Effective Marketing Means Playing the Long Game
“Life is a set of games, and the rule is never sacrifice victory across the set of games for victory in one game.”
According to the cultural critic and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Jordan Peterson, that quote is the essence of morality. But what does it have to do with effective marketing strategies? To be a successful participant in life one must be able to see beyond the moment to moment battles to the larger war. I think that most inherently understand this concept. It’s why most of us choose to play fair, because we want to be invited to the next round where the opportunity for victory once again presents itself. It’s why we lean so heavily into mutually beneficial relations, and why returning the favor is always the right move. However, in the world of deadlines and overhead, it can seem like each month you are faced with your Waterloo or Gettysburg. We get it.
Planning for the Future
With every memorable quote, somebody has argued the inverse with an equally unforgettable quote. For example, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It isn’t just ad agencies who contend with this concept. Most products and services are propositions of initial investment versus long-term gains. So why is it that when it comes to marketing strategy the easiest sales are those which guarantee instant return? Yet the really effective marketing, the kind employed by the most successful companies in America. The kind of marketing that promises a slow drip of reputation building and management, seem so far down on the list of priorities for most businesses. Can you really afford to put so much stake into your company five years from now? Can you really afford not to?
These are questions that every business owner must answer for themselves. However, in this blog I want to share some effective long-term marketing strategies and why you should absolutely be considering them. Of course all this should be implemented along your short-term goals, you absolutely need both.
There Are No Shortcuts For Reputation
It doesn’t matter if your a small, medium-sized or a large corporation. When it comes to your reputation, as in life, there are no shortcuts. Imagine you attend a party, all of your friends you’ve known for years are there. Then somebody you’ve never met arrives. He walks straight up to you and starts telling you that he’s obviously the coolest person attending the party. According to him, no one has the sparkling personality and charm that he possesses so why would you even bother with the other losers at the party? This probably sounds like an outlandish situation, and nobody really acts like that. But when a new business arrives on the scene with a massive marketing campaign to promote it, this is exactly what it looks like to your audience.
I think the issue here is that when it comes to small to medium-sized businesses, they have the impression that once they cross a certain threshold they’ll have the budget to attempt grand marketing campaigns. Yet your reputation and having a loyal customer base is the only thing that is going to propel you over that threshold. And that takes time as well as a brand strategy. Your brand strategy should include more than a clever logo. Your brand should be a legacy, a promise you made in the beginning. Only then will your later marketing campaigns have the weight you intend.
Get in there, the right way.
You know who you want to impress and whose business you seek. All you need to do is blast them with info about your product and they are bound to come, right? Right!?
The truth is, taking the time to earn permission from prospective customers and clients can be one of those time consuming, yet infinitely rewarding strategies. That means you might have to offer them something, something of value, and for free. I’m sorry to say that this might not instantly turn to a sale. Some will surely try to take it and run like a kid who stumbles upon the free samples at a supermarket. However, the idea of obtaining something for free in exchange for signing up for a newsletter is a compromise most are willing to make. They might receive those newsletters for months or years before actually considering a purchase. However, if you offer them a competent product or service free of charge, they’d have to be a real grouch to assume that any paid product would be of less quality.
Don’t Give Up on Your SEO Management
You’d be hard pressed to find a business owner who doesn’t see the value in SEO management. You just paid a marketing firm to up your SEO game and you watch your website go from zero organic clicks to ten in the first month. Time to find a new marketing firm right? Actually, no. There just isn’t anyway around it, SEO takes time! Google’s algorithms are purposely set up to be suspect of any website trying too hard to move up the ranks on a specific key word too quickly. What’s far more important to Google is consistency, and what does consistency require? You guessed it, time.
So give your SEO time. Let it breathe. After months of consistency you’ll watch those organic clicks snowball from ten organic clicks to 100, then 1,000 and so on.
Planting the Seeds with Content Marketing
Content Marketing, that ever present buzzword. But how can it put money in your pocket now? Sorry but there is no simple answer here. In the old days of interruption based marketing (radio ads, tv commercial, website banner ads) the idea was you spend money to produce a commercial, someone sees it, they go out and buy your product. However, as the years roll by this form of marketing has proven itself less and less effective. Especially among the younger generations. They love their ad blockers.
So how do you reach people nowadays? It’s important to remember that the internet is referred to the world wide web for a reason. Your website and social media pages can’t just be points floating out in space. It needs to be interconnected with the rest of the web. And how do you do that? With content. By writing a blog, providing useful information and engaging material, the internet will find you and further boost your presence online. It goes without saying that none of this happens overnight.
Patience is a Marketing Virtue
I’m sure this all sounds daunting. How long will it take? How do I know if my content is good? These are not excuses to not get started today. Posting one blog and waiting to see how much revenue it generates you is not going to cut it. You need to create back logged content and wait for the right people to find it.
Marketing is less akin to going on a hunting safari these days. It requires the zen like patience of a fisherman, you select your bait, lures and your spot, then you wait. Or perhaps a farmer is a better analogy. A farmer doesn’t plant his seeds, unsure if there will be anything to harvest. By properly tending his fields he can anticipate a bountiful harvest and thats how you should view your long-term marketing strategies.