While marketing and sales work very close together to build an effective brand, they are not the same thing. Think of them as legs on a stool. If one end can’t support the weight of the other, the entire stool collapses.
What is marketing?
Marketing is the way that you present your business to potential customers, who you target and how you target them. Your marketing strategy involves consistent advertising, promotion, and taking advantage of public relations opportunities.
When you come up with a marketing design for your small business, the ultimate goal is getting in front of as many eyes as possible. It’s extremely hard to track how effective your marketing campaign is, but there are some ways to tell whether you’re on the right track:
- Write-ups and reviews
- Social media mentions
- How many people sign up for your list
- Inquiring emails
- Followers and likes
- Repeat business
Many of the metrics that have been labeled as “vanity metrics” are actually perfect tools to determine how powerful your marketing is – both online and off.
For a small, local business putting up flyers can be incredibly successful. The benefits are evident in the way your customers interact with you online.
More Facebook likes means that your business is more likely to be found through Google. Considering that over 60% of consumers search online before visiting a local business, this can make a huge difference.
How can you market your business locally?
We live in a digitally-hyped era, so of course marketing online should be at the top of your list of priorities.
Still, there’s something to genuinely interacting with a brand in “real life.” Many of the techniques that have been phased out of corporate budgets can be used to your advantage!
Why not compete where the lanes are wide open?
Stand out amongst the junk mail by creating beautiful postcards and branding packages to your current customers. None of the brands I’ve purchased from have done this, and I think it would make my day if they did.
It’s a nice way to let your customers and clients know that you appreciate their business and that you’re holding yourself to a higher standard. You can even send gift baskets to your highest paying customers on special holidays or for their birthday.
Don’t forget to be creative and stay true to your brand culture!
If you want to be known in your city – go crazy with flyers or other forms of physical advertisement.
If you live in a college town, your flyers may not stand out so you can try:
- Bumper stickers
- Regular stickers
- Full posters
- Physical newsletters at businesses like salons, cafes, small mom & pop stores
Throw an event for charity
I’ve done this many times, and it is a fantastic way to network with other entrepreneurs in the area.
You can get sponsors from local businesses to provide food and drinks – all you have to do is ask… most actually end up saying yes! You should request local artists with a decent fan base to perform at your event and expose your business to an entirely new market.
If you truly want to bring in leads from an event like this, have items to hand out like T-shirts and require that people fill out a survey on their way in or on their way out (leave a space for their email address)!
How can you market your business online?
Now, we get to the good stuff. Flyers and postcards will disappear, they’ll get thrown in the trash, people will lose your “stuff.”
But, the digital footprint is forever.
With a simple search, people from all over the world can see every marketing campaign you’ve ever launched. It may take someone seeing your business 6 – 7 times before they purchase from you in person, but online that time is cut in half!
Some ways to bring awareness to your brand online are:
- have a hub (website or blog) that collects email addresses and/or phone numbers
- deliver valuable content
- use social media to connect with potential customers and clients
- host giveaways and sponsor other entrepreneurs
- use discount codes and customer referral codes
What does the sales department do?
Your sales system and team do everything humanly possible to close the deal. You have to decide how customers/clients will pay, when and how to upsell, how to appeal to pain points and use effective copy that will compel them to visitors to purchase from you.
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Another part of sales is to field customer service questions, create and implement customer surveys, and adjust the prices.
Some things your sales team will focus on:
- making sure the checkout cart works perfectly
- converting leads into purchasers
- map out your customer experience when they land on your website
- use safe and secure ways of processing payments
- developing these five parts of your website
- create rules for returns and refunds
- monitor which services/products are frequently bought together
- follow up on abandoned carts
- optimize product descriptions to make them intriguing and irresistible
- appropriate quality photos
How do you measure the success of a sales campaign?
Unlike the marketing department, the success of your sales strategy can be tracked with cold, hard numbers.
You can look at any number of metrics including, monthly sales, reviews, customer complaints, visitors vs. purchasers, how well developed your customer profiles are, and success rate of meeting quotas to see whether or not your hard work is paying off.
Think of it this way:
Marketing brings people to your business, your website, or your platform and sales takes it from there.
When you’re marketing your business you’re extending your promotional arms as far as possible, then scooping in everyone who may be interested in what you have to offer. (Do you have the same mental image that I do? Great. We’re both strange people). Some people will get left behind, some places you won’t reach, and some people will get lost along the way which is why marketing is a continuous and consistent process, reaching a little farther each time. Eventually, people will come to expect the extendo arms and will be ready when you come for them.
Once you’ve brought everyone back to your home base, the sales part of your campaign gets to work on labelling each individual, sectioning them off based on their interests/needs, and convincing them that they’ve been invited to take part in a unique and thrilling experience. The hope is that when they leave, they go back and tell everyone else to get on board!
There are some factors that have to be used in both your marketing and sales campaign. Five things that remain the same are:
- Focus on customer quality and experience
- Capture information whenever possible
- Reward loyalty
- Commit to strong values
We want people to be as passionate about our business as we are.
We want them to appreciate the level of quality we deliver time and time again. We want to surprise them, WOW them and delight them. We want our businesses to catch a fire so wild, nothing can put it out.
That kind of love starts in the way we deliver our brand. So, please… don’t just bunch together marketing and sales into one category. That’s sloppy, lazy, and ineffective. Treat each division with care, be meticulous and put the customer’s experience first!
Do you think of marketing and sales separately? Let me know in the comments below!