What makes "sales" different from "marketing"? And how does knowing the difference help you to optimize your business strategies?
A lot of new and smaller sellers tend to confuse the terms sales and marketing, either lumping them together or ignoring the terms altogether. But a failure to grasp the difference could cost you opportunities to gain a larger audience and grow your business.
In the long process of acquiring customers, marketing comes first. This is the stage when you make yourself visible to the marketplace. Marketing plans help you:
Sales comes next. This is the stage when customers are already at a point of sale where they can easily buy your items. They've found your store, have demonstrated some initial interest in what you do, and are looking for additional reasons to purchase.
Note that when customers find you through online searches, they've skipped the marketing stage. They're jumped right to your store and directly into the sales process.
What's Your Goal?
Understanding what stage you're at with customers helps you decide what to say and how to say it. It also helps you pinpoint the best strategies to use for each location where you make contact with buyers.
For example, if you have a product post on Instagram, but the customer can't purchase there, that's a marketing post. Which means your goal is either:
In the first case, you need to provide a way for customers to get to the point of sale and also need to state your goal clearly. "Buy Now."
In the second case, you need to provide a way for customers to remain in touch and need to state that goal in a way that helps customers take action. "Click on the link to learn more." You can also keep them engaged by starting a conversation. "This month's birthstone is the opal. Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry with your birthstone in it?" There are lots of options.
In large companies the distinction between sales and marketing is very clear, since they maintain separate departments for each. The marketing team develops the programs that get the message out into the marketplace, motivating potential customers to learn more and ask questions. Once a customer starts showing an interest in the company's products or services, the sales team takes over.
Does this brief overview give you any ideas for ways you can shift your social media or onsite activities to optimize the selling process? Feel free to comment or ask a question. And check the blog for more tips on marketing, social media, copywriting and SEO.
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Barbara Clavan provides copywriting, coaching and consulting services to high-growth businesses, high-profile individuals and creative entrepreneurs.
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