What is the Marketing Mix?


By Lanee’ Blunt

The Four P's of Marketing--
svilen001



Marketing is very importantfor your business because it helps you attract new customers and keepsformer customers coming for repeat business. The marketing mix helps youdetermine how to satisfy your customers, and it can be planned, controlled andadjusted until you get the results that are best for your company.

Marketers use the marketingmix to create a value for their product. The elements in the marketing mix areproduct, place, price and promotion. The four-elements of the marketing mix areused and adjusted until the marketer gets the results that he wants. Forexample, pricing decisions are used in the form of cash discounts whichconvince customers to buy.

The product is analyzed forits ability to compete better than your competition. For example, quality andsafety can be used as a benefit. Price includes decisions that you would maketo price your product competitively. Place includes the distribution decisionfor example, how to reach your customers in what geographic location. Promotiondecisions are strategies that you will use to get more customers, such ascoupons and sales.


Reference:
Business Dictionary:Marketing Mix

Net MBA: The Marketing Mix




What Content is Included in the Finance Section of a Business Plan


By Lanee’ Blunt

Include your Financial Section--
lustfish



A financial section shouldalways be included with your business plan. A business plan is a written descriptionof your business and what you plan to do and how you are going to do it.  They are used by entrepreneurs that areseeking financing, firms that are trying to hire key personnel, firms trying toget investors.

The finance section of thebusiness plan should include your cash flow statements, of each year you havebeen in business—up to three to five years, company income statements, balancesheets and other financial ratios, such as a break-even analysis. You mayrequire help from your accountant or a good spreadsheet software program.


Reference:

Entrepreneur:  An Introduction to Business Plans

SBA: Writing a BusinessPlan: Financials




How to Get Leads for your Newsletter


By Lanee’ Bunt
Make it easy for people to sign
up for your newsletter--
Sqback


Keep your business name infront of your prospects. As a small business you also have to get formercustomers to use your business again and give you repeat business. Although coldcalling is an effective way: by calling the prospect and asking if they areready to buy—it is not for everyone. If you don’t like cold calling there areother alternatives like sending prospects your newsletter.


Buy or rent a mailing List. Makesure that all of the subscribers on your mailing list have opt-in to receive anewsletter from you.  You must havegained their email address by their permission or by signing up for yournewsletter, or subscribing to receive updated information, and they have takensome kind of action to indicate they’d want to receive information fromyou.  Provide a way for recipients tounsubscribe to your email, so make it easy for them to opt-out from your emailprogram.

Make your website easy foryour prospects to sign up for your email newsletter.  Create a way to capture the email addresseson your website. Make sure that all of the subscribers on your list have opt-into receive an email newsletter from you. “The most important thing to rememberis that all subscribers on your list must take some type of action to indicatethey would like to receive email communications from your company,” accordingto Simms Jenkins, in his book, The Truthabout Email Marketing, (FT Press, 2009). You can sign up for anautoresponder service. This service will collect subscriber’s email addressesfrom your website, manage your newsletter account by sending it to people thatrequested it.

Give your prospects anincentive for signing up for your newsletter by giving them a special gift. Forexample, free downloads of your ebook.

Reference:
SimmsJenkins; The Truth about Email Marketing;FT Press; 2009




How to Create a Basic Company Brochure


By Lanee’ Blunt

Compete with a company brochure--
Aperfect1

Creating a company brochure doesn’thave to be difficult. Brochures are not just for large corporations, but forsmall businesses and consultants also. It can be a sales tool for your smallbusiness that might help you get your foot in the door, or help you sell yourbusiness product.

Audience
Before you begin thebrochure think about who your audience is. Are you creating a brochure for aspecial client, B2B, engineers, or insurance companies? Your brochure must fitinto the information needs of your audience. For example, engineers may be interested in the performancespecifications of your product.

Writing
This is the perfectadvantage to tell the customer everything in detail about your small business.This may sound obvious but there are many small business brochures that I haveread that are merely just a long list of items, giving no details about thecompany, the service, or how it works. Tell the customer everything that they need to know about your product,write about the features, what is included—hours range of products or services,the specifications and the performance. Give facts.

