Keep reading to learn:
- The different types of traditional, digital and face-to-face marketing
- The pros and cons of each type of marketing
- Some tips on how you can use the different strategies
We get it. At this point, we all know that marketing is necessary for your business. But do you know all the types of marketing you can use?
That’s right, there’s more than one way for you to market your services or products!
Knowing which types of marketing work for you will help in the long run. You can see an increase in sales, better communication with your customers and more trust within your community.
But all the different kinds of marketing can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you don’t know how many types there are! You also probably don’t have the time to research all the types of marketing and find out which ones best suit your needs.
We’re here to help you figure out which strategies best fit your time, budget and skill for the ultimate results. Let’s look at the pros and cons of marketing through traditional, digital and face-to-face strategies.
Traditional Marketing Strategies
Traditional marketing strategies have stood the test of time. Print marketing has been in use since the ancient Egyptians created sales messages and wall posters on papyrus.
Loosely defined, traditional marketing strategies are all the strategies that businesses used before the widespread use of computers and the Internet. This includes printed and promotional materials, TV and radio advertisements, cold calling, direct mail marketing and newspaper articles or ads.
Generally, traditional marketing strategies have an extensive reach, are hard to ignore, and are easy for business owners to use by themselves. Unfortunately, these strategies make it hard to target your specific audience, cost a lot more and are less engaging.
Let’s dive deeper into specific traditional marketing techniques and their pros and cons.
Print and Promotional Materials
Promotional materials are various documents or handouts that include information about your business. This can include business cards, brochures, marketing handouts or even branded products.
The pros of having promotional materials are that they’re cost-effective and you can have a variety of handouts to leave with prospects. This can make it easier for your business to stay top-of-mind and for your prospects to find your contact info. They can also serve as a physical document that shows your work or products.
However, in today’s digital world, printed promotional materials are somewhat out of date. Most printed materials find themselves in the trash bin pretty quickly. This is because printed materials are generally less engaging than other strategies. This being said, it is still beneficial for you to have digital versions of promotional materials ready to print in case you ever need to hand them out.
- Different types of materials, e.g., marketing handouts, business cards, etc.
- Physical showcase of work
- Less engaging
- Discarded quickly
TV and Radio Advertisements
In general, what’re the pros and cons of advertising? TV and radio advertising aren’t just for the big businesses now. Placing advertisements is also available to you and your small business.
Because there’s usually more than one TV in a household and a radio in every car, these types of advertising have extensive reach. If you target local channels, you’ll have a greater chance of connecting with prospects around your area.
But most traditional advertising strategies are costly. These types of advertisements also don’t last as long and are difficult to measure. Using traditional advertisements also can be good or bad depending on your audience. Even though many people have TVs, the probability of them watching traditional television is lower. You’ll find that older generations of people are the ones who are still watching network TV.
- Extensive reach
- Local audience
- Hard to target a specific audience
- High costs
- High advertising clutter
Cold calling is probably something you’ve heard of before. It usually involves creating or buying a list of leads and then calling them to give them a deal or promote your business.
The advantages of cold calling are that your business can reach new customers through a human connection. And continuously doing it will also help you nail down your sales pitch for any sales opportunity.
However, there are some negative connotations with cold calling. Most people on the other end will find it annoying. It only works part of the time, and it may be hard to see big results. It also takes a large chunk of your time finding out who to call and actually doing it.
- Reach new customers
- Master your sales pitch
- Gain relevant information and make a human connection
- It can be annoying
- Only works part of the time
Direct Mail Marketing
Many people only get bills and advertisements in their email these days. Because of that, there is an opportunity to get creative with original direct mail marketing tactics.
Most of the time, everyone throws junk mail directly in the garbage, but immediately opens personal notes or cards. So, sending personalized cards to your current customers or new customers can make them feel appreciated.
This method is also very measurable because it’s easy to track. You’ll know exactly when the mail is sent out and measure how many sales you get from that date. Direct mail marketing also has the highest response rate of all media, with direct mail hitting 9% compared to a 1% email response.
