Inbound marketing and content marketing are relatively new buzz words when compared to conventional or outbound marketing. Some consider inbound marketing and content marketing as the same, but they are not identical terms.Content marketing is a more familiar term to business people according to Google's greater search volume for that term, but that doesn't mean content marketing is the "be all, end all," of marketing tactics. Let's explore how these two terms - actually marketing strategies compare, and which ones can help your professional services business.
Content marketing is simply creating good content and uploading it to the web. Simple, right? Search engines find the fresh content, index it, and the website’s page ranking tends to improve. Blogging and social media are the two best examples of content marketing.
Since Google tends to have a bias toward fresh content, posting a few blog articles is preferred to a great deal of static content.
Think of an “about” page or a “services” page as static content. Static pages rarely if ever change. Because of Google's ranking algorithms, a given site having a handful of static pages and an active blog often will rank better than a site having hundreds of static pages but no blog. This fact is something to consider as you're building a digital marketing strategy.
Content marketing can produce varying results for your professional services company:
Scenario #1: Little or no competition
Say you’re in a small market area, perhaps 50K people, you’re geographically isolated, and your best competitor is writing one blog article per month, or no blogs at all. If you create a couple of posts per week, chances are, you could hit #1 Google ranking in a year or less - sometimes within a few months.
Scenario #2: Modest competition
You’re in a modest market size, say <500K people. Some of your competitors have been engaged in social media, and one is writing a couple of blog articles per week. In this case, simply write more, and write the quality of articles people are looking for, include some long tail keywords, and you have a win.
Scenario #3: Heavy competition
You’re in a large metropolitan area with dozens of competitors. Many are posting to social media, many are posting blog articles, and many have a significant advertising budget. Using content marketing alone would be a tough win for you. The game-changer would be leveraging the power of targeted inbound marketing for professional services companies.
Inbound marketing, as a marketing tactic, differs from content marketing in three main areas:
- Inbound begins with the identity of your ideal customer (called personas); thus inbound is a targeted approach.
- Inbound relies heavily on keyword research to deliver content your ideal customers are looking for.
- Inbound will not work without employing metrics and analysis of data.
Inbound’s fuel is good content, but content alone is not inbound because of the lack of the three critical elements inbound marketing offers: personas, keywords, and metrics.
Publishing content alone is a shotgun approach. That’s why, in the absence of competition, it works. If all the other cars in the race have flat tires, you win. Simple.
In the presence of competition, content marketing alone could produce a win, but it would require so much content publishing, costs-per-lead would soar, and in the absence of good metrics, most company owners quit for lack of not knowing what’s working and what’s not.
Along with an optimized website, inbound allows the marketer to target a certain segment of leads and nurture them down the funnel to the place where they become customers. It’s a targeted, strategic approach to digital marketing.
Key take-a-ways from this blog post:
- Before you decide to launch a digital marketing campaign, set goals and strategies to see what will work before you spend any money.
- Content marketing works best in the absence of competition.
- Content is the fuel for inbound, but inbound works due to its strategic approach.
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