Sometimes, we come across many grey areas that aren’t too easy to define. There are also times where we can establish a black or white answer. Then, there are those instances where there are several variables and the debate between organic and paid marketing is one of those.

Depending on the stage that your business is up to, you are going to approach marketing in a bit of a different way. Your marketing may do better from not simply using one single well-defined method of organic or paid marketing.  Firstly, I think it’s important to establish what both types are, the difference, and when they might be most beneficial.

The Difference in a Nutshell…

As we’ve already mentioned, your choice of organic or paid marketing will change the way in which you approach marketing in general. Some businesses won’t even consider organic and vice versa. Organic marketing is low in cost of money but high in cost of time, and paid marketing is higher in cost of money, but lower in cost of time. It’s all about your own personal (or business) preferences. 

What is Organic Marketing?

It’s the natural attraction and conversion of interested individuals into shining new customers. Organic marketing tries to bring in new customers by being in the right places/spaces as opposed to paying for advertising. This choice of marketing combines a wide range of disciplines to create a comprehensive approach to inbound marketing as a whole. Organic marketing needs a wide range of marketing disciplines to craft a smooth marketing strategy. 

I’d suggest that you focus on four main areas that I think you should particularly: content, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media and funnel optimisation. If you use these as foundations for your marketing methods and tactics, you can weigh up the benefits of capturing high-quality leads (potential customers who’re interested in what you have to offer).

What is Paid Marketing?

Paid advertising is any kind of advertising that you’ve paid for, instead of owned or earned advertising. With this type of marketing, the marketer pays the owner of an ad space in exchange for the use of that space.

The price paid for an ad space is usually settled through a bidding process between the marketer and the ad space owner. Within paid marketing, there are many categories including pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-impression (PPI) and display ads.

Coherent marketing campaigns gain an advantage on all channels for advertising. Although paid advertising costs more than owned or earned advertising, paid forms are a great way to get your brand noticed and present it to a large audience. 

Paid ads are usually displayed to users on the top, bottom or sides of web pages, and marketers will pay more if they want their ads featured on more popular website as this is likely to increase traffic. The different categories of paid ads (PPC, PPI, and display ads) allow marketers to customers their campaigns even more. Due to the growing popularity of social media, it has turned sites like Facebook and LinkedIn into an effective platform for paid ads.

Pros of Organic Marketing

Relevant Results: A good search engine is going to attempt to automatically match up searches to the best results it can find online for the search expressions selected by the enquirer. While there may be some room for error, and no search engine algorithm is perfect in its assessment of the strengths of competing websites and pages, or of the intent of the user’s query, most search engines produce a fairly-well ordered listing.

Free of charge: ‘Nuff said, really. Organic search engines remain completely free, there is no cost per click etc. 

Cons of Organic Marketing

Bias: Some bias towards longer-established sites focus on a good volume of high-quality backlinks and related factors such as the age of the domain registration as indicators of quality and reliability.
Content of comparable quality on a younger site is likely to be ranked lower than equivalent content on a well-established, prominent site.

Error-prone: Assessments conducted by search engines are error-prone even though they’re tested by human users, and may lean on unreliable markers and assumptions and incline to unpredictable results from the interplay of ranking factors.
They might try to rework certain and styles of writing while punishing others based on what they believe to be easy to real or likely to be most popular and engaging. 

Problematic algorithms: The ever-evolving algorithms used to determine the position can often lead to some dramatic changes in the levels of visitors brought in to websites from organic search over time, even without any changes being done to the site itself. However, it is possible to find that one algorithm change that hits their traffic, and another than boosts it, if you’re smart enough that is.

Pros of Paid Marketing

Instant visibility: Website owners get instant visibility regardless of how new a website is, how little content is on it, or how competitive your field is. With PPC, paid campaign you can put your business out there in front of web users ASAP. 

It’s an internal playing field: Only your advertising text and landing page are assessed for quality, so you don’t need to have an established reputation or backlinks to compete with bigger companies.

Cons of Paid Marketing 

It’s costly: Each click to one of your advertisements costs you money, and whether or not it leads to enquire or sales, the bills will mount up. In a lot of cases, only 2-5% of clicks actually lead to a sale, and the rest is just wasted. This means that you need to decide whether it’s profitable for you to market this way. 

Non-reliable signs: By being placed high up in search results as an end of having paid for advertising, doesn’t give any reliable indication to the enquirer as to the quality of the underlying business. Some web users don’t trust paid ads and prefer organic listings even if they’re further down the page.  

Focus But Don’t Limit Entirely 

At some point, you’re going to choose whether organic or paid marketing is your best choice for starting off with, but don’t neglect the other completely. Paid marketing can be beneficial due to the number of people it can draw into your website at a quick rate. The minute you stop paying for such advertisement you’re almost definitely going to lose an extensive amount of your traffic.

Organic marketing, on the other hand, takes a longer time to get going but it will continue to bring targeted visitors to your website for a lengthy amount of time. Having a balance between organic and paid marketing is the ideal situation for growing the online presence of your business.

Of course, it depends on whether you’re money rich or time-rich you’ll want to shift the focus towards organic marketing. 

Can you get that happy medium?