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Are You Advertising or Marketing?

Many people use the terms marketing and advertising interchangeably, but there are some big differences between the two, and it’s important that you as a business owner understand those differences. While you may think they’re just some business terms, not understanding the differences can lead to a lot of wasted time and money for you and your business.

So what is advertising and what is marketing?
Advertising is the process of making your services known to an audience.
Marketing is the systematic research, planning, implementation, and control of a variety of activities to bring the business and consumer together.

Advertising is just one part of the complex system that is marketing.
Think of marketing as the big picture. It involves researching your local economy, determining your ideal client, finding the most efficient places and ways to get in front of your audience, designing your content, putting together the pieces of every advertisement, tracking and analyzing the results of all of your marketing efforts, and making changes to your marketing strategy from there.

You’re driving down the highway and see a billboard for a local restaurant. That’s advertising. They’ve made a singular impression, right?
You see that same restaurant set up at a local charity event, sponsoring a local sports team, strategically placing menus and flyers in a variety of places around town, showcasing their catering events on social media, and all kinds of other things. No doubt that business has done their research on each of these, and they’ll analyze the next month’s and quarter’s numbers with their averages and projections to determine if these things are effective, knowing what to do again, and/or how to change their efforts next time. This is marketing.

With advertising you’re simply putting a piece of content in front of an audience and hoping they bite. But if that’s all you’re doing, without all the efforts and strategy of marketing, you’ll often fall flat. Simply throwing out an advertisement with nothing more than “we offer massage therapy. book an appointment” isn’t going to result in much return. But when you use advertisements as a piece of the whole that is marketing, you’ve got the research, data, and direction of where to be, how to word that same content and create the supporting visuals, and how exactly you’ll determine the results of that advertisement. THAT is effective marketing.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re marketing, and not just advertising, is to develop a marketing strategy. It’s one of the most important, yet overlooked parts of a business. It’s not enough to know you have to market and then randomly try this and that advertisement and see what happens.

It’s just like a shopping list when you go to buy groceries. What happens when you don’t bring a list? You’ll probably get some of what you needed, but you’ll also get distracted and throw a few things in the cart you might not, and before you know it you’ve spent more money than intended, and when you get home, will realize you’ve forgotten several things on your list and you’ll have to go back. Marketing is the same way. Without a plan in place, yes, you might do some great things that are quite successful, but you’ll also waste a lot of money on things that aren’t useful and let some things slide that can have the biggest impact on your business. Taking the time to write out a marketing strategy will save you countless hours and dollars in the long run.

So take the time and effort to put a marketing strategy together. It is without a doubt, one of the best ways to get serious about getting clients in the door and keeping them coming back again and again, with a whole lot less trial and error in the process.

Lastly, let me say that no matter how detailed and great your plan is, you have to be flexible. You know what they say about the best laid plans. You will need to regularly update and tweak this to take into account what you’ve done that has been successful or not, your local economy, changes within your business plan, new techniques you may learn, and all that. This isn’t written in stone, but it will give you a great shopping list and roadmap to keep you focused on the task at hand. It’s easy to get sidetracked or distracted by all the newest shiny things that some random “expert” says are going to be the secret formula for growing your business. Stay focused.

I can’t tell you what will definitely work for your business here in this generic video format. No one can. If it was that easy, we could all follow some basic formula and be booked for life. But if you want someone to walk you through this and actually help you create a marketing strategy for your business, I can do that with a private consultation. I don’t offer the whole “coaching program” type stuff, but I do one-on-one business consultations that are centered on creating just this type of strategy for massage businesses around the world. You can check that out HERE.

Hey there! I'm a massage therapist, educator, writer, and business pro helping massage therapists around the world build successful businesses. My goal is to give you everything you need to start, run, and grow a profitable massage practice that supports a life you love, all without the headaches I went through learning how to do it myself.

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