PPC Vs Inbound Marketing – Which One Works Best?

In any marketing campaign, your resources are limited.

Your time is limited.

Your budget is limited.

Your human capital is limited.

Because of this, decisions need to be made. In particular, decisions between two of the most effective lead generation strategies – pay per click and inbound marketing.

Will you spend more money generating leads through PPC, or will you focus more of your resources on inbound marketing?

Both can potentially get the results you want, but which one is best for your business?

In our article Spend More or Convert More, Which is Better? you’ll get a more in-depth look at how spending money vs conversion rates can make a big difference in how well you are utilizing your marketing dollars.

Today, we’re going to break this down for you, in the hopes that you’ll come out if it knowing which route is best for your business to take.

The Case For Pay Per Click

Pay per click campaigns involve paying an entity (like Google) to place an ad on their website.

Google adwords

You set a budget and a length of time for the ad to run, and you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

The more you budget, the more traffic you will drive.

You can target keywords to attract your ideal customers and clients and funnel them to your lead generating pages. Depending on your business, PPC can be of high value, especially if you target the right keywords.

If your marketing strategy is struggling to get off the ground, a well-executed PPC campaign can give it the surge it needs to drive the right traffic.

Is Pay Per Click Right For Your Business, Right Now?

Despite the power to drive immense amounts of traffic in a short amount of time, pay per click still has its downfalls.

It’s not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It still needs to be well managed to continue getting results. Businesses who make the mistake of letting their PPC campaigns sit idle, end up wasting a lot of money that could be better utilized.

Let’s say you set a monthly budget of $1,000 for your Google AdWords Campaigns. If you decide to manage your ppc campaigns by yourself and these campaigns are not managed correctly in terms of keyword strategy, keyword match type, bid management, negative keyword removal, geo targeting, ad scheduling and site links, just to name a few. Then all the traffic that is generate by these ads will most likely be of little value. In order to attract the right targeted traffic, your ppc campaigns need to be managed.

If your website contains no information of real value to your target customers, then spending thousands of additional dollars on your PPC campaigns will do absolutely nothing. Driving traffic is just the first step in converting visitors into leads. You have to have content that delivers on the issues facing your ideal customers. Showcasing how good you are will do little to engage a visitor let alone convert them.

If pay per click is your only marketing strategy, you’re putting all of your eggs into one basket.

Once you stop paying for it, your lead generation ceases. There’s no safety net to fall back on.

Even if your business never hits a rough patch and you need to cut back on expenses, and you can afford PPC for the life of your business, it’s still smart to diversify your strategy with more long term assets.

This is where inbound marketing makes a strong case.

The Case For Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a long term lead generation strategy.

It involves the use of quality and useful content to attract ideal customers. It helps them become aware of your business, gets them to trust your authority in the space, and eventually closes those leads into happy customers.

Then, it’s just a matter of keeping those customers happy, by tending to their needs and remaining acutely aware of how your business is impacting their lives.

  • Attract
  • Convert
  • Close
  • Delight


This is the inbound marketing framework that HubSpot made famous.

Inbound marketing is a targeted marketing strategy, developed over time, to provide a solid and lasting lead generation process. It’s more of a long term strategy than a quick sprint.

Inbound Marketing is the most effective marketing method for doing business online. By aligning the content that you publish with your ideal customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close and delight over time.

It’s this targeted marketing strategy the gives people the time they need to build a connection with your business. Your business becomes less of a business, and more of a valuable resource and trusted advisor who help solve their problems. The trust you have built with people create a relationship in where they are ultimately happy to buy from you.

Inbound marketing frames your business as a trusted advisor.

How Inbound Marketing Builds Trust

That’s all well and good, but how do you build this trust?

You build it through the content you produce and distribute. Blog posts, ebooks, white papers, case studies, infographics, videos – you give all of them away to prospects, free of charge.Content-Marketing

These gifts of knowledge build trust and loyalty and are eventually reciprocated by a certain percentage of your prospects. In other words, this content generates leads, and it continues to generate leads as long as you continue to produce it.

The beauty is, a piece of content you publish now could continue to generate leads for years to come – through social shares, word-of-mouth, and search engine traffic. How many times have you searched for an answer to a problem and found the exact answer you were looking for that was published 5 years ago? If the content is still relevant, it can generate leads for years.

Inbound marketing is the long term asset that gives you the freedom to pursue other marketing strategies (like PPC) with more fervor.

It’s your safety net.

So, Which is Best? PPC Or Inbound Marketing?

The answer is both.

A well-rounded marketing strategy will utilize the advantages both assets provide.

You could use a well-executed PPC campaign to jump start your marketing strategy. Then, you could couple it with a regular inbound marketing strategy that includes, industry-leading blog posts and other forms of content that is distributed where your ideal customers hang out online, and start building relationships with these prospects.

Your PPC campaign will get the ball rolling, and your inbound marketing efforts will keep the ball rolling.

However, in the end, it will be inbound marketing that keeps your lead generation sustainable.

Inbound marketing will eventually take precedence over PPC as a long term lead generation asset.

However, it is still in harmony that the two work well together, rather than one or the other.