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Marketing 101 - Basics Methods of Promotion by Vesta Copestakes

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Marketing 101:
Basics Methods of Promotion
by Vesta Copestakes 

by Vesta Copestakes

This begins a column I’ve wanted to do for a long time. We’ll have several different people author this so it's not just one voice – one perspective. But I want to get it started.

People think of me as a publisher – but in my previous life, I owned an advertising agency and did marketing and public relations for clients. The reason the Gazette has grown and continues to grow is because I market it relentlessly.

For business, marketing is all about economic survival. I work with many very small businesses., one-person shops with limited marketing budgets. Below is a quick run-down of how small businesses promote themselves – and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Word of Mouth: Without a doubt the least expensive method and one a great many people consider the best. They make a quality product, provide a quality service and depend upon their satisfied customers to tell others how great they are. There’s a theory that each person who talks about something reaches 125 people with their message.

That message had better be positive if it's going to reach that many people. But people tend to complain more readily than they compliment. It’s human nature. You have a bad day and disappoint someone and that person will tell someone just to vent. These days they will also go on YELP and vent there as well. The complainer reaches thousands instead of hundreds.

So word of mouth works both ways – good and bad. But the bottom line is that you have NO CONTROL over your message. Is that smart?

Public Relations: It’s free if you send out your own press release so it only costs you time….the most valuable “thing you own”. But if you hire a professional pubic relations person or firm, it costs you money. That’s good – not bad, because a professional knows how to make the case that your message is worthy of media attention.

But media has it's own rules. Is it news? If it’s NEW it's NEWS. Is it interesting to our audience? Maybe. Is it commercial as opposed to news worthy? If it’s purely commercial then you need to be talking with the advertising department. No free lunch. If you are going to make money on it, then so should the media.

Facebook: The rules for commercial sites on Facebook are very different from personal ones. They charge money for your posts if you want them to reach a broad audience. LIKES reach people who already know about you. But Facebook doesn’t send posts to your LIKES if you are a business – they insist on getting paid for it. Again – you are in BUSINESS…so are they. But they do offer a marketing department to help you navigate through their system and it's very helpful….and free.

Branding: This stumbles people who are new to business. They know what they are selling, but they don't always know how to sell it in a way that creates a consistent message. Consistency is branding – both in terms of a visual brand as well as a message brand. You can brand by the words you choose to identify yourself as much as by the logo or icon you create.

But chose it early and take the time to make it the best it can be because you don't want to change it any time soon. People form habits and a sense of familiarity and that’s what makes them feel like they “know” you. If you change anything, make it subtle.

Advertising: Use your brand. Whether you are on the internet, broadcast, or print media, your message needs to be the same. And don't get stuck with just one medium unless you have as much business as you want. Use only one “vehicle” and you are leaving out every person who doesn’t listen to, read or spend time with that medium.

Next month we’ll cover media – the method you use to get your message out to potential customers. It’s a broad subject with LOTS of choices and smart business owners need to know how to spread their marketing budget across as many media messengers as possible.