The goal of any marketing strategy, no matter what the size of your business, is to drive results — but some marketing strategies offer quick wins while others take a while to work their magic. But which marketing strategies are a better fit for the short term? Which marketing strategies drive results for the long term?
On this page, we’ll answer all your questions about:
- How long each marketing strategy takes to drive results
- Which marketing strategies you can use to accomplish “quick wins”
- Which marketing strategies take some time, but drive major results
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about short-term vs. long-term digital marketing strategies! And if you’d like to receive marketing and advertising tips in your inbox, don’t forget to sign up for Revenue Weekly!
The skinny on short-term vs. long-term digital marketing strategies
As a business owner, you likely already implemented a digital marketing strategy. The question is — have you considered your strategy in terms of short-term vs. long-term digital marketing strategies? Did you craft your strategy with result timeframe expectations in mind? If not, bear in mind that it’s important to know which marketing strategies allow you to earn fast results, and which take a few months to bear fruit, since it can help determine which strategies you use in tandem.
For example, if you’re looking to drive fast results to get your business off the ground, you don’t want to create a campaign that only uses strategies that start showing results within a few months. Depending on your marketing goals, it’s important to mix and match short-term and long-term digital marketing strategies to drive the best results for your business. Here are some short-term digital marketing strategies:
Here are some long-term digital marketing strategies:
Don’t be surprised if you hear us mentioning some of our short-term strategies as long-term strategies later on! We’ll get more into that in the next section!
Short-term and long-term digital marketing strategies
Whether you’re looking to make quick wins for your business or create a strategy that will drive results into the long term, we’ll cover them all below.
PPC advertising: a quick-win strategy
In the battle of short-term vs. long-term digital marketing strategies, PPC advertising is one of the best quick-win strategies you can adopt. The pay-per-click model allows for your ads to appear in Google instantly upon launching your campaign (if you have one of the highest bids for your keyword). This means that you can start earning clicks to your website almost immediately, and if you have an enticing landing page, you can make sales immediately, too.
For that reason, we consider PPC advertising a short-term strategy. However, if you want to see continuous results with PPC, you’ll have to maintain your campaign and optimize it for some longer-term strategies like remarketing. Remarketing is a branch of PPC advertising that serves your ads to those who already showed interest in your company — either by visiting your website or clicking an ad in the past.
The goal of remarketing ads is to get interested users to come back to your website and convert. This branch of PPC is considered a long-term strategy since users must make their way into the marketing funnel before it becomes effective, or even usable. Overall, we call PPC a short-term marketing strategy, but if you want it to continuously drive results for your company, you must maintain it long term.
How long does PPC take to work? You can start to see the results of PPC advertising within a week of starting your campaign.
Geofencing advertising: a quick-win strategy
Geofencing advertising is a beneficial strategy for companies looking to target users that are within specific geographic boundaries.
Geofencing ads are PPC ads that appear when users enter a pre-determined geographic boundary. For example, if you owned an ice cream shop, and wanted an ad to appear to every shopper that passes within a mile of your shop, you could create a geofence that extends one mile from your shop in all directions. The ad triggers when someone steps within your virtual boundary.
We consider geofencing advertising to be a short-term strategy since the geofence you create will start targeting users immediately upon launch. Like PPC though, if you want to reap the continuous foot traffic that geofencing brings, you’ll want to adopt it as a long-term strategy.
How long does geofencing advertising take to work?
You can start to see the results of geofencing advertising within a week of starting your campaign.
Social media advertising: a quick-win strategy
If you haven’t noticed, most advertising campaigns produce quick wins for your business — mostly because they start driving users to your website (or your brick and mortar store) immediately upon launching.
Social media ads are no different. When you opt for social media ads on your platform of choice — whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or a combination — you can use keywords to target your audience, similar to search engine PPC ads. However, social media ads also allow you to target by characteristics like:
- Geographic location
- Education level
- Marital status
- Job status
- And more
This targeting allows you to reach even more of your audience — making social media a great place for quick boosts in website traffic and conversions overall.
How long does social media advertising take to work?
You can start to see the results of social media advertising within a week of starting your campaign.
Web design: a long-term strategy
Everything about web design as a marketing strategy is built for the long term. Not only does a beautiful website take weeks to build, but it also takes weeks of preparation prior to ensure that the proposed design is structured properly and constructed for leads and conversions.