Sections
There are many sections thatyou can use in the brochure. Sections can include information about product,service, price, ordering, and information on the owners or management. Useheadings and subheads with bullets. Keep it simple by breaking large text intoeasy to read sections.

Desktop Publishing
A desktop publishing programwill make your brochure look professional. Organize it with headings andsubheads which make it easy to read. Save your brochure in a PDF file if youwant to put it online.  You can use agood laser or an ink jet printer to print as many or as few brochures as youneed.

Reference:
Kenneth Roman, Jane Mass& Martin Nisenholtz; How to Advertise; Thomas Dunne Books



How to Start a Construction Business


By Lanee’ Blunt


Start your own construction business--
Hbrinkman


Starting a constructioncompany can be a profitable business if you have experience and can fix orremodel residential or commercial properties. You must understand contractdocumentation and must know your area of expertise, for example utilities,heavy grading, and site development. You can go to school for constructionmanagement or you can learn from experience, or you can start with another firmas an intern with 3 or more years experience before starting your own company.

You must set up yourbusiness as a legal entity. Decide which form of ownership is best for yourparticular business: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited LiabilityCompany (LLC), corporation, or S corporation.

Apply for an employee identification number (EIN) with the federal government. Fill-out the necessaryforms and send them back to the federal government and they will return it toyou with your EIN number.

Get the licenses and permitsthat you need to run your business. Most small businesses will need a generalbusiness license or specific operating permits from your state and localgovernment. Get insurance for your business to insure you and your companyagainst claims of personal injury and property damage.

Draw up a contract for yourcompany to use for clients. Define the scope of work, payment, and workschedule. Do not rely on a verbal contract and make sure that you geteverything in writing before you begin.

Reference:

Small Business BC:Considerations for Starting Your Construction Company; Candice Macalino; 2010

Entrepreneur; Starting aBusiness as a Remodeling Contractor; Paul and Sarah Edwards; 2004



Do I Need a Business License to Sell Products Online?

By Lanee' Blunt

Register with the appropriate
 government agencies--
Wilton


Starting a business onlinethe same basic rules apply as with setting up a small business. If you aregoing to sell your products on your own website, or if you are planning to sellthem on EBay or Etsy, you will need to register your business with theappropriate government agencies.

You must set up yourbusiness as a legal entity. Decide which form of ownership is best for yourparticular business: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited LiabilityCompany (LLC), corporation, or S corporation.

Apply for an employeeidentification number (EIN) with the federal government. Fill-out the necessaryforms and send them back to the federal government and they will return it toyou with your EIN number.  You will needthis to hire employees. The EIN is also known as an Employer Tax ID and FormSS-4. If you are not planning to hire employees you won’t need an EIN.

Most online merchants workfrom home but check with your county clerk’s office to find out what businesslicenses or permits you need. Many cities and county zoning and planningagencies require that you obtain a Home Occupation permit.

An online business in somestates is required to charge a sales tax and you may have to apply for a taxpermit or register with your state revenue agency. As an online business you areresponsible for collecting state and local sales taxes from your customers andthen paying these taxes to your state and local revenue agency.

Make sure that you complywith all of the regulations concerning privacy, advertising and copyright.

Reference:
SBA: Making Money Online:When you are a Business; Bob K; 2010



Read This Next



How to Work With Wholesale Suppliers


By Lanee’ Blunt



Find a wholesale supplier--
linder6580

Starting an online store,retail store, hair salon, or auto body shop you must have a relationship with awholesaler or wholesalers. Finding and forming a relationship with a wholesalerwill require that you do your homework. It’s easier to find one if you knowwhat products you will need.

Types of Wholesalers
You have to understand thedistribution channels and how companies get goods to their customers. Somewholesalers if you are a small company may not work with you because they onlysell to large companies that can handle bulk. There are many others that willwork with smaller businesses.

  • Manufacturer—you may buy direct for some products. For example, a small boutique buys goods from a small manufacturer.

  • Wholesaler Regional Distributor—regional wholesalers who take delivery of boxcar sized lots, and sells directly to local wholesalers.
  • Jobbers—they make daily deliveries to local grocers and retail brick and mortar stores.
  • Importer Distributor—they import and distribute a product in a certain country.

