"How much does inbound marketing cost?" is a question Noisy Little Monkey gets asked regularly. And the answer is... not as straight forward as you might think. Generally speaking, inbound marketing costs anything between £288 - £93,000 annually.
In this video, you'll find a summary of the approximate costs of inbound marketing depending on whether you use a DIY approach, a freelancer, a content agency, or a full service inbound marketing agency like *ahem* Noisy Little Monkey.
|DIY||Freelancers||Content Agency||Full Service Inbound Agency|
|Planning & Management||X||X||✓||✓|
|Newsletters & Automation||Mailchimp||Mailchimp||Mailchimp||✓|
|Social Media Tools||Buffer||Buffer||Buffer||✓|
|Total Annual Fees||£288||£10,888||£60,360||£93,200|
Hi, I'm Jon Payne, technical director at Noisy Little Monkey. This video is to answer a question me and the rest of the monkeys get asked an awful lot. How much does inbound marketing cost?
You'd think the answer was really difficult because so many agencies make you go through dozens of meetings, it feels like, loads of phone calls and you have to hop on a load of video conferences before they reveal the price, which is sometimes colossal, sometimes really tiny. But it kind of feels like it's a maximum effort to get to that bit where there's a price.
Well, we're going to take you through how much it costs if you're going to do it yourself right through to how much it would cost if you're going to employ one of the leading agencies like, hmm, noisylittlemonkey.com. They're one of the best. So... I'm biased, of course.
Before we get to how much it's going to cost you, let's remind ourselves of what is involved in creating an inbound campaign. And to begin to set ourselves up, right, for how much effort it's going to require if you're going to do it yourself, how much you're going to need to manage a freelancer and all of that kind of stuff. So first off, you're going to need a website, you're going to need some social channels and they're going to need to be regularly updated. Social channels might be updated every day, every few hours, whatever, your website is going to need to be regularly updated as regularly as everybody else's in your industry or certainly the market leaders. You're going to need some content and it's going to need to be ongoing put up there and you're going to need a plan to understand what sort of content you should be producing for your potential audience. You're probably going to want some video, like this, and you're going to need a CRM in the back of all of it plus Google Analytics to measure what are the best leads. And in that CRM or customer relationship management system, you're going to be able to take leads from your website and hand them over as fully qualified, beautiful sales leads to your sales team.
So that's quite a lot of stuff. So it could be quite expensive. Let's have a look. If you're using a full-service agency like us, right over there on the right, someone like us will produce a plan, looking at your personas, looking at the sort of things they're searching for and we'll do a lot of research around your competitive market. Come up with a plan that's going to get you traffic from Google, from social and from all sorts of other referral sources, referral being your local paper, your trade press, that kind of thing. We're going to redo the website copy for you so that it is absolutely optimised not only for search ranking but also to convert people into leads. We're going to give you ongoing blog copy and we'll talk about how much that's going to need to be later in the video. We're going to give you downloads and guides that will encourage people to arrive at your website. And once they've arrived at your website, sign up for a download where, in a GDPR compliant way and a data protection compliant way, you ask them whether they want more information. When they say yes, over a period of days, weeks, maybe even months, you send them some more useful information to help them on their decision-making journey throughout their buying process.
We'll help you create some video with our friends over at Life Media. There's a link to them in this blog, if you'd rather bypass the middle monkey man and go straight out to Life Media. They're brilliant. You can also create your own video, we'll help you do it with something like Soapbox, which I'm using right here. Just a laptop, camera and a microphone and we have a banana-based backdrop, obviously.
We are going to create newsletters that go out to different segments of your market, but more than that we're going to create marketing automation so that when people convert online, rather than just getting a thank you email, they might get four or five personalised emails from your top salesman encouraging them to potentially look at other resources on your website, look at other resources on the internet. But by being so helpful, he's much more likely or she's much more likely to get that person to phone them back and say, "Hey, I want a meeting". I want to talk about all of these different solutions. You seem to know all of them. I'd like to talk to you. Which is a great place to be.
