Ismail Aly

Here is How to Budget For a successful Inbound Marketing

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We’re about to enter the final quarter of 2016, and many companies are beginning to gather information for yearly dilemma: how to plan a budget for digital marketing in 2017?

Planning yearly numbers for digital marketing is always a game of probabilities to predict appropriate figures.  Why?... For many digital advertising tools, it’s not what you pay, but what you are capable to bid.

By streamlining an Inbound Marketing strategy and tools under HubSpot, a certified Inbound Marketing Agency with the right capacity could charge you up to US$3,000 a month for a similar (and much more automated) demand generation capacity.

In Chile, if you patchwork many of the tools and people involved in the strategy, you can pay twice as much, and you may need a little bit over US$6.800 a month to gather many of these tools.

You don’t believe it? We’ve calculated a sample budget for Inbound Marketing, combining a large number of solutions a company needs to combine for the awareness, attraction, and closing stages.

We’ve run quotations using a generic medium sized, human resources software as a service (SaaS) solution company based in Chile, to see how much would they would have to spend in an Inbound Marketing strategy for the country for a month*.

  • Hire a community manager: US$ 760

Many mistake a community manager with a freelance social media aficionado, who occasionally tweets and answers questions. Community managers in an Inbound world deal with a social media strategy that attracts organic users, prospects leads, monitors and listens to prospects, encourages engagement, and provides compelling content and support - always.

  • Work with a (freelance) content copywriter or blogger: US$ 760

It’s not just an advertising copywriter, but a content strategist, a blogger, and a keen social media user.

Companies are more aware that creating content is a full-time job instead of a side task. Writers must gather, qualify and develop content, analyzing the needs of the company and the buyer persona, turning  the values of product or services into alluring stories that the right people Google for or talk about in social media. That´s why it's called content marketing. In the Inbound world, the team that creates content is deeply involved with the whole strategy of the company. This can not and will not happen with a freelancer.

  • Hire a web designer: US$ 760

People can mistake any graphic designer with a web designer. Faux pas!

Designing for the web implies understanding the habits of an audience, how they interact with a website, what experience are they having and what features do they focus more or less on. In the world of Inbound Marketing, your website is your best friend, so the concern isn’t the way it looks, rather how it works. That is where UX comes in - a skill set that is far more advanced than web design.

Bloggers, web designers and community managers need to have notions about search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), especially for the following items on your budget. 

  • Run a Google Ads campaign: US$ 1,500

The complexity of Google ads is that you need to make an informed bid, depending on your target demographics and keywords -as the cost per click (CPC) depends on how competitive the terms are.  Focusing in Chile and using -in Spanish- a 27 keyword package for Google AdWords for an HR management software company, you could have a bid range of up to US$24, to get nearly 194 (non-organic) clicks per month.

  • Develop a Facebook Ads campaign: US$ 450

Narrowing the search in Chile, by bidding US$15 a day, a social media ad campaign could reach up to 13,000 people, based on the average performance of adverts targeted to a selected audience.

  • Targeted Self-Service LinkedIn Ads: US$ 450

Given its nature, LinkedIn is already a very targeted site, aimed precisely at developing good business networks. For our software as a service company a normal text ad would be worth at least US$15 a day, if we bid 2.40 CPCs

  • A (fairly decent) web design template: US$ 40

Once you’ve added a web designer to your team, you’ll realize that a free WordPress web design template narrows your options to stand out, customize the site to your needs, and enhance the product features that resonate more strongly with your audience.

If you have at least 1,500 contacts in your database, the use of a standard personal email service to send mass communications equals spam and an eviction notice from your internet provider. A good email marketing campaign requires automated, customizable, mobile-friendly email marketing software. You’re paying not just for sending your latest blog post, but targeting and tracking your message.

  •  A social media marketing tool: US$ 40

Help your content writer and community manager help you.

You’re no longer managing your personal Facebook account or tweeting personal comments and the latest buzz about your industry. You need to scale up a social media strategy, including analyzing, scheduling and tailoring your relationship with leads and customers on several social media channels.   

  • A good landing page tool: US$ 100

There are no leads unless you gather information about them!

You need to capture a visitor's information through a proper lead form, targeted through your blog, email campaigns or content offers, helping convert website visitors into leads you can follow up.

You need to build, integrate and test these portals to maximize your conversion and get what you need (and what your leads enquire).

  • News media digital advertising: US$ 1,500

This is especially relevant for branding, as your most prominent leads may be reading the mainstream news outlets related to their industry. A standard ad presence, for at least one week per month in a particular section- such as trends or technology- is quite an expensive investment.

  • A good website host: US$ 40.

It’s not just about your website anymore. With cloud computing applicationsit’s about storing, managing and backing up your files, work and contacts, and with a 100% availability. Dedicated servers, with good backup range their pricing.

  • Website support: US$ 120

Good help is not easy to find, and you may need to combine good hosting capabilities with technical help in case your website administrator has a compatibility issue, your database has a malfunction or- the humanity!- important data needs migration.

  • A customer relationship management (CRM) software for sales: US$ 25

Getting leads is not enough, and eventually, a marketing prospect needs assistance from a sales representative.

“This is the third time you’ve called me this week.”

Does it resonate with your sales representatives?,  Are they getting the proper information from your marketing team? An integrated customer relationship manager (CRM) tool is key.

  • A lead scoring capability tool: US$ 100

How do you know a prospect is good enough to get in touch? - With lead scoring, you attach values to each of your leads based on their professional information and the behavior they’ve exhibited on your website. It is key to provide proper feedback to those who need it, and focus marketing and sales efforts where they matter most.

Adding up the numbers

Looks expensive? Too many balls in the air for you or your marketing department?

What if you could align and automate these features into a workflow, executed on certain starting conditions? Automation could help nurturing tasks and complete internal functions and desired intervals, so the lead sent its contact information, and what happens to a follow-up email?, I want this person to my weekly updates!

What if you could turn this patchwork utility belt into an aligned strategy? For half the price?

How is your company budgeting its Inbound Marketing strategy for 2017?

*Note: all figures are in US dollars.  Some items (such as wages) are originally in Chilean pesos, and have been converted, while software solutions are a direct reflection of the prices offered in US currency.

Learn how Inbound can grow your company

Ismail Aly

Ismail Aly

Inbound Marketing & Sales Enablement Consultant, HubSpot User Group Leader, HubSpot Platinum Partner

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