How Much Does Inbound Marketing Cost?
Inbound Marketing techniques are the hot topic in the world of marketing. Everyone seems to be getting involved in blogging, Social Media, content marketing, video creation and infographics. And not just the creative types either – inbound marketing is being successfully used by businesses in all industries and every sector imaginable. Isn’t it about time that you started using inbound marketing as part of your business development strategy and see the results for yourself?
Maybe, but how much does it cost?
Here is the million-dollar question. There is a lot of information on the internet about the potential results from inbound marketing, but the matter of cost is a bit of a grey area. Some authorities will lead you to believe that you can run a successful inbound marketing campaign for almost nothing, while others expect you to spend tens, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. We read one article recently that recommended an annual spend of £160,000 (!!)
Before you panic, at JDR we don’t fall into either of these camps. To do inbound marketing successfully you need to invest, but that doesn’t mean emptying your bank account. Your overall marketing budget will depend on your business sector and the size of your company. If your business has an annual turnover of £5 million, it is realistic that you will want to spend more on marketing than if you had a turnover of £200,000 per year.
Many businesses allocate between 5% and 8% of their turnover to investing in sales and marketing. This is a sensible strategy for developing new business, but even so, the expense of inbound marketing as proportion of your business development budget is usually comparatively small.
After adopting inbound marketing strategies, many of our customers have been able to reduce their overall sales and marketing budget and still bringing objectively higher results. More sales, more revenue, higher ROI. Learn more about inbound marketing with this great article - Inbound Marketing Is The Future of Business.
We feel with inbound marketing it is less helpful to talk of costs than it is to emphasise the value it offers your business. If inbound marketing costs you anything in absolute terms then it is a sign you are doing it wrong.
Recipe For A Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy
So what are the ingredients for an inbound marketing strategy that maximises ROI while minimising the required investment? Here are the top three:
1) The Right Knowledge
First and foremost you need to know what you’re doing. To bake a decent cake you have to know about the ingredients, how to combine them and in what measurements. It is the same with marketing. You need the right strategy and the knowledge to make it work. So your first expense will be to invest in the right training, consultancy or coaching. This is worth every penny and won’t cost as much as you think. There is far more value in turning to a team of experts such as our marketers at JDR, rather than investing in lots of expensive and time-consuming training in-house.
2) The Right Content
Okay, with the help of an agency you now know how to leverage inbound marketing technologies successfully. You now need to invest time and money in creating the right content. Just as with a cake you need to source tasty, high quality ingredients for it to turn out well, so your inbound marketing strategy hinges on the quality of your content. You can’t skimp on this stage. You will need regular, high quality blog posts, informative e-books, social media updates, engaging emails, well-written webpages. You also need the resources to manage PPC and SEO, which can be time-consuming.
The question to ask at this stage is: have you got copywriters in-house with sufficient knowledge and capacity to write this content for you? And have you got the capacity to actively market the copy once it is written? If the answer is no, then we seriously recommend you work with an agency who can do this for you. You will get far more value from inbound marketing with competent content marketers on your side, as without great content inbound marketing will not work at all.
3) The Right Technology
Now you need the right technology and you need to use it in the right way. Returning to our cake analogy; if you want it to cook you need a suitably powerful oven, you need to set it to the right temperature, and you need to keep the cake in it for the right amount of time. If you keep switching the oven on and off the cake will never cook. Similarly, you need a sustained and accurate approach to marketing if you expect it to be successful. There are plenty of applications that help you manage the various aspects of inbound marketing, such as social media, email, your website, blog, PPC, SEO and CRM. There are some fantastic marketing automation solutions available now, such as Hubspot, which offer an all in one solution that manages the whole lot. There are advantages to signing up to a platform like Hubspot through an agency, as it gives you the advantage of a larger team and an expert knowledge base.
Is It Better To Do Inbound Marketing Yourself or With A Partner?
We have already dropped some pretty heavy hints that inbound marketing is more effective with the help of an agency. As a marketing agency ourselves, you might say we’re biased, but our 12 years in business have shown us what can be achieved for small businesses with the help of an expert team, compared with results from working on their own.
Some companies do have the resources to do all this in house, but for SMEs this usually isn’t the case. You need a big marketing team to make this work for you in-house. At JDR we can provide all of these three ‘ingredients’ for a similar cost to hiring one marketing person, along with strategy, software and implementation. This means you can effectively hire an entire marketing department for less than the cost of one employee. Shall we start baking?
Don’t Chase After New Customers; Get Them Coming To You!
The joy of inbound marketing, as compared with traditional outbound techniques, is having new customers seek you out as the result of a larger online presence. Find out how you can unlock the potential of inbound marketing with our free B2B Guide on How to Get Clients Coming to You.