We're going to set up some social media tools for scheduling and all of that kind of stuff. We'll put in a CRM, so that you have complete transparency between marketing, sales and customer service, so that you can see what your contacts are doing at any given time, what stuff they're reacting to on the website, via email and all of that kind of thing. We're going to build you a new website that is absolutely focused on driving revenue and profit growth for your business, not that piece of crap you got now, we're going to give you something proper that actually is focused on revenue growth rather than what looks pretty.
And then if you add all that up, our fees come out at around £93,200. Our real fees, if we're just producing content and a plan and all of that kind of stuff, might be a bit lower than that. We've got some clients that are paying way more, but for a full-service agency like us, that's the sort of fee you need to be looking at paying.
Now, when I started up, I didn't do that. I couldn't afford anything actually on this screen. So right down at the other end, you've got DIY, which is what I was doing. I built my own website. I thought about who my clients were and what it was they were typing into Google. I went and educated myself on how do I understand how all of this stuff works.
And we now have loads of videos and resources on noisylittlemonkey.com on how you can learn SEO, how you can learn social media, how you can learn how to do better marketing more generally. But so much of it is online that's why our focus is online. So if you're going to teach yourself to do it and do it all yourself because you're a start-up or you don't have a great deal of money, then you're going to need to have a plan and you're going to need to manage yourself to do all of that work. You're going to need to create your own website copy focused around your buyer personas. You're going to need to ongoing produce your own blog copy and we'll talk about how much you're going to need to produce later in the video. You'll need to produce downloads and guides so that they can convert. And then you're going to need Soapbox, which will allow you to do videos, something like MailChimp that allow you to do newsletters and a certain amount of automation. You're going to need social media scheduling tools, CRM, probably something like a WordPress website. You're probably only going to pay for two or three of those things at the bottom. And at that point, you're probably looking at paying about £288 plus VAT for the year, for you to be able to do it yourself.
In between, we have freelancers and a content agency. Freelancers are people who are going to be able to blog and might even have experience in your industry. They'll be able to create blogs for you and download some guides. You're still going to have to do a lot of the sharing yourself on the website because they may not upload it directly to the site. You might have to put it on. They're probably not going to rewrite your website copy. You could do it and you could pay them to do it, but your price is going to go up a little bit from what I've got here from my research. And you're going to need to do all the planning and management yourself still. So to produce enough copy, a freelancer's going to need to probably write three or four blog posts a year, a month, excuse me, not a year, that would be a disaster, a month. So you're looking at about £10,888 if you factor in the costs of hosting your website on a secure server and paying for the low-end of MailChimp.
And then you could use a content agency who are, maybe they're not so search engine optimisation focused as someone like Noisy Little Monkey, but they are focused on creating great content that's relevant to your audience. Someone like Future Content is great for this. We love to work with Future Content. They produce great content for our clients and they employ journalists who know how to write. You get really good stuff. So there's a link to Future Content down in the, well, it looks like in my genital area, but I'm pointing at below the screen, for those of you who are worried. Same too with a link to Life Media. I'll put a link to both of those in the footer of this video. But someone like a content agency is going to give you a plan and why they might not rewrite all of your website, what they will do is produce that blog copy and produce download and guides. At the top end, you're probably looking at around £60,360 for all of the stuff, Soapbox, MailChimp, a social media scheduling tool, your hosting for your website, the content for them to produce and then the guys at Future Content to manage and plan it and do all of the QA that is necessary. You're probably looking at the top end, £60,360. Go have a look at Life Media. Go have a look at Future Content. Go have a look at all of the tools that you can see the icons there if you want to go and do it yourself.
There's more in this video now and I'm going to show you the agenda. We are going to look at the inbound marketing framework. So if you want to do this yourself, you're going to need to adhere to a framework within which your creativity can blossom. You're going to see an example of inbound marketing in action and how it works and how we can get some really amazing results. We're going to take you through how to blog, share and all of that kind of stuff or not how to, how regularly to. There are other resources on noisylittlemonkey.com where you can find how you can optimise your content for social and search and for your audience. But on this one, we're going to talk about the regularity with which you need to share stuff. And then we're going to drill into the tools you need if you're going to be doing DIY inbound marketing, how that differs from when you're working with freelancers, how that differs from when you're working with a content agency and how that differs if you're working with a full-service agency.
