Paid marketing such as advertising, direct mail, PPC, is presumably faster-acting, but it’s also more expensive. Besides, it requires continuous investment to keep you visible. Once you stop paying for it, your visibility is gone.
On the other hand, organic marketing such as blogging, website, organic SEO is slower-acting. However, it’s relatively inexpensive to set up and maintain, and over time it keeps building up and increasing your visibility. It’s self-perpetuating. With time, it can potentially yield unlimited ROI with little maintenance and investments. Being that organic marketing is relatively inexpensive and can yield high ROI without much monetary risk, it’s therefore more cost-effective.
Set up an interesting and helpful blog, a well-functioning website, custom content, organic SEO, social media. Do as much as you can to maximize your organic marketing, because it’s slower-acting and long-term. You want to set it up and have it in place, so it can start working for you and start yielding “dividends” earlier. This would be your bread & butter, your foundation. Then, if you have money left or if you have a stable flow of income to invest incrementally, you can diversify into paid marketing which is generally more expensive but can yield results faster.
While we’re talking about “results” you should keep in mind that no one can guarantee stable, predictable and consistent ROI from paid marketing. Even if you see an increase of new customers and you are tempted to correlate it to your marketing campaign, keep in mind that the correlation may be unreliable because the increase in ROI can be short-term. No one can tell you precisely what number of new customers you can predictably and continuously expect from any single marketing method.
Organic marketing – such as your website and organic SEO, custom web content, custom blogging, social media – is relatively inexpensive to set up, and requires a relatively low cost and a relatively low input from you to maintain – while, over time, it can yield you a lot of visibility, which makes organic marketing very cost-effective. However, it usually takes a while before organic marketing starts yielding results, that’s why the earlier you set it up, the better. You can do non-organic marketing after or at the same time, but the organic marketing ‘foundation’ should be set up as early on as possible.