The Cost of Inbound Marketing
With so many small and medium sized businesses realizing the value of inbound marketing & a holistic online marketing approach, there has been a strong growth in the demand for inbound marketing consulting and campaign execution.
Online marketing has changed so dramatically in the last few years that companies are looking for guidance on how to use their online presence to actually grow their business.
One of the first questions companies will ask is, how much does an inbound marketing campaign cost? Whenever someone asks me this, it reminds me of an old friend who used to use this analogy, “hey doc, my arm hurts – how much is this going to cost to fix it?”
Like so many great questions, the answer is: “it depends”!
But just because “it depends,” doesn’t mean we can’t dive into the question a little bit and get you some answers. Let’s examine some of the factors that contribute to the cost of inbound marketing so you can make informed decisions.
Inbound Marketing Consulting vs. Inbound Campaign Implementation
One of the first factors that will significantly affect the cost of inbound marketing is whether you are looking for consulting or campaign implementation. Lots of businesses have tried to use inbound marketing automation software, but wonder why they don’t see results like in the case studies.
This is because inbound marketing requires more than just a list of tactics to check off. It needs a strategy and a commitment to consistent implementation.
A business can implement inbound marketing on its own but it must consider it’s capacity for:
- strategy development
- content creation
- social media monitoring
- keyword research
- graphic design
If you understand how all of the parts work and are comfortable out-sourcing things you can’t handle, then you should consider implementing inbound marketing on your own.
There is a chance, however, that you may need some help along the way. In that case, inbound marketing consulting is typically a one-time fee and will vary depending on your needs.
At GoBeyond, we concentrate on the full-implementation side of inbound marketing but we have done small consulting workshops.
Workshops or seminars help companies develop buyer personas, devise content strategies & educate staff on inbound marketing. We have done workshops for as little as $500 and we have developed full inbound strategies valued as much as $3,000.
If you are looking to hire an inbound consultant, the cost will depend on your needs but can be as low as $500 for a 1-hour workshop and go into the tens of thousands for a multi day event.
Total Inbound Outsource vs. Grow to In-House
Even when you know your business requires the services of an inbound marketing agency, you still must decide if you want to outsource your online marketing completely or if you want to learn from your agency with an eye towards taking the marketing in-house at some point in the future.
Obviously, whether you want to move things back in-house after running a campaign or two with an agency partner, will have an effect on the long-term costs of your inbound marketing.
There are some significant similarities in the cost of these 2 models in that each one will require you to pay a retainer to the inbound marketing agency. The major difference is that in a total outsource situation, you have no intention of ever bringing your marketing in-house. While moving your marketing in-house will require you to hire and/or grow a team of inbound marketers.
The cost of retainers for inbound marketing campaigns vary greatly but typically start around $2,500 per month and range up to $15,000 for enterprise inbound marketing campaigns.
How We Structure Inbound Marketing Services
Most companies will engage with an agency on retainer for 6-12 months with the intention of learning from the experience and bringing the marketing in-house after the retainer agreement has ended. This is how GoBeyond structures its deals with clients.
We have found that these companies like to create a lot of their own content and actively participate in the strategy development process. And we love working with these companies because at heart, we love to educate people on inbound marketing.
Your Inbound Marketing Needs
No matter whether you hire a one-time consultant or an agency on retainer, the final cost of your inbound marketing will depend on your needs. Inbound marketing consists of many different activities, some more important than others – depending on your market and your ideal customer.
Retainers at GoBeyond SEO are based on your needs and the cost is determined by how much you need us to do for you. These activities can vary widely (as you can see in the picture above) but the main services usually include:
- strategy development (it all starts here!)
- consistent blogging
- social media
- web or graphic design (websites, CTAs, landing pages, etc)
- keyword research
- email marketing
- premium content creation (ebooks, white papers, etc.)
Inbound Marketing Agency Specialties
As you do your research on inbound marketing and different inbound agencies, you will find that we all have different specialties and areas of focus.
If you are concerned about integrating your CRM with your website and aligning your marketing with your sales team, you may want to work with one agency and if you are concerned about driving more customers via social media you may want to work with another.
The cost of your inbound marketing campaign will vary based on the services you need but if this is your first time implementing an inbound marketing campaign and you are unfamiliar with the activities laid out above, you should expect to pay at least $3,500 per month on a retainer.
How to Determine the Value of an Inbound Marketing Campaign
As you research the different prices and costs of inbound marketing campaigns, remember to keep in the mind the value a campaign can bring to your business.
Effective inbound marketing will get you new leads. As you close these leads, inbound marketing makes it easy to track exactly where these came from so you can increase your marketing efforts in those areas.
You will also be able to see not only how many leads came in due to your inbound marketing efforts but you will be able to see exactly how much money your inbound marketing added to your top line revenue.
You can then easily determine if inbound marketing is a good investment for your company.
As a business owner myself, I don’t usually jump at the chance to spend $3,000 per month. But I recognize that spending $3,ooo to generate $150,000 in annual revenue is not actually a cost, it is an investment in my business.
And investments in your business are the only expenses you should have!
An Innovative Way to Establish the Value of Inbound Marketing
At GoBeyond, we make the transition from traditional marketing to inbound marketing as easy as possible.
We understand that for a lot of you, believing in inbound marketing is a bit of a leap of faith. We know how rewarding and beneficial a well executed inbound campaign can be, so we want to make test driving inbound marketing as easy as possible.
The Content Marketer’s Blueprint Program (updated 6/14)
This program starts with strategy development. We’ll ask you a set of specially designed questions to determine your ideal customer website & how to reach them. We uncover your best clients, determine their marketing triggers and help you build an automated marketing system that attracts them to your website and convert them into leads.
Our questionnaire is comprehensive and it will take you 2 or 3 hours to fully complete. This time is an investment on your part and not every business will be a great fit for such a specialized marketing program.
We want to work with companies we know we can help so before you take the time to fill out our questionnaire, we ask that you first fill out an application. This way we’ll know if your company is a good fit for the Blueprint before you invest the 2-3 hours answering our questions.
If you’re a fit for our inbound marketing services, we’ll create and explain your custom Content Marketing Blueprint at no risk and with no obligation. We want to make inbound marketing an easy choice for you. You’ll either love our custom solution for you or you won’t – by that point it’s an easy decision.
Your custom blueprint will be presented & fully explained, BEFORE you decide to move forward!
And if you do move forward, we’ll establish SMART marketing goals at the beginning of your campaign that you’ll be able to measure us against and decide objectively if inbound marketing works for you!
We’ll examine your data and present it to you monthly to determine if our Blueprint Program is right for your business.
- Did it attract website visitors?
- Did it generate leads?
- How much revenue did it bring in?
Those 3 questions are the most important questions to ask of any marketing campaign, not just inbound marketing campaigns. If you’re not asking those questions there is no way to know if your marketing is working.
Stop wondering if your marketing is working, know for sure – with Inbound Marketing.