While advertising is a part of marketing, thats all it is. A part. Marketing is much bigger than that.A better way to think about marketing is anything you do that touches either your customers or potential customers.Yes, I do mean anything. Whether its sending an invoice, handling a complaint call, running a radio ad or sending an e-mail, youre marketing your business if youre touching a customer or a potential customer.That said, lets talk about ways to use marketing to increase business and get new customers. To simplify things, Ive broken it down into five key components: Advertising Public relations Promotions Community relations Customer relationsAdvertising is any kind of paid promotion. You pay money for your words and/or graphics to be run your way. This includes: print ads (newspaper and magazines), radio, television and online (banner and other ads). I would also include direct mail and other marketing pieces, such as brochures, flyers, Web sites, business cards, in-store displays etc.Whats strong about advertising? Control. You control your message, your call to action, where and when its run.Whats weak? Credibility. Your audience knows you control the message, therefore its not considered terribly credible.Public relations is getting stories and information about your company, your employees, you or your partners or your products and services into the media. (I include online media, radio and television in this). You dont pay the media to publish these articles or information. However, you may pay someone to discover an angle, write a press release, pitch the story, etc.Whats strong about public relations is credibility. Someone else is writing the story its not coming directly from your business nor are you paying for placement. Whats weak is the lack of control. You cant control where, when or even whats said.Promotions is any kind of event. I include in this open houses, trade shows, parties, expos and other events. Also, if you do any public speaking or seminar hosting, I would consider this promotions.Promotions are a great way to personally touch a lot of customers in a short time. If your target market shows up, promotions can be extremely effective. However, they take a lot of time, can get pretty expensive and theres no guarantee your target market will appear.Community relations is when you and your business become involved in your community. For instance: Your business donates money to nonprofit associations You or your employees volunteer at a fundraising event You or your employees volunteer for a nonprofit association You or your employees join a service club, You or your employees network at industry association meetings or business functions (such as Chamber of Commerce events).Strengths include building credibility for you and your business, building personal relationships with customers and creating goodwill. Weaknesses include eating up an incredibly large amount of time and taking awhile to see the payoff, especially if you find yourself donating to charities that may be wonderful causes but offer little advertising and/or promotional opportunities. (However, Im not advocating that you should only donate to high-visibility nonprofits. Marketing is only one factor there are other aspects, such as your passion, when planning a community relations program.)Customer relations is any program where you build or strengthen a relationship with a past, present or potential customer. I include in this referral programs, newsletters, e-newsletters/e-zines, holiday gifts, etc. (Note: This also includes how you or your employees treat your customers or potential customers.)It takes far less money and effort to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one, so customer relations should always be a strong part of every business.Ideally, a good marketing program should include a mixture of all five components. How much depends on what youre trying to accomplish.Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a copywriting and marketing agency. She helps entrepreneurs become more successful at attracting more clients, selling more products and services and boosting their business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site at http://www.MichelePW.com. Copyright 2008 Michele Pariza Wacek.