5 Marketing Strategies To Boost Small Business Profits

When most people talk to us about their marketing, they focus on advertising. While advertising is a part of the marketing mix, that's all it is. A part. Marketing is much bigger.

A better way to think about marketing is to envision a pyramid. Marketing is at the top clearly defining the direction of a business or organization while advertising and public relations are at the base supporting the marketing function.

Think of it this way. Marketing is everything you do to make your product or service more visible, more desirable and more profitable. Your marketing plan will clearly define the big picture and provide focus and direction based on the 4 Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion.

Whether it's sending an invoice, handling a complaint call, running a radio ad or sending an e-mail, you're marketing your business if you're touching a customer or a potential customer.

That said, let's talk about ways to use marketing to increase business and get new customers. While there are many tactics available, there are 5 categories that will simplify your efforts and help you get better results. Develop a plan that includes five key components: Advertising; Public Relations; Special Promotions; Community Relations; and Customer Relations

Advertising is paid space that typically includes print, television and radio commercials, signs, direct mailings and Internet messages. You have control over content, format, timing and size because you are paying for it. Because readers and viewers know you are paying for it, they tend to view advertising as biased information with less credibility than public relations. Advertising can be expensive and is often overused as a tactic to meet marketing goals.

Public Relations includes ongoing, slow, build-up activities to build a brand and communicate specific messages to targeted audiences. Time, energy and imagination, rather than big budgets are key to success. Campaigns are typically conducted through the media (newspapers, magazines, television, radio), where readers view content as a credible message from an unbiased source. Editors and reporters have the final say as to publication timing and content. Public Relations can garner media placement and gain more credibility than any of your advertising messages can buy.

Special Promotions include punch cards, t-shirts and special events. They are a great way to reward people and/or personally touch a lot of customers in a short time.

Community Relations is all about your business becoming involved in your community. Perhaps your business donates money to nonprofit associations or events like the American Birkebeiner's Ski for the Cure program. Maybe you and your employees volunteer at a fundraising event or you or your employees join a service club. Community relations boosts credibility by building personal relationships with customers and creating goodwill in the community.

Customer Relations includes anything that builds or strengthens a relationship with a past, present or potential customer. It takes far less money and effort to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one, so customer relations is a vital component of a successsful business.

A good Marketing Plan always incorporates these 5 key marketing components. If one is left out, it is guaranteed that less than 100% effort is being made toward growing your business.

Creating a clearly defined Brand and combining a mixture of marketing
tactics that address these 5 components to promote that Brand are key to business success.

If you define what you want to accomplish, research options, and
develop an excellent plan, you will be on your correct path to attracting more customers, bigger profits and a business you can brag about.

Marketing Spitfires Holly George and Leslie Hamp are creators of the 'Fast Track to Marketing Mastery' program. To learn more about the step-by-step program, and to sign up for their FREE Marketing Mastery Success Kit, visit http://www.boostyourbottomline.com