Start Accounts with Wholesalers
Identify a supplier. Contacteach wholesale company through their website, or by calling them on the phoneand fill out their new account application. Make sure you understand the volumediscounts, return policies, and order processing time for the types of productsyou want to sell. Purchase the products you want to sell or set up a dropshipping arrangement with them. Start promoting your online store or retail store.

Reference:
SBA: Small Business Matters;Tips for Finding and Working with Wholesale Suppliers; Caron Beesley; 2010


About: How to Find aWholesale Distributor; Gregory Go



Advantages and Disadvantages of Sending Postcards


By Lanee’ Blunt

Postcards are a great way toadvertise. The advertisement is written on one side of the card which allowsthe prospect to read it even briefly. You have a better chance of getting the postcard read because it has noenvelope. They are easy to create too. They have a way of speaking directly toyour client in a personal way. Postcard advertising is ideal for the smallbusiness owner on a budget.

Cheap
One advantage of postcardsis direct mail can be expensive depending on how many letters you aresending.  If you are planning to sendthousands of letters, at different intervals, this can be quite expensive. Youwill save on postage if you are planning to send large quantities of postcards.The cost is low, here in the USA;postage for a postcard is about $0.28 opposed to the cost for a first classstamped envelope.


Inform
They don’t make the sale,but they pave the way to send more advertising literature.  You can use them to let customers know thatyou are offering a discount, or let prospects know that a salesperson willvisit them. They do not require opening, so offer a discount, or a specialbonus, and your postcard will at least be evaluated.

Size
A disadvantage of postcardsis the limited size. You may want to put a lot of information on it but theamount of content that can go on the card is limited.

Privacy
Another disadvantage is thatyou will not have the privacy of using regular direct mail, and they do notprovide a means of concealing content.

Reference:
Crownstyles: The Advantagesand Disadvantages of Advertising Postcards



How to Start a Copywriting Business


By Lanee’ Blunt

Starting your own copywritingcompany can be a rewarding experience. When you are starting your new business,make sure you have all the necessary office equipment. A copywriting businesswill give you the opportunity to do what you love best and that is to write. Writinggives you the opportunity to meet potential clients, establish credibility, andset your own fees. The least expensive way to market your new business is by wordof mouth.

Difficulty
Moderate

Things You’ll Need
Business cards
Website
Stationary
Business license



Get your client base. Write a sales letter and create a brochure. Sendout a direct mail package informing prospects about your new business. Networkby passing out business cards, brochures and you can talk to business people andoffer your services. Ask for referrals. Ask for pro bono work when you arefirst starting out because it may produce future business.

Get Noticed.Send press releases to the local newspaper to get notoriety. Write articles andsend queries to trade journals and business publications. Writing articleshelps to get your name in front of your audience and is a form of publicrelations.

Acquire a “Doing Business As,” DBA. Register a legal name for your business if you aregoing to use a name other than your own name. Apply for the DBA with aregistration form with your state and local government.
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the US Internal Revenue Service if you havehired employees.

Set up a checking account for your new copywriting business.  Print business cards. Start a website thatyou can direct clients to with your contact information. Make it easy forprospects to get in touch with you on your website by setting up an emailaccount in case they want to hire you for a project.

Tips
Join your local Chamber ofCommerce.

Reference

SBA: 5 Steps to RegisteringYour Business



How to Register a Business


By Lanee’ Blunt

Starting your own businessrequires that you must have a marketable product or service that will reachyour paying customers. Starting a business involves planning, making financialdecisions, and following the steps to ensure that your company has thenecessary licenses, permits, and registrations.

Determine Legal Ownership
You must set up yourbusiness as a legal entity. Decide which form of ownership is best for yourparticular business: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited LiabilityCompany (LLC), corporation, or S corporation.

Obtain Federal Tax ID
Apply for an employeeidentification number (EIN) with the federal government. Fill-out the necessaryforms and send them back to the federal government and they will return it toyou with your EIN number.  You will needthis to hire employees. The EIN is also known as an Employer Tax ID and FormSS-4.

State and Local Taxes
Register with your state fora tax identification number, worker’s compensation, unemployment and disabilityinsurance.