So the inbound marketing framework. There's been a lot of talk in the last 20 or 30 years about flywheels and the loyalty loops, the big four talk about loyalty loops, particularly McKinsey, I love theirs actually, go look it up. McKinsey and Co loyalty loop talks about marketing, sales and service being a loop that closes that flywheel for you. The flywheel being a metaphor that I think Jim Collins, read his book Good to Great, if you haven't, it's brilliant. But Jim Collins in his book talks about the whole business if you're going to leap from good to great, needing a flywheel that needs to spin and turn. And the great thing about flywheels is they might take quite a lot of work to get started, a great deal of work and effort to get started in fact. But once they're spinning, they maintain momentum so your business can maintain momentum.
And this is our inbound marketing flywheel. Over here on the left is that light bulb moment where your potential client has a problem in their life or their business. And what we do when we have that light bulb moment, Google used to call it the Zero Moment of Truth. It's worth looking up their download on it. It's really good. What we tend to do, these days, when we have that light bulb moment, is we pick up our phone and we search or speak to it and say we want an answer to whatever symptom it is that's being presented. So we might have problem x, but we might not know that we've got problem x yet. We might only understand the symptoms because that's what we're seeing. So we Google "how do I fix symptom y?" If that makes sense.
And at that point, you need to attract them. They're in the awareness stage, the awareness that they've got a problem, you need to attract them to the business. Over time, they educate themselves online and they begin to consider the different solutions to my problem because I found what my symptoms that I was presenting, what they were, what the underlying problem was through googling and all of that kind of stuff. And now I'm considering the different solutions to getting that fixed. One of those solutions might be your business, might be some competitor's business, but there might be stuff like indeed in this video, do it yourself.
Go and hire some freelancers, use a content agency or in our case, if you are going to move to the decision phase, you would be looking at using a full-service agency, and we would be hoping to close you into some new business for us if you are a right fit. If you are a wrong fit, we'd want you out of the loop because you're not going to demonstrate loyalty. And that's kind of a difficult thing to grasp sometimes that you don't want to win every bit of business. You want to win the best business for you to grow revenue and to get people to say how great you are. So the next time they meet someone who goes, I'm in a Zero Moment of Truth, they're able to recommend your business.
Jim Collins also says that in every business flywheel, there are a number of tiny components that you need to execute superbly to get that flywheel spinning. And so, ours are broken down into those different awareness, consideration, decision and loyalty stages of prospecting for new business and because we're talking specifically about inbound marketing rather than inbound sales, at this point, we're going to concentrate in our webinar on search engine optimisation, at the first point, because people Google the answers to stuff, right? So making sure that your website is technically capable of ranking on Google's results pages and the architecture is correct. If you need to find out that, there's another link to an on-page SEO Webinar in the footer of this video. That combined with the content that you produce is the thing that makes you really rank. So the content is the bit that makes you rank for the questions that are relevant to you and your customers, if that makes sense, and your potential customers. If you haven't got either of those two things working, you're probably pouring a lot of money into ads and may well be wasting some money on ads. I'm not against advertising in terms of display on social media and in search, but often people are pouring money in because they haven't got the SEO and the content right. If you can get the SEO and the content right, you can reduce your spend on ads almost to zero.
When they're in their awareness stage, that's when they arrive at your website. They probably also look at your social media channels and then as they get into the consideration phase, they're on your website, they're coming to your events, what we want to do is encourage them to convert into leads. So maybe, they come to an event that you run; they tell you that they've seen you on your website but they haven't actually converted or maybe you've signed them up at an event for a meeting or a discussion later. At that point, they need to go through your email automation layer into your CRM, your customer relationship management, so that you can follow them up. But also, these days, bots feed straight into the CRM. I should finish that sentence. And also are a level of automation that is inexpensive if not free. And when they're on your website, we want them to click a big call to action, download your free guide to something. In this case, you've clicked a call to action that brings you to this video so you know what the process is like. And later on in this video, I'm going to ask you to fill in something on a landing page to see the rest of the video, just to let light in upon magic.
