You’ve read a ton of articles, watched countless videos, and listened to expert interviews. And yet, you’re still wondering, Should I focus on organic advertising or paid advertising?
Well, what if I told you that you could choose both?
Yup! Organic and paid advertising aren’t pitted against each other. In fact, they work best when integrated into one marketing strategy.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about organic and paid advertising—what they are, examples of both, the pros and cons, and how to interweave them into a convert-worthy funnel.
What’s the difference between organic and paid advertising?
Organic and paid advertising share one goal—attracting leads to your business. But they use different strategies to get there.
Traditional paid ads target your potential customers with sponsored posts. These ads show up on your feed, in your Google search results—basically anywhere you hang out online.
But organic advertising does the opposite. This tactic uses free resources like blog posts, podcasts, and social media to attract your audience to your brand.
In most cases, organic and paid ads run on different channels. But they can interconnect, too!
One example of this is influencer marketing. Paying an influencer to review your product is technically a paid ad. But the influencer is reviewing your product in front of their organic following.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and integrate these two strategies just yet. First, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of each method, starting with paid advertising.
What is paid advertising?
Paid advertising is when you pay for an ad to be displayed online. Traditionally, these ads were television commercials, billboards, and print ads. However, paid ads have expanded into many avenues as more people shop online. Let’s go over three different types of paid advertising and why they work.
3 examples of paid advertising
1. Social media paid advertising
Most paid ads are forms of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
PPC is simple. Every time someone clicks on your sponsored ad, you pay a small fee. Unlike traditional paid advertising, most small businesses can afford PPC!
PPC comes in all shapes and sizes—Google ads, banner ads, and social media ads.
Finders Seekers Mysteries, for example, targets board game lovers using Facebook ads. By targeting specific demographics and characteristics, this brand can spread its board games to thousands of people.
Social commerce—buying products through social media—is trending. Social media advertising is projected to reach $173,988 million by the end of this year!
Best of all, you can advertise across all social media platforms, like:
The cool thing about social media ads is the customization. From plugging in demographics to online behavior, you can target niche audiences at affordable prices. Our Facebook ad quiz tutorial covers this idea in more detail.
2. Influencer marketing
Another way to practice paid advertising is with influencer marketing.
Influencers build online communities with unfiltered stories, experiences, and opinions.
Think about your favorite influencers. Whether you follow a lifestyle blogger or podcast host, you would probably buy stuff they recommend, right?
You’re not the only one! Most of us are easily swayed to buy products our favorite influencers use. This is where influencer marketing comes into play.
Hyram, for example, built a community of over four million people who follow his makeup tutorials. These subscribers trust his insight. So, if he recommends a skincare product, you can expect hundreds or even thousands of people to buy that product.
This is where brands like Sephora use influencer marketing. Sephora paid Hyram to review a list of their skincare products. Imagine the sales Sephora can make if even a quarter of those subscribers buy!
The best way to utilize influencer marketing is by finding influencers who will genuinely like your product or service. The last thing you want is a bad review!
3. Sponsored blog posts
Sponsored blog posts are another way to get your product out to more people.
A sponsored post is when you ask trusted websites in your niche to review your product. You can pay a fee and contribute the article yourself.
Hedonova paid Michelle, a popular financial blog owner, to write a post about their company.
Unlike social media, where a post lasts no more than a day, Michelle’s blog ranks high in SEO and reels in thousands of website visitors per month. This blog post is bound to attract leads for months (or even years) to come!
The pros and cons of using paid ads
Your corner of the internet might feel big. Paid advertising is an amazing way to reach new audiences across the online world. There are so many people out there who’ve never heard of your business. Paid ads extend your reach.
On the downside, paid ads can sometimes be seen as untrustworthy. For example, 52% of social media users agree that how a platform protects their privacy/data highly impacts their decision to click on ads.
You can bump up the trust-o-meter and implement the following tactics to your ads:
- Testimonials: Ask for your customers to submit a review post-purchase.
- Personable posts: You don’t need fancy equipment or models to get your audience’s attention—film and post about your business’s daily life. Show off your brand’s humor, empathy, and passion.
- Influencers: As we mentioned before, fans trust their favorite influencers. Anything they promote will get noticed.
Oh, and be careful with your spending! If you’re new to paid advertising, check in with an ads professional who can stretch your budget.
See? Paid marketing doesn’t always have to be a typical Google banner ad. Take advantage of online communities and spread your mission to new faces with social media and influencers.
What is organic advertising?
Organic advertising attracts potential customers to your products using free content like:
- Blog posts (psst…this blog post is a form of organic advertising!)
- White papers
Organic advertising aims to provide so many resources, your audience will happily try out your product or service.
But unlike paid ads, organic ads are in it for the long haul. It can take months to reap the benefits of organic marketing.
