4 Ways to Advertise a Small Business

By Lanee’ Blunt
Affordable advertising--

Advertising your smallbusiness on a budget can be challenging. However, advertising can be done on abudget, but it requires some time on your part. Here are four options you maywant to consider that are inexpensive and effective. 

Get Listed Electronic Directories
Electronic directories are agood place to list your business, some of them are free, and they let you writeabout your small business. Write an attention grabbing headline. List your businessin the Yellow Pages. 

Classified Advertising
Advertise your smallbusinesses in the classified section of newspapers or magazines. Classified adcharges are based on the number of lines, and on the number of words.  Classified ads are inexpensive and effective.

Door Hangers
Write an ad and target themarket that you want. For example, if you have a landscaping business you mightwant to target a high-end housing district. Door hangers are anotherinexpensive way to advertise your business they are affordable and effective.

Postcard advertising ishdeal for the small business owner on a budget. You can print labels on yourcomputer; the other side of the postcard should have an offer, for example, announcea sale, a discount, or two for the price of one. Create a tempting offer, andit should improve your response rate. 

Sample Business Proposal

By Lanee’ Blunt
Write your business proposal--

An outline helps you preparethe information that needs to