But let's move on. In all of this, you've got a CRM where the leads are collected and then you've got analytics and reporting that tell you which bits in the awareness phase lead to great revenue when we're getting to close and loyalty later on. So let's look at an example that we've got in the real world working for a lawyer that has seven or eight offices around our local area. So in the first place, in the awareness stage, we wanted to utilise the technical wondrousness that we built into their website and their content and we interviewed them to get the best content and social media. So here's a blog post that we wrote for them that is an answer box on Google, divorce or judicial separation. It's something that people search for that they don't realise they can't have typically in the UK, but no one else had the answer for divorce or judicial separation. As you can imagine, it's quite top of the funnel. It's awareness stage. I think I might need to separate from my significant other, this isn't divorce solicitor, this isn't family lawyer. Those are consideration and decision phase searches. This is right up there. Do I want divorce or judicial separation? So what we did was create an answer on their website that's really comprehensive and drives the traffic to our client's website. And it's one of the top performing blogs on their website. When they're on that page, so we've captured them at awareness stage, we're moving them to the consideration stage. When they're on that page, we get them to click a CTA, in this case, six key decisions to a successful divorce. And then once we've got them to click that call to action, they see a great landing page. Forgot the word, flipping heck. Sorry, I've been doing this for a long time. This is about my 11th take. I'm glad we've got this far. But we take them to a landing page where we take a first name, last name, email address, phone number and location so we can make sure that these people are in the right area for our client to deal with.
And then after that, we do some lead generation emails. So the first email that this, I've anonymised all of the content here, the first email that these people get sent is asking if the guide was useful and maybe if you would like to have a conversation with someone who can help you understand what your other options are. Note, we're not trying to sell. What we're trying to do is help them on their decision-making journey and maybe they drop out and they don't become a client of, in this example, Smith and Bastard, but maybe on that journey it helps them narrow down, oh, I do want to speak to a solicitor and I want to speak to a mediator. If that email gets opened, we send them another email, and that's that lead nurturing thing. And after that, we send them three, four, and five emails only if they open each email. And that's why you need a proper automation platform. You don't want to spam someone who's in a decision-making journey, and particularly this one, it's a sensitive one. What we want to do is if they look like they're progressing down the purchase journey, we want to encourage them to talk to us again. We don't want to sell to them and we certainly don't want to try and pressure them into it by phoning them up. People just like to look at their phones and look at some emails.
So we're now going to talk about how regularly you're going to need to blog and share if you're going to get results like our friends, Smith and Bastard in the example. And these are the key components that you're going to need to use in the flywheel to drive traffic to your website, in my opinion. You can use ads, your website will attract some people, but they've typically already heard of you. It's really about technical proficiency in terms of SEO, content that answers relevant questions and social media. So we talk about producing a content cluster that will help attract traffic from Google, but you can also broadcast on your social media channels.
So here's a content cluster example. And this is for me, I run an inbound marketing agency. So all of the words in white here are phrases that our real prospects are typing into Google. So why wouldn't I answer those questions? You can see the top one is how much does inbound marketing cost? That's why I've made this video. It's also because I get asked it by nearly every client I speak to, so I can send it out as part of my sales collateral, yay, double win. You can do that. But you can see all of the questions in these circles around the outside, they're all questions that people ask when they're considering potentially doing their own inbound marketing or considering getting an agency to do that. All of those blog posts, will link to a call to action that drives them towards a video like this. And then hopefully, if they sign up for more emails, we'll talk to them about how we might be their right inbound marketing agency or how to go about choosing a new one. Does that make sense? I hope so.
