What Advertising & Publicity Can and Can't Do For You
Let's sort out this business of advertising, publicity and marketing:
Advertising can do the following:
You cannot market or sell a product or a service! You market: benefits, solutions and problem solvers! People buy for one and only ONE reason: they have a need or a problem. If you want to be financially successful and increase your business, you must emphasize those benefits and solutions.
In case you didn't know -- "NEW" doesn't sell anything. The fact that a service or product is "new" has no meaning to your potential client unless she understands how it will serve or benefit her. Let's say you are a landscaper and have decided to include organic pest control to your services. The fact that such a service is "new" means nothing to your customer until he or she understands what the benefits are and you have convinced that customer of the need for it.
To grow your business, you need to budget both your time and money. When it comes to money, you should set aside 3% - 12% of your gross receipts for marketing. In addition, you should plan to devote 10% of your time to marketing, promoting and publicizing your business. Don't expect to see results immediately. It generally takes at least three months before you see a noticeable increase in sales or responses, so you must be patient, consistent and persistent.
Repetition is your key to success. You have to advertise whether you want to or not. If you don't speak for yourself and your business, others will do it for you. Are you willing to settle for what they have to say about you? Your customers and clients don't know what you can do for them unless you tell them and keep on telling them. Everyday a new set of customers arrives on the scene. New people move to the area, children become adults, and people make career changes. Many folks develop new interests and hobbies, change lifestyles, and develop new and different wants and needs. If you don't advertise, how are they going to know they need what you have to offer?
When you are seeking publicity, remember that the article written about you carries the most weight because it implies an endorsement of you and your business and is therefore, more believable to the reader. Editors are hungry for that which is new and interesting to offer to readers, but what you have to offer must be newsworthy.
"News" is anything that other people are interested in. Let's say that you run an athletic store. The fact that you have just added a new line of athletic shoes that is endorsed by a famous athlete is not newsworthy in and of itself. However, if you donate 10% of the sale of those shoes over a two-day period to your local high school basketball team -- that is news of interest to your community.
Having a sale is not news. But you can turn a sale into something that is newsworthy. You can make arrangements to have a famous person or a local celebrity appear to demonstrate the benefits of those shoes or to kick off a charity event. You can create an event by asking folks to trade in their old athletic shoes to be donated to a local charity.
You might wish to create an event to honor someone in your community. You might choose to honor a local author, builder or artisan, for example. Or you could honor the community's oldest citizen by taking a birthday party to that person. All of these deeds are noteworthy and of interest to those in your community.
If you're still stuck for ideas, consider making a deal with a local corporation for a worthy cause. Don't be afraid to approach corporations with your charitable ideas -- most of them budget dollar amounts to make donations for tax purposes. Let's say you make arrangements for a corporation to donate a computer, software, or other products to your local elementary school for a specified amount of your cash register receipts. It will cost you nothing. Such projects are newsworthy because they benefit local children, while creating good will for you!
So there you are. Marketing successfully means you must combine both advertising and publicity to come up with a winning plan. When you budget your time, money and effort, you can increase your name recognition, establish credibility, build your image and increase your profit.
This article was written by Darla Sims of 2nd Mile Productions. To get a free copy of her brochure, 101 Publicity Tips, How To Publicize Yourself Or Your Business and for more information send a #10 SASE to 2nd Mile Productions, PO Box 12280, Mill Creek, WA 98082-0280 or Email: DarlaS@msn.com
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