One problem with this tactic is that it is quite expensive. With direct mail marketing, you’re paying for each person to receive a piece of mail. People tend to see this type of marketing as junk mail. Unfortunately, mail like this might go directly in the trash.
Therefore, if you choose this type of marketing, you’ll want to make sure it stands out and is worth the reader’s time.
- Highest response rate of all media
- A measurable media for cost and response
- High personalization
- Highest cost per exposure
- Over-saturation of the market (people get a lot of mail)
- Negative connotations about “junk mail”
Publishing articles, ads or letters to the editor gives you visibility and credibility. It’s a pretty strong marketing tactic that helps build your reputation and puts your name out there. It’s not just the newspaper either! You can also try getting published in local magazines or trade publications.
Additionally, you have many options for how much to write or the size of the advertisement because of the differences in ad sizes.
Depending on the newspaper, you might also reach a very broad audience. For example, The Chicago Tribune has a circulation of almost 900,000 people on Sundays.
Although this strategy reaches a lot of people, you may find that you’re only reaching a certain demographic of people. Like TV and radio advertising, newspapers tend to appeal to an older audience.
- Viewed as trustworthy and credible
- Many choices in ad size
- Reach diverse audience in terms of geography
- Not a long shelf life
- Not as engaging
- Appeals to a specific audience
Digital and Online Marketing Strategies
Digital marketing is a broad term that refers to all types of marketing involving media that’s consumed online. This can include your website, social media, content marketing and email marketing. Today, digital marketing strategies are the most popular and most cost-effective. But what’re the advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing?
Some general pros of digital strategies are that your business is accessible 24/7, it’s very affordable and you build authority. Unfortunately, these strategies do require a lot of learning, skill and time and you’ll have a lot of competition. Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of digital marketing strategies.
Website marketing is the practice of attracting traffic to your website. Because the internet is always on, your website is marketing for your business 24/7. It may take a little work to get your website more visible, but it’s one of the easiest ways to reach your target market. This strategy is also an inexpensive way to bring in business.
The cons of this strategy are that you have a lot of competition on the internet. If done incorrectly, you won’t be found on the internet while your competitors are. It takes a lot of skill and knowledge to get your website working the way it should. You also won’t have immediate trust from people on the internet. It takes a lot of time to build authority and gain customers’ trust.
- 24/7 marketing
- Reach target market easily
- Low-cost promotion strategy
- No instant trust
- Skill and knowledge required
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a marketing technique that focuses on getting your website seen on search engines, like Google or Bing. This strategy is very complex and requires a lot of steps, like using related keywords, optimizing for mobile, making your website navigation easy to use, creating valuable content and more.
Internet users conduct millions of web searches every day, and SEO is one of the primary ways to drive traffic to your website. Once you optimize your website, you’ll start to see long-term growth over time. SEO can also increase your authority as an industry leader as you use relevant keywords to create valuable content for visitors.
The main drawback of SEO is it requires patience since results don’t happen right away. You’ll also find a lot of competition for certain keywords and phrases. Other businesses are trying to rank for the same keywords you are! It can also be expensive because it takes a lot of resources to build and maintain an optimized web presence.
- Improved web traffic
- Improved web presence
- Gives you authority
- Results are not instantaneous
- Very complex
This subdivision of SEO focuses on a business’s ranking in a specific locale. Taking advantage of local SEO, a business can make itself more popular within nearby towns or cities.
Not only do the vast majority of people shop online, but over 30% of Google searches regard services within a certain area. Any brick-and-mortar location that depends on surrounding consumers for business can benefit significantly from local SEO.
Local SEO presents a unique opportunity not only to rank with keywords, but to reach the top of the search results page as a rich snippet, at least among nearby users. If a user is close enough, your business might appear in that user’s local pack, which includes the three businesses closest and most relevant to what he or she needs.
