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Calculating the True Cost of Inbound Marketing: What Percentage of Revenue Should You Allocate for Growth?

Now that we’re in the substantive years of inbound marketing, the figures show what most marketers suspect—inbound marketing costs significantly less than traditional marketing methods.

How much inbound marketing really costs (what % of revenue you should expect to spend for growth)

Some important stats about inbound include:

  • Inbound marketing generates three times more leads per pund than traditional methods

  • Persona-driven content generated by inbound increases the volume of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) by 45%

  • Businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost that’s 33% less than leads that aren’t nurtured

  • Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising

What other marketers spend

Even though each business has its own rate of expenditures and return, there are some industry standards so that companies can know what to expect.

Inbound Marketing Strategy and Plan. Every business strategy will differ based on time and goals but there are some general guidelines to costs of building a great inbound strategy. Short-term, trial-sized strategies may only cost 2,000 pounds; for an in-depth, long-term plan, it's not uncommon to pay 20,000 pounds. This includes the months of research and on-site visits needed to formulate an effective, personalised strategy.

Content Production includes blogging, premium offers, landing pages, CTAs, thank you pages, multimedia and other content. A full-time content writer will cost your company 25,000 to 40,000 pounds in salary. Outsourced content writing runs around 5,000 pounds per month though this can vary greatly depending on the writer's experience.  

  • SEO will cost no less than 750 pounds per month. It’s best not to scrimp on SEO efforts because you will end up paying more in the long run and you could cause damage to your business. 

  • PPC management pricing will take your monthly advertising budget into consideration. You can expect to pay at least 1,000 pounds per month for expert management.

  • Social Media Marketing can run 4,000-7,000 pounds per month for a professional social media manager but working with an inbound agency can bring that down to 1,000 to 2,000 pounds per month.

  • Platforms - CMS, CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing software can all make valuable contributions to your business. Different platforms offer different levels of insight, control and convenience at varying levels of investment.

  • Lead Generation and Nurturing. Cost per lead will vary by industry and company, however, the average cost per inbound lead is a little over 100 pounds. 

Many companies opt for a marketing monthly retainer fee to incorporate most inbound activities and any competent agency can work within retainer parameters. 

Marketing spending for growth

One of the most reliable tactics for determining marketing spending is percentage of revenue. Marketing spending as a percentage of revenue tends to fluctuate, but generally hovers between 6.5% to 8.5%, with the highest percentage coming from B2C service companies followed by B2C products.

Marketing spend as a percent on revenues

Marketing spend as a percent on revenues by industry

How marketing funds are ultimately allocated is driven by the nature of the business, the competitive marketplace and how target customers behave through the buying funnel.


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