. Are you spending a lot of money on mailers or print ads? Have you performed an analysis of the effectiveness of this and other “traditional” marketing efforts lately? If not, it’s time.
Breaking down the question, “How much does inbound marketing cost?” comes down to your business size and goals, industry, and products and services. It can cost from the hundreds to the thousands per month, but the most important takeaway is that your inbound marketing needs to be robust, wide-ranging, sophisticated, and targeted to the increasing demands of consumers in the vast digital marketplace.
Be open to opportunities. Get clarity on your business goals. Form a plan of action. That hungry sea of customers is waiting.