It turns out a lot of people think that marketing is the same thing as sales or advertising equals marketing. That's totally not the case!
Marketing is a complex system of many activities, strategies and thorough research that often, but not always, aim to increase the sales. Sometimes marketing is done purely to strengthen the brand image. Other times, it is to ensure the right audience is reached and retained and to boost interest towards a particular product or service.
Adverts are just one type of marketing activity. Ads' main purpose is to drive sales, although, they could also aim to simply increase the brand awareness.
Sales are the last stage of the marketing process where a transaction/conversion occurs.
In 2019, you can't have sales without marketing. However, you can certainly make sales without advertising! A perfect example for this is sales through referrals or word of mouth. These are achieved when there was a sound marketing strategy at the beginning, quality of the product or service and good customer service.
What is a Successful Marketing Strategy?
If you want to sell, then your marketing strategy has to be smooth, well-thought and subtle, but powerful. You can't begin your marketing activities with an advert and expect to sell. Why? Because people don't know you. They know nothing about your brand, your product, your service. The trust factor is not there. Start from telling your story to your ideal client. Where are they? Maybe in a Facebook group, or at a networking event. Perhaps they are at a children's centre, at a business conference. Find them and introduce yourself, your brand. Nurture your relationship before you start advertising what you do.
Your website is not just a sales tool. It is a convenience you create for your ideal client, because you know they like shopping online, or spend their time often browsing the Internet or prefer to pay by card than cash. Creating positive experience for your customers is a form of marketing.
Your social media profiles are NOT for advertising. You have a business page for that. But even if your organic posts sound too salesy, Facebook penalises them. That's why we have paid ads. Your organic activity on your page, your groups or your profile is meant to nurture your relationship with your potential customers. To show your audience that you are just like them, and not the next business trying to get their money. It's marketing.
Email marketing is not meant to close a sale, even though it's used in this way by many businesses. Its purpose is again to maintain the relationship and to warm the funnel before you get to the sale stage.
You don't think I'm making sense? How many of you have bought something recently from a cold call? Anything?
Why do you think someone will pay attention to your product or service just because you are using intrusive and aggressive strategies? Shoving your stuff in people's face without warning is bad marketing strategy in this day and age.
Speaking of funnels, let's place each terminology right. Your marketing efforts will need to be very strong at the beginning of the funnel. Subtle, smooth, but catchy. Whatever you put out must hit the pain points of your market, it must answer questions before they were asked. Display solutions and benefits.
Your ads will come mid-funnel. Then you can focus on the exact features of your products and services and how these solve problems.
At the end of your funnel you find sales. And then retention. Facebook paid ads are a perfect example of well-thought funnels. If you are doing it right, your campaigns should start with ads for brand awareness. Then move on to engagement - get people to interact with your page and your post, move them from Facebook to your website with a traffic ad. In the meantime, use lead generation ads to build email lists of warm audience.
Once you've warmed up your consumers, you can begin to create and distribute conversion ads. Using the data from your Pixel is crucial. These will now bring you sales. However, to complete a strong sales funnel, you must not forget retention. That's when the same customer comes back for more. Retargeting ads are an invaluable weapon you can use to achieve such results.
A Word on Call to Action
The power engine for most ads is call to action. The problem is, call to action begins to be less and less effective, especially for the young generation, especially online, especially in developed countries, especially with a COLD audience. You can use call to action successfully only if your audience is warm to hot, i.e. at the last stages of the funnel.
To sum this all up, marketing and advertising are two different things. Sales is a third one entirely.
Your marketing shouldn't make people feel uncomfortable or bullied. Your ads can be aggressive when targeted at warm or hot audience. The result, when both are in place, will be sales.