Before getting into the meat of this post... if you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out our inbound pricing page.
What makes up the cost of inbound marketing? What can you expect to pay, and how much should you budget for your marketing efforts?
Inbound Marketing Pricing
Inbound marketing is a bunch of online marketing strategies tied up in a neat little package. When you work with an inbound marketing agency, you can expect them to offer the full workup of services. Here are the biggest components and their prices:
- Inbound Marketing Plan & Strategy - Depending on the length of time this covers (one year vs. five years), the cost of building a marketing strategy will vary. Short-term, trial-sized strategies may only cost $2k; for an in-depth, long-term plan, it's not uncommon to pay $20k. This includes the months of research and on-site visits needed to formulate an effective, personalized strategy.
- Content Production - Blogging, premium offers, landing pages, CTAs, thank you pages, multimedia, other content. A full-time content writer will cost your company $25-40k in salary. Outsourced content writing runs around $5k per month, though this can vary greatly depending on the writer's experience, and whether they're a freelancer or agency employee.
- SEO - High-quality SEO will cost no less than $750 per month (unless you're REALLY scrimping on the hours). Cheap SEO will cost you more in the long run, and can cause lasting damage to your business.
- PPC - PPC management pricing will take your monthly advertising budget into consideration. You can expect to pay at least $1k per month for expert management.
- Social Media Marketing - A professional social media manager will offer their services for $4-7k per month on average. Working with an inbound agency or insourcing your social media can bring that down to $1-2k per month.
- Platforms - CMS, CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing software can all make your life incredibly easy. Some are free, some are not, which ones you pick depends on your preferences. Different platforms will offer different levels of insight, control, and convenience. If you need training or management assistance with your marketing platforms, you can find resources online or pay a consultant to come to your facilities and teach you how to use them.
- Lead Generation & Nurturing - Cost per lead will vary by industry and company, however, the average cost per inbound lead in 2012 was $135. Lead management, nurturing, and scoring are usually handled by a marketing automation platform.
These prices look daunting when they're listed out. However, a basic inbound marketing monthly retainer fee is $3-5k, and most agencies can handle all of these components. The more you're willing to pay, the more time your agency will be able to spend on your marketing campaigns.
Another fun thing about inbound marketing is, although there are many components that affect its cost, you can pick and choose which ones you'd like to insource vs. outsource.
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What Can Businesses Expect to Pay?
Depending on the size of your business, how fast you want to see results, and how much you want to grow, the amount you spend on marketing will vary. Remember: if you spend more, you will see more benefits faster. Inbound marketing is definitely a case of "you get what you pay for."
In general, smaller businesses will be spending less on marketing than larger businesses, though the amount will be a greater percentage of their gross revenue.
So, small businesses making less than $5 million in annual revenues should be budgeting 7-8% towards marketing. That's about $100-200k per year.
In contrast, mega-sized enterprises only need to budget 0.1% of annual revenues for marketing, which still comes out to a $500k marketing budget. If they bump it up to 1%, that's $5 million spent on marketing.
Editor's note: This post was orginally published March 2016 and has been recently updated.