Inbound marketing, as a core part of your overall marketing scheme, requires some degree of investment if you want to grow your company to its fullest extent on the web. To make sales and generate leads online, you’ve got to commit some of your marketing budget solely for inbound.
How much does a full inbound plan cost, and how does spending more or less affect the results a company can see? More importantly, should I hire an inbound staff for in-house campaigns or outsource my efforts?
When it comes to setting aside an inbound marketing budget, keep in mind that you will truly get what you pay for. The more you financially commit to inbound for your business, the more features, tools and content you can use to effectively convert your audience.
Describing Cost: The Components of Inbound
To help you get a better understanding of inbound marketing cost, let’s take a look at the various elements of inbound that can all contribute to a total annual budget. These are components of inbound essential for growing your business on the web:
- Weekly blogging activity: consistently churning informative, entertaining or helpful content is an absolute necessity for inbound to work. A shallow or short article once per week isn’t going to cut it; however, you also don’t want to be pumping out blog posts overbearingly. Consistent blogging (3-4 blogs per week) is an essential investment for inbound.
- An active social media presence: social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be the most useful tools in your business’s inbound arsenal. For the best results, you’re going to have to commit time and effort into maintaining a consistent, active social media presence.
- Video content: engaging your audiences with high quality video content can make your business and brand stand out in a sea of competition. That said, making engaging videos/animations (and hosting this video content) isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap.
- Infographics and other visual content: “content” goes well beyond simple blogging. Custom infographics, design elements and action-oriented CTAs can all be used to convey information and engage your audience.
- Platform integration: full content integration with marketing platforms, such as HubSpot, is standard practice for companies looking to expand on the web. The analytic tools, lead management capabilities and integration with other services (such as video hosting) these platforms provide are invaluable for inbound strategy. That said, these services contribute an additional $200-$2400 to monthly inbound cost.
All of the above elements add up to a total inbound cost. Blogging and lead management alone make up anywhere from $20,000-$30,000 of annual inbound marketing costs; these figures are without factoring in ongoing graphic design tasks, SEO, PPC campaigns and strategy review.
For the best online performance results, you should commit a sizeable portion of your total marketing budget to inbound. If you’re setting aside 8% of your total yearly revenues for marketing, for instance, you should use about 25-40% of that budget solely for inbound marketing strategies. The quality of leads you can generate via inbound is much higher than those hooked in with outbound techniques.
The biggest element of inbound marketing cost is the size of the business in question, and what they plan to achieve with inbound strategies.
Cost Related to Company Size
The total cost of inbound marketing for your company is determined by how much more business you intend to attract via inbound (how much you plan to grow), and the funding you are able to reasonably commit to inbound, based on a percentage of your annual revenue.
The following are average budgets a company should set aside for inbound marketing, categorized by business size and determined by yearly revenue. For more aggressive, high return inbound campaigns, companies should expect to spend an additional 30-50% of these amounts.
- Small businesses with <$2 million in annual revenue: $40,000-$75,000 toward inbound
- Growing businesses with $2 million to $10 million in annual revenue: $75,000-$200,000 toward inbound
- Mid-size businesses with $10 million to $50 million in annual revenue: $200,000-$1 million toward inbound
- Larger businesses with >$50 million in annual revenue: $1 million-$2 million toward inbound
For the best use of marketing dollars, many companies partner up with professional inbound marketing agencies, who offer all-inclusive package deals that include all of the various elements of inbound. This is because in-house and freelance work compiles quickly, and can wind up costing far more than the above listed figures.
To learn more about the inbound outsourcing/in-house team debate, check out our video blog entry on the topic, “Should You Hire an Inbound Marketer or Outsource It?”