Content Marketing vs Digital Marketing: What to Prioritize

It’s easy to confuse content marketing with digital marketing because although they overlap, they are distinct in their approach and objectives. Today, we will go over content marketing vs digital marketing so you can determine what’s best for your business.

What is Content Marketing?

It is creating and sharing content to increase brand awareness, attract leads, or engage a target audience, ranging from blog posts and infographics to videos and social media posts.

Unlike traditional marketing, which interrupts consumers, content marketing efforts focus on providing value through information. More specifically, content that solves the target audience’s problems or addresses their pain points.

According to CMI, 73% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and 70% of B2C marketers use it within their marketing strategy.

Benefits of Content Marketing

  • Engagement: Content marketing draws in potential customers by offering them valuable information that encourages interaction with your brand.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: It’s an affordable way to generate engagement. Many forms of content marketing are either free or relatively low-cost, making it accessible for just about any business.

Related: 8 Ways to Create Content Faster

Example Customer Journey with Content Marketing

To illustrate how content marketing attracts traffic and nurtures potential customers, let’s consider the hypothetical scenario of Alex. He is a small business owner looking to improve his online presence.

Awareness Stage: Attracting Alex

Alex has recently noticed their business’s online presence isn’t generating as much traffic or engagement as they would like. They started searching for strategies to improve this and found an article titled “5 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Online Presence.”

This piece of content, published by a digital marketing agency, is rich in practical tips and insights, capturing Alex’s attention and addressing their immediate need for information.

Interest Stage: Engaging Alex

Impressed by the initial article, Alex explores more content from the same agency. They find a downloadable guide on SEO best practices for small businesses, which they download. This guide provides Alex with actionable steps to improve their website’s SEO and demonstrates the agency’s expertise.

Alex’s interest in the agency’s services grows as they consume more content, recognizing the potential value the agency could bring to their business.

Consideration Stage: Convincing Alex

As Alex delves deeper into the agency’s content library, they come across case studies highlighting the success stories of other small businesses that have worked with the agency. These case studies and a series of blog posts on advanced digital marketing techniques showcase the agency’s ability to deliver results and its comprehensive understanding of the digital marketing landscape. At this point, Alex begins to consider the agency as a strong candidate for helping enhance their business’s online presence.

Decision Stage: Converting Alex

After consuming various content and gaining trust in the agency’s expertise, Alex decides to take action. They fill out a contact form on the agency’s website, prompted by a call to action at the end of a compelling case study.

This inquiry leads to a consultation call, during which the agency discusses Alex’s business needs in detail and proposes a tailored digital marketing strategy.

Advocacy Stage: Alex Becomes a Promoter

Satisfied with the results delivered by the agency, Alex becomes an advocate for their services. They share their success story through a testimonial on the agency’s website and recommend the company to fellow business owners in their network.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all online marketing efforts, including content marketing. It involves broader strategies like SEO, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and video marketing. Digital marketing aims to promote a brand across the vast Internet landscape.

Benefits of Digital Marketing

  • Versatility: With various tools and strategies, digital marketing allows brands to increase their online presence.
  • Flexibility: You can quickly adjust strategies based on audience response, making it possible to optimize marketing efforts in real-time.

Example Customer Journey with Digital Marketing

To illustrate digital marketing’s impact on a customer’s journey, let’s consider the hypothetical story of Maya, a homeowner interested in sustainable living solutions.

Awareness Stage: Capturing Maya’s Attention

Maya begins her journey with a desire to make her home more eco-friendly but isn’t sure where to start. While scrolling through her social media feed, she encounters a targeted ad from a company specializing in sustainable home solutions.

The ad highlights the benefits of reducing energy consumption and features an eye-catching image of a modern, energy-efficient home. Intrigued, Maya clicks on the ad, which directs her to the company’s website.

Interest Stage: Piquing Maya’s Curiosity

Once on the website, Maya finds herself on a landing page designed specifically for visitors interested in sustainability. The page features a well-produced video explaining the basics of eco-friendly home modifications and their long-term benefits.

Below the video, a call-to-action invites Maya to subscribe to the company’s newsletter for more information on sustainability tips and products. Maya subscribes, eager to learn more.

