Over the past decade, a digital marketing strategy has become a necessity for most business owners. However, many still don’t consider whether the type of digital marketing they pursue is actually geared toward the results that they need. Yes, it’s true; there are different forms of digital marketing, and each one has its own specific purpose. It’s great to be enthusiastic about your marketing strategy, but avoid diving headfirst into a time-consuming strategy that might not accomplish the goals you truly want!

man shrugging shoulders who cares so what I don't know gestureFor example, there is a huge difference between content marketing and inbound marketing, and yet most people get them confused. Because each type of marketing takes aim at a different end goal, they each provide a different value to your overall marketing campaign.

That difference can be seen in figures from a recent Google Trends report. If we pretend that both types of marketing are stocks that we purchased in 2008, with their gains representing the payoff for your business, then 10,000 dollars worth of inbound marketing “stock” would be worth 490,000 dollars today. As terrific as that sounds, that same investment in content marketing would not be worth over a million dollars!

The takeaway lesson from the above example is that yes, both types of marketing are valuable. However, content marketing carries a much greater potential payoff. So if you put all of your eggs in the inbound marketing basket, you could be missing a lucrative opportunity.

The difference lies in the end result of both types of marketing. Inbound marketing aims to help you “be found” online. It’s all about pulling new visitors to your website; you might think of it as reaching out to potential new customers. The goal is to reach as many prospects as possible, even though only a few of them eventually convert to customers (this is true of any “top of the funnel” marketing activities).

By contrast, content marketing mostly revolves around customer retention. When you send emails to your clientele list, interact with them on social media, or post informative blogs that answer their questions, you increase your interactions with people who already know you. Because people tend to be creatures of habit, it’s much easier to convince them to keep doing business with you, than it is to draw in brand-new customers. Therefore, content marketing carries a much greater payoff for your investment of time and resources.

As the authors of Managing Business-to-Business Marketing Communications point out, “The fundamental principle of marketing is that it is exponentially more profitable to keep existing customers than it is to acquire new ones”. In the marketing world, we live by the principle that attracting new customers costs about five times as much as retaining current ones.

According to one study by Harvard Business School*, a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase your profits by 25 to 95 percent! For business owners on a budget, this means that even a moderate effort toward customer retention can reap large rewards.

Yes, you do want to grow your business by attracting new customers, but remember to balance your marketing strategy. Client retention is still the most valuable deal in digital marketing, and should form the foundation of your marketing campaign.

When devising your digital marketing strategy, remember to direct the appropriate amount of energy toward content marketing and client retention.