Marketing is the subject of choice today, the next segment in my Functional Business Plan series of articles. With a small business, marketing and sales may be interlinked whereas larger companies tend to have a qualified staff resource for each discipline. Almost everyone I've met through business understands the difference although I thought this was a good place to share the following:
A snippet from a recent conversation I had went something like this: Business owner- "Marketing and sales are one of the same, there is no difference as far as I can see. I've employed a team but have noticed no difference in sales. Marketing is just a money-pit."
Me - "But don't you measure your rate of enquiries? Has there been an increase in revenue?" Cue, blank look.
This business owner had been in business some considerable years, obviously on the operations side rather than the business management side as there appeared to be no concept of return on investment, no measurements, no understanding of what marketing or sales really do.
Definition of marketing: The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer
Definition of sales: The activity or business of selling products or services
Another way of putting it would be to think of marketing as the generator of leads via various methods. The job of sales is more direct in following up the lead and winning that paying customer.
It's fair to say that marketing is a numbers game and needs to be bottom line oriented. Depending on your budget you would have to plan your marketing quite carefully and know what your expectations are in real terms in relation to creating value for your business.
Primarily, my business is in administration, providing day to day business support. So why, you may ask, am I writing about marketing? Well, to begin with, as a business owner I've had to learn about marketing my own business. To find out what works and what doesn't. To decide where I can make the best use of a marketing budget. It's not that easy to do but also, as I'm in the business of providing business support I do know that there are a lot of marketing tasks that can be outsourced. I also know managing all of those tasks yourself is extremely time consuming.
To start with, there is research. Who is your target market? Where do you go to find
them? When did you last conduct research to find a fresh supply of leads? How do you know that they will buy your products or services?
Following the research you would need to have your customer details (past, present and future customers) added to a database. When all the customer contact details are
arranged in a database, you will want to keep in touch with them. Never forget, it is always good to have new business but it is vitally important to look after your existing customers and keep them up to date.
To this end, you may want to send regular emails or newsletters. It might be a good idea to create flyers to send to potential customers, to let them know how your business will benefit theirs. What about flyers to existing customers too, advertising a new product or service?
You may choose any of the social media platforms as a marketing tool - social media
for business only works if you use it regularly so you need a steady supply of content and engagement items. What about Facebook or Google paid advertising? And not forgetting the all-important bottom line - checking the analytics to measure engagement, or in other words, the effectiveness of your social media activity.
Then there is your website. How often is this updated? Do you have a blog? If so how often do you write blog posts? Again, that is something that you will need to plan to ensure a steady supply of content.
So you see, there are a whole host of tasks that are vital to your marketing plan and managing them effectively takes even more of your precious time. Outsourcing is an option. Virtual Assistants who provide business management support are highly skilled and experienced in business with a plethora of tools, tips and tricks at their disposal to make life easier for everyone. For support or advice on any of the following marketing tools, please get in touch (click the logo!).
Content assistance for blog or social media posts
Social media analytics
Copyright Online Office Services Ltd 2015. All rights reserved.