A great question was posted on Quora and the answers are great. I thought I’d share them with you. Happy Holidays.
Answer from Steve Wiideman:
I think the best answer to this question is “yes” or “all of the above”. Depending on your industry and niche, you mind find better results in the least expected places.
Having worked for a few Fortune 100’s, I can tell you that 23 to 25 percent of all traffic (for entertainment and travel industry websites) came from natural and paid search (about 18 percent from natural). PPC can produce the best ROI fastest if you have a rockstar like Evan Magers of iSearchMedia building your accounts, but SEO will have the best long term ROI after you’ve invested $130k on tech, creative/content and placement costs. If you can survive that long, the three will produce a damn good revenue stream for the next several years. Particularly if you have UX Expert, such as Aaron Irizarry of Solv-ux.com help you with usability (see that cool little button at Pennysaverusa.com? Enough said on conversion).
Personally, I’ve developed a fancy little tactic utilization table that works well for me and for many of my peers and clients. The table allows me to give myself an ROI score on each channel (1-10) and calculate overall marketing tactic utilization. I do ping peers to give me a score frequently as well.
In terms of SMO, if you’re not doing video with Mark Roberton of ReelSEO in conjunction with a rockstar media team such as the geniuses that spawned Old Spice Guy, I say don’t bother. Blogging isn’t SMO, it’s blogging. SMO = viral and engagement (ref: un-marketing.com).
Good luck with the affiliate marketing piece. The guys who do it well are untouchable. They sit around a table, put all their cards (email lists) into a pool, send out a promotion, make hundreds of thousands of dollars, then brag about it at events they charge you $30k to attend for the rest of year. Do the math. If a potential affiliate manager applies for a job with you, you should question why on Earth are they not able to monetize their own affiliate campaigns? It’s like the rich of America. There’s 2% who have it, the rest of us just wish we did. Join us hopefuls or talk with guru keynote speakers at ASW11. I’ll be there.
Media buying. Wow, there’s a tough gig. If you can afford it and have the right firm with the right contacts who can put your media in the right channels to light a fire with your campaign, you’ve found gold and you should not (ever) let it go. Recently, I’ve worked with a firm called BeyondFifteen.com. They deal more with PR, but blew me away with a recent campaign that included connecting with media contacts. It was like watching a whisper erupt into a storm. Awesomeness.
My best recommendation would be to fork out a few hundred bucks and pick up the latest MarketingSherpa report. They usually include case study data from hundreds of marketers, including the table you’re looking for with reach, cost, and ROI. http://www.sherpastore.com/2011E…
For me, it’s PPC, SEO, DR, and a little Quora SMO now and then. In that order.
Steve, asked me to comment on his post, so here is my answer:
Steve, thats a great answer. You invited me to join you in answering this question, but you’re really the expert on these tactics and what works. So, I defer to your greater knowledge.
I would, however, like to make 1 additional observation. Which tactic or set of tactics you choose should be a function of your target market and your marketing objectives. I’ve worked with a number of clients over the years, both large and small, and these are the biggest problems I see. They hear of a new marketing tactic or they read about the success another company experienced and they want to duplicate the tactic used. But, they forget that not all target markets respond the same way.
Let me give you an example. I’m working with a client who has a great deal of experience in the B2C realm. He’s now moving into a B2B realm and doesn’t understand that many of the same tactics that worked in B2C just look unprofessional in the B2B context. Relationships are built differently in a B2B context, too. So your social media needs to change to match the expectations of this audience. Over sharing and frequent updates are likely to be viewed as annoying to a B2B client. This audience is busy and you need to give them value for the time they invest in getting to know you.
Thanks for inviting me to answer. Although I don’t have your expertise, I hope this answer is helpful.
Finally, we had a comment from Andy Beard:
Anything with a viral component that ideally can be tracked, measured and turned into revenue producing actions.
It doesn’t matter how you initially promote it, you want it to have a viral coefficient that in some way supplements your other activity giving far greater bang for you buck.
Even if you have a viral coefficient that sucks, say 0.6, you still end up with double bang for your buck compared to competitors.