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The Hidden Cost of Inbound Marketing: What Every Business Needs to Know

“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.” 

— Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva

Inbound marketing is a practical approach to marketing that focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting customers through relevant, valuable content and interactions. 

It's a way for companies looking to communicate with potential customers in a way that feels more natural and less “salesy” than traditional outbound marketing techniques, such as cold calling or buying advertising.

It encompasses strategies such as search engine optimization, website design and development, social media, and content creation, all aimed at driving potential customers to the business and converting them into loyal customers. It can be integrated into every aspect of a business’s marketing strategy to achieve specific goals. 

Inbound marketing costs vary depending on the tactics used and the resources required to execute them. Some inbound marketing activities, such as creating blog content or running social media campaigns, can be inexpensive. Other tactics, such as creating videos or running paid advertising campaigns, can be more costly.

Because the cost of inbound marketing varies widely, determining the investment you will make can take time and effort. This will depend on your needs, business size, industry, and more. 

Despite the costs associated with inbound marketing, it can be a highly effective way to attract and engage with customers. Many businesses have found that the long-term benefits of inbound marketing outweigh the short-term costs. 

Inbound marketing can help businesses build relationships with their customers and increase brand awareness, leading to increased sales and revenue. 

We want to provide you with prices based on the assumption that you expect the highest results. This article will show you what you can expect to pay for Inbound Marketing in 2023. 

Realistic Business Budget: Expectations and Needs

The cost to company size will vary, but as a general rule:

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How much would it cost for you to invest in inbound marketing for your company's needs? 

Do you find yourself holding back from taking the next steps in your marketing strategy because you wonder, “Should I hire a marketing strategy partner, or not?”

Or you may need clarification on whether you want to invest in that extra guidance for your video and email marketing campaigns.

These are all questions we hear too often. 

We understand that the cost of inbound marketing can vary for each business depending on the size and scope of the project and the specific tactics being used. Some factors that can affect the cost include the number of services being provided, the level of expertise and experience of the marketers, and the length of time the project will take to complete.

It’s important to note that inbound marketing is not a one-time cost but an ongoing investment in your business. The cost of inbound marketing will continue to accumulate in the form of staff that focuses on content creation, marketing technology, and website maintenance.

Uncovering the Costs of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing can be a cost-effective way for companies to attract and retain customers, but it is important to understand the costs involved. 

Our goal is to provide transparent and honest information about the expenses you can expect when implementing an inbound marketing strategy.

Here, you will find a breakdown of what you can expect to budget for your inbound marketing plan:

  1. Content marketing: The cost of content marketing can vary depending on your business size, marketing budget, goals, and resources. You can expect it to range from $5,000-$50,000 per month. [source]

  2. Email marketing: You can expect to budget $9-$1,000 per month if you manage your campaigns. If you are looking to work with an agency, this can cost you roughly $300-$500 per month. [source]

  3. Video marketing: If you can make videos on your own, you may need professional assistance that adds to your budget. You can expect $100-$10,000 per month for these services. [source]

  4. Website: Creating a website is a time investment but also costs you money. You can expect to spend from $500-$5,000 in startup costs for building your own website, depending on who you hire to help design and build the website. Ongoing monthly improvement and upkeep costs can range from $300-$500 per month. [source]

  5. CRM: Depending on the size of your business, you can expect these costs to range from $12 per user/month to $300 per user/month. Keep in mind that free plans are available, but these come with limitations on different features and data storage. [source]

  6. Paid ads: The average CPC is $1 to $2. The average small to medium-sized business spends about $9,000/$10,000 monthly on PPC. Social media platforms allow you to create free accounts and engage customers. Most social media platforms have online advertising models ranging from $0.38 to $5.67. You can hire professional social media advertising services, costing you $850-$2,750 per month.

  7. Agency vs. Un-Agency: The costs of utilizing an internal marketing department can be significant, potentially reaching over $200,000 annually. Alternatively, the expenses associated with utilizing a marketing agency can vary greatly, with costs potentially ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 per year, depending on the specific services provided and the agency's financial model.

A prospect might consider hiring a marketing strategy partner if they are looking for someone to coach their way through marketing long-term. Hiring an agency over a coach would make sense if they just want to get one or two jobs done quickly.  

If your primary concern is product quality and you are looking for the best tools and equipment available, consider hiring a marketing strategy partner or coach. The value of inbound marketing outweighs the cost: it’s more cost-effective than outbound marketing, has better long-term ROI, and builds better customer relationships.  

The investment cost for inbound varies depending on your lead generation and sales goals. Start by setting goals for your inbound activities, followed by aligning these goals around the targeted traffic, leads, and sales you need to generate. 

As a business with ambitious goals, the cost of marketing can range from $10,000 to $20,000 or higher per month. The level of investment required increases as the goals become more challenging.

The cost of these monthly items listed above will be drastically different using an agency vs. a coaching and training model. The cost of hiring a marketing agency will depend on the type of work that you want them to do. Costs are proportional to effort (both in-house and outsourced). 

We recommend a budget for inbound marketing of at least $5,000 for small businesses, $8,000-10,000 for medium-sized businesses and $10,000-12,000 for large businesses. 

The following are the typical monthly expenses for the various inbound marketing strategies:

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[Source, activities] [Source, average costs]

Repeatedly, inbound marketing has demonstrated to be more efficient in terms of cost and generate better long-term ROI than outbound marketing. Additionally, it fosters stronger customer connections. 

