Is Compartmentalizing Your PPC and Content Marketing Limiting Your Growth?

PPC and content marketing are two very effective and very different ways to reach customers online. However, they could be much more compatible than you think. Marketers that treat them as two entirely different strategies could be limiting the long-term success of their campaigns.

Neil Patel is one of the few experts that has broken ranks and suggested using both.

“Many marketers believe that you either use content marketing or PPC to grow a business – but rarely both. I’d like to argue that both approaches are valid and that neither approach has to be executed exclusively,” he writes.

He makes a very valid point. Even many very experienced marketers I know have a very binary view on PPC and content marketing. One of my old clients was very fixated on inbound, organic content marketing strategies. He believed that PPC marketing was the antithesis of his entire model.

I reached the same conclusion after reading a report from The Content Marketing Institute. This report showed that the biggest problem with content was that there wasn’t enough justification to create content. Data from PPC marketing could provide that justification. There are other benefits as well.

Understanding the Benefits of Merging PPC and Content Marketing

Inbound marketing and PPC advertising can be two complementary components of the same strategy. This approach has three major advantages.

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Accelerating the Results of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing can have an exceptional ROI. However, it can take months to see results, especially if your strategy hinges largely on leveraging organic search traffic. The reality is that too many marketers have difficulty measuring their ROI. One poll showed 38% of marketers struggle to determine whether their content is effective at all.

The last thing that you want is to spend months on a content marketing strategy, only to discover that your funnel doesn’t convert. Click To Tweet

When you pay for PPC ads, you will start attracting traffic immediately and this will help you validate the strategy. You can see whether your funnel converts well, so you know whether it is worth continuing to invest your efforts in content marketing. Since it can take four to six months to see results from content marketing, it is good to have this assurance upfront.

Test the Performance of Your Campaign and Make Gradual Changes

You may have a very promising campaign. However, you might need to make some significant changes to ensure its long-term profitability.

Campaign flaws often stem from inaccurate assumptions about your target buyers or the angles that they will respond to. Unfortunately, you would usually waste a lot of time building a content marketing strategy and trying to fix these issues along the way. You would probably spend months developing and syndicating content before getting enough traffic to discover that your original angle was off. At this point, you would not be able to easily modify your content to align with a more appropriate angle or tailor it to a better demographic.

It would be a lot cheaper to test your content with PPC marketing at first. You could create a small amount of content and run Facebook or Google ads to see how people respond. You could create five pages of content for each angle or demographic and see which had the best ROI. These results would help you decide which direction to take your long-term content marketing strategy.

You can compare the data you have generated from your PPC campaign with the objectives you outlined in your inbound marketing strategy. You will be able to verify that the demographics of your best converting customers are the ones that you were originally expecting. If changes need to be made, it’s best to do it at the beginning of the project.

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When is it Best to Combine Your PPC and Content Marketing Strategy?

There is no simple answer to this question. It all depends on the scope and long-term vision of your project. You have already learned that Inbound marketing and PPC advertising are strategies that complement each other in many instances, but there are some times when it makes more sense than others. Some scenarios that it would be good to merge the two include:

  • When you first develop an inbound marketing project and need to assess the ROI. This allows you to validate the long-term investment of your content marketing strategy.
  • When you introduce new elements to the campaign and need to determine whether they have positive or negative effect on your long-term ROI. One of the most common examples of this is when you make major changes to your landing page and need to split-test them.
  • Your strategy begins to stagnate and needs an extra push to grow.
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How to Combine Various PPC Platforms with Your Content Marketing Strategy

There are a number of PPC advertising platforms that you can use to test various elements of your content marketing strategy. Here are some general guidelines for using each:

  • Amazon has a PPC platform that is less competitive, so you can get better ROIs on certain campaigns. You can find actionable tips for your Amazon PPC management.
  • AdWords is the most popular PPC platform. It allows you to segment users by demographic, device and region, so you can see how different users respond to your content.
  • Facebook and Instagram Ads. Facebook is largest social network with an exceptional level of segmentation for configuring ads. It is ideal for all types of campaigns. You can test multiple demographics and see how they respond to various content.
  • Linkedin Ads: LinkedIn is the professional social network that is best segmented and ideal for B2B campaigns. It allows you to make personalized and private contacts with the functionality of InMail. The cost per lead is the highest of all social networks. You can share content on LinkedIn, as well as run LinkedIn ads to content on your own site.
  • Twitter for Business: Twitter for Business allows you to display ads in a very segmented and ideal for campaigns that promote services.

You need to monitor your campaigns carefully and make sure that you are getting the right ROI.

Keep in mind that a campaign will probably have a higher ROI when you get organic traffic through content marketing, because you won’t need to pay for each click. Click To Tweet

PPC can still be a long-term strategy of its own, but it could also be worth running PPC campaigns at a small loss just to validate the effectiveness of your content strategy.

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