Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing
What really is the difference between Inbound marketing vs. content marketing? As opposed to outbound marketing which involves actively putting your marketing message in front of an audience that is not immediately looking for your product or services, inbound marketing is the opposite.
With inbound marketing, your audience involves people who are already interested in your product or services by ensuring that your message is there when they need it.
On the other hand, content marketing is a subset of your overall inbound marketing strategy. Content marketing can serve as the bridge between your target audience and your ultimate goal of driving sales and leads.
With content marketing, you actively build quality content, leading your audience to take relevant actions like signing up for your newsletter and moving alongside the customer journey.
So what is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is essentially the container for all your digital marketing efforts involving an audience that is actively interested in what you have to offer.
HubSpot describes inbound marketing as a methodology that involves three different stages:
Attract: Using content marketing, you can attract the right audience, allowing them to get to know your brand better and bring them to a consideration stage. Blogging, social media, and SEO are effective ways to attract potential customers.
Engage: Once you have attracted the right audience, you need to find ways to communicate with them directly. You can do this by encouraging your audience to sign up for your newsletter or using remarketing campaigns.
Delight: Ensuring your customers are happy long after their purchase will allow you to convert buyers into repeat customers; this approach will also allow you to save on marketing costs and grow your brand more rapidly.
An inbound marketing strategy may include:
Content Marketing: Distributing and delivering highly relevant content to the proper channels with your target audience is a very effective way to drive relevant traffic and conversions to your website. You can use external platforms like social media to help push your content marketing efforts by regularly posting updates and industry news.
Email Marketing: This can include the entire email marketing process – from encouraging website visitors to sign up for your newsletter to send highly personalized and targeted emails that can eventually lead to leads or website conversions. A popular email marketing tool you may consider is MailChimp.
SEO: By optimizing your website to better align with search engine technical and content requirements, you can show up higher up in SERPs. Having more visibility on search engines increases your chances of the right customer finding you when they search for your product or services. We love to use SEMRush and Yoast for our clients.
Social Media: Keeping your social followers engaged with ongoing updates about your company and industry can effectively attract new related audiences and maintain existing customers. You can also use remarketing campaigns within these same channels to further optimize your targeting.
Paid Marketing: Although many paid marketing initiatives like PPC fall on the outbound marketing side, they can also be effective as an inbound marketing strategy. For example, with PPC, you can find potential customers at various stages of the customer journey if you use the correct targeting approach, such as defining demographics and the keywords they are using.
Whether your goal is to acquire more B2B or B2C customers, an inbound marketing strategy can help you meet your overall marketing goals with the proper marketing channels and methods.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a crucial part of your inbound marketing strategy; it allows you to deliver the right content, to your ideal audience, at the right time.
And although the timing needed to accomplish your content marketing goals may sound somewhat complicated, it isn’t. For instance, by simply publishing ongoing, unique, relevant content on your website – you will open up the possibility that people will find you at various stages of the buyer’s journey.
Content marketing aligns closely with your SEO strategy. When creating content for your target audience, keyword research allows you to know precisely the search terms people actively use to find your products or services.
When you understand a searcher’s intent, you can optimize your content accordingly to accommodate the various stages of the customer’s journey. While some people may be looking to learn about a topic they just heard about, others may be closer to the end of the funnel. For B2B businesses, in particular, there is a significantly longer wait period before making a purchase decision.
However, there is a lot more to content marketing than simply using it as part of your SEO initiatives. Your content marketing strategy can include creating content for off-site use, such as social media and guest posting, driving brand awareness.
Guest posting allows you to write content for your target audience and publish it on other websites, increasing your authority and reach. You can also expand your connections by collaborating with people in your industry.
To improve your content marketing efforts, you’ll also want to consider A/B testing some aspects of your content – such as your titles and your call-to-action. A/B testing will allow you to create better content that is more likely to work with your audience. A minor increase in your conversions can have a significant impact on your revenue.
Additionally, you’ll want to audit your existing content to see how it aligns with your potential audience and your business objectives. An audit allows you to find and update content that may not be performing well. You can even create new content by conducting a gap analysis. By effectively taking this approach, you can ensure that you successfully satisfy your buyer’s journey at every stage.
Content marketing is only a part of your inbound marketing strategy, which may comprise other marketing efforts like email marketing, SEO, social media, and paid advertising.
Both inbound marketing and content marketing work closely together and can significantly impact the overall success of your digital marketing strategy. Spending the necessary time to redefine your inbound marketing efforts and working diligently on your content marketing, in particular, can be highly beneficial to your brand’s success.