Marketing, it’s an ambiguous term and while not sales, it’s closely tied with sales. I have heard many misconceptions about marketing: it’s only meant for larger businesses, people will feel they are being “sold,” and “I’m not good at it, so I don’t need it.” That last one gets me to my very core. Why? Because marketing is for all businesses! So, what is marketing?
Marketing at its core is your cheerleader. It lets people know about your business and what you have going on, and let’s be honest, you have some pretty cool stuff going on. Marketing includes all the different ways you get the word out about what you’re doing. This includes networking groups, advertising, social media, visual representations of your business and the core of this is your customer. What are you doing for your customer? How are you different from other individuals in the area who offer similar goods or services? Your mission and vision for your business should also be tied with your marketing.
Before discussing points your marketing should hit, I want to discuss sales. Yes, that dirty word, sales. Sales first and foremost does not need to be Glengarry Glen Ross style of dirty, whatever it takes, get it done, always be selling mentality. Just like how everyone poops, it’s necessary to running a business. Sales is tied to your rates and your budget as well as your client’s budget. Sales feeds your business; it’s how you make money. Sales comes from your marketing. Marketing may employ a sales tactic known as a call to action campaign. However, be careful to limit these. There’s only so many giveaways you can offer before it starts to diminish your value.
Here are some key points to help you with your marketing:
- Your message should be clear and concise. From print materials to digital platforms, your overall message should be easily understood. Potential customers do not need to know or want to know every detail about your offering. If they want to know more, they’ll ask.
- Know your audience. Who do you want to reach? Where are they located? Having an idea of who you want to reach with your marketing will help you in the long run. Otherwise, you may be throwing time and money at a wall to see what sticks.
- Your message should have a sense of continuity across all advertising platforms. This includes your website, social media, print materials, and any advertising you do. Having a logo, slogan, or general message helps.
- Be aware of color. The use of color color is an integral part of your marketing but can easily distract from your message. Would you use a florist whose primary colors are brown and black? Likewise, the overuse of color or patterns distracts the eye from text.
- Follow the 80/20 Rule. In this, only 20% or less of your advertising should be an ask for sale. The majority of your time should be focused on getting the word out about what you do and how you help solve a problem.
As always, I hope this has helped you and I look forward to answering another question next week!