The number of people accessing online content is increasing day on day. According to The Pew research center, about three in ten adults in the US say they are online constantly and 93% of college-educated adults say they go online daily. Therefore it’s never been a better time to focus on digital and content marketing for your business. But what is the difference between digital and content marketing and how do you know what is best for you? Here we will help you decide – is it digital marketing or content marketing or both…let’s find out!

Content marketing is a way to execute a digital marketing campaign and both can work together. The goal of content marketing is to provide valuable content that meets the needs of your audience, increase traffic and generate conversions. While the goal of digital marketing is to convert visitors and leads to customers. A well-executed content marketing strategy will drive people to your digital marketing campaign!

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is marketing that uses and electronic device of the internet to connect this their audience. Digital marketing may use search engines, social media, email and websites to connect with current and potential customers.

If you are not using digital marketing for your business or to grow your professional brand, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Digital marketing is so common that nearly every business has a website and digital presence on social media. Customers now expect you to have some form of online presence r you are not taken seriously.

Digital marketing includes tactics like SEO, PPC and running ads on social media.

The ultimate goal of digital marketing is to convert visitors to your website into customers.

The journey of customers through your digital marketing efforts will be different for each business but the idea of a “funnel” is the same for every business that uses digital marketing.

This is what a funnel looks like for most businesses:

The marketing funnel

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This can look overwhelming but through careful planning, you can easily take people from one stage of the funnel to the next. It may be that you need to reach out to 1000 people before one drops out the bottom of the funnel and becomes a customer and advocate for your business!

Five types of digital marketing

Let’s take a look at the types of digital marketing tools and how you can use them in your funnel.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

My SEO results from the first year of this website – I started making content in the middle of the graph and you can see the growth!

Search engine optimization is all about increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. There are two broad methods by which you can do this:

  1. By making small modifications to parts of your website so that search engines know what you do, and see that you have authority in the domain in which your website sits and,
  2. Creating content that answers questions typed in to search engines. Known as Keywords.

SEO is a constantly evolving field of digital marketing as SEO considers how search engines work and try to reverse engineer how the computer algorithms in the search engine offer up content after a search term has been searched for. It may also target different types of searches such as image, video and news searches.

Quite simply, the higher up in the search engine results you can get your website content the more you will attract visitors to your site.

There is a range of methods by which you can get your content to the top of a search page. Some shadier than others (link building, private blog networks etc…).

But a good rule of thumb is to produce relentlessly helpful content that answers fully your customer’s questions and you can’t go wrong!

What part of the marketing funnel is SEO used?

SEO is used to attract potential customers to your website by building awareness of you and/or your business. Traffic from search engines is very low in trust (they have only just met you!) so your CONTENT on the page will need to be awesome to build the trust aspect of the engagement.

Is SEO for you?

SEO is for you is you have time to grow your website and audience – it takes somewhere between 8 to 12 months to see the full efforts of your SEO strategy. But once it is in place it will deliver results for a long period of time – as long as you haven’t used any dirty tricks that could see you hurt in an algorithm change!

Search engine marketing (SEM) / Pay per Click Advertising

SEM is also used to drive traffic to a website by getting your content to the top page of a search results page. However, SEM is like SEO but using paid advertising to get featured on the top of the search results.

There are many search engines that offer individuals and business ways to purchase ads which appear at the top of search results. Typically the higher the amount that an individual offers to pay the more likely and higher up on the page the ad will appear.

A typical PPC campaign begins by setting your goals and everyone and business needs something slightly different so it is really important to identify the specifics of the campaign.

You need to go further than “Drive traffic to my website” as a goal of the campaigns. What do you want them to do on the website? You’ll need to have all of the tracking and linking done on that page before you begin setting up that campaign.

The fee structure and payment bidding that occurs can be a really confusing topic. This video does a great job at explaining how it all works:

What part of the marketing funnel is SEM/PPC used?

