The Major Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
By Small Screen Producer. Publish on September 5, 2013.
The many meanings of modern marketing can just get plain confusing. And there are a lot of opinions swarming around about the differences between Inbound Marketing & Content Marketing. Based on our own prospective and experience as a full-service web marketing agency, we wanted to share a bit of knowledge on the topic. First things first, here's a definition of both:
Inbound Marketing (as defined by Hubspot):
A broad description of marketing tactics that pull customers IN. Unlike the traditional concept of pushing interruptive messages OUTward to strangers (known as outbound marketing), inbound marketing is the idea of providing helpful, relevant, interesting content to draw those interested in your products and services to your business, without any old-school "push" methods. The whole idea is to earn not buy your customers and help them easily find and contact you by the interesting content that you place online.
The method of creating and distributing relevant, creative content to attract, acquire, and engage a specific target audience with the main objective of encouraging profitable customer action.
Content Marketing is a huge component of inbound marketing, just as much as your website, lead nurturing, email marketing, video marketing, SEO and other tactics are. In fact, you can't have a inbound marketing program without a content marketing strategy, but you could technically have a content marketing strategy with your traditional forms of advertising and not have anything to do with inbound marketing.
Still with us?
Take a look at this graphic for a better understanding on how far content marketing can actually go:
Basically, inbound marketing leads you up to a particular yard line - where the lead becomes the customer. How did you get them there? Through interesting, relevant content that you created and distributed for them to find, of course!
While inbound marketing covers the process of obtaining new customers, content marketing continues down the yard line through the the end zone to a touchdown, where your customer, who is SO satisfied with your services that he or she shares his or her great experience to others, getting you prospects who are already seeking your type of products and services and the whole game play starts again.
Our prospective is that it's highly important to have ongoing communications with your customers, no matter what stage they're at. Using content to stay in touch with customers allows you the opportunity to reinforce your products and services, opening up the door for cross-selling, upselling, and renewal rates in the future.
Content marketing can be comprised of the following: blog posts, videos, whitepapers, emails, ebooks, presentations, webinars, infographics, and podcasts. They all fall into the content marketing bucket. The trick is this: figuring out what type of content you want to create and how and when to distribute it to target groups.
Are you creating content for customer acquisition or for current customer communication? Is it both? An inbound marketing program provides you with the context for making those decisions. Again, content marketing can be used across the field, you'll just need to figure out what and when to share to these two groups.
Here are Two Ideas:
1. Map it Out:
Create content that is catered specifically to prospective customers and content that's created specifically for current customers. This allows you to be relevant to your customers at the right time in the sales cycle. Try to provide updated content that is always relevant, trustworthy, and interesting. This isn't easy to set up, but highly recommended.
2. Build Campaigns:
Another way is through campaigns. A campaign approach lasts about 4-8 weeks and allows you to focus on either obtaining prospective customers or current customers. In addition, it allows you to focus on specific marketing goals for your business. By fixating on one specific group at a time, you're allowing yourself to go back and measure the results of that campaign. Was it successful or not so successful? Should you try a different target group or the same one with different content?
#2 will help you stay on task and focus your efforts to make sure that all the appropriate pieces are set and you're getting the best results possible.
Overall, make sure content marketing is in your overall marketing toolkit. It provides you with a continuing communications process with your customer from the very beginning (prospect stage) all the way to the end (where they become an advocate for your brand). If you're implementing a inbound marketing program, be sure to include other parts along with content marketing. Consider the two strategies above to make sure everything is working right for your business and that you're reaching out to the prospects and customers you want to attract, engage, and keep in the long-haul.
Want to learn even more? We'd love to help! Feel free to contact us or click below for a free marketing report on your current web presence. We'll get back to you with a few personal tips and recommendations.
About Small Screen Producer
Small Screen Producer is a full service, marketing firm located in Houston, Texas that specializes in online digital media marketing through a 4-step process. Step 1: WE PLAN a custom web presence strategy for your business through website design and development, mobile development, social media account creation and branding. STEP 2: We then POSITION your brand through Pay-Per-Click advertising and search engine optimize tactics that include on-page and off-page SEO that are Google and Bing approved. STEP 3: We then PROMOTE your brand using an Inbound marketing strategy or a content marketing strategy to help you accomplish your marketing goals. We do this through blogging, video production, infographics, call-to-actions, landing pages, and free educational offers. We help you build trust and rapport with your customer base. STEP 4: We then PROTECT your brand's web presence with a reputation management program that monitors social media and on line reviews. Get started today with a free online marketing assessment of your company's web presence. Your company deserves it.
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