While no one disputes the incredible importance of digital marketing, how to digitally market effectively is another question entirely.
To attempt to answer it – and now seems like the right place to throw out a big ol’ ‘every situation is different’ disclaimer – you first need to understand the different strategies that are available.
Read on to learn about the different long term and short term digital marketing strategies, and which, if any, are the frontrunners for getting results.
What is the Purpose of Digital Marketing Strategies?
Digital marketing strategies use tools like social media and content marketing to attract online users to a brand. As people spend more time online, these strategies become more effective.
The trouble is, there are a lot of options available, and not all of them are right for your business. The allure of tapping into the latest zeitgeist can be irresistible, but you need to execute strategies because you should, not because you can.
Think of digital marketing as a frontier. It’s wild and exciting, and everyone seems to be in a rush to tame it. But just like settlers crossing the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800’s – if you set off without a plan you will quickly find yourself lost and confused.
Allow us to guide your wagon train through the wilderness, and breakdown the key long and short term strategies that are relevant to you.
Short Term Strategies
Short term digital marketing usually involves paying for ads to be presented to a primed audience. Therefore, the success of short term marketing largely hinges on how much you are willing to spend, and how well you target your demographic.
Paid ads are powerful because they jump the queue over organic advertising. If you’ve tailored your demographic to the people who are most interested in what you are selling, paid advertising will make sure they see it.
While paid advertising may be a long term part of your marketing, it is short term in the sense that to stay effective, the content, targeted keywords, and even the audience itself, must continually change.
Did you know there are over 3.5 billion Google searches everyday? That’s a lot of traffic!
Google Ads are fantastic for bringing leads to your website, because they put you right at the top of the search results. This is just one of many reasons that Google Ads convert at a higher rate than organic searches. If you don’t have time to wait for your SEO efforts to start attracting leads, Google Ads are for you.
If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is…sort of.
The catch with Google Ads is that there is, quite literally, a cost to the conversions. For every click, whether it leads to a conversion or not, you are charged an amount determined by the competitiveness of the search term.
This is why they are a great short-term strategy. If you can identify a good search term to target, where the revenue driven by the conversion outweighs the cost per click (CPC), they are excellent for rapidly increasing your conversions and brand awareness.
The problem is, search term competitiveness is always fluctuating, and if you aren’t staying on top of it you can quickly find yourself paying for clicks that don’t convert, or not getting enough conversions to outweigh the cost. In some industries, terms are so competitive that it might be wise to look for other avenues to connect with your consumers.
While Google Ads may be a part of your long term strategy, your campaign needs to be refreshed frequently and you should be aware that as soon as the money stops, so do the results.
Social Media (Paid)
Paid social media ads function differently to Google Ads, but the concept is similar. They don’t operate on a CPC model. Instead, you pay to run them for a fixed term, and this figure stays the same, regardless of engagement levels or conversion numbers.
What you’re paying for is the ability to target an audience that the social media platform’s data suggest would be interested in your ads.
However, bear in mind that just like Google Ads, your campaigns need to be refreshed continually to stay relevant, and if you stop paying you will lose your momentum.
Another important difference between social paid ads and Google Ads are multiple platforms.
Google Ads appear on – you guessed it – Google!
But there are various social media platforms to choose from, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. This gives you the opportunity to tailor campaigns to specific platforms. For example, your ad copy might be more formal for LinkedIn, whereas you might communicate that same message with a graphic for Instagram.
Just be careful about trying to run ads on too many platforms. Choose the right platforms for your brand and then stick to them.
Emails are great for transmitting information or a message to a large audience directly. A singular email can be a good way of communicating temporary or irregular information.
For example, we recently sent an email notifying our subscribers about the new direct .au domains that are available. This email communicated new information and advised a specific action. New domains aren’t a regular occurrence, so it didn’t warrant a recurring campaign. In this instance, a singular email was ideal.
There is, however, one caveat that needs mentioning. To have the subscriber list in the first place, you need to already be engaging in long term email marketing activities. Because of this, long and short term email marketing are best implemented together.
Long Term Strategies
Where the secret to paid ads is flexibility and reactivity, long form strategies depend on consistency and become more effective over time. Channels like content, search engine marketing (SEO) and organic social media focus on nurturing leads through a sales funnel, rather than paying to access primed consumers.
To be able to guide the customer through this journey, your brand must be well positioned to appear trustworthy, knowledgeable – and ultimately as a solution to their problem. This relationship takes time to build, but once it is established it’s very powerful for converting leads.
Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy in its own right, but it also underpins all the other marketing channels, and is perhaps the most important aspect of building a brand.
Google and social ad copy, video and image captions, and email text all feature content writing to some degree. The most common and well known forms are blogs and website content.
With blogs and websites, content has two main purposes that can feel mutually exclusive at times. Your content must be punchy, persuasive and able to convert people, but it must also be filled with keywords so that it ranks high enough for those people to find it.
Remember that your website is the destination that your digital marketing strategies should be funnelling people towards. The content they find when they arrive should tell them everything they need to know to ensure a sale.
Likewise, blogs help establish your authority in your field, both in the eyes of your customers and Google’s search crawler. They are also resources that can genuinely provide information and value which your customers will appreciate.
Content marketing becomes stronger over time as your brand messaging becomes familiar to consumers, and the wealth of resources you create increases.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is a mandatory strategy for any business with a website. It involves optimising your website in the eyes of Google’s site crawlers. This can range from adding keywords to your content, alt-text to your images, and improving your website speed.
While you care about Google because it promotes your brand, Google only cares about the user experience. By optimising your site, you are communicating to Google that what you’re providing is relevant to what the user has searched for, and that means Google will be more likely to rank your site higher so its users can see you.
Building credibility through SEO is a slow process. You will often experience strong initial results, followed by small, incremental improvements. The trick is not letting plateaus in progress deter you. If you become complacent you can guarantee that someone who hasn’t taken their foot off the pedal will overtake you.
You might be wondering why you would bother with SEO if Google Ads let you cut the line? The answer is, Google Ads will stop working when you stop paying for them. SEO is paying to improve an asset (your website) that you actually own. In the long term, this is a stronger and more cost effective strategy.
A long term SEO strategy, boosted by Google Ad campaigns, is often the best course of action.
Social Media (Organic)
Unlike paid social ads, organic social media relies on building a consumer base and providing them with engaging content. This is a long term strategy because progress is exponential.
Initially, you won’t get much engagement and that will keep you buried in the platform algorithms. However, as you gain followers, they are more likely to share content, and content they like is more likely to appear for their contacts.
Social media algorithms quickly identify what content users engage with and then feed them similar content. This means users who view your content will be displayed more of your content, which will ideally increase the chances of them clicking a link or following you.
Aside from the immediate benefits of gaining a website visit, social media gives you a chance to project your brand identity to the public. This can help you in the long run because while they may not need your services now, if they ever do in the future you will be top of mind.
An often underestimated long term digital marketing strategy is email marketing, especially for business to business (B2B). The reason email marketing is so successful is because you can reach consumers directly.
Blogs, ads and social content rely on a degree of user input. The consumer needs to search or browse to find them. You can write engaging content, or target a specific demographic, but if they don’t look for you they won’t find you.
With emails, there is a chance that they won’t open it, but they will always at least have to read the subject line to see if it is worth opening or deleting. That’s a guaranteed foot in the door that you won’t get anywhere else.
Your chance of being opened increases if your consumers gain value from your emails. Monthly newsletters are a great way to inform your consumers in a regular, familiar way.
Also, emails can be automated to create complex sales funnels. You can nurture leads over the course of days, weeks or even months with automated email sequences that target them with different information depending on their stage of the buyer’s journey.
Which is Better?
We know that answer is…unsatisfying.
It’s like watching an unsolved mystery documentary and being annoyed when it’s still unsolved at the end. But what did you expect? We clearly warned you at the beginning of this article that every situation is different.
Jokes aside, the answer should be both. A truly successful digital marketing strategy should use complementing long and short term strategies to maintain a steady flow of conversions while also developing a strong brand presence.
For example, someone may need a marketing agency and undertake a Google search. Our Google Ad positions a link to our site at the top of the page. Because they have been looking at marketing agencies on social media lately, the name ‘Oddball’ is top of mind so they click on our ad first. Then the content on our website hooks them in and they contact us.
In this scenario, a combination of Google Ads (short term), paid and organic social (short and long term), and finally content (long term) were all required at different stages to nurture the lead towards a sale.
Ask yourself, what steps did you take to be reading this blog right now? Odds are, we used a combination of long and short term strategies on you!
Oddball is a full service agency, which means our team of experts can provide the right combination of long and short term strategies to suit your business.
We will identify your target audience and the best way to market to them.
Whether it’s blogs written to build SEO authority, a complex multi-platform social media campaign, or a simple monthly newsletter, we’ll reach your audience every time.
To create a digital marketing strategy that converts, don’t hesitate to contact us.