How to Create a Budget for Your Inbound Marketing Plan That’ll Get it Approved

You may have a killer inbound marketing strategy, but it is still useless unless you have the budget to implement it.

As you already know – ideas are nothing. Doing is everything.

According to a report, a marketer’s most important job is to spend money.

Whether its outsourcing and distributing content, purchasing resources for development or delegating special tasks such as SEO and video production, spending money intelligently is essential for becoming successful in marketing.

However, for many marketers, getting funds for the project can feel like a no-win situation: if budget contributes to all the great results, then how on earth are you be able to demonstrate the success before acquiring the budget?

Although this situation is certainly difficult, it’s a hurdle you must conquer.

So, how do you create a marketing budget that will include all the costs involved while also getting approved?

First and foremost – before you actually go and spend hours on creating an in-depth inbound marketing strategy for your company – you want to start by demonstrating the initial concept and the possible revenues of inbound marketing to your team of executives.

This kind of original pitch will offer you a nice place to share your industry research, describe your idea for inbound marketing, and receive the first gut check from your executives. This time is also a great time to talk about your overachieving business goals that may influence all the marketing efforts in the future.

If you need help to make a compelling case for inbound marketing, you can read this useful post written by Erick Devaney from HubSpot. This post includes over dozens of research data that describe awesome benefits of investing in inbound marketing and also shows astonishing revenue it can offer to businesses.

Start by calculating your marketing budget based on the size of your company.

If you really want to know how much money you’ll need for your inbound marketing budget, there’s not a single simple answer.

The budget you need for inbound marketing depends on several things such as your business model, organization’s growth goals, past success with inbound marketing, and the competition in your industry.

However, to get a sense of the level of investment that you may require for your business, you can begin by calculating the marketing budget as a percentage of your organization’s revenue.

According to a recent survey, on average, companies in the USA spend only 2.5% of their returns on investments on digital marketing activities.

Based on this average of 2.5%, if your organization generates a revenue of $5 million, you should be spending nothing less than $125,000 on digital marketing activities. As your marketing budget becomes more focused, you can then spend more in the range of $250,000 to $500,000 for inbound activities.

To get approval for your final budget, you’ll more likely have to propose an in-depth plan that includes estimates dollar investment for every aspect of your proposed inbound marketing plan.

While it’s true that every inbound marketing plan has to include a combination of tips, tactics, and various level of investment, there are still a number of items you can include in your budget.

Budget Consideration #1 – Inbound Marketing and Sales Software

If you’re really serious about making an investment in inbound marketing, then you’ll have to purchase the best tool available out there – we think, it’s HubSpot.

HubSport’s basic package starts at $200/month, but trust us when we say this: almost all well-established companies opt for the PRO package for $800/month. With the PRO package, you’ll be able to have it all – all crucial marketing tools, software, and more than enough contacts to get started at comfort.

Here’s a screenshot of HubSpot’s pricing:

HubSpot’s inbound marketing and sales platform are incredibly robust and fully-featured.

With HubSpot at your fingertips, you can easily and quickly manage all of your landing pages, content management, web analytics, email marketing, blog, social media publishing and monitoring, and much more.

That’s not all.

In addition to all the cool features of their inbound marketing tools, HubSpot customers also have access to HubSpot’s nifty new CRM – absolutely free!

Besides HubSpot, we also highly recommend you to include other useful software tools in your inbound marketing budget:

  • GoToWebinar– It’s one of the best software tools out there, and it readily integrates with both new and native HubSpot CRM.
  • Sidekick – You can build, automate, and accelerate your sales process through this HubSpot add-on. (Trust us, you definitely want this.)
  • Hootsuite You can add this tool in your HubSpot’s Social Inbox features.
  • oLark– oLark is a chat software that is easily customizable, well priced and easily integrates with HubSpot.
  • BuzzSumo– This tool helps you find the most shared content on the web and key influencers.
  • Visual Website Optimizer– Use this tool to optimize your conversion rate for your website.
  • SEMRush– An astonishingly powerful competitive research tool on the web.

Here’s how your monthly inbound marketing budget for software acquisition may look like:

>> around $800 to $3,000 for using HubSpot (which depends on the number of contacts you have) + additional specialty tools you may need.