Obtain Licenses and Permits
Get the licenses and permitsthat you need to run your business. Most small businesses will need a generalbusiness licensd or specific operating permits from your state and local government.

Reference:
SBA: 5 Steps to Registeringyour Business
Inc: How to Prepare toLaunch Your Start Up; Matthew DeLuca; 2011



Create a Brochure Online


By Lanee’ Blunt
Create your brochure online without the hassle.
aperfect1


Brochures can be made online.You can make company brochures and add your company logo or photographs of yourproduct or service.  They are easy tomake and you don’t have to learn a desktop publishing software program. You canprint the brochure yourself or you can have the online company print them andship them to you. Choose from many designs or upload your own designs andpictures.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Instructions
Open an online brochuretemplate. Some online brochure companies have nothing to download or install onyour computer.  You will be able todesign your own printable brochure. 

Select a brochure bybrowsing the templates. There are many designs to choose from that can bechanged to suit your needs. You can customize your brochure. Choose a templatethat represents your business. For example, if you are a copywriter choose abrochure with a typewriter or keyboard on the cover. Click on a design that youlike.

Select your logo design or theyhave their own logos, backgrounds and you can also use your own photographs orselect photos from their gallery.  Selectthe font size for the text on your brochure. Type your name, address, phonenumber, and website address.  Write shortcatchy headlines that will get your customer’s attention on every panel of thebrochure.  Keep your paragraphs brief anda use bulleted list for eye appeal. Write a strong call to action. You musthave a call to action that tells the reader to pick up the phone and call now.If the product is sold by mail ask them to send for a catalog.

Save your file. With someonline brochure companies you can save your file in PDF format so that it canbe printed professionally, or you can order from them and they will print themfor you and ship them within a few days or you can print the brochure yourself. Make any changes and readjustmentsnecessary to the saved file and print.

Tips

Make sure that you proofreadthe information before you print.







Create a Marketing Brochure


By Lanee’ Blunt


A small business brochure
can be effective--
Miamiamia
Creating a marketingbrochure is a very important business decision. How much should go into the brochure? You certainly can’t puteverything, but you can do a series of brochures for different products or services.  Start with an outline when you begin to writeit and outline the benefits to using your product or service.

Brochures are a great sales tool for your smallbusiness
You need more than aletterhead with your company name and address because customers want to knowmore information about your company. A small business brochure can help to sellyour business and make a big difference, when prospects ask for moreinformation. 

Audience
The brochure has to bewritten with your audience in mind.  Whatdo they want from your company? This is not the opportunity to go on and onabout how great your company is. Look at it from the prospective of; what dothey want from you?

How does it Work
How does the product work?Explain in detail the features of the product. Give the prospect most of theinformation that they need to know so they can take the next step and purchasethe product.  All of the services offeredby your firm should be written in detail descriptions explaining how theservice works. This is not the time to brag about your company, but explain howyour firm benefits the customer. The brochure for your small business is agreat way to give your customers enough information about your product orservice.  






Creating a Marketing Brochure


By Lanee’ Blunt

Marketing Brochures that work
svilen001

Having a brochure will helpyour customer get a detailed account of your company or service.  Brochures are created for a variety ofthings, like the services they offer, and their products. Every small businessand consultant needs to have a brochure; because it helps your company to becomebetter known in the market place.

The brochure lets prospectsknow that your small business is reputable and that they can take youseriously.  Your company is here and readyto compete.  “Anyone can spend $50 onletterhead and business cards and call themselves a corporation.   But a brochure proves you are in businessand shows you’re more than a fly-by-night operation,” according to Robert Bly’sbook titled, The Copywriter’s Handbook.

Don’t wait until the lastminute to create a brochure. You may lose out if you are not prepared and havean advertising brochure that will help sell your service.
You will have limited timeto create one when you are trying to win a bid, or when a prime prospect asksfor more information on your small business. 

Create your brochure with adesktop publishing program it will make it look professional. Once you havedecided what content you want to include pick a program that has a variety oftemplates that you can choose. Organize it with headings and subheads whichmake it easy to read. Save your brochure in a PDF file if you want to put itonline.  You can use a good laser or anink jet printer to print as many or as few brochures as you need.  Take your brochure to a professional printeron a CD saved in a PDF file. 

