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Organic marketing versus everything else on the Internet
Organic, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Socila Media Advertising, Link Farming, print/paper/radio/television advertising, direct mail marketing, email marketing - The list of methods for getting your company's brand and message out there actually goes on even further.
So which is "best" ? Depending who you ask, this is where the blood gets ankle deep and children are turned into orphans. This commentary, however, will be on my observations of thirty years on Internet use, twenty of them professionally in all three of technical development, sales and marketing (All three of which, I still do today)
The quick answer, for me, would be "Organic marketing is the way to go, period."
Why is organic marketing better ?
Why ? It takes longer to see results, the feedback loop is no where near as immediate, so evolving your strategy can often be a matter of months, rather than hours, and, in general, organic marketing is time and labour intensive.
Why ? Because it works. Not only does it work to bring people your message, thus bringing the people to you, but it's because it gives them the answers to the solutions they are actually seeking. Pay per click, push media like television and newspaper, mail or email marketing, most of those are typically a scatter gun approach, or "Throw enough mud at the barn wall and some of it has got to stick". They rely on the sheer volume of people seeing the message and the hope that that message is good enough that that magical four percent conversion ratio, or view-to-click ratio, will be achieved.
So what is "organic" marketing ?
Organic, or "natural" marketing, is the process of getting other people, web sites, blogs, social media, word of mouth and private emails to not only link to your business, but recommend and endorse it because it is relevant to them and to those they think will benefit from it. Organic marketing automatically contains the subconscious recommendation-from-a-satisfied-friend benefit, because the chances are when you are reading a site that you already follow faithfully, you do so because you value and/or trust that sites' content: When that trusted source recommends another source, you automatically give that second source a higher chance of earning your business, rather than a random Joe along the street who happens to see the same thing.
Of course, organic marketing, when successful, also gives the same benefits as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, in that you're placed at the top of the search engine results. To be fair, this is not only harder to do, but also harder to maintain, but this is pretty standard: You can spend your entire weekend fixing your own car, getting dirty, cuts and scrapes, lost time that you'd rather spend on the boat, or you can pay someone else to do it in an afternoon in their shop.
Like fixing your own car, the satisfaction of having done it yourself is tremendous. Unlike fixing your car, however, organic marketing success also brings you financial benefits in the form of increased business. If you're doing things right, this is not only an increase in short term sales, but in the long term retention of loyal and repeat customers.
A little advice for successful organic marketing methods
The purpose of this commentary isn't really to get into the how-to's of organic marketing (I might put up something like that at a later date if there is enough interest), but I will make a few suggestions:
There are so many other hints, tips and suggestions on true, successful organic marketing that it would literally take a book - a large one - to cover them all. Some of it is through trial and error (and yes, I have the benefit of twenty years of such for my own efforts), but the above is a good starter. You can also search for "Organic marketing tips" and similar terms in your preferred search engine and get a lot of healthy tips and ideas.
At the end of the day, Organic marketing success should be your ultimate goal, whether you've just started a new business or are a long term player in your industry. I guarantee you sales and profit from organic marketing are a lot higher in the long run than the quick injections from PPC or similar.
How do I know ? Well, running Canada's number one Internet Service Provider ( ISP ) list and comparison site, CanadianISP, from Beachburg, Ontario, a farming village of 900, should be an indication of just how well it works :)