Articles and search engine optimization (SEO) are the most popular form of organic advertising. But how else can you attract new visitors? Let’s check out a few examples.
4 examples of organic advertising
1. Social media posts
Posting on social media is a pillar brand strategy for most coaches and small business owners. It’s how most influencers build their first audience!
Lyndi Cohen, for example, uses Instagram to spread the news of her health coaching business.
Lyndi doesn’t focus on posting advertisements. Instead, she posts about things that align with her mission as a nutritionist. Her 128k followers get an inside scoop on Lyndi’s raw thoughts and daily life—building trust along the way.
Connecting with your followers comes in handy down the line. Anytime Lyndi posts about her services, followers won’t feel “sold to” and are more likely to reach out.
And did we mention that Lyndi generated 3,000 leads with an Interact quiz?
2. Email newsletters
In case you didn’t know, email marketing can make some serious bank. So much that four out of five businesses would rather give up social media marketing than email!
So, what’s so great about email marketing?
Think of an email as a handwritten letter. When you do it right, your audience feels seen, appreciated, and inspired by your electronic notes.
Take a look at Maria’s, a plant enthusiast, weekly newsletter.
Maria shares what’s new with her life and plants. It’s no means to an end—she is simply sharing what’s on her mind and free ways to participate in her plant biz.
Maybe this “no strings attached” approach doesn’t sound monetize-worthy. But think about it—how many annoying emails do you delete every day?
Our guess? A lot.
Connecting with your readers through stories, jokes, and experiences removes the “salesy” attitude and builds genuine connections.
Besides, you can always plug in your new content, online course, or products throughout your newsletter!
And if you’re stuck with growing an email list, try an Interact quiz. A quiz is how Maria increased her subscriber list by over 4,000 people!
You might work on a computer all day, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some have long commutes, others are stay-at-home parents, or maybe your customers work on-site.
How will those people ever find your brand if there are no computers around?
One word: Podcasts.
You can listen to podcasts in the car, on a walk, while you’re cooking–you get the picture. Podcasts are the perfect medium for our busy lives and your customer base.
Best of all, you can PACK episodes with intriguing interviews, stories, and perspectives.
James Wedmore shares his secrets for becoming a seven-figure online entrepreneur with his podcast. He also interviews other entrepreneurs and like-minded experts.
And he even uses his platform to launch online courses and sponsored ads!
A podcast might start as an audible way to share content, but it can turn into:
- A platform to release courses, services, and new products
- An opportunity to generate extra income with sponsored partnerships
- A way to create a deeper connection with your audience
4. Interact quizzes
We can’t forget to list interactive quizzes as organic advertising! As you already know, quizzes engage with your audience and lead them to your email list, products, or free content.
Mount Lai’s stone product recommendation quiz helps users choose the best skincare tool for them. Their quiz even directs quiz-takers straight to their recommended products.
Quizzes are your chance to interact with customers without actually being there. In other words, you can put this organic strategy on autopilot using a quiz funnel. Direct your quiz-takers to products, an online course, or simply funnel them into your email list!
The pros and cons of using organic ads
Organic ads are your go-to way to build long-lasting customer relationships. When you offer actionable content, your audience will return the favor and invest in your business.
But remember, organic ads aren’t an overnight success.
It takes months, even years, to build a reputable audience. The good news is that you can use tools like quizzes, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing to shorten this period!
And if you feel like organic advertising is taking over your to-do list, outsource tasks to professional content creators or a trusted content management team.
Now for the real question…
Can organic ads and paid ads work together?
The short answer is yes!
Organic and paid ads aren’t meant to compete against one another. Most businesses use both strategies throughout their sales funnel.
Let’s take a look at Kaye Putnam’s quiz funnel strategy. Kaye has made over $100k in online course sales from her quiz funnel, which uses both paid and organic tactics!
Once Kaye launched her brand strategy online course, she created a “brand style quiz” to attract leads to her course.
But first, Kaye needed to get her quiz out to like-minded people. So, she used Instagram advertising to promote her quiz.
When Instagram users click on her ad, they head straight to Kaye’s brand quiz.
Now that Kaye’s leads have invested their time into each question, they want to see their results.
Using an email opt-in form, users can exchange their email for their results.
Success! Kaye’s quiz-takers are officially in her sales funnel. From here, she can shed some light on brand strategy and lead her email subscribers to her signature brand course.
And yes, you can use this quiz funnel, too! Check out our quiz marketing funnel guide.
Yes, you can use both organic and paid advertising
Using either organic or paid advertising is fine. But combining them both into one strategy is what we call magic!
This is especially true for quiz funnels. An organic-and-paid-ads approach can often put your entire quiz strategy on autopilot.
You know what that means? Yup–making money while you sleep.
If you haven’t already, hop on a free Interact trial and see how an Interact quiz funnel can propel your business to more sales, leads, and email subscribers!