External marketing communication is the process of delivering targeted marketing messages to customers, prospects and business partners, such as distributors or retailers. An effective external marketing communication program can generate greater demand for your products or services and increase revenue and profits. Small businesses can develop external marketing communication programs themselves or appoint a consultancy to manage the process.
External marketing communication can help you achieve a number of important sales and marketing objectives. You can use it to increase awareness of your products and services, or to highlight the benefits of your offerings over those of your competitors. If you want to enter a new market, external communication makes prospective customers aware of your company and your products. Marketing communication also plays a part in building or improving relationships with customers, helping to increase loyalty and repeat sales.
Small businesses can use many different types of marketing communication tools to reach customers and prospects. Advertising in newspapers, magazines or local radio can help you to launch new products, announce a sale or promotional offer, or generate inquiries for your sales team to follow up. Advertising costs include the cost of the space or time, together with any professional fees for designing and writing the advertisements.
Direct marketing offers an alternative to advertising. Communicating with specific customers and prospects by mail or email enables you to make targeted offers and personalize the messages. If you manufacture sports goods, for example, you could develop a direct marketing campaign that makes different offers to school teams, amateur teams and professional clubs. Direct marketing costs include charges for buying or creating a mailing list, professional fees for creating the mailing campaign, distribution charges and the costs of any promotional item that forms part of the campaign.
Publications play an important role in external marketing communication. Product brochures provide customers and prospects with information on your products and services. You can use brochures as part of a direct marketing campaign or as a presentation tool for your sales team. By publishing a newsletter, you can keep customers and prospects informed on developments in your company, in addition to details of new products and services. Regular communication through newsletters helps you to maintain regular contact and build relationships with customers and prospects.
You can communicate with customers and prospects by organizing or participating in events, such as trade shows, seminars or conferences. Taking a booth at a trade show, for example, gives you the opportunity to meet prospects who are interested in the types of products featured at the show. By speaking at a seminar, you can demonstrate that you are an authority in the market and build confidence in customers and prospects.