Consideration Stage: Engaging Maya with Diverse Content

After subscribing, Maya receives a series of emails from the company. The first email welcomes her to their community and provides an overview of the company’s mission and product offerings. Subsequent emails include…

  • Case studies of homeowners who have successfully implemented sustainable solutions.
  • Blog posts about easy sustainability hacks for the home.
  • Exclusive subscriber discounts on products and services.

These communications help Maya understand the value the company can provide and encourage her to consider their solutions more seriously.

Decision Stage: Driving Maya to Make a Purchase

A few weeks into her subscription, Maya received an email announcing a limited-time offer on solar panel installations. She has become interested in this solution, and the offer includes a free consultation to assess her home’s suitability for solar panels.

Seeing the potential for long-term savings and environmental impact, Maya schedules the consultation. The consultation went well. Convinced of the benefits and armed with a special subscriber discount, Maya proceeded with the solar panel installation.

Advocacy Stage: Maya Becomes a Brand Advocate

Delighted with the difference the solar panels have made to her energy bills and her home’s carbon footprint, Maya becomes a vocal advocate for the company.

She shares her positive experience and the noticeable benefits of her new sustainable lifestyle on social media, tagging the brand. Her posts generate interest among her friends and followers, which leads some to explore the company’s offerings.

How Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Work Together

Although they have distinct objectives and approaches, content and digital marketing are not mutually exclusive. They complement each other and work best when integrated effectively.

  • Content Marketing as a Foundation: High-quality content is the foundation of effective digital marketing. For instance, SEO relies on valuable content to improve search rankings. PPC campaigns can lead users to content that converts, and social media marketing often involves sharing and promoting content to engage audiences.
  • Digital Marketing Amplifies Content: Online marketing strategies can amplify reach and impact. For instance, SEO practices help ensure the right audience finds your valuable content. Social media platforms provide channels to distribute content widely and engage directly with consumers. PPC can drive targeted traffic to specific pieces of content designed to convert or educate.

Content Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Beyond the Usual Suspects

In addition to what we’ve discussed, the digital landscape offers a wealth of additional tactics that can significantly improve your online presence and customer engagement. Diversifying your strategy with these methods can help you reach your target audience, cater to varying preferences, and explore new growth opportunities.

Here are some specific strategies.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing leverages the reach and credibility of famous social media personalities or industry experts to promote your brand. Partnering with influencers that align with the brand’s values and target audience can help you tap into their loyal following to drive sales potentially.

Interactive Content

Interactive content like quizzes, surveys, calculators, or infographics engages users more deeply by encouraging active participation. This content provides value to the audience and raises the time spent on your site. It can also generate valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors.

Affiliate Marketing

This involves partnering with other brands or individuals (affiliates) to promote products for a commission on sales or leads generated. This strategy extends your reach through the networks of your affiliates, tapping into new customer bases.

Chatbots and AI-Driven Customer Service

Integrating chatbots and AI-driven tools into your website or social media platforms can enhance the customer experience by providing immediate, 24/7 assistance. These technologies can answer common queries, guide users through purchasing, and even offer personalized recommendations.

Voice Search Optimization

With the rising popularity of voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, voice search optimization is becoming increasingly important. This involves adapting your content to be more conversational and question-based, targeting the natural language phrases users will likely use when speaking to their devices.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR technologies offer immersive ways to interact with your customers. For example, virtual try-ons for clothing and accessories, AR-based simulations that showcase how furniture would look in a customer’s home, etc. These technologies create engaging and memorable brand experiences.

Content Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Conclusion

Grasping the nuances between content and digital marketing equips businesses to forge a dynamic online presence, marrying immediate reach with lasting relationships. Each strategy wields its own set of strengths, capable of propelling your business forward when harmonized effectively.

Essentially, it’s not about content marketing vs digital marketing per se; both should not be viewed in isolation. Content marketing should complement the broader digital marketing efforts for a comprehensive strategy.

Plus, the decision to prioritize one shouldn’t stem from a one-size-fits-all approach but from a strategic evaluation of your unique business landscape. Consider your immediate goals alongside your long-term vision. Reflect on the needs and behaviors of your target audience and weigh these against the resources at your disposal.

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