How much does inbound marketing cost?

How much does inbound marketing cost?

How much does inbound marketing cost? You know what inbound marketing is, and now you’re committed to making it a success. You’ve got your marketing strategies in place and you’re ready to implement your marketing campaigns and turn your marketing into a lead generation machine.

But now the question that needs answering most is “How much does inbound marketing cost?” What can you expect to pay, and what do you need to set aside as a marketing budget?

Now before we proceed any further, if you’re looking for a quick answer to the question “How much does inbound marketing cost”, head over to our pricing page to see the cost of inbound marketing from a full-service outsourced perspective. If not, keep reading as we dive into how to put together a budget for your inbound marketing campaigns.

Elements that make up an inbound marketing budget

Digital marketing is made up of numerous marketing strategies, that when put together, represent your inbound marketing function. 

Often, when businesses put together their marketing budget, they don’t realise how many components are involved, so let’s set the record straight and identify some of the biggest components:

Strategy and Planning

Inbound marketing is useful without strategy. If you haven’t put the time in to truly understand who your audience is, and brainstorm helpful, informative articles that can be used to build trust, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. 

Before you undertake any inbound marketing, you have to start with strategy, whether it be an in-house discussion, or hiring an agency to run a BLUEPRINTTM workshop. A typical BLUEPRINTTM workshop with MM:Growth costs £1200, which involves research and on-site visits to formulate an effective strategy for your business. Realistically, you want to set aside £1000 to £10,000 for one-off strategy and planning.

Content Creation

Content isn’t just blog posts. It’s high-quality content designed to engage and provide educational, helpful advice for your audience, to turn them into qualified leads and help them make an informed buying decision. 

Content can take the form of blog posts, eBooks and whitepapers, videos, webinars, landing pages and more. Regardless of if you’re working with an external marketing agency, you may want to hire a full-time Content Manager in-house, and depending on their level of experience, that could cost your company between £20,000 and £35,000 per year, minus any costs for training and so on.

Outsourcing your content writing can vary. If it’s included in an inbound marketing retainer, that could cost anywhere upwards of £2,000 per month, whereas hiring a freelance copywriter would most likely charge per post written.

Biddable advertising (Google & Facebook Ads)

Paid advertising is another way of helping improve your brand’s visibility within search engines. Whereas high-quality SEO is good for long-term growth, biddable advertising can help quickly increase your website’s traffic and viewership, but not without a cost.

When budgeting, businesses know to account for fees to agencies for advert management, but they often forget the budget to Google or Facebook directly. It’s important to set a budget for this, and stick to it, so that you have campaigns running consistently and generating results. 

For both Facebook and Google Ads, we recommend a minimum budget of £1,000 per month. Depending on if you have a Social Media Manager in your business, you may want to look at a balance between insourcing and outsourcing social media and Google Ads responsibilities. Similar to a Content Manager, if you were to hire a Social Media Manager in-house, a salary could cost you between £20,000 and £40,000 per year.


Software can make or break your marketing. Whether it’s software for email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, website building, there’s no shortage of moving pieces available. Some software can be used for free, some may have a monthly cost upwards of £1,000.

Most marketing software will be priced in tiers, depending on the level of insight and convenience needed. It’s always worth setting aside additional budget for training and onboarding also, as you may need to pay an external company or find resources to help get to grips with the software.

Testing and Optimisation

Once your marketing machine is up and running, it’s ever more important to look at analytics to make sure your marketing is working. That means conversion rate optimisation, A/B testing and more.

You’ll likely need to hire an agency to help with testing and optimisation, as previously mentioned, this can range from £2,000 to £6000 per month.

Inbound marketing cost: Budget as a percentage of annual revenue

When looking at the cost of inbound marketing, and setting your budget, it’s common for businesses to allocate their budget as a percentage of the company’s revenue.

So what’s a good percentage to use? From our research and experience, the businesses that get the best results have a budget of 10% to 15% of their company revenue. The questions to ask yourself when agreeing this are:

  1. How many qualified leads do you need?
  2. How many sales opportunities do you need?
  3. How many clients do you need?
  4. How does this apply to website traffic?

In any case, the businesses who have embraced inbound marketing are the ones who are truly recognised as a trusted voice for their audience. If you want to be the same, then head over to our diagnostic to evaluate your inbound marketing efforts so far.

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