Reference:

Robert Bly; The Copywriter’sHandbook; Owl Books




How to Write a Proposal for a Service Business


By Lanee’ Blunt

A proposal for a service businessis used for bidding on a RFP, asking for funding, or used to persuade potentialclients or customers to support the proposal financially. Write from an outline.Deconstruct the request for proposal (RFP) to develop an outline. Servicebusinesses need to summarize their concerns and begin planning early before writingthe proposal.  Collect all of theinformation on your company from service brochures, and ensure that graphs thatwill be included are relevant.

Difficulty
Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need
Company brochures
Graphs
Charts


Write a project summary orexecutive summary which is a brief summary of the project. Tell the evaluatorsor client why your service is best for the contract.

Start the next section with “qualifications”information. Write about the number of similar types of contracts. State thesize of each plan and the number of participants, or amount of assets.  Give references from similar types of contractsthat you have done.

Start the third section“Personnel information” and the responsibilities of key employees in your company,and subcontractors that are named in the proposal.

Start the forth section“Cost estimate” and explain the price you are proposing. List a project price.  Include each service that is proposed with adetailed fee schedule.

Address expected completiondates in the fifth section. Address major topics in the request for proposal(RFP) and address them in the order that they appear in the RFP. 

Avoid typos that will makeyour proposal look unprofessional.
Eliminate all errors byproofreading the proposal. Rewrite sections that are too vague and don’texplain the full meaning of what you are proposing. 

Tips
Make sure that your proposalhas demonstrated that your company has the capability to perform the job.

Reference
Findfrp: GovernmentContracting; How to Write a Proposal or Respond to a Bid Solicitation

   



What is a Promotional Mix?


By Lanee’ Blunt

Sales promotions areinducements that a business uses to encourage the purchase of a product orservice. The promotion mix includes sales promotion, advertising, directmarketing, publicity, and personal selling.

What is Promotion Mix?
The promotional mix is thecoordination of marketing activities which includes publicity, sales promotion,advertising, direct marketing and personal selling. It is a coordination ofactivities that you will do to directly interact with your customers. Forexample giving sales presentations helps you to interact with the customers’one-on-one to answer their questions and demonstrate your product.

The promotional mix’s goalwould be to inform persuade and remind your customer about your product orservice. Sales promotion is inducements with the purpose of encouragingcustomers to buy for example, cents off coupons. Merchandising is used in thestore to stimulate sales. For example displays, signs and posters. Thepromotional mix uses advertising which is a paid form of non-personalpresentation. Public relations are firms communicating with their customers,employees and stockholders. It is important that a business have a solidreputation with customers. For example, one way firms communicate is by sendingout newsletters or press releases. Personal selling is used either by phone orface-to-face to the prospect, for example, to address your customers concernsand answer their questions directly.

Reference:
BrooklynCUNY: Advertising Publicity and Sales Promotions


Test Direct Mail


By Lanee’ Blunt

Before you invest your timeand your money in a direct mail program you should test your sales letter. Youhave to know if the letter will pull a response.  A great benefit of using a sales letter isthat it can be tested to see how well it will do. 

You can test your directmail before you invest a lot of money in the sales campaign.  And you should test it.  You can send a small sample of letters to seewhat your response of the direct mail will be. For example, if you send 100 letters and you receive 3 replies then youhave a 3% response rate.  If you send out100 letters and have no replies then you have to revise the direct mail.

The letter is able to testmany things when it is mailed.  You cantest prices, titles, offers, and audiences. Keep accurate records of change of address, response rates and theresults of each mailing.



Direct Mail Advertising


By Lanee’ Blunt

Direct mail is an effective wayto get more leads, sell products, and get your sales team into the door.  Advertising is a challenge and you need to doit without breaking your bank. Direct mail is not just for large corporations,if it is written correctly, it will be to your advantage to use.

Reaches a Target Market
Your direct mail can betargeted toward a group of people and written just for that group to interestthem in your product or service. “Direct mail is the only mass medium that canbe directed toward target groups or prospects. The message may be highlypersonalized and can also be designed as an effective market research tool,”according to B. Charles Ames & James D. Hlavacek, in their book, Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms.

