It’s no secret that inbound marketing, when done right, can grow site traffic and function as a lead-generating machine. But how much time should you spend on your inbound marketing program?
I’m going to break the time per week down by inbound marketing activity and give a high and low range that will depend on your organization’s size and budget.
Inbound Marketing Activities
At the heart of every good inbound marketing program is truly great content. And at the center of amazing content is your blog. You can invest an unlimited amount of time into blogging or shorten the process by outsourcing the actual writing part. I’ve heard of people spending only an hour to write a 600- to 800-word blog post, while some take eight hours and write a long-form post.
The time spent really depends on your industry and what content your buyer persona wants (and, of course, how much you enjoy blogging). Here are some good estimates to give you an idea of how long other people spend on blogging.
Estimated time per week (internal blogging): 4–12+ hours, depending on the number of blog posts and the word count
Estimated time per week (outsourced blog writing): 2–5 hours for strategy, editing, optimizing, and scheduling, depending on how many blog posts you want to publish
Given the data, it’s likely that your business uses social media as part of its marketing strategy. How much time you should be spending depends on how deep in the weeds you want to go with social media. For example, running an Instagram or Pinterest account takes more time than scheduling tweets in advance every week.
Estimated time per week: 2–10 hours; this could be more, depending on what channels and how significant social media is for your digital strategy
The meat of your inbound marketing is premium content offers. Usually, each offer includes:
- Offer writing and design (saved in PDF format for users to download)
- Landing page with a form
- Thank you page
- Follow-up email
- Calls to action
Outsourcing the content writing and offer and call-to-action designs is also an option to cut down on time.
Estimated time per week: 5–8 hours; if you’re not creating an offer every month, this will be less when averaged out
Lead-nurturing emails help move contacts through the Buyer’s Journey. A launch email sent to a segment of your database when a new offer is published can drive conversions. These are just a couple examples of the email strategy, creation, and analysis that marketers should keep up with each week.
Estimated time per week: 2–5 hours
Obviously, the initial search engine optimization (SEO) setup and analysis will take time, but if you’re just working on improving the SEO of the existing site and blog, the time you’ll want to spend is a bit more predictable.
General tasks that make up a typical weekly SEO checklist, not including content creation and the blog that help SEO, look like this:
- On-site optimization (maintenance and monitoring)
- Off-site opportunities (outreach and link building)
Estimated time per week: 2+ hours
Analysis and Strategy
Time for the most important task: analyzing results and building out strategy. If you’re not investing time into this, then you might as well not go through with the other tasks.
You should be testing and measuring within each of the above categories, but it’s also essential to take a step back, usually on a monthly basis, and see how inbound marketing can further achieve the organization's overall goals. Report on inbound marketing results and share them with the rest of your team and sales to keep everyone informed.
Estimated time per week: 2–4 hours
An Easier Way Out: Hiring an Agency
Of course, many companies don’t have the bandwidth or the internal resources to tackle a complete inbound marketing program. In that case, hiring an inbound marketing agency that understands your unique goals and will create outstanding content is a great, scalable option. If you do go this route, you will still want to budget out a few hours each week to tackle recurring items such as:
- Reviewing content and deliverables such as blogs, offers, and emails
- Responding to questions and all other communication (usually done via a project management software such as Basecamp or Teamwork)
- Meetings (check-in calls, brainstorm sessions, monthly reporting)
The first month or so might require more of your time, but once everything is in place, you won’t have a lot of heavy lifting to do. Regular weekly or biweekly meetings are especially important to keep everyone on the same page. The inbound agency you hire should feel more like an extension of your team than an outside entity.
Estimated time per week: 2–4 hours, depending on how hands-off you want to be
As you can see, the amount of time varies greatly and depends on your industry and buyer personas. Based on these estimates, the weekly hourly estimate, if you’re not outsourcing to an agency, ranges from 15 on the low end to 40+ hours on the high end per week.
Hopefully, this breakdown helped you determine how much time you should be spending on your inbound marketing program. Be sure to assess where you are within these ranges and how to make the best use of your time.