This can be a tough question to answer for many business owners and managers. Should you invest more of your money into PPC ads and see results now or should you invest in content marketing and possibly reap the investment for years to come? Which choice is the best one for you? Let’s explore how to arrive at that decision.
If It Ain’t Broke…
First of all, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it! This holds true for your marketing. If you are running PPC ads with strong ROI, then keep it up. If your organic content is making you a killing, then keep that up. The point is, if you are already doing something and it is successful, keep doing that.
However, don’t forget to experiment with other marketing and advertising to see what works because this will change over time. For instance, you can maintain your PPC advertising campaign, but go ahead and try a small amount of content marketing for one month and measure what effect it has.
Core Differences Between PPC Advertising And Content Marketing
There are two essential differences when it comes to PPC advertising and content marketing, and those two factors are time and guarantees.
Once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying
PPC advertising has an extremely short life span, once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying. This means that you have to constantly spend money to keep traffic coming to your site.
On the flip side, content marketing can have a indefinite impact. One post that you write this week could bring your site a substantial amount of traffic for the next several years. Content marketing has a longer shelf life than a PPC ad by a long shot.f
PPC advertising has a sort of guarantee that comes along with it. You will know ahead of time about how much traffic you can generate at what cost. This consistency and ability to know before starting is what comforts a lot of marketers and businesses alike.
Content marketing lacks any gaurantee. You could spend weeks writing what you think is the greatest blog post to ever be written only to find out that not a single person on the internet cares. It could also take weeks for your content to pick up any traction, or it could be months, or years. Costs for content marketing can be all over the place too, do you need a video or an infographic this week? How much does that cost? Oh, this blog post took longer than expected to write, that will be an extra $150! These variables can be a campaign killer for an unorganized marketer or business.
Choosing A Side
Now that we have covered the basic differences between the two types of marketing, we can begin to discuss which marketing method is best for your business or situation. Although it is generally recommended to use a balance of both techniques, some businesses may cater themselves strongly to one side or the other.
Ask yourself the following 5 questions about your marketing campaign goals:
- Is it time sensitive?
- Do you have specific sales goals that need to be met?
- Do you sell your product/service online (no phone call or further action needed)?
- Does your product have a short buying cycle?
- Is there enough search volume to sustain your business?
If you answered yes to these 4 questions, PPC advertising is mostly likely your best option. If you answered yes to most of these questions, your answer is most likely yes as well, but I highly recommend talking to a marketing consultant or agency about your situation.
If you answered yes to some, but not all of the above questions, ask yourself these 6 questions to see if content marketing is best suited for you:
- Are you willing to invest the time?
- Do you have the basic writing skills?
- Do you have other ways to promote content?
- Is branding (and brand recognition) is a major goal of the campaign?
- Do you need authority to sell your product?
- Is there a long time between consumer purchases?
If you can answer yes to all of these, content marketing is a great option for you to explore. Content marketing will offer you traffic now and increasingly in the long run, making this marketing method a great option for campaigns that aren’t facing definite short term goals. You will also need another way to promote this content, especially at first before you start getting traffic from the search engines. A few ways to do this are to utilize your social media channels, do some guest blogging, use forums, and you can even use PPC ads!
Sites that need authority to help sell their products or services will generally benefit the most from content marketing. Companies that need authority to sell are companies that tend to charge a premium price for their product. Customers need content to be convinced that your product or service is worth the additional cost.
Products or services with long purchasing cycles tend to experience good results with content marketing as well. This is because these kinds of purchasing decisions are usually made with more research. This means that you need to have a steady supply of onsite content, as well as other online touch points for your potential customers to find you (they won’t do all of their research on just your site).
You should now have a pretty good idea about how to make a decision between PPC advertising and content marketing. It is not always a clear cut decision, and as I mentioned earlier, it is usually best to utilize both for maximum effect. If you are still not sure, ask me on Twitter or on Google+ and I’d be glad to help.
Be sure to let myself and others know how you determine whether to use PPC advertising or Content Marketing in the comments below!