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How to Use PPC With Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Blend PPC into your inbound marketing strategy for a holistic approach

a man in a suit and tie standing next to a wall
By Gilad Bechar
Jessica Ross
Edited by Jessica Ross

Updated May 5, 2024.


PPC, short for pay-per-click advertising, has reshaped the digital marketing scene. It's like the evolved version of the old-school Cost Per Mille (CPM) model, where advertisers footed the bill for every 1,000 impressions. With PPC, you're putting your money on real results: clicks, leads, or installations.

Now, the big question is: How do you make your PPC efforts sustainable?

Enter inbound marketing. This marketing strategy is customer-centric and aims to provide value throughout the buyer's journey, ultimately leading to long-term customer relationships and business growth. Below, we explore how to effectively incorporate PPC with your inbound marketing strategy.

Meet the expert

Gilad Bechar, the founder of Moburst. In just three years, he established industry leadership which garnered acclaim from Google for his innovative and holistic growth services. He took a moment from his busy schedule to give us insider tips on which metric to keep an eye on.

Inbound vs outbound marketing: What’s the difference?

The main difference between inbound and outbound marketing lies in how they attract audiences.

  • Inbound marketing Here, you pull people towards your content, be it on your website, social media, or email newsletters. It’s tailored for audiences who naturally find their way to you. They’ve interacted with your content or visited your website, and maybe you've even nudged them with remarketing ads to remind them you're still there.
  • Outbound marketing This proactive strategy helps you actively reach out to your target audience through various channels like PPC and influencer marketing. It spans the entire funnel, from raising awareness and reaching new audiences to converting them into customers.

» Read our interview with HubSpot's Dan Tyre on inbound marketing strategies for eCommerce

PPC and inbound marketing: Are they true allies?

You can think of PPC as a hybrid marketing strategy that neatly straddles both inbound and outbound marketing. On the outbound marketing side, PPC can be a more aggressive strategy because your target audience can't help but see your paid ads online, whether it's on social media, banners, or display ads.

However, PPC ads are remarkedly flexible and data-driven—these are the qualities that make them compatible with inbound marketing. Because you specifically pay for certain keywords associated with your ad, your customers first have to search for those keywords to come across it.

By requiring your customers to take the first step and initiate their interaction with your brand, you're pulling them towards you instead of shouting into the digital abyss. Plus, because these customers are using search queries that match your keywords, they're already looking for the solution you're providing, improving your chances of conversion.

How to incorporate PPC into your inbound marketing strategy

Incorporating PPC into your inbound marketing strategy is a comprehensive process that involves understanding your entire sales funnel. It’s about nurturing interested users, keeping them engaged, and gradually leading them to become clients.

Work in tandem: Draw organic leads with inbound strategies and generate demand with PPC

Inbound marketing and PPC can be an efficient tag team where inbound marketing focuses on drawing in customers over the long term, while PPC gives your inbound marketing strategy the initial boost it needs to get going.

For example, you can use inbound marketing to gain subscribers across social channels, email newsletters, and app notifications. You want to continuously engage with this audience until they’re ready for a bigger commitment by providing value through tips, case studies, and success stories tailored to their needs.

At the same time, your PPC campaign can build interest and awareness. You can repurpose your inbound content and create ads, calls to action, and hooks to attract potential leads into your inbound pool. Staple platforms to advertise on include Facebook, Google, or offline channels.

The further you guide paid leads into the funnel, the better your chances of impacting and converting them.

Make keywords work for you

PPC and inbound marketing both rely on effective keyword research. When you run PPC campaigns, you gain insights into which keywords are driving traffic and conversions. You can use this data to optimize your inbound content strategy. You can run A/B tests of ad copy, landing pages, and calls-to-action to create valuable content around those keywords and attract organic traffic over time.

» Here's how to find great PPC keyword ideas

Stick to best practices

Whether you're promoting products or services, or operating within whichever industry, there are core best practices to keep in mind to make sure your marketing efforts remain consistent:

  • Align your brand message: To give your audience a unified experience, make sure the messaging in your PPC ads is the same as your content and landing pages they lead to.
  • Optimize your landing pages: Create landing pages that are optimized for conversion, including clear calls-to-action, relevant content, and a user-friendly design.
  • Track your conversions: This will help you measure the impact of your PPC campaigns on your inbound marketing goals, such as lead generation or content downloads.
  • Manage your budget: Carefully manage your PPC budget to align with your overall marketing strategy. Your PPC investment should balance with the long-term benefits of inbound marketing.
  • Keep monitoring your marketing efforts: Regularly monitor and analyze the performance of your PPC campaigns and inbound marketing efforts. Make data-driven decisions to optimize both strategies over time.

» Need help bringing PPC and inbound marketing together? Contact a top PPC expert

How a SaaS company can use PPC with inbound marketing

Scenario: A SaaS company offering project management software wants to use PPC and inbound marketing in conjunction. They already have a well-established inbound marketing strategy in place, including a blog with informative articles about project management best practices, templates, and resources. Now, they want to attract and convert businesses looking for project management solutions.

1. Conduct keyword research

They start by conducting keyword research to identify relevant search terms. This includes:

  • cloud-based project management software
  • collaborative project management tools
  • project management software reviews

2. Create targeted landing pages

They create dedicated landing pages on their website that provide in-depth information about their project management software's features, benefits, and how it solves common project management challenges. Each landing page is optimized for one or more of these high-performing keywords.

3. Drive traffic to landing pages

They set up PPC campaigns (Google Ads) with ad groups focused on their chosen keywords. These ads highlight the unique selling points of their software.

When users click on the ads, they're directed to the relevant landing pages where they can access detailed information, downloadable resources (such as eBooks or case studies), and clear calls-to-action (CTAs) encouraging them to sign up for a free trial or subscribe to a newsletter.

For any users that didn't immediately convert, the company runs remarketing campaigns to remind the users of the software's benefits and features. Plus, they encourage the users to return and take the desired action.

4. Integrate PPC with inbound marketing

As users engage with their inbound content (e.g., blog posts about project management tips), they use PPC to promote relevant pieces of content to a broader audience. For example, creating PPC ads that drive traffic to blog posts on "Effective Team Collaboration in Project Management."

5. Track and optimize performance

The company continuously monitors the performance of their PPC campaigns by tracking analytics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per acquisition. This helps them to make data-driven decisions, including allocating more resources to well-performing keywords or ad creatives and adjusting or stopping underperforming ones.

» Want to work with the right agency? Check out our list of the top paid advertising agencies.

PPC and inbound marketing: A powerful combination

PPC advertising, a results-oriented outbound strategy, and inbound marketing, a customer-centric approach, can synergize for digital marketing success. PPC's immediate impact and data-driven nature make it a valuable component within inbound marketing. It acts as a bridge, attracting attention and generating leads, while inbound strategies nurture and build lasting relationships.

Keyword research from PPC informs content optimization, creating a unified brand experience. Combining both tactics, you can have the best of both worlds, propelling your brand towards growth and sustainability in the digital landscape.