Once they've arrived on our website, as I say, they click a call to action that might be a free 15-minute consultation. And once they've done the call to action, clicked the call to action, they're taken to a landing page. Crucially, this landing page really works in terms of balance. Of course, the design is horrible because I made it, but actually, in truth, it works perfectly when it's online and using the stylesheet for the rest of the Noisy Little Monkey website. Why does it work perfectly? Because the left-hand side where we describe what you're going to get when you give us some information is slightly longer than the right-hand side. And that's a top tip for you if you're creating landing pages where you want people to convert, you might also want to remove the menu and stuff like that.
So that is pretty much it before we get to what tools you need to do inbound marketing yourself. If you're going to do it yourself and you want to find out my favourite tools, fill in this landing page that's going to appear right on this video and we'll take you through the rest of this video and also, we'll take you through freelancers, content agencies and full-service marketing agencies. So fill it in and we'll carry on after that.
Hi. Brilliant, thanks for filling in the form. Really appreciate it. If you did click the button that says, I'd like more info, we'll send you some in a few days, but in the first instance, let's carry on. We've probably got another 5, 10 minutes in this video. And I'm going to put all of the links in the first email we send you. Yeah, I probably should have said that before. I'm not perfect at this as you can see. I'll put all of the links in the first email we send you that I'm going to talk you through now, but you can feel free to make notes if it makes you happy. Press pause, whatever.
So planning and management. We've got a blog post that takes you right through how to create a digital marketing strategy. Optimising your website copy. We've got a blog post that takes you through how to build SEO into your website. How to write a great blog post. We've got a blog post that tells you how to write the perfect blog post. It also takes you through some examples of guides that you might want to use. So that... I've dropped my clicker! Sorry about that. So that is all of the guides that you can get from us. I would suggest go and look at articles that you can find on moz.com, on Search Engine Land. Those are two trusted sites that we use an awful lot for researching. One of our competitors is called Distilled. They're awesome. They're primarily SEO. I don't think they think we're a competitor. We think they're kind of amazing. So we'd like to be like them, but they've got a really good university that you should go and check out. If you really want to drill into all of this stuff and not just get one side of the story, that Noisy Little Monkey can give you, check out Moz, check out Search Engine Land, check out Distilled, go along to something like BrightonSEO, come to Digital Gaggle, which is one of the conferences we run. I'll put all of those links in our email.
To do a video like this, you want to use Soapbox. I think at the time of writing it was free or at least very low cost. I think we pay £150 a year to produce videos like this, which is basically PowerPoint on my screen, a camera there and then I just talk at this and click through with my clicker, which I try not to drop. MailChimp has a level of marketing automation. I really liked MailChimp because it's got a monkey in the logo, but you can use something like Campaign Monitor or Dotmailer. They are able to do a certain amount of automation. It is not the sort of automation that you'll get with a proper CRM. And we'll come to that in a second. Social media scheduling tools. I'd use something like Buffer, that's really good or Hootsuite. If you've got a bit more budget, you can use something like Sprout Social. It's a bit big, it gets a bit enterprise pricey. So Buffer and Hootsuite are either very inexpensive or free if you're just doing it for one business. The CRM that you might want to use, there's a free one from HubSpot. We're a Diamond Partner for HubSpot, so we can help you out as that grows or something like Zoho is also free. Both of those have an element of marketing automation in their free, but actually, probably, you want to combine it with something like MailChimp. If you're trying to keep costs really, really low, get your website built on WordPress. It's like most of the websites you see in the world, not most of them, 17 to 20% of the websites you see are built on WordPress. So get your website built on that because pretty much any web developer in the UK certainly can help you rebuild it later on when it needs updating because most people want to update their websites between every two and five years. I host our websites when we were doing a proof of concept for our clients on something called SiteGround. It's really inexpensive. Hosting maybe 100 quid. All of those prices add up to £288 at the time of writing. They will fluctuate. But that should be it.
