Inbound marketing has become the most effective marketing method for businesses online. Rather than the old outbound practices of buying email lists, ads and hoping for the leads to come through, an inbound marketing strategy focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your business.
By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive. It enables you to attract inbound traffic that you can convert, close and delight over time.
But, what are the marketing cost implications?
Marketing costs: how much will inbound marketing cost your business?
Let's take a look at all the various components of inbound so you get a better understanding of the cost of implementing inbound to grow your business.
Platform integration. Fully migrating and integrating with an inbound platform, such as HubSpot is required in order to track, monitor and iterate—all essential components of your ability to grow using inbound. Depending on the size of your organisation this can be anywhere between £140 - £1,680 a month.
Strategy and analysis. In order to have the most effective website and content, you need to continually monitor, test, iterate your content, design and conversion paths to ensure the optimum results. You need to have a clear plan, ideally a 12-month plan, that aligns all of your inbound activity towards the goal of the business. Have a SMART goal that all the activity is working towards. This is the most valuable part of any inbound plan and the key to achieving your goal. We work with clients with basic plans from £2,000.
Weekly blogging and social distribution. Regular blogging is an essential part of any inbound campaign. Quality always trumps quantity but regularly providing educational and informative articles is a necessity, at least twice a week. Our metrics show us that if you do this twice per week, it will cost you between £800-£1,000, outsourcing it will cost more like £2,000. Do you have quality copywriters in your business that have the capacity to regularly produce content?
Visual content. Video, call-to-action images and infographics are required to help convey your business. This is ongoing but you should aim to budget at least £5,000 a year on this activity.
Other content. You should be constantly reviewing content on your website, landing pages, forms, and writing premium content such as white papers, ebooks, guides that help your prospects through the nurture sequence. Don't forget the workflow emails. You should aim to budget at least £10,000 a year on this activity.
Overall. Businesses that are serious about increasing their online business should commit a considerable portion of their marketing budget on inbound. If your business has a revenue of £2M, for example, you may well have a marketing budget of around £160,000. To effectively do inbound you should be aiming to spend at least £36,000 on inbound activity — whether that is outsourced, delivered in-house or a mixture.
In-house or outsource?
For many businesses who simply don’t have the time, resources or expertise to plough into inbound, it may make financial sense to employ an agency that can bring all the expertise, experience and strategy to help grow your business.
Inbound isn’t just something that you can start as a side project. It takes planning and the right people, along with systems, marketing technology, training and support to get it right. Choosing a specialist agency (like us) will get your inbound marketing moving faster and with a whole team of experts at your disposal, your strategy will be kept on track.
The cost of using an agency vs your own people (who probably already have enough to do) will most likely be lower in the long term. You can always take it in-house completely or in part at any time you need to — it's your process and your asset.
Considering an inbound marketing agency? View our pricing plans.
Investing in your growth
Investment in inbound marketing will provide you with clear ROMI and will be cheaper and provide better returns that traditional outbound marketing. But inbound has to be done right. There’s no use investing in a strategy when it’s not the right one, or creating a plan if your staff don’t have the time to implement it.
Do you have existing software that can deliver inbound? Do you need any new software to integrate with another system, like a CRM?
How aggressive are your growth targets? What volume of marketing activity is required?
Where you are starting from? Do you have existing content that can be re-purposed? Do you have a good social media following and high website traffic?
As a guide, a mid-sized business (£5M revenue) should expect to invest at the very least £72K a year into inbound marketing. Exactly how that spreads out over time is completely dependent on what needs to be done first.
With inbound, you’ll see a solid and dependable return on your investment, usually at around six to nine months, with a bigger upturn at 12 months and on for massive growth in two years. A regular service arrangement can ensure that you align the costs of inbound to the results of steady business growth. You'll also find that you can reduce marketing cost from wasteful activities or lost opportunities.
For more help and advice on getting starting with inbound, click the button below.