How Much Does SEO, PPC, and Inbound Marketing Cost?

Lyndsey Maddox

By Lyndsey Maddox

“It’s Free!” “Call Us Today!” Just kidding. At Digital Third Coast, we don’t pride ourselves on saving clients money – we pride ourselves on helping them make a lot more of it. Agency pricing varies dramatically with SEO, PPC, and inbound marketing, from a few hundred dollars per month to tens of thousands of dollars. So what will it cost you?

How Much Does Digital Marketing Cost?

Establishing realistic goals for your campaign is the perfect place to start. Understanding what results are possible will help dictate what budget you can spend to achieve those results. For example, let’s assume your average client value is $5,000, and you receive 1 new client each month. If during the research phase of your marketing strategy, you find there is an opportunity to double that number, and generate 2 new clients at $10,000 per month – are you willing to spend $3,000 to get the extra $5,000? Probably. What if you can only increase that number by 1.5 times? Are you willing to spend the same $3,000 for the extra $2,500? Probably not. While a goal is not a guarantee of success, research and analytics can help craft realistic expectations in order to ensure you are getting a positive return. The reality of digital marketing is that there is no “quick fix.” You should plan to invest for several months, if not years. While some methodologies can produce quick results, such as pay-per-click marketing, other strategies such as SEO and inbound marketing will require months of work, but likely produce a higher return in the long run that can continue to grow over time.

How Much Does SEO Cost?

Planning your SEO budget should be based on long-term goals. If you need to see a return on your investment within a couple months to continue SEO efforts, it’s not the right marketing methodology for you. While optimizing on-site components including strong keyword alignment and proper architecture can provide a bump in traffic, real increases will come from ongoing content marketing efforts that increase your inbound links and the strength of your site. SEO may be an investment for months or even years before it reaches a positive return, but that return has long-term value that can continue to grow month over month. Our average SEO clients invest $2,000 – $10,000 per month in their marketing.

How Much Does PPC Cost?

Pay-per-click marketing (also known as PPC or SEM) should be based on both short and long-term goals, as we have a much quicker speed to market with this methodology. PPC has two main components of your budget: the ad spend you pay to the search engine, and the cost of an agency to manage and optimize your account. In general, we believe in beginning PPC campaigns on smaller budgets, optimizing them, and then increasing spend as we see results. While many agencies will bill you at a percentage of spend (with the average being around 20%), we base our agency costs on the amount of time we will be dedicating each month to optimizing your ad spend. We find this better aligns with business goals, rather than wanting to constantly increase ad spend (we think Google has plenty of money). Your ad spend should be based on search volume and competition, ensuring that you are able to collect enough data to make decisions and improve campaign performance. Unfortunately, there’s not a common or average spend for PPC. For example, we work with a custom tee shop who spends $1,500 per month, a software company that spends $10,000 per month, and a university that spends $80,000 per month. The right amount for you will depend heavily on your market.

How Much Does Inbound Marketing Cost?

Similar to SEO, inbound marketing budgets should be based on long-term goals. Inbound is a powerful strategy meant to not only increase the traffic to your site, but also increase the conversion rates of your site, providing a one-two punch to increase inbound leads. Because we are nurturing leads from earlier stages in the buyer’s journey, it may take longer for a website visitor to convert into a true lead, but because we are establishing trust and credibility, you will become their go-to resource, meaning a much warmer inbound lead for your business. Our average inbound client spends $5,000 – $12,000 per month in inbound marketing.   Let’s be real – great marketing costs money. For some businesses, it may cost more than it’s worth in sales. We’ll help identify what the opportunity for your business is to ensure that we can produce a positive ROI on your marketing dollars. We believe in making a measurable difference, and if we can’t, we’ll let you know.