That said, the layout and design aren’t the only things about web design that make it a long-term strategy — driving leads and conversions with a newly-built website is a long-term strategy too. To understand why, you must understand the stages of a website:
- Content implementation
- Keyword targeting
- Ranking in search engine results pages (SERP)
- Optimizing pages to rank better in search engines
- Increasing clicks
- Increasing website traffic
- Increasing conversions
This website lifecycle explains why web design is a long-term digital marketing strategy. Before your beautiful website can drive leads and conversions for your company, it must attract traffic. To attract traffic, you’ll have to rank highly in search engine results pages, and to be able to do that, you’ll have to create and implement remarkable content.
In this tangled web, you might be wondering where the web design comes in as a long-term digital marketing strategy. It all boils down to the fact that to rank well, not only do you need amazing content, but your website must be amazing as well. For your website to be amazing, it should feature elements like:
- High-quality multimedia throughout the content
- Fast page speed
- Effective, intuitive navigation
- Informational, targeted content
- Mobile-friendly design
These elements work together to create a long-term strategy since you’ll need to continuously update your web design, optimize page speed, and implement optimized content. Not to mention, no matter how fast or beautiful your website is, it’s not going to rank overnight. You’ll need to spend time nurturing the site elements above to help your site rank — and eventually drive the traffic and conversions you desire.
How long does web design take to work:
From start to finish, web design takes at least a year to come to full fruition.
You’ll need to spend time on your build, implementing content, and performing SEO to get your website to rank in Google search results.
Content marketing: a long-term strategy
Content marketing is one of the most important long-term digital marketing strategies out there. Not only does it teach site visitors about your business, your products, and your services, but it’s what allows you to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Content is what shows up in Google results, and the only way to get there is to create informational, beneficial content that is created for the user — not search engines. For example, a robotics company using digital marketing could create content about robotics use cases, benefits, and more.
The reason content marketing is considered a long-term digital marketing strategy is due to the steps involved in getting your content to rank.
It goes something like this:
- Brainstorm content ideas based on target keywords
- Look for related keywords
- Create content based on target keywords
- Include secondary keywords in the content
- Implement content on the website
- Optimize title tag and meta description
- Wait for Google to crawl and index your content
- Wait for your content to rank
- Post your content on social media
- Share your content in email campaigns
Even after completing all these 10 basic steps, there’s still no guarantee that your content will rank. That said, you’ll have to continuously optimize your existing content while creating new, fresh content if you want to rank highly in search results. You should think of content marketing as a never-ending cycle if you want to rank highly in search results for your target keyword:
How long does it take content marketing to work?
Content marketing, from start to finish can take anywhere from four to six months to drive results. You’ll need to follow the steps above if you want to have a sound content plan, and each step can take longer or shorter — depending on how you go about accomplishing it.
SEO: a long-term strategy
SEO is a powerhouse marketing strategy if you’re willing to put in the work and wait for results. If you’re looking for quick gains, SEO isn’t your strategy, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank highly in search engines — which as we mentioned in the web design section, allows you to earn more traffic to your company’s website. Some SEO strategies to get your website ranked highly in Google for your top keywords include:
- Internal linking
- User-friendly design
- Keywords implementation
- Use of headings in the content
- Clean internal code
Google favors these strategies and uses them as ranking factors when it comes to ranking your content in search result — so implementing them all is crucial. These elements are important to Google since the search engine is most concerned with providing the best possible results to users. Not only do they look at written content, but they also consider how users experience your website, which is where strategies like internal linking and user-friendly design come into play.
How long does SEO take to work?
As a long-term digital marketing strategy, SEO takes anywhere from six months to a year to start showing results.
From there, it’s important to remember that it’s not a “set-it-and-forget-it” strategy. You’ll need to continuously update your code, add internal links to your content, and keep user experience at the top of your priority list.
Do you need help choosing a short-term vs. long-term digital marketing strategy?
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to settle for short-term wins or go for the gold with a long-term digital marketing strategy, WebFX can help. In the business for over two decades, our full-service digital marketing agency can take care of all of your marketing campaigns under one roof. Our more than 500 marketing specialists are some of the best in the business, and they can help you curate your perfect marketing campaign with the perfect mix of short-term and long-term strategies.
Sam has been writing for WebFX since 2016 and focuses on UX, crafting amazing website experiences, and digital marketing In her free time, she likes to spend time on the beach, play with her cats, and go fishing with her husband.
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