I want to remind you that if you're doing this, you want to be producing enough content to get that flywheel going. And this is going to sound like hard work if you're beginning to run a business or you've just created a start-up. You've got so much other stuff going on that you don't want to market it or you don't have time. And this is where you're putting in the long hours in the evenings and all of that kind of stuff. You need to be doing four to five blog posts a month, one a week, because you really got to start and hit the ground. And you need Google to see what a useful resource you are. And at the moment, if you've only got four or five pages, maybe even 20 pages on your website and your blogging once a month, it's not enough. You need to be blogging four or five times a month to get that content that is comprehensive enough to begin to answer your client's questions. And if you follow a couple of those blog posts from Noisy Little Monkey, you'd also be able to understand how you can find questions that your clients, potential clients are asking of Google, how you can find those questions, how you can target them and how you can see how competitive they are and then deploy that and you'll be able to start driving traffic inbound to your website.
So let's have a quick look at inbound marketing with freelancers. He said. Ah, his clickers broken because he dropped it. Inbound marketing with freelancers, you're going to be looking at a little bit more. So if we're talking about basically four blog posts a month, how many working weeks are there in a year? Probably 48, particularly if you're talking about freelancers, but you've got Christmas and New Year where maybe they're taking an extended holiday and maybe you're off for two weeks and won't be able to proofread the content that they're creating, over the summer or Easter and all that kind of stuff. So I've based my fees for this on about 48 blog posts a week. I'm sorry, 48 blog posts a year, and if it's £200-ish per blog post, you're looking at about £10,888 because you are still paying for Soapbox or the free version of Soapbox, low-cost version of MailChimp, free or low-cost version of Buffer or Hootsuite, free or low-cost version of HubSpot or a free and a low-cost version of WordPress hosted on something like SiteGround. As I say, all the links are below. Yeah, so you're looking at just under £11,000. Don't forget you're going to need to add VAT to most of these prices. The freelancer may not charge you VAT. But if you're able to outlay nearly £11,000 on your marketing, you're probably VAT registered. So what does it matter? It's not giving you a discount.
If you're using a content agency and I mentioned Future Content earlier, they're going to give you a plan as well as all of that content. And arguably it might be, well, it is probably going to be better than using a freelancer in terms of the content that you get produced. That's unfair. We use freelancers, they're brilliant. We use Future Content. They're also brilliant. There are pros and cons, but the biggest pro of using Future Content is their experience in a multitude of sectors, but particularly their planning and management around a content calendar. They produce great content that really targets your market, that really targets share-ability on social media and really clickable headlines. They are amazing at that kind of stuff. So when I was talking to Tom, he said, "Look, top end, it's 60-ish grand, but we don't really get involved for much less than 30 or 40 because we can't do enough to move the needle for the business if we're much lower than that." So again, their link is in the bottom of this video.
Hopefully, you can find them. And then if you're using a full-service agency going backwards and forwards on the slides there for a moment, someone like us is going to try and do everything for you. Not everything, we still need some feedback from you. We're going to be interviewing you. We're probably going to be interviewing your customers. We're going to be creating buyer personas. We're going to be creating even some negative buyer personas, website copy, blog copy, downloads and guides, all of which are optimised to perform in Google so they get right in front of the eyeballs of your buyer personas. We're going to be creating a video with our partner's Life Media. Don't worry, there's no additional fees in this. If you went to Life Media, you can get Sunjay and the team there to give you a quote for your particular requirements, but we typically would like to use them as part of ours, but if you're not getting all of the other stuff from us, go to our friends at Life Media. Link below. Newsletters and automation, social media tools, CRM and website we're going to build for you in HubSpot because it's absolutely fantastic at producing great content... not producing, at holding great content that is in a way that attracts and converts and helps your sales team close that new business and then increasingly drive loyalty from happy and delighted customers.
I hope that's given you some useful information. Any questions? You can just email me. My email is email@example.com and I'll answer anything you send through. And if I don't know the answer, I'll hand it over to one of the team and they will get back to you.
If you'd like to talk to us about your plan, then there'll be a call to action at the end of this to take us a step further. Otherwise, good luck with it all. I really hope you do well with your inbound marketing. Cheers. See you next time.
Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.
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