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Traditional or Digital Marketing: Which has the Best ROI?

For any small business, making the right marketing decisions will have a massive impact on growth. Getting your brand in front of the right people will create leads and hopefully conversions. Spending your marketing budget using the wrong methods and in the wrong places will have the opposite effect.

Essentially, any business has two options; traditional marketing or digital marketing. The question is, which is likely to provide the best ROI and lead to growth?

Traditional Marketing

This form of traditional marketing uses methods that were around before the explosion of the internet. Think television, radio, and print marketing and you have the main types of print marketing. Those billboards you see when driving, advertisements in magazines and newspapers, and the commercials on TV and radio are how businesses traditionally marketed themselves. Marketing via telephone also falls into this category whether via telemarketing or SMS marketing.

Obviously, getting your brand in front of as many eyes as possible will hold big benefits. The issue with traditional marketing, however, is that there is a lack of control. You cannot control who sees your advertisements or when they see them. Furthermore, this type of marketing is expensive, not easy to update, and is hard to judge results.

That big advertisement on the billboard will have to be removed and changed at quite the cost if you wanted to change your special offer. There is very little room for error too.

Digital Marketing

Search engine marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, affiliate marketing, research marketing, and PPC marketing all fall under the umbrella of digital marketing.

From paying for targeted Facebook or Google ads to having active social media accounts and to ranking well in the search engines for key terms, there are so many ways to promote your small business.

By looking at the following stats, it is quite clear that digital marketing has become a bigger marketing strategy for most businesses.

4 out of 5 people research products/services online before purchasing

6 out of 10 American adults use Facebook regularly

9 out of 10 B2C businesses use social media for content marketing strategies

The key advantages that digital marketing has are the ability it has to reach a target audience, the increased customer engagement it brings, and how easy it can be to measure results. That is without considering how much cheaper and effective it has shown to be.

Businesses can target specific demographics, age ranges and narrow people down via their interests and use companies such as Privacyenbescherming to get localised results. This ensures a higher chance of a conversion. Furthermore, an ad or post on social media can bring in likes, comments, shares, and follows. This can give an early indication of how it has been received. Online marketing tools can also show you where your web traffic is coming from.


It is not difficult to see that for any small business, digital marketing is the way to go. The gap is only going to get bigger too. While there may still be some good opportunities that traditional marketing can bring, in terms of ROI and effectiveness, digital marketing will always be the clear winner.

That said, traditional marketing should not be forgotten completely. There will always be opportunities to grab some huge brand awareness. Sell a sporting product or service? Then a TV ad during the Superbowl might just be worth the expense. A beauty product advertised in a magazine aimed at young women is likely to bring results.

In terms of effectiveness and ROI, digital marketing usually wins out every time but you should still consider traditional marketing as part of your overall strategy.

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