What is Inbound Marketing?
HubSpot says that “Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.” So, if that's inbound, then what is outbound marketing? This form of marketing, also called interruptive marketing, uses tactics such as direct mail, print ads, trade shows, telemarketing and both TV and radio ads. This type of advertising can be expensive and does not build those long-term relationships.
Where does pay per click (PPC) advertising fit into this? With PPC you are paying for the ads, but you are not interrupting the consumer. You may not initially be building long-term relationships, but you are driving consumers to your site where they can then be nurtured through other inbound activities. Obviously, PPC does some overlapping. Below are three ways that PPC, a strategy that might seem more outbound-related, complements inbound marketing.
1. Creating a Cohesive Keyword Strategy
When you perform research for SEO, blogs, and content creation, it all comes down to keywords. All of these practices need to work together to create a cohesive keyword strategy that will align with the overall inbound marketing plan. Keywords need to be consistent across all initiatives, which helps to reinforce your brand's overall message. The perk with PPC is that if you are looking for instant impact within the search engine results page (SERP), PPC will be a quick way to get your brand and message out there.
2. Creating a Cohesive Content Strategy
Although with PPC there is a limited amount of space (105 characters including the headline), PPC managers need to strategically get the correct message across to the specific consumers they are trying to reach. A great way to get ideas for ways to reach consumers is to look at current blog post analytics to see what type of messages are being looked at and engaging the current customer base. Now you will have a good direction to start building your ad copy. As with keywords, aligning ad copy with the overall message you are trying to send to your potential customers will help drive home your overall messaging.
3. Being at the Right Place at the Right Time
The key to marketing is making sure you are in front of potential consumers at the right place at the right time in the buying cycle (awareness, consideration, preference/intent, purchase and repurchase). PPC is a great resource to be in the right place at the right time and to ensure you have a presence within the search engines during each of these phases. Consumers are actively searching online and constantly comparing, so using the two topics above (keywords and content) will put your brand top-of-mind on the SERP. There are various tools and settings each search engine uses that allow PPC managers to target specific search engine traffic.
Although PPC is paid advertising and at it’s core falls into the category of outbound marketing, the art of being in front of consumers at the right place at the right time is an ongoing process that warrants continued optimization and testing. The vast amount of settings/targeting, ad copy testing, keyword expansions/testing and overall account optimization drives home how PPC complements the overall inbound marketing strategy and should be considered as part of inbound marketing.
To learn more about inbound marketing, check out some of our other blog posts:
5 Things You Should Know About Inbound Marketing
Can B2B be Successful in Inbound Marketing and Lead Generation?