SEM is used to attract people to your website and content. Therefore it is primarily used at the top end of the funnel as it will expose you to other potential clients. Importantly, they are also connecting with you at the moment they are willing buy from you! With retargeting ads (placing a tracker in the visitor’s browser and showing them ads on other websites) you can also nurture the visitors to your website as they are browsing the web.

This is what can make SEM such a powerful tool for converting a visitor to your website into a customer as it spans a couple of the sections of the marketing funnel.

Is SEM/PPC for you?

If you have a little it of money and able to run a load of tests with your budget SEM marketing may be for you. It takes a fair amount of time and expertise to run SEM campaigns but if you are willing to learn the skills and set aside some time every week to check in on your ad then this may be for you.

It can get quite expensive to run tests and hone in on what works for you and your customers. However, once you know what works it is really a fantastic way to reach new and potential customers!

Social media marketing

Social media marketing refers to techniques that target social networks and applications to build brand awareness or directly promote products. Social media marketing campaigns often revolve around:

  • Establishing brand awareness on major platforms
  • Creating shareable content and engaging adverts
  • Engaging with customers through comments

There are five main components of social media marketing:

  1. Strategy – What are your goals? What platforms do you want to focus on?
  2. Planning and Publishing – Publishing is as simple as sharing a blog post, image and anything else on a social media platform. You’ll need to plan your content ahead of time to maximize your efficacy.
  3. Listening and engaging – As you grow your following your brand will also start to be the center of more and more conversations. Social interaction is very important and connecting in conversation with your audience is very powerful!
  4. Analytics and reporting – You need to know how well your content is performing. Are you actually reaching the goals that you set for your campaign? Using analytics tools will allow you to get better results and perform better in future campaigns.
  5. Advertising – if you have a marketing budget you may want to consider using paid ads to grow quicker. The metrics available on different social media channels are outstanding and can really allow you to target your audience with laser accuracy!

Check out these tips on social media marketing from Neil Patel:

What part of the marketing funnel is social media marketing used?

Social media marketing can play a role in every aspect of your marketing funnel. From building awareness to making irresistible sales offers and also nurturing existing customers.

Be strategic on how you can use social media in each aspect of your customers funnel and be very particular when planning your content that it fits in the stage of the funnel that you want to enact.

Is social media marketing for you?

The thing about social media marketing is that once you start – you cannot stop! I tell my clients that once they start they will need to set a schedule that they can keep for a LONG TIME. For as long as the business is alive and well.

That’s why in the early stages of a business – growing through SEO techniques will lay the foundations for continued growth without having to continually post daily content and engage with followers and comments – that can get very, very time-consuming!

Email Marketing

In it’s purest form email marketing is the use of email to promote products and services. But a better definition is the use of email to develop relationships with potential customers or clients.

Often emails are collected via the use of a “lead magnet”. That is something that you offer for free on your website or social media posts in exchange for an email address.

The lead magnet should be something that you know your customers will find useful and indicates that they would be interested in your service offerings.

The great things about email marketing are:

  • It can be personalized – using an email marketing platform means that
  • It is still relevant and personal – social media is awash with a seemingly infinite amount of content. Email inboxes are still a place that is slightly more personal and a place that people check at least once a day.

It is a brilliant way to nurture customers and turn them into fans by continuing to provide value!

Here are a few excellent tips that will help you with email marketing:

Is email marketing for you?

If you have a website email marketing is 100% for you!

The more you can push people into your own ecosystem of content – away from social media and third party platforms – the better you can build relationships with your customers.

Focusing on growing your email list will never be a bad thing – it is an asset that will lay the foundations for your business for years to come!

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for an online audience. The content marketing institute defines it like this:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

The content marketing institute

It is used in a number of different ways such as:

  • Creating content to attract attention from potential customers.
  • Using content to attract people to sign up for an email list (via a free offering).
  • Engage an online community of customers to turn them into fans.

You can see that content marketing fits neatly into a digital marketing strategy

What makes great content marketing?

The main focus of content marketing is to help the customer in every way possible – for free! Once a business has identified the needs of a customer they need to create content that helps them with that need or “pain point”.

The types of content can vary depending on the way that the audience want to consume the content.

