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Organic vs. Paid Marketing (Part One)

In this issue of our newsletter, we delve into the differences between organic and paid digital marketing. Small businesses, by the way, should focus on the former.

Digital marketing is an enormously broad field, and delving into it can be intimidating for small businesses. We'd like to simplify the topic, at least a little, by splitting digital marketing in two. In this issue of The Forward View, we'll explain the difference between digital advertising (paid marketing) and organic marketing. Next month, we'll focus on the former and then we'll talk about the latter in August.

Paid marketing consists of online advertising, meaning that you're buying digital real estate. This real estate can be a listing at the top of an internet search (yes, you can pay to be ranked at/near the top), a banner ad on a website or even a social media post displayed to people who haven't liked/followed your business page. (If you've ever seen a tweet/post appear in your feed from a company you don't know, well, it's just clever advertising.) New types of digital ads are appearing each year as consumers become desensitized to old formats. Video ads are the new "it" thing.

Organic marketing is very different. Instead of buying digital real estate, organic marketing is designed to develop a profitable following... naturally. The best aspect of organic marketing is that it's free: You're not purchasing anything new. Organic marketing might consist of social media posts, blog articles or even newsletters that people find interesting. Successful organic marketing isn't a series of sales pitches; it comprises useful/fun/shareable content intended to develop brand awareness and positive PR. It's the soft touch marketing. The standard industry rule is an 80/20 split between content marketing and hard sales pitches for social media, but that isn't especially helpful because it's too generalized.

In our experience, a mix of organic and paid marketing is ideal, however we greatly stress organic marketing for small businesses. We've honestly never traced a single dime of revenue to our online advertising, but people frequently say, "I saw your LinkedIn posts and want to talk about a project," or, "Love your website content. We need a new site. Can you help?" Yep, we'd be happy to help! You're now in our sales funnel.

Stay tuned for details on paid marketing on July 1st!