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Organic or Paid Marketing : Comments

By Alan K'necht

June 2, 2004



June 3, 2004 7:51 AM

The topic of Organic vs. Paid Marketing is an interesting one. I think many have debated but too few have talked about which type works better. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that too little of this article was spent discussing the benefits and costs of each as opposed to spending more time (more than 60% of the article) “teaching” how to optimize web pages.

The article says the one of the most commonly made mistakes “[...] is to rely solely on paid techniques and to ignore organic traffic.” What it doesn’t say is that you can’t pick one method over the other like it’s title would lead you to believe. A strong marketing campaign will have elements of both methods: paid marketing to increase new customer awareness and organic marketing to promote widespread brand awareness as well as helping to ensure higher rates of customer retention and returning customer rates.

I’d like to see a more objective view on the differences of each type of marketing: a tutorial if you will on what they are and how they can both be leveraged to improve marketing efforts. I think this would prove to be a article with much greater use that could potentially be expanded into tutorials on how to improve organic marketing efforts as well as paid marketing efforts by teaching the most basic of the basics of each type.

Alan K'necht

June 3, 2004 8:32 AM

Thank you for you’re comments. You are correct, a could web site marketing campaign has elements of both paid and organic marketing efforts. This column is indented to provide a broad understanding of the difference and to let people decide how much effort they should put into each otpion. A artilce can’t tell you that as business requirements differ for everyone.

As to a site optimization tutorial, they are on there way. One on optimizing non-html based site is due out in about two weeks. I’m working on others, If you have something you want me to cover specifically, please let me know.

Or you can see a previous article, Adding Value through Search Engine Optimization ( which covers optimizing sites at a very basic level.

Kris Krug

June 3, 2004 9:30 AM

Thanks for the good intro on traffic driving to sites and fixing up pages for search engines. I didn’t know the H1 and H2 thing… but it makes a lot of sense. Are there some other little quick hitter tips like that you can share?

Alan K'necht

June 3, 2004 9:49 AM

The h1 and h2 thing is easy.

For good SEO, you should only have on h1 on a page, but you can have as many as make sense H2 tags. These are header tags and date back to the orginal HTML 1.0.

The problem is that most of us never used them because they were plain ugly. Large black text that didn’t fit the style of the site.

So on a page make your main title H1, right now you might have a font tag assigned to it. So replace the font tag with an H1. Save the font settings. Do the same for seconday titles.

In your style sheet, add the element h1 and apply your font tag information. The reference in the CSS would like something like this

h1:{font-family:Georgia, serif;font-size: 16px;color:navy;margin-left:15px;}
h2:{font-family: Georgia, serif;font-size: 14px;color:gray;}

I’ll be starting work shortly on a tutorial for this publication which with any luck will be ready for publishing in July or early August. Please send me any topics you’d like me to cover.

Jeena Paradies

June 6, 2004 3:02 AM

h1:{font-family:Georgia, serif;font-size: 16px;color:navy;margin-left:15px;}
h2:{font-family: Georgia, serif;font-size: 14px;color:gray;}
Don’t use px because of IE! Like it or not, your readers will want to resize text at some point.

Jeena Paradies

Chris Moritz

June 7, 2004 10:42 AM

I’m highly skeptical of Paid Marketing efforts in terms of efficacy. There’s a tendency to view absolute traffic with qualified traffic; using brute force methods (including mildly to severely deceptive tactics) to get as many unique hits as possible is the province of the Powerpoint presenter. Give me the kind of numbers I can generate a pie chart from an I’ll slap our ‘success’ label on it.

Organic marketing efforts are problematic from a time and resources perspective. Sure, it’s ideal to get widespread word-of-mouth support and ‘free’ grassroots evangelism, but that’s not the kind of thing that just any product warrants. Marketers can only do so much with a given product; sure, the iPod ads are great, but it works as a campaign because the iPod is the best MP3 player on the market.

Organic marketing is a long-term, time-intensive effort; however, it’s well in the interests of marketers to take the time to get involved in it. Visit the relevant blogs and sites that deal with your clients’ products; post honest and well-researched comments and combat FUD with real (read: non-pitchy) information. Become a trusted voice and you’re opinion will mean something.

I rue the dulling of marketing and advertising that seems to be coming; overuse and the lack of restraint and patience makes this game all the harder to play and win.

Quinn Kuiken

June 7, 2004 3:08 PM

You need a proof reader.

Alan K'necht

June 7, 2004 7:16 PM


Excellent points and right on the money. While orgnaic may seem like something that is free, it takes a lot of time and effort to get it right.

As to the paid approach, some of my clients have had great results getting appropriate traffic and converting that into sales while others haven’t. I believe it has to do with many factors. One of which is the quality of the site the ads take you to, not to mention the price and quality of the product.

The traffic can be qualified by targeting ads in Search Engine marketing efforts to the appropriate words/phrases and staying away from others.

Pie chart or no pie chart, you can’t sell your product in no-one knows you’re there.

Darren B

June 9, 2004 5:21 AM

The H1 thing is a great tip, When I first started with CSS I used a new class for each heading!

My new site will be using DIV ID selectors and the heading and paragraph tags withinin each DIV so I suspect my redesign will benefit greatly from this.

Thanks for the tip.


June 9, 2004 7:47 PM

I can vouch that making the beginning of your title match the most relevant keyword works very well.

For a relevant overview of epidemiology, read The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.

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