Inbound marketing:

  • Has a better long-term ROI
  • Is more cost effective (than outbound marketing)
  • Builds better customer relationships
  • HubSpot has found 75% of marketers consider inbound marketing to be just as effective as outbound. 

Inbound Marketing Team: Essential Skills and Expertise

Besides the recommended level of commitment of time and resources, you’ll also need team members with the following skills to carry out your inbound marketing tasks:

  • Strategist in marketing, lead generation, and inbound sales
  • Copywriter/editor for blogs, social media, web pages, and advanced content
  • Social media marketing expert who knows how to engage and track your brand
  • Search marketing expert who knows SEO, paid search, remarketing, and social media optimization
  • Certified expert experienced in using software such as HubSpot
  • Website designer/developer who knows how to build and manage websites
  • Graphic designer to support all your marketing content and campaigns

Depending on your approach to marketing and who you decide to partner with, the costs of hiring skilled staff will vary. If you decide to hire an agency, you’ll be hiring a team of experienced marketers, but you won’t be able to develop the skills of those on your own team. If you hire a marketing coach, you’ll likely need to hire staff to fulfill certain roles or train existing staff and give them the skills they need to deliver meaningful results.

Next, we’ll talk about the costs of hiring a marketing agency, building an in-house team, and/or hiring a marketing coach. And remember, these things aren’t mutually exclusive so consider what’s best for your business and team.

Marketing Agency Model Costs

The cost of inbound marketing for home services companies can vary depending on the agency model being used. In most cases, it is based on a retainer model, where the agency charges a monthly fee for their services. The cost can range from $4,000- $10,000+, depending on the scope of the project and the experience of the agency.

This typically includes research, strategy development, content creation, SEO, social media management, lead generation, and analytics. Some agencies may also charge additional fees for specific services such as PPC advertising or design work. 

Additionally, agencies may offer packages with different levels of service at different price points, giving clients the flexibility to choose a package that fits their budget and marketing needs.

In-House Marketing Costs

In contrast to the agency model, an in-house inbound marketing model involves hiring a team of marketing professionals to work within the company. The cost for this can vary depending on the size of the team and the experience of the individuals. It would typically include salary costs, benefits, training, and equipment expenses.

The cost of an in-house team can also vary depending on the scope of the marketing activities they will be responsible for. On average, businesses can expect to spend between $2,000-$10,000 per month on in-house marketing efforts. For example, if the team will only be responsible for creating and managing content, the cost may be lower compared to a team responsible for all aspects of inbound marketing such as strategy development, SEO, lead generation and analytics.

Additionally, the cost of an in-house model may be less expensive than an agency model in the long run, as the company will not have to pay for the overhead and profit margins of the agency. However, it should be considered that an in-house model may require more investment upfront, such as hiring, training, and equipping the team, whereas an agency may be able to start working on a project more quickly.

Finding individuals who possess all of these skills can be challenging. Searching for a team of 3-5 people is recommended to ensure all necessary expertise is covered.  

When building an in-house marketing team, it’s important to consider the compensation for each role. Here's an example of typical salaries for common positions in a marketing team:

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Marketing Coach Costs

Another option for inbound marketing is a coaching and training model. This approach involves hiring a coach or trainer to teach the company’s existing staff how to implement inbound marketing techniques and best practices. This can include training on topics such as content creation, SEO, lead generation, and analytics.

The cost of this model can vary depending on the coach or trainer’s experience, the length of the training program, and the size of the company’s team. This model can be a cost-effective option as it allows you to build an internal inbound marketing team. You can expect to pay between $1,750-$10,000 per month depending on the courses needed, time you can invest, size of your business, and your goals and objectives. 

However, this approach may require more time and effort on the company’s side, as they will need to train and educate their employees on the inbound marketing techniques. Additionally, this approach may not be suitable for companies with limited resources and time. 

Despite the costs associated with inbound marketing, it can be a highly effective way to attract and engage with customers. Many businesses have found that the long-term benefits of inbound marketing outweigh the short-term costs. 

Inbound marketing can help businesses build relationships with their customers and increase brand awareness, leading to increased sales and revenue. 

When it comes to securing your inbound marketing plan and finding those capable of addressing the concept of inbound marketing clearly and concisely, most companies will look at an inbound marketing strategy coach, such as Manage Inbound. 

We will ensure that your inbound marketing plan is well-executed and effective in achieving your business goals while guiding and measuring the success of your unique plan and making any necessary adjustments.

Final Thoughts

Implementing inbound marketing strategies allows your business to establish genuine relationships with customers built on transparency and trust while allowing you to target potential customers in the market for solutions like yours. 

While some inbound marketing activities can be relatively inexpensive, others can be more costly. Businesses need to weigh the costs against the potential benefits of inbound marketing and determine the best approach for their particular situation.

With a well-executed inbound marketing strategy, a company like yours can naturally attract and engage with customers, leading to increased sales and revenue.

It's always best to clearly understand the budget and goals and then find a partner who can tailor a growth plan to fit within that budget and achieve your goals. 

With the right team, knowledge, and confidence, inbound marketing can transform the way your company does business entirely. This investment will undoubtedly pay off by taking the necessary steps and finding the right inbound marketing strategy partner.

Have questions? 

Are you interested in more information on sales & marketing training and coaching for home services companies?

Schedule some time to talk with an advisor.

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