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The constant tension, it seems, in the online marketing world is the war between sexy and sustainable. One of the biggest places you see this tension is within the world of business promotion and traffic generation. With every new promotional or traffic method that is created, discovered, or repeated, everyone gets really excited with results in the language of sexy: fast results, no work, and lots of money.

The truth is though, that most “sexy” traffic is also short-lived traffic. Sure, it’s amazing to make the front page of Google- definitely. But if you only stay there for a day (for example, when your blog post is picked up by a big news site), how much can this possibly contribute to the long term health of your business?

The answer: not much.

The question of popularity is another sexy vs. sustainable question. You’ve certainly numerous internet celebrities rise to the top, but only hold that coveted space for a few weeks or a month. In the fickle world of online marketing, today’s superstar can all too easily become tomorrow’s has-been.

So what’s the answer?

Sexy or sustainable?

I think it’s both. But in the proper perspective.

For long term sustainability and health of your business, you must focus on promotional methods which provide a strong foundation and core for your business. These are ones that you invest in regularly, week by week, in a methodical and systematic way. Examples of this type of promotion would include article marketing, blogging, podcasting, video marketing. No one item may be a run away smash hit, but the cumulative body of work can really make something happen. The process of building this type of promotional engine is also sustainable- you need only show up regularly, rinse and repeat.

While not glamorous or elegant, necessarily, this type of promotion gets the job done.

For the interest and excitement factor, your marketing also needs a dash of sexy every now and then. This can be a quick hit traffic or promotional strategy- one that garners you fame and notice, but may not contribute very much to your long-term profitability. Remember, I talk about profitable popularity as being about both being liked- and rich. We all need quick hits of feel-good feedback, and it’s just fine to seek these in appropriate measure.

The reality of marketing is simple: put the right message in front of the right people the right number of times.

It doesn’t matter if the method to spread the message is an article, a social network, or an advertisment. What matters more is which of these strategies you’ll sustain long enough to actually see results.