Importantly, great content marketing relies on continuous delivery of content within the structure of a predefined content marketing strategy.

What sort of content can you make?

There are a load of options when it comes to content creation such as video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc.

Here are the ones that I think you should focus on:

1. Blogs

Creating a blog is probably one of my favourite ways to create content! They are perfect for improving your website SEO as long as they are planned based on keyword search terms.

You need this mix of content in your blog to make it super valuable:

  • 33% Pillar posts – these are blogs that are really, really long and contain a lot of value. They need to be at least 3500 words long and tackle a topic in detail! I reserve these for keywords that are a little bit more competitive and can be delved into deeply.
  • 33% Social posts – these are blogs posts like “the top 10 beard trimmers” or “5 ways that you can communicate better”. These tend to be highly shareable and clickable when cross-posting to social media. These need to be at least 1500 words in length.
  • 33% Direct response post – These blog articles are a direct response to a question. They need to be at least 1500 words in length and answer the question that the keyword is focused around.

For each of these types of articles, you need to include lot’s of multimedia. Infographics, videos, custom images and downloads for them to be truly valuable!

You should aim to have at least 30 articles on your blog – get them up as soon as possible – and then aim for 50 in about one year. This will lay the foundations for true growth.

You MUST spend a huge amount of time researching the keywords and making sure that they are not competitive. I have a full rundown on how to do this at this blog post: Full content strategy.

2. Videos

Videos should be playing a more significant role in content strategy workflow. Videos that contain YOU are going to increase your professional value quicker than anything else!

I do not care about vanity metrics such as likes and comments. What I care about is sentiment in the comments. Are people engaging? Are they saying positive things?

Videos help you grow your personal brand. If you don’t believe me – I have people coming to my website via a google search that have googled my name…it is clearly working to grow awareness and drive engagement with me as a professional. I know it can do the same thing for you!

Spend a lot of time on the narrative and hook (the first 5 seconds) of the video. These are going to be what grabs and holds the audience’s attention. If you need help with creating video content check out my FREE guide!

3. eBooks

Producing your own eBook is another important thing you should consider. An eBook can be used for collecting email addresses and growing a list of people that you can then contact later on with offers or more value!

EBooks generally provide a detailed process or explanation about a particular product or service sold by the business. Part self-help and part info product – eBooks are great for growing authority in a field.

The power of using eBooks include the perceived value of information in a book form. Some of the things to consider when creating an eBook include the number of pages that you are offering (more is perceived as a higher value!); the content should be clear and well presented. One of the things that scare people who are considering producing an eBook is the investment that’s required to write one. But don’t be put off! The investment is returned many times over if used properly.

You can even roll your blog posts together into an eBook! Doubling up on content is one of my favourite productivity boosters.

4. Create a checklist

A checklist is another content marketing strategy that gives you a simple way to grow authority with your audience. In the list, you should include the essential steps that you need to accomplish at the end of the specified period or process.

This can be used as a download in exchange for an email or just as extra value in a blog post.

Always ensure you re-purpose the content in your checklist into an ebook or it can be split over any social media posts too!

5. Infographics

Using infographics can be a winning strategy for content marketing as long as they are designed beautifully to lure the audiences to reading them.

Infographics give easy to digest, visual information about a specific subject. Infographics rely on the use of visual statistics to display information quickly to an audience.

Some things to consider when creating an infographic are making sure that your topic is relevant, to your potential customers.

Moreover, it is essential to ensure the infographics are designed by experts and time is taken to give them the wow factor.

6. Podcasts

Podcasts are another type of content marketing that has several advantages if you use them as one of your content marketing option.

By using podcasts you will be able to interview the experts in an industry, are essential tools to help a business to stand out among many competitors.

Podcasting has amazing power for acquiring new customers and also helps in building trust with your targeted or existing audience.

If you are considering using podcasts, take a look at my blog on the reasons podcasts fail and how to fix them!

Final word

Content marketing and digital marketing can exist in your organization as a symbiotic being that helps drive your business forward. Both are tools that can help you attract customers.