Inbound Marketing Costs: The Complete Breakdown

Inbound Marketing Costs

Table of Contents

Inbound-Marketing-Agencies.jpgThough inbound marketing is certainly a worthwhile investment, it is important to know how much you will need to invest up front to implement effective inbound marketing campaigns. Below, we will give you a quick breakdown of each of the inbound marketing costs involved in developing and implementing effective, full-scale campaigns.

Inbound Marketing Strategy

Like any other business endeavor, inbound marketing requires a strategic approach to planning and implementation. When you’re developing your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll need to consider the following tasks:

  • Creating Buyer Personas

    These generalized sketches of your ideal customers help you better understand buyer motivations and help drive your content marketing.


  • Determining Value Proposition and Market Positioning

    It is important for brands to determine what value they can offer their consumers and what makes them different from the competition.

  • Identifying Marketing Objectives

    What do you hope to achieve with your marketing? By identifying your marketing objectives from the start, you can ensure that all of your campaigns work toward helping you achieve these objectives.

  • Developing Brand Identity and Messaging

    It is important to have a documented strategy that defines your brand identity so that you can keep messaging consistent across time and platforms. This is essential to building a long-lasting and successful brand.

When looking at the cost of developing your inbound marketing strategy, consider that an experienced marketing strategy consultant earns between $71,000 and $137,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. While hiring an experienced freelance marketing strategist with a high success rating on a site like Upwork typically costs between $50 to $125 an hour.


If your business does not currently have an inbound marketing strategy in place, you should expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 to hire an consultant. Of course, this depends on the amount of planning that you require and the experience of the agency or person that you’re working with.

Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software is not a requirement for effective inbound marketing. However, it does make your inbound marketing campaigns much easier to implement, not to mention analyzing and tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs) is much easier to do when you have marketing automation software in place such as Hubspot or Marketo.

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Marketing automation software allows you to have greater control over every aspect of your inbound marketing campaigns. You can use the software to implement everything from blogging and social media to email and landing pages. Not to mention, full-service marketing automation software offers an easy-to-use platform where you can monitor your campaigns and see how your content performs and interacts.

The cost for marketing automation software will depend on the type of services that your business needs on a monthly basis. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to a few thousand dollars a month. You will also want to consider using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in combination with your marketing automation software. While Hubspot offers a free CRM, products like Salesforce can range from $25 to $300 per user per month depending on your needs.

Inbound Marketing Friendly Website Design

All your inbound marketing efforts eventually aim to bring consumers back to your website. If your site is poorly-designed, it can cause your visitors to run for the hills. That’s why it is important to make sure that your website is inbound-friendly by using a design that works to engage and convert website visitors based on where they are in the marketing funnel. With that in mind, there should be a special line item in your budget for effective website design.

When it comes to inbound marketing costs, the cost of website design will depend on how much work you need to do. If your existing website has a clean and modern design that is easy to navigate and mobile responsive, then you may only need a few updates to content or navigational tweaks. However, if your website design is outdated or hard to browse then it may be time for an entire website redesign.


According to Glassdoor, an experienced web designer makes between $40,000 and $75,000 a year. You can also hire a freelance web designer to work on your website for anywhere between $25 to $35 an hour. If you or someone on your team has some web design experience, you can save a little bit of money by doing the work yourself with a premium website theme that costs around $200 to $250.

If you need a total redesign, you can expect to pay an established and experienced freelance web designer between $2,000 to $10,000 for a simple website design. When it comes to a more complex and fully customized design for a larger-scale website, you may pay a reputable agency between $20,000 and $40,000 for a completely redesigned website. When factoring website design into your budget, don’t forget to include any website management costs that you may incur in the long-term.

Content Creation, Publishing, and Promotion

Creating content is one of the most time-consuming parts of the inbound marketing process, but it is also one of the most important as content marketing plays a big role in attracting, engaging, converting, and delighting your ideal customers. After you’ve developed an inbound marketing strategy, it’s time to start creating and publishing content on a consistent basis.