The most rudimentary example of content that achieves local SEO is a set of city pages that describe the singular value a business has provided to specific cities. The main caveat with using city pages is that you shouldn’t try to represent yourself in 50 cities, as Google may flag pages for being duplicative. Aim for a dozen or so cities within which you can exercise services, then update those pages periodically.
As with SEO in general, local SEO takes time. You may have to wait six months before noticing increases in sales. Also, with so many businesses competing for the same keywords, efforts to build and maintain content in the interest of local SEO require a lot of money and labor.
- High online visibility among all people with relevant queries
- Better web traffic that’ll increase sales
- Prioritization of the audience with most incentive to favor your services
- Takes a long time to make a difference
- Requires a lot of money and labor
- Remains competitive no matter what
Email marketing is when you send emails to a list of current customers, people who have signed up on your website or leads you’ve gathered. This is the most efficient way of communicating with a large audience all at once. You can keep current and potential customers informed of all that’s going on with your business, like special deals, events and more.
As for the pros and cons of email marketing, it’s very affordable, customizable and measurable. Email marketing resources like MailChimp or Robly make it very easy for you to create your email, send it out and measure the results.
However, like traditional mail marketing, email marketing has a lot of congestion. People get hundreds of emails every day and tend to just mark them as read or move them to the trash without reading them. For this reason, your email needs to stand out and be worthy of the reader’s time. If it’s not written well, your email can feel impersonal and sales-y.
Email marketing is also time consuming. And it can be difficult to build email lists and get the campaign rolling. These advantages and disadvantages of email marketing are important to remember.
- Highest ROI of any digital marketing channel
- Build customer relationships
- Affordable and customizable
- High competition for attention
- Requires consistency and time
- Can feel impersonal and sales-y
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the process of engaging with potential and current customers on social media channels, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can connect with your customers through content about your business, behind-the-scenes pictures and even contests on social media. But what’re the pros and cons of social media marketing?
To get the most out of your social media marketing, you will want to choose a few platforms to master. After that, be consistent with posting content and interacting with your audience on each channel to get the best results.
Creating social media posts is also affordable and fast. The only time a cost may come in is when you decide to use social media ads. But posting and interacting with your audience is free!
This strategy does take a lot of time though. This is especially true if you want more brand awareness and a stronger connection with your customers. You must be consistent in regularly posting.
There’s also the risk of negative publicity if customers leave negative comments and reviews on your public pages. However, responding to these in an effective way will help mitigate the damage. The advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing are myriad, but we cover the primary ones here.
- Low cost
- Can quickly create posts
- Close Interaction with customers
- Long time on ROI
- Risk of negative publicity
Content marketing relates to creating and distributing content across multiple channels. The goal of content marketing is to produce content that will get attention and be shared by your readers or viewers. With your content, you want to guide a customer to action, whether that be buying your product or learning more about your business. Some specific types of content marketing include blog posts, podcasts, videos and infographics.
Depending on what kind of content you develop, this strategy is relatively cheap and creates assets that last a long time. Creating valuable content can also build authority and help improve website, SEO and social media marketing.
However, creating quality content takes a lot of time and is challenging to manage. It’s important to consistently develop and create content to build authority in the digital space. And if you don’t have creative or writing skills, it may be more difficult for you than is necessary.
- Creates long-lasting assets
- Builds authority
- Challenging to manage
- Requires writing and creative skills
Though potentially expensive, paid advertisements are a quick and easily measurable way to boost traffic among target audiences without SEO-optimized content.
Essentially, a site, search engine or social media platform auctions off digital ad space in sidebars or panels to the business that bids highest. Each time someone clicks the link, the site charges a fee to the bidder.
If you’re going to invest in paid ads, you must first consider where your customers spend the most time. After discerning target demographics or, better yet, establishing a buyer persona, find the digital real estate that’ll work best. Along with payment information, provide ad copy and images to the platform (whichever one you decide).
After tackling the basics, move onto daily budgeting for the clicks each of your ads receives. You can also set the times during which you’d like your ads to appear. Again, this depends on target demographics.
