In order to create consistent sales cycles and a positive growth trend businesses usually engage in both short and long term marketing efforts.
Short-term marketing efforts tend to cause sudden sales spikes which rarely last. These sharp sales increases are usually the result of a targeted marketing campaign or time limited offer. While short-term marketing produces sales, long-term marketing efforts must be mixed in to sustain sales.
Short Term Online Marketing
Positive product mentions in forums, newsgroups or within trade organizations can result in a traffic or sales surge. Product endorsements and newsgroup conversations are difficult for marketers to control and time, so while product mentions in forums are short-term marketing, they lack the organized exposure necessary to maintain sales momentum.
Marketing campaigns that involve coupons, discounts or time-limited offers can also generate product interest. It is important to use promotional offers sparingly or long-term sales could be jeopardized by having customers "wait" for the next offer to purchase.
PPC / Advertising
The easiest and fastest way to generate product interest is, of course, to pay for it. Pay-per-click campaigns are known to drive significant targeted traffic. Sadly, when the campaign funding ends, the traffic and sales generally do, too. Regardless, it is important for marketers to realize that with short-term marketing, sellers can often control sales and infuse cash into a fledgling product, service or business.
Short-term marketing is also useful for test-marketing new products or split-testing to find the appropriate price point. With pay-per-click advertising marketers can control the ebb and flow of site visitors and make a determination about what banners, keywords, text copy and graphics convert at the highest rate. The lessons learned in short-term marketing can then be implemented in the long-term marketing strategy. Marketers can determine the effectiveness of sales copy and landing pages, implementing them in a long range of marketing activities.
Long Term Online Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
Undoubtedly the most time consuming, yet important aspect of long-term marketing involves preparing and optimizing a website for search engines. Currently the majority of Internet surfers seeking a product or information look to search engines. Most Internet surfers use keywords to search for the product, service or information that they are looking for. Knowing your audience and optimizing a site for keywords and phrases that potential consumers would use in their search for a product or service is critical to being found on the Internet.
Search engine optimization pays long-term dividends, but is an ongoing process, as the search engines themselves are constantly evolving their algorithms. The goal of search engines is to provide web surfers the best sites suited to the web surfers' search terms.
Often, changes implemented will not be "seen" by search engines for several months. It is important to follow search engine guidelines and be patient.
Fresh Content & Communication
A stream of fresh content like newsletters, tips or blog posts will result in long-term quality traffic. Fresh content that is posted and updated on a regular basis will encourage visitors to return. Archived content will build a base for a variety of related keywords.
Related industry articles will result in genuine interest from a very targeted audience. Providing related content articles that are available for syndication will result in links back from websites that contain similar content. Over time, articles can define a company's expertise on a subject area. Ultimately, syndicated articles can build confidence with prospective customers and a level of trust.
When designing a marketing campaign, consider threading long-term and short-term marketing efforts so that sales are stable and consistent. By implementing a marketing plan that involves both short and long-term efforts, sales success can be achieved.
Copyright 2005 Sharon Housley