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Organic vs. Paid Marketing Channels: What's the Difference?

Find out the differences between organic and paid content marketing.

Illustration of “Marketing: Organic vs. Paid”
July 4, 2023
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 5 min

Suppose you're new to the world of marketing. In that case, it's an excellent time to learn the differences between organic and paid marketing, as these two methods drive traffic to your business.

In our guide on organic vs. paid advertising, we'll compare and contrast these approaches so you can better understand how to incorporate them into your marketing strategies.

Organic vs. Paid Marketing Channels

Regarding 2023 marketing trends, let's begin by answering the question, what is organic marketing? Organic or non-paid marketing refers to unpaid marketing strategies that attract customers to your business. It involves using methods to promote your company, build brand awareness, and get more eyes on your content.


More on Organic Marketing

Organic marketing examples include using free outlets to reach your audience. For instance, you might make a post on your Facebook page, share a Tweet, send an email, or write a blog to spread the word about your company. It could also involve using SEO tactics, posting videos on YouTube, and encouraging user-generated content. Organic marketing channels include any marketing strategy you use that doesn’t involve you spending money.

Organic marketing can also be a passive marketing strategy in which you don’t have to actively do anything. In this case, your followers might promote, interact, or share your content on their channels, organically broadening your reach.


Organic Marketing Pros & Cons

So, what are some pros and cons of employing organic content marketing strategies?


  • Cost-effectiveness. One obvious pro is that this method doesn’t require payments. You can drive traffic to your content without spending a dime. And because it’s a cost-effective strategy, your team can (literally) afford to experiment with multiple channels at once. You don’t have to worry about scaling back or only using one or two tactics because your budget isn’t on the line.

  • Inform, educate, and inspire. Organic marketing lets you slowly and authentically build your brand. You're creating content that will earn you an audience. Therefore, your organic content is likely valuable as it provides educational, informational, or entertaining material.

  • Credibility and trust-building. Organic marketing helps your brand build credibility and trust with your target audience. You can establish your brand as a trusted authority in your industry by providing valuable and relevant content, answering their questions, and engaging in meaningful conversations. This trust-building aspect can increase customer loyalty, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.


  • Time-consuming. Organic marketing is a slow burn, meaning you shouldn't expect immediate results. You'll have to wait for your audience to naturally discover it because you're not paying to get your content to the head of the line. No, it won't cost you money, but it will cost you time—and patience.

  • Steep learning curve. Organic marketing often requires a deep understanding of search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media management, and other disciplines. Keeping up with the evolving trends and best practices can be challenging, especially for businesses without dedicated marketing resources or expertise.

  • Limited scalability. Scaling organic marketing efforts can be more challenging compared to paid marketing. While increasing reach and visibility through organic methods is possible, it typically requires more time, resources, and effort. This scalability limitation can be a drawback for businesses aiming for rapid growth or reaching a broader audience quickly.

Details on Paid Marketing

Now, let’s look at paid marketing and how it compares to organic marketing.

As its name suggests, paid marketing refers to marketing tactics that you have to pay to use to encourage traffic to your business. It has the same goals as organic marketing—the only difference is that these methods cost money.

Examples of paid marketing channels include search ads, social media advertising, billboards, TV commercials, and SMS messages. With these channels, you can pay to target certain audiences and boost engagement.


Paid Marketing Pros and Cons


  • Target and reach. For one, paid marketing strategies not only get your content in front of more eyes, but it also gets it in front of the right kind of eyes, aka those most interested in your brand. You can target specific groups of people more likely to engage and interact with your business and put your efforts toward nurturing those relationships.

  • Immediate visibility and results. Unlike organic marketing, which takes time to build momentum and generate results, paid marketing provides immediate visibility. By investing in paid channels like search engine advertising (such as Google Ads) or social media advertising, you can instantly target your desired audience and start driving traffic, leads, and conversions to your website or landing page.

  • Control over messaging and placement. With paid marketing, your business has complete control over your ad creatives, messaging, and where your advertisements are displayed. You can customize your ads to align with your brand identity and marketing objectives. This control allows you to experiment with variations, test strategies, and optimize your campaigns based on performance data.


  • Cost. The paid aspect is sometimes considered a con when it comes to the pros and cons of paid marketing. Depending on your budget, the price of this strategy could limit how many strategies you use. Therefore, some marketers have to pick and choose which tactics are worth the most bang for their buck.

  • Dependency on budget. Paid marketing is heavily reliant on your advertising budget. If you reduce or exhaust your budget, your ads may stop running, resulting in a sudden drop in visibility and traffic. This dependency can make it challenging to maintain a consistent presence, especially for businesses with limited financial resources.

  • Expertise required.. Another potential con of paid marketing is that it requires someone with expertise and experience to oversee your campaigns. If you really want a well-rounded strategy, hiring someone who can monitor each tactic and adjust your spending to ensure you get the most out of it is best. Of course, this involves finding the right person for the job and paying for that position.

If we compare organic vs. paid marketing, they bring a lot to the table. Yes, they involve different tactics and deliver different results, and that's why it's so important to employ both methods.

We recommend taking a well-rounded, holistic approach to yield the best results. For instance, your brand may focus on organic content marketing tactics like posting an educational blog each week, announcing your sales on Twitter, and sending a monthly newsletter. As for your paid marketing approach, you might place some search ads, record a commercial for the local radio station, and send retail SMS advertising pieces to your subscribers with promo codes.

Sample Text Message

Or, to really up the ante, do them in tandem. Let's say you're a realtor and recently wrote a blog titled "10 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Market." This, of course, is a non-paid avenue, but you could use your paid channels to help boost it.

For example, you could create a paid social media ad with a link to your recent post and send an SMS link to your clients announcing it. Your SMS message could say, “(Realtor Jo) Wondering how to prepare your house for a big sale? Find out top tips and tricks for getting your home ready for the market. Click the link!”

Your non-paid marketing avenues can help foster your organic relationships and interactions with your audience, while the paid efforts can help attract fresh customers to your brand. Together, these marketing methods can help your business grow and flourish.

Learn More About EZ Texting

If you want paid marketing options, look into an SMS platform like EZ Texting. With EZ Texting, you can send targeted marketing messages to increase brand awareness and reach a bigger audience. Contact us for an SMS marketing solution that suits you and your business best.

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