Finally, you can launch your ad or ads and pay the requisite amount per click. Only note that not all ads are pay-per-click. There are also “native ads” that closely resemble genuine content as well as “email sponsored ads” that automatically enter the inbox of anyone who demonstrates a potential interest in your service.
- Presents a quick way to boost visibility
- Requires little effort
- Hones in on most lucrative demographics
- Remains potentially expensive, especially in the long run
- Only boosts visibility for as long as you own the ad space
- Unlike content, is not always online
Video marketing is nothing beyond the use of videos for boosting visibility and general promotion. Because potential buyers are more likely to watch a video than read an article, videos are a great way to allow for greater engagement and further education.
Video marketing is only going to become more important. People all over the world have been knee-deep in videos since the advent of smartphones, but when the pandemic hit, Americans doubled their consumption of online content. In 2023, audiences spend almost an entire day per week watching videos.
Videos are for a lot more than YouTube and TikTok. In fact, marketers have noticed benefits from posting videos on all sorts of social media. Videos on social media have made a particular difference among mobile users, as people are more likely to watch a video on a smartphone than on a computer.
The main caveat for video marketing is that it’s a major investment on many fronts. Videos are expensive and difficult to make if they’re going to be any good. Also, they’re nearly impossible to keep up-to-date once you create them, so content must be evergreen (i.e., true for years to come).
- Taps into the largest audience within target demographics
- Encourages genuine engagement and education among audiences
- Effective across all digital media
- Requires exorbitant amounts of time, money and effort
- Remains difficult if not impossible to update
- May not necessarily appeal to certain audiences after all that work
If you want your business to be more visible, face-to-face marketing strategies are something you should consider. This is because these strategies help you to develop strong and genuine connections with the people around you. Some pros of these strategies are that you’ll build relationships, you’ll continue to expose your brand and you can gain new leads and clients. But face-to-face marketing can be time-consuming, difficult to measure and expensive. Let’s take a closer look at some strategies within face-to-face marketing.
Networking is the strategy of growing your customer base by developing personal relationships and creating connections.
Fortunately, there’s more than one way to build your network. For example, you could join your local chamber of commerce or find professional organizations specific to your industry.
When you start networking, you’ll find that you have more access to ideas for your business, and you might find a few more clients when talking to others.
On the negative side, this type of marketing yields inconsistent results and can be expensive if the group requires fees. Plus, it does take up a bit of your time.
- Generates business connections
- Expands access to more ideas
- Gains new clients easily
- Inconsistent results
Community involvement is a great way to build more awareness of your business. Some tactics include volunteering, being present at community events and putting together initiatives that help others.
By getting involved in your community, you help create a positive local environment while also giving your business a positive boost. Consumers are more committed to companies that give back, and a Fortune Magazine poll stated that millennials prefer companies that give back to the community.
The cons of community involvement are that it is time-consuming, your return on investment is hard to measure and there’s no guarantee of earning money while volunteering or getting involved in the community. Still, if you want your business to come off as community-oriented, you’ll want to take the time to get involved.
- Positive reputation
- Connect with community
- Better customer relations
- ROI is difficult to measure
- You don’t earn money while volunteering
Association and Trade Shows
Association and trade shows take place across the country and in many industries. Attending association and trade shows is a valuable marketing strategy for many reasons, especially if the show is local and specific to your industry. You can network with other businesses, get brand exposure and possibly find sales opportunities and leads.
Unfortunately, you will also have a lot of competition and it may cost a lot to set up a booth. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll find results attending one of these events.
- Brand Exposure
- Business networking
- Lead generation and sales opportunities
- Potential low results
We Can Help with Your Marketing Strategies!
Weighing all the pros and cons of marketing can make it difficult to decide which way to go. The team at Frontier Marketing in Fox Lake, IL, can help you! We can help you decide which strategies would work best for your company.
Most of the cons of these types of marketing are that they’re time-consuming and require skill or knowledge. We have the time and marketing expertise to help you get the best results. Contact us today to learn more!
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in October 2021 and updated in March 2023.