Budget Consideration #2 – Initial design, development, content creation, and software integration tasks required.

To get inbound marketing started, inevitably you’ll have to consider website design, development, creation of content, and software integration tasks. Calls-to-action has to be included in your website, conversion paths (such as thank you pages, landing pages, workflows, and autoresponder emails) has to be created too, while your inbound marketing software tool also has to be set up on your website, among other things.

Depending on where you’re beginning from, you may have to make few small changes to your website to incorporate inbound marketing. In some situations, you may even have to develop a new conversion-oriented website from the ground up.

At the minimum, you’ll want to allocate nothing less than $7,000 to $8,000 to cover the expenses for “getting started” and integration tasks. In the other hand, if you think your website needs a considerable amount of update or even a complete redesign, then you should allocate your budget in the range of $15,000 – $50,000 or more.

Your one time “getting started” and “integration” budget might look like this:

>> $7,000 to $8,000 and more depending on the current state of your website and the volume of new content needed.

Budget consideration #3 – Content Creation and Promotion (Ongoing)

No matter you’re going to use your in-house staffs for content creation and promotion or going to outsource it to an agency, you’ll have to set aside enough budget for content creation and promotion for your inbound marketing strategy.

Here are few things you must consider to estimate that staffing requirement for content creation and promotion efforts:


How often will you post content on your site, each week? At first, you should at least aim to publish 2 blogs per week, and as your inbound marketing gains momentum, you should increase that frequency to 5 or even more posts per week.


How difficult is your subject matter? Will your content require a lot of in-depth research and technical in nature, or will it be moderately easy to research and write?


How much of information will you cover in your blog posts? We recommend that the more competitive your industry and topics, the more details you should provide.


Besides writing blogs, your budget for content creation should also include time for web designers/developers to develop and build things such as a new landing page, emails, cost calculators, PDFs, among others.

Taking all these content creation activities into account will ultimately help you figure out how much effort it will be required to support your plan.

At the minimum, if you’ll be posting only two blogs per week and it takes you up to 4 hours to research, write, edit proof, and post a blog, then you’ll have to set aside at least 32 hours every month.

Doing this calculation will quickly reveal you the amount of work that is required to implement your proposed plan. Underestimating and understaffing for your inbound marketing plan will only make you feel overwhelmed and constantly behind schedule.

Here’s how your monthly budget for content creation will look like:

>> $3,000 to $10,500 depending on the competition level in your industry and your organization’s growth goals.

Budget Consideration #4 – Ongoing Testing, Iterations, and Optimization

Finally, you’ll also have to think about marketing budget for ongoing testing, iterations, and optimization tasks. Once your inbound marketing strategy is launched, you’ll have to have enough budget for other things like tweaking landing pages, conversion rate optimization, adding new functionality and features, and designing new templates for email to your website.

Here’s how your monthly budget will look like for other works:

>> $2,500 – $5,000

Budget Consideration #5 – Having the in-house skills and resources (staffing) to execute your marketing plan.

When your company embraces inbound marketing plan, one of the important considerations is whether or not you have the in-house (or outsourced) resources and skills to implement all different parts of a contemporary marketing plan. Unless there is already a marketing department in your organization looking for work, the question boils down whether you should hire, recruit, and train your in-house marketing team, hire a marketing agency, or opt for a mix of in-house and agency strategy.

The decision you take comes down to one thing: your returns on investment.

Now consider this: if there’s already an in-house marketing staff, do you think they have the necessary skill set for performing inbound marketing? Do they have free time to handle your new proposals?

If you’re not sure whether to establish an in-house marketing team or hire an agency, you may want to read this useful blog post from HubSpot.

Yearly costs incurred for in-house staffs

>> About $65,000+ per each in-house staff.

Yearly budget needed for hiring an agency

>> A $6,000/ month

Key Points You Just Learned

  • On average, US Companies spend only 2.5% of their total income on digital marketing activities.
  • Your inbound marketing budget must set aside enough funds for procuring inbound marketing software and tools, beginning setup and integration, ongoing content creation and promotion, hiring staffs or agency to implement your proposed plan, and other flexible working tasks.
  • Hiring an inbound marketing agency is more beneficial than hiring and training a small in-house marketing team with only a few sets of skills.
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