Sales letters are LowCost
Your letters can bewritten on your computer. You can send out as many or as few as you like.  You can send out a batch of 500 letters withonly the cost of postage, envelopes and paper. Personal letters are low cost, you can send out as few as one letter.The personal letter will have the prospects full name, business address, andsomething about their particular business. Personal letters is one of the mosteffective, easy, inexpensive and overlooked methods of marketing.

Reference:

B. Charles Ames & JamesD. Hlavacek; Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms; Random House

Jay Conrad Levinson; Guerrilla Marketing; Houghton Mifflin



How to Make an Effective Business Brochure


Content is what sells, sowhen you think about having a fancy brochure; make sure that you write itpersuasively. Every small business should have a brochure. The brochure helpsyour small business to become better known in the market place.  It helps the customer get a detailed accountof your company or service.

There has to be a headlineon the cover of the brochure. Some people will only read the first page, and sowork hard in the headline to gain interest in what you are selling. “The coverof a brochure works like the headline of a print advertisement. State yourposition or promise a benefit to the reader,” according to Kenneth Roman, JaneMass, and Martin Nisenholtz, in their book, Howto Advertise.

Service
Explain completely what yourservice is about.  What do you offer theclient that is different from your competition? What are the types of accountsyou handle?

How does it Work?
How does the product work?Explain in detail the features of the product. Give the prospect most of theinformation that they need to know so they can take the next step and purchasethe product. 

Sell
A small business brochurecan help to sell your business and make a big difference, when prospects askfor more information.  Customer’s want toread about your business or product especially if they are about to spend a lotof money.  They want to make sure theyare making the right decision.

Reference:

Kenneth Roman, Jane Mass,and Martin Nisenholtz; How to Advertise; 2003




Direct Mail Advertising Tips


By Lanee’ Blunt

A sales letter can beproduced with a laser printer, letterhead stationary, and a qualified mailinglist.  Direct mail is an excellent way tosell your products.  You can write akiller sales letter that will get your foot in the door.  If you hate cold calling; sending direct mailto a qualified mailing list has been proven effective in gaining better leads.

Focus on the Audience
What is the prospect’sproblem, and how can your company help them? Your direct mail will tell the reader the benefits of using yourbusiness. This will help you write a tight well targeted letter.

Benefits
Begin with a desirablebenefit and what the customer wants from your service that your competitorcannot match. The sales letter’s focus will be on the benefits of the customerand what the consumer wants. Try not to focus on your company and how great youare, but focus on what your company does for the prospect. Does your product orservice save the consumer money? Improve productivity? Does your software solveproblems? Stress benefits in your letter.

The P.S. and ShouldYour Sales Letter Have One
The advantage of having aP.S. on your sales letter is that it has been known to lift response.  You should not waste any time here, give thetime limited offer again, your free gift, or your best benefit.  You can put your toll free number if you haveone, or just a regular telephone or fax number will do.



Direct Mail Advantages


By Lanee’ Blunt

Direct mail is effective ingetting sales leads and can help you market your service. A good direct mailpackage for your company can make your prospect take action. Small businessesshy away from direct mail because they don’t understand how it can work fortheir particular company.  Sales letterscan be a powerful tool for your business if handled the right way.

Test
A great benefit of usingdirect mail is that it can be tested to see how well it will do. Before youinvest your time and your money in a direct mail program you should testit.  You have to know if the direct mailwill pull a response.  You can use asmall sample of one hundred letters, mail them and test your response.  If the direct mail is not strong enough andyou receive no response then you must revise your letter.


Follow up
The direct mail package canbe used to stay in touch with your former customers and your prospects.  You can use a brochure with your letter, orsend something that you’ve written like one of your published articles. Thismay help the prospect make the decision to use your firm by giving theminformation that is beneficial.



How to Use Direct Mail


By Lanee’ Blunt

Direct mail can help you getleads, sell your products and get repeat business. Small businesses oftenstruggle to get a marketing program. There are many advantages to using directmail and it can be targeted toward a group of prospects. The message may bepersonalized and can also be designed as an effective market research tool.

