Content Marketing vs Inbound Marketing – As a small business owner, you need to know the difference. A guide to successfully navigate Digital Marketing.
Content Marketing vs Inbound Marketing – Web It 101
If you read our Problems with Content Marketing you already know that one of the biggest problems with digital marketing is it has far too many “buzzwords”. And it’s increasingly likely that your voice mail and inbox are filled with these buzzwords.
For many small business owners, marketing has never been more confusing. Today there’s inbound marketing, content marketing, adaptive marketing, results marketing, agile marketing, influencer marketing, permission marketing, event marketing, experiential marketing and so many more they could choke the proverbial horse.
To know which is right for you and your business, and to know how much of each you need, you have to understand the differences.You need to know how they fit together and how they work together to deliver the results you need to grow your company.
Digital Marketing is really everything that is NOT traditional marketing (TV, radio, billboards, print, etc). Digital Marketing includes Pay Per Click (PPC), Text and SMS Marketing, Email Marketing and more. Here, we look at Content Marketing, and how it integrates within Inbound Marketing.
Content Marketing vs Inbound Marketing – They Work Together
Don’t think of content marketing vs inbound marketing. It’s not an either/or.
They work together.
What is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content Marketing uses two avenues – Search Engine Return Pages (SERP) and Social Media.
The big prize channel is Search Engine Return Pages (SERP). And this is where content marketing shines. Google calls it Micro-Moments. It’s Optimized Content Marketing. It’s where you can go from zero to hero. It’s giving life to your online presence by using Google Best Practices for SEO and Local SEO on every page and on every post, on every image and every file, for every keyword and every long-tail phrase.
The ultimate goal is to increase your web presence across the search engines when businesses and consumers are looking for your product or services.
On social media, that first sentence or two of your engaging content, as well as an optimized image, is your “money shot” that drives traffic from the social site your business is on, back to your website where a user can see and digest the content and can re-share from your site to their preferred social networks providing even more links and exposure to a new group of consumers or even a new social network you may have had no presence on until that very moment.
In short, posting a link to something on your website on social media drives users to your website.
For a Deep Dive into Content Marketing for Small Business.
But what if that content found on a web search is not on a mobile-friendly website? What if they click on a social media post, only to land on a website that doesn’t function properly on their selected device? What if you want to take that content and send it out in an email? Or an SMS? Those avenues, much like Content Marketing, are part of Inbound Marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The simplest explanation is always the best: Inbound marketing provides a complete methodology that helps companies adjust their marketing to better fit the way today’s buyers are shopping for products and services.
People don’t want to be bothered or interrupted, so inbound marketing includes tactics that help companies get found when people are looking for them (Pull Marketing), as opposed to attempting to interrupt people who are not yet looking for products or services related to your business (Push Marketing).
Inbound Marketing provides a systematic approach to turning those anonymous visitors into leads, and then helps nurtures those leads until they become sales. All along the way, inbound marketing provides real-time data and insights that can be used to continuously improve performance and results.
Inbound marketing promotes earning a prospect’s attention, as opposed to renting it by buying direct mail lists, attending trade shows, buying TV and radio ads, print or making cold calls. Inbound marketing includes almost every type of digital marketing, including content marketing. It’s easy to see where the confusion might come from.
Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing – Together
Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing work together as components. It’s not content marketing vs inbound marketing. They are not separate. We can’t execute inbound marketing without a content strategy and content marketing doesn’t work well without an inbound plan. In simple terms, if content marketing spurs a message on Facebook for instance, and you do not promptly handle the inbound lead, then you have zero inbound marketing. Or if you send out an email with a dead link…again, you have zero inbound marketing. And if your webpage is not optimized for every device, again, you have no inbound marketing.
But it goes much deeper than this. Inbound marketing is a metric and result-driven methodology, so you want your content to drive results. In essence, your content marketing is going to be tightly integrated with your conversion strategy. Inbound produces results by using content to turn website visitors into leads, so the focus is on optimizing that content and that conversion experience.
You have to get found on the search engines – is that content marketing? Nope, that’s SEO. You have to build, maintain and optimize your website – is that content marketing? Nope, that’s website design. You have to email your clients and prospects regularly – is that content marketing? You have to go to events, you have to use social media, you may run an AdWords or PPC campaign, you have to get people to talk about your business on other social media and other websites, you have to monitor your online reputation. All this and more is Inbound Marketing that includes, content, SEO, web design and other digital marketing activities..
In other words, not all inbound marketing is content marketing , but yes, content marketing is a big part of inbound.
You can do content marketing without inbound marketing, but not inbound marketing without content marketing.