Organic Marketing or Paid Marketing – What’s the Difference and Which One You Need
In 2021 I took my marketing and design freelancing gig full-time, previously I had been working with an ads agency building sales funnels and creating a paid lead generation strategy for our clients. I knew from the rip that a paid marketing strategy helps to get seen, known, and trusted so much faster than a non-paid (aka organic) marketing strategy.
When I first started, even knowing the benefits, I was nervous to throw money into ads so I went the organic route. At first, it was great, I learned how to refine my messaging, connect with my dream customers and know what type of content they liked and what they didn’t – but two years in, I was burnt out, exhausted, and frustrated that I didn’t have a predictable flow of new leads or clients. And that’s when everything changed…
Organic marketing and paid marketing are two different approaches to promoting products, services, or brands.
The word “organic” is thrown around in marketing like everyone knows what it is. But, if I’ve learned anything about marketing in the last decade, it’s that these things are buzzwords in the industry, but if you’re not a marketer – it’s just jibberish (and that’s ok!).
So what does organic marketing mean? Organic marketing refers to the strategies and techniques used to attract and engage an audience without directly paying for advertising. It relies on creating valuable and relevant content to drive traffic, build brand awareness, and foster customer loyalty.
Organic marketing methods include:
a. Content Marketing: Creating and sharing valuable, informative, and entertaining content such as blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and social media posts to engage and educate the target audience.
b. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing website content and structure to improve organic visibility in search engine results, driving more organic traffic.
c. Social Media Marketing: Leveraging social media platforms to build a community, engage with followers, share content, and generate brand awareness.
d. Email Marketing: Sending targeted emails to nurture leads, build relationships with customers, and encourage repeat business.
e. Public Relations (PR): Building relationships with journalists and media outlets to generate positive media coverage and enhance brand reputation.
The advantages of organic marketing include long-term sustainability, credibility, and the potential for viral reach. However, it can require time and effort to produce results, and success is dependent on the quality and relevance of the content.
Now, on the other hand, paid marketing involves investing in advertising space or promotions to reach a target audience quickly and directly. It typically requires a budget allocation and can include various channels and formats, such as:
a. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Placing ads on search engines or websites and paying only when someone clicks on the ad. Examples include Google Ads and Bing Ads.
b. Display Advertising: Running visual banner or text ads on websites, mobile apps, or social media platforms to increase brand visibility and generate traffic.
c. Social Media Advertising: Promoting content or ads on social media platforms, targeting specific demographics, interests, or behaviors.
d. Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with popular social media influencers or content creators to promote products or services to their audience.
e. Affiliate Marketing: Partnering with affiliates who promote products or services and receive a commission for each successful referral.
Paid marketing offers instant visibility and targeted reach, allowing businesses to scale their campaigns and reach specific audiences. However, it requires a financial investment, and success can depend on factors such as ad quality, targeting accuracy, and bid management.
Ok… So which one do I need?
Determining whether you need organic marketing, paid marketing, or a combination of both depends on various factors, including your goals, budget, target audience, timeline, and resources. Here are some considerations to help you make a decision:
- Goals: Clarify your marketing objectives. Do you aim to increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive website traffic, boost sales, or achieve a specific conversion goal? Different marketing strategies can align with specific goals.
- Budget: Assess your available financial resources. Paid marketing typically requires a budget allocation for advertising costs, while organic marketing relies more on time and effort investment. Consider how much you can allocate to marketing and advertising activities.
- Timeline: Consider your desired timeline for results. Paid marketing often delivers quicker outcomes since you can immediately reach a targeted audience. Organic marketing, on the other hand, may take time to build momentum and gain traction.
- Target Audience: Understand your target audience’s behavior and preferences. Research which platforms and channels they frequent and how they engage with content. This information can help you determine whether paid marketing or organic marketing methods are more effective in reaching and engaging your audience.
- Resources and Expertise: Evaluate the resources and expertise available to you. Implementing organic marketing strategies such as content creation and SEO may require specialized knowledge or skilled personnel. Paid marketing often involves managing ad campaigns and analyzing data effectively.
- Competition: Consider the level of competition in your industry. If competition is fierce and organic visibility is challenging, paid marketing can provide an extra boost to stand out and reach your audience more effectively.
- Testing and Iteration: Be prepared to test and iterate your marketing strategies. Both organic and paid marketing approaches require continuous monitoring, analysis, and optimization to achieve the best results. Consider starting with small-scale experiments to gauge effectiveness before scaling up.
Remember that marketing strategies are not exclusive. It’s important to integrate elements of both organic and paid marketing to create a comprehensive and well-rounded approach. For example, you could use organic methods to build a strong brand foundation, while supplementing it with targeted paid advertising to drive immediate results. If you are looking to scale your business sustainably without massive burnout – you’ll want to develop a strategy that integrates both organic marketing AND paid marketing
Ultimately, it’s crucial to evaluate your unique circumstances, goals, and available resources to determine the most suitable marketing approach for your business. Need some help figuring out which one is best for you and your business? Schedule a FREE strategy call and let’s chat!