Some of this content can be created by people who are already working for your company. No one knows your industry and products or services better than the people who are working with them on a regular basis. However, if you and other team members are working to consistently publish valuable content, then there is a good chance that this may be taking away from other parts of your business.


Some companies may opt for hiring an in-house content creation team that works to manage content on a regular basis. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for copywriters is about $55,000 a year. Other brands choose to hire an agency or freelancer to write content on a consistent basis. For quality content that is written by experienced copywriters, you can expect to pay about $75 to $150 per post, depending on the assignments. Depending on how much content you would like to publish on a regular basis and how experienced your copywriter is, you may be paying between a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Though search engine optimization takes time to work its magic, it is a vital part of your inbound marketing strategy. Most consumers start their buyer’s journey online in the search engines. If you want to increase visibility in your target market, you’ll need to focus on SEO so that you can rank higher on the search engine results and reach more of your ideal customers.

Some businesses choose to hire a full-time SEO specialist to complete ongoing optimization for their website and content. According to Glassdoor, SEO specialists make on average between $25,000 and $55,000 a year. SEO standards are always changing and ongoing optimization is often needed to remain competitive. The benefit of having a full-time SEO specialist is that you have someone in-house who is keeping an eye on the latest trends and performing adequate keyword research on an ongoing basis.

Though a full-time SEO specialist certainly has its benefits, some businesses prefer to hire a professional freelance SEO specialist or SEO agency for part-time ongoing work. On Upwork, the standard rate for a freelance SEO specialist with high job success is between $55 and $75 an hour. Some businesses may be able to save money by having a specialist optimize their website and then working on ongoing keyword optimization on their own.

One major benefit of hiring a reputable inbound marketing agency to handle SEO work is that they are always staying up-to-date with the latest trends and tactics to help improve optimization. An agency also offers you the peace of mind in knowing that your content and website are always fully optimized. When working with an agency, SEO work is often part of the total package and offered at no additional cost.

Social Media Promotion

Social media can be a powerful promotional tool and a great place to gain important insight about your customers. However, it’s important that you take a strategic approach to social media management. Managing social network content and engaging with customers across platforms can be a full-time job. Not to mention, social media management requires timely posting and responses to be effective.


Some businesses hire a dedicated social media management to handle their strategy, content creation, analytics, and paid advertising. While other businesses hire an agency or opt to hire a freelancer for part-time help. If you choose to hire someone to handle your social media management in-house, you can expect to pay about $47,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. Experienced freelance social media managers typically charge between $30 and $50 per hour. If you hire an agency, you may be able to get more affordable rates on a retainer basis.

Pay-Per-Click Ads (PPC)

PPC is one of the most important paid advertising platforms at your disposal and is often one of the inbound marketing costs that offers the highest ROI. Ads on Google and Facebook can help supplement your inbound marketing efforts by improving your visibility and allowing you to reach more of your target market.

Though effective PPC management is something that you could tackle yourself, it takes time and expertise to successfully manage and optimize PPC campaigns. Since every ad costs your company money, it is often more beneficial and cost-effective for brands without a PPC expert in-house to hire a consultant or agency to handle their PPC work.

According to Glassdoor, a full-time, experienced PPC manager makes about $50,000 a year. Those who do not need to hire someone in house can expect to pay between $500 to $1,000 a month for PPC services from a professional PPC management company. Though you also incur an additional cost in paying for the ads, optimized campaigns typically show a positive ROI, making it a worthwhile investment for many companies.


Hiring an inbound marketing agency significantly decreases your marketing costs. Depending on your needs, you could get the expertise of an entire team for less than the cost of one full-time employee. Plus, you can be certain that your campaigns are in experienced and capable hands. To learn more about how an inbound marketing agency can make and save you money, contact the SevenAtoms team today. 


Author Bio

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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