Leads
Use direct mail to obtainleads for sales representatives or a telemarketing staff. If you need moreleads for your firm you can use a sales letter to generate leads. You can getmore qualified leads by using a mailing list. When you need more prospects sendout another batch of letters. There will be no cold calling when you call theprospect they will expect to hear from you if you send them a reply card in yourpackage. Most of they time they will check the “call me” box on the card.

Build a customer list
Direct mail can be used tobuild a customer list who is interested in areas related to your specialty.

Keep in Touch
Direct mail can be used tostay in contact with your customers. You don’t have to be too pushy by askingif they are ready to buy from you, just send them a direct mail package.

Reference:
B. Charles Ames & JamesD. Hlavacek; Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms; Random House



How to Measure Direct Mail Results


By Lanee’ Blunt

Direct mail can be targetedto specific groups and prospects. It is one of the most measurable marketingtools. It can be carefully targeted and you can create ways that will traceback new leads and let you know which campaign worked.

You may have several adcampaigns running simultaneously, or you have received a lot of orders, orcalls and increased traffic to your website after a direct mail campaign. Thereis no need to assume that you know where the leads came from, but it is a wayto measure or track your direct mail results. A measurement system shouldmeasure important activities of the direct marketing program which will relateto the success or failure of the campaign.

Use Tracking Codes
Incorporate a tracking codeon your coupons and on your self-addressed reply cards, forms or envelopes.These tracking codes will be different and for certain pieces only.

Toll-Free Number
Offer a specific toll-freetelephone number. There may be many different letters or direct mail piecesthat you are using, so set-up a different toll-free number for each direct mailpackage.

Email Address

Set up an email address andonly use it for a certain campaign.

Tracking systems help yougauge the results of your campaign before you send out a large-scale campaign.It will save you time and money to actually know what worked and what didn’t.

Reference:
Deliver Magazine: 7 Ways toMeasure Mail Success

Andrew R. Thomas; DirectMarketing in Action; Praeger, 2007




How to Make Your Own Business Cards Online

By Lanee' Blunt


Business cards can be madeonline and can look professional. You can make company business cards and addyour company logo.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things you’ll need:
Printer
Card stock
PDF (optional)

Instructions
Open an online business cardmaker. Some online business card makers have nothing to download or install onyour computer. You will be able to design your own printable businesscard. 

Select a Business card bybrowsing the designs gallery. There are many styles to choose from that can bechanged to suit your needs. You can customize your cards. Choose the full bleedimage which prints to the edge of the card—8 cards per page, or choose no bleedwhich prints white between cards—10 cards per page. It will depend on the styleof card that you have selected.

Select your logo design orthey have their own logos, backgrounds or fonts you can also use your ownphotographs.  
Select the font size for thetext on your business card. Type your name, address, phone number, and websiteaddress.

Save your file. With someonline business card makers you can save your file in a PDF format so that itcan be printed professionally, or you can instantly create and print your owncards at home.  Make any changes andreadjustments necessary to the saved file and print.

Tips
Make sure that you proofreadthe business card before you print.




How to Use Postcards to Advertise a Business

By Lanee' Blunt


Postcard advertising is easyto use and it is an effective form of direct mail. They are inexpensive andeasy to create, and put your message in front of your prospect. They allow youto keep your prospects informed, generate leads, and announce special sales.

You can use postcardadvertising selectively. You can send postcards by the tons, or you can justsend one to any group of customers on your mailing list.

Postcards can create leadsby letting customers know of events you are planning, for example a sale, or aspecial promotion. They can be used as a follow up to prospects that haven’tresponded to your mailing program, by keeping your business name in front ofthem. They can be used with other pieces of your direct mail at certain timesof the month. Let the prospect know that you are offering a special discountwithin a certain time period.

Postcards can be used as aprinted reminder to come in and service their car, or to visit your website foradditional information.

Postcards are an effectiveway to advertise and they reach your prospects with a professional approach.They are a great low cost way to get familiar with how direct mail can work foryour business.

Reference:
Advertising for SmallBusinesses: Post Card Advertising

Larry Mersereau; Post CardPower, Promo Power; 2004



How to Make a Business Card on Microsoft Word Templates


By Lanee’ Blunt


When you create yourbusiness card, unfortunately, hiring a professional designer may be out of yourbudget. You can still have a professional business card that is cost effective,visually appealing, and able to capture the essence of what your company is allabout. Your business card should look profdssional, so that you will be readyto compete in the market place.  


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions
Things you’ll need:
Business card stock
Computer
Microsoft Word
Color printer

1.      Open Microsoft Word and click “New”.

2.      Choose the kind of publication you want in the “New”task pane. Click “Templates online”. 


3.      Look at the templates. Choose a publication designthat you like in the gallery.   A Businesscard template appears. Click on card. Click download.

4.      Type your business information into the personalinformation page.  This includes yourname, job or position, organization name, address, phone, fax, and email.


5.      Import your company logo right in the design of the businesscard. Your logo should be a design that expresses what your business is andhelps you stand out from the competition.

6.      Save the file.


7.      Print one copy to be sure that you like the colorscheme and layout.  If you don’t you canalways go back into your saved file and make any changes and readjustments.

8.      Print enough copies so that you can have them fordaily use. 


Resources:



Developing a Marketing Plan

By Lanee' Blunt



Developing a marketing planfor your company can help you define your market. Marketing is more thatadvertising. A marketing plan helps you focus your efforts toward what will getthe best results for your company. Your strategy is to try and understand yourcustomers and take action toward delivering your product or service to them.

Set your objectives. What isyour goal for the marketing plan? Establish marketing objectives that willaccomplish your business goals.

Create a vision statement.This is a mission statement for your company that will specify exactly whatyour long term vision is. Identify the attributes of your product or servicethat define the brand and its long-term position.

Create a marketing budget.Your budget information is what you have set aside either per quarter or perannual for marketing your business. Set your prices for your product or serviceas a competitive rate. Evaluate the process of the marketing planseffectiveness. Measure your results against the standards that you set when youmade or set your goals. Develop a schedule for which gives a timeline for eachof your marketing actions.

Reference:
Inc; How to Write aMarketing Plan; Darren Dahl; 2010
AAFP; Nine Steps to a StrategicMarketing Plan; Rebecca Anwar, PHD and Judy Capko; 2001


What are the Benefits of a Marketing Plan?

By Lanee' Blunt



A marketing plan is a planthat helps you define your market. Many small businesses operate theirbusinesses without giving much thought to preparing a marketing plan. Sometimesthey luck up and do things right, but most times they don’t know what workedand what didn’t work. A marketing plan will put in place a strategy forattracting more customers and it helps to anticipates changes.

A benefit to having amarketing plan is that it helps you understand your target market, what youpropose to do to reach that market, and how you plan to differentiate yourselffrom your competition.

It puts in place an outlineof the cost of how you are going to achieve your marketing goals within acertain timeframe. Each activity in the marketing plan is based on solidresearch and specific goals. It serves as a road map to help you achieve thosegoals. When you are working from your marketing plan it doesn’t mean that youcan’t change things and that it’s set in stone. Consider the tactics thatworked well and the ones that didn’t work at all. For example, an ad you put inthe paper gave high results, opposed to one you put in a directory that didn’tpull a high response.

Reference:
SBA: Developing a Marketing Plan


Writing Business Proposals

By Lanee' Blunt

Writing a business proposal can be intimidating, but you can lesson the stress by careful preparation. Deconstruct the request for proposal (RFP) and develop an outline. Address every term and requirement in the RFP when you write the outline. The proposal will be evaluated by what your business is going to bring to the table.

Focus on how your product or service will help your prospects achieve their goal and meet objectives. Demonstrate that your firm has the capability to perform the proposed job.

Create a timeline for completion and set deadlines for each section of the proposal. People that are responsible for sections of the proposal make sure that they will have their end on time, for example, managers, engineers, and contractors.

Complete all documents that have to be submitted with the proposal. Gather all documentation that will be submitted for example, brochures and company balance sheets.

Eliminate all errors by proofreading the proposal. Rewrite sections that are too vague and don’t explain the full meaning of what you are proposing. Avoid typos that will make your proposal look amateurish and unprofessional. Complete the proposal before your deadline so that you will have time to revise it.

Onvia: B2G Resources: First Steps to a Winning Proposal

Fedmarket: Proposal Writing: Filling the Holes