Marketing expert Seth Godin (widely referred to as “America’s Greatest Marketer) often states that the biggest sin companies commit in their marketing is that of impatience.

He offers this advice:  “If you want to make a sale next week, you can’t start marketing today.  You should have started three years ago!”

A great analogy is a football game and the last second “Hail Mary” pass.  If your strategy is to wait until the final play of the game and then pray for a miracle, you won’t win many games.

Marketing and sales conversions that come from marketing take time.  People do business with those they know, like, and trust.  This rapport-building effort will not happen overnight and often takes years to develop.  But what if you don’t have time to wait?  Clearly there are bills that need to be paid now.

There are two basic strategies for marketing online:

  1. You can buy traffic  (Advertising)
  2. You can earn traffic  (Marketing)

But be prepared, both strategies involve a cost.

Buying traffic involves online advertising such as Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and buying space on other websites that have already earned the traffic that you desire.  You leverage their traffic in exchange for a fee, place ads on their sites, and attempt to bring some of that traffic over to your website, blog, landing page, etc…

If you’ve got plenty of money but you’re short on time, buying traffic is a great way to go.  You can see results quickly, but be prepared to pay handsomely for those results.  Effective paid online advertising can easily cost your business thousands of dollars each month.

Earning traffic is a process of creating compelling content that attracts people to you.

It will involve blogging, utilizing sources such as Facebook and Twitter, and incorporating a sound SEO Strategy for attaining search engine rankings.  If you can accomplish all of this work yourself, you’ll find that much of it can be done with little to no monetary cost, but the time involved is significant.  You may find it impossible  to perform your day-to-day operational responsibilities as well as the marketing tasks.  Typically, it will make sense to outsource this work to someone experienced.  Although there will be a monetary cost of outsourcing, it will be less than the cost of buying traffic.

Earning traffic brings you customers and followers who tend to be more loyal.

But, it will be an involved process getting to that point.  Traffic does NOT simply fall from the sky and you will rarely end up with hundreds of web visitors a few months after launching your new website.

If you are just starting an online marketing campaign, remember that the successes you see will probably not come in the current calendar year.  Have the proper expectations and mindset.

If you need to see immediate results, mix in an advertising strategy so you’ll have a plan in place for both current and future business.

Going back to Seth Godin’s wisdom, the keys are consistency and patience.  The marketing pros find themselves creating long term strategies for new content every day (yes, I said every day) while the amateurs grow impatient and pray for Hail Mary miracles.