The overall aim of every marketing strategy is to see improved results for your business goals. These goals could relate to awareness, sales, loyalty, or something else. In any case, a variety of marketing types can help you achieve these outcomes. The problem is it can be difficult to choose the best type of marketing for your particular situation. To help you decide, let’s look at the differences between long-term vs. short-term marketing and when is the right time to use each.
What Is Long-Term Marketing?
With long-term marketing, you won’t see any direct returns from your efforts. Outcomes that show your strategy is working are unrelated to revenue and include metrics like impressions, page views, and engagement.
Long-Term Marketing Tactics
Any marketing activity you continue to work on indefinitely or that keeps providing results into the future is a long-term marketing tactic.
One of the most important long-term marketing tactics is content marketing. Content helps you establish yourself as an expert in your field and gives you the opportunity to use keywords that will help you rank in search results. The great thing about a piece of content is that once it ranks high in the search results, the odds are it will stay there for a while. This means it’s just a one-time investment (a monetary investment if you pay someone to create your content or an investment of time if you create the content yourself).
Content marketing includes pages on your website as well as your blog. For blogging, it’s best to stick to a regular schedule. This will help you in multiple ways:
- You can develop a readership for your blog
- Search engines like to see fresh content, meaning you’ll improve your authority
- It enables you to target more keywords
For a well-rounded strategy, aim to create a variety of types of content, such as long-form pieces of writing, videos, and infographics.
Content marketing is part of search engine optimization, but SEO encompasses far more than just content. It includes everything from the design of your website (for usability, functionality, and responsiveness) to offsite tactics, like link building, guest blogging, and YouTube marketing. It can take a long time to see results from SEO, as rankings often change gradually and search engines take into account the authority of your site, which changes over time.
Organic Social Media Marketing
The majority of your social media marketing should be organic. This is not just because running ads all the time is unsustainable; it’s also because once you’ve gained followers (through ads or otherwise), they’ll want to see interesting posts. This, in turn, can help you gain more followers and gradually convert users.
Social media marketing is easier when you repurpose content you already have. For instance, you can link to blog posts (and guest blog posts), ask followers for user-generated content, use infographics or other images you’ve already created, and shoot quick live videos.
More than ever before, it’s important that your social media posts are relevant to your audience. Most platforms have now switched from showing users posts chronologically to presenting them with the most interesting. This means you’ll need to strive extra hard to create posts users will enjoy seeing to maintain your visibility.
Pros and Cons of Long-Term Marketing
Without long-term marketing, it’s impossible to continue to build a customer base, awareness, and the brand image you want. Whatever you choose, long-term marketing tends to be affordable (it’s usually less expensive than short-term tactics) and scalable. Unfortunately, though, it can be as much as a year before you see any tangible results, meaning long-term tactics are less satisfying than short-term marketing.
What Is Short-Term Marketing?
If you need to meet a target right away, short-term marketing is the answer. Often called transactional marketing, you often apply tactics for a day, week, or month and they bring you closer to your larger business goals. They tend to bring you leads or revenue immediately, which makes short-term marketing ideal if you need a sudden influx of sales. In addition, short-term marketing can solidify the relationship you already have with a customer to improve loyalty.
Short-Term Marketing Tactics
Most short-term marketing tactics are types of advertising, although there are a few other tactics that also fall into this category.
With pay-per-click (PPC) ads, you send targeted traffic straight to a relevant page on your website — often a landing page for a product or signup. This is most suited to users at the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. For a PPC strategy to be successful, you need to do keyword research to find the right term and you’ll need to bid a competitive amount to ensure your ad is the one that appears.
Whereas PPC ads can potentially be a long-term strategy, this is only worthwhile if you are successfully driving qualified traffic and users are converting. Since PPC incurs some risk, it can be out of the budget for small businesses to keep up in the long term. Plus, these ads tend to be suited for new product releases and seasonal offers, which makes them perfect for the short term.
Another type of advertising is geofencing, which is a specific form of PPC. It enables you to target users within a particular area and attract them to your brick-and-mortar store. An additional reason to make geofencing only a short-term tactic is that it often makes sense to target users this way only once and your audience may be quite limited.
Social Media Ads
You can also run ads on social media. Typically, these will be for both a limited time and a specific purpose. You have more options than with PPC — for instance, there are targeting options demographics, interests, and other characteristics and you may be able to use a cost-per-impression rather than cost-per-click model. As well as pushing for a sale, you can use social media ads to improve brand awareness.
To improve relationships with customers and to build awareness with a large amount of people in a single instance, events are ideal. Options range from trade shows and conferences to customer appreciation events and product launches.
If other businesses will also be at the event, you’ll need to strategize what you’ll do to stand out. Besides, even if it’s just your brand, it’s important to ensure you’ll offer customers a great experience. This means you need to spend time leading up to the event figuring out how to make the best impression.
Coupons and Discount Codes
To push for a short-term increase in sales, you could offer coupons or discount codes. The reason this should usually be a short-term tactic is that it will allow you to take advantage of scarcity marketing. Users won’t delay purchasing and you’ll even convert customers who may have decided against buying if they were given more time.
Pros and Cons of Short-Term Marketing
The most obvious benefit of short-term marketing is that you reap the rewards much sooner. Plus, you’re more likely to see returns than with long-term marketing. The main downsides, though, are that short-term marketing costs more and the ROI tends to be lower than with longer-term tactics.
Which Should You Choose: Long-Term vs. Short-Term Marketing?
Since long-term and short-term tactics play completely different roles in your marketing strategy, it makes sense to use a combination of both. When you create a strategy with both in mind, they can complement each other and bring you better results.
It may be tempting to focus on short-term marketing for instant results, but this will ultimately result in lower returns. Plus, if you’re constantly running ads, instead of improving your visibility, your target audience may tire of seeing you. On the flip side, you may be driven by the need to keep your spending in check, which could lead to a preference in long-term marketing. However, neglecting short-term tactics will mean it’s more difficult for you to hit your targets and see results now that allow you to keep going into the future.
Support for Your Digital Marketing
Implementing any type of marketing requires a great deal of work. Long-term tactics call for a constant commitment, whereas short-term marketing may increase your workload considerably in the moment. In addition, all marketing tactics require a great deal of expertise to put into practice effectively.
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