There’s a loaded question. Estimating the cost of Inbound Marketing is more nuanced than it seems. The big variables are how much foundational work has been completed, how well your existing website is working for you, how much content you already have that can be repurposed, your proficiency with blogging and social media, and the internal resources you have, both human and monetary, available to support your efforts. Let’s take a look at potential costs and cost considerations as they relate to the seven steps of Inbound Marketing.
Evaluate What You Have and What You Need
Step 1 – Planning
- Communications Strategy: Do you have a communications strategy in place that clearly defines what your target thinks, how your target views you, what challenges they face, your competitive advantage, and your key messages for each target?
- IM Playbook: Based on the Communications Strategy, have you developed a roadmap of your Inbound Marketing activities? Never jump in without the roadmap – you’re doomed to wander and potentially fail. Make sure your roadmap includes identifying target personas, SEO evaluation, social media evaluation and strategy, content strategy, editorial calendar, offers and how you’ll nurture your prospects? In our experience, this is best accomplished with the help of an Inbound Marketing expert
Step 2 – Optimize
- SEO: Evaluate your current SEO activities. How do your activities stand up versus your competitors? Where can you improve your on-page and off-page activities to give you a boost with the search engines? Remember, if you’re not in the top 5 search results for your high-value search terms, you’re not being found
- Social Media: Are you applying the same SEO strategies to your social media profiles as you are to your website? Do your company pages follow all best practices for each platform? If not, they should!
- Website: Is your current website Inbound Marketing ready? Take a critical look at your site – is every page optimized appropriately? Do you have a blog? Are there ways for your interested prospects to become leads or raise their hands and indicate they’re interested in what you have to say? Is there valuable, fresh content added regularly to attract prospects and search crawlers? A thorough evaluation of your website is critical
Step 3 – Create
- Advanced Content: Based on your available content and editorial calendar, closely scrutinize what content needs to be created to attract your best prospects and think about what form that content should take. The best content is very specific to your target personas and is presented in a way that is educational and helps them make the best purchase decision
- Simple Content: Blog posts, emails, landing pages and social media posts are all highly consumable, simple content. Keeping simple content flowing regularly is the fuel that drives your Inbound Marketing success
Step 4, 5 & 6 – Promote, Convert and Nurture
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- Get your content seen! Do you have the resources internally to dedicate to actively engaging on social media, segmenting contact lists and communicating regularly with prospects based on what they’ve shown interest in and how they’ve interacted with your content?
- Turn prospects into leads: Make those prospects stand and say “aye.” Offer your advanced content in exchange for their contact and qualifying information. Continually update your content and tweak your conversion forms to get the best information to help guide your leads down the sales funnel
- Tell your leads what they’re ready to hear: Based on their space in the funnel, your leads need different levels of nurturing. Do they need more information? Are they ready for a demo? Are they in “buy” mode and need a personal call? Identifying your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) is crucial to effectively nurturing them and turning them into customers
Step 7 – Monitor
- Do you know what KPIs matter to your organization? Do you know which KPIs have the best correlation to customer conversion? Based on your KPIs, can you identify what’s working effectively and where you need to change course? Adjustments need to be made regularly based on your prospect/lead behavior
Yikes! That sounds like a lot to think about, and it is. But, between your internal resources, your available dollars and the speed you’re willing to move, you can determine what your Inbound Marketing budget should be each month.
Here’s a simple worksheet to help you identify your needs.
Hire External Resources
|1. Planning||Communications Strategy|
|Inbound Marketing Playbook|
|Social Media Profiles|
|Website: Inbound Marketing ready|
|3. Create||Advanced Content|
|HTML email template and content|
|Offers and CTAs|
|4. Promote||Active engagement on social media|
|Regular blog postings|
|5. Convert||Conversion forms on website|
|6. Nurturing||Funnel management/list segmentation|
|7. Monitoring||Identified KPIs|
|Detailed reporting of metrics|
|Analysis of performance|| |
Ready to learn exactly what you can accomplish within your available resources? Give us a call, we’ll be happy to meet with you to help you understand your current situation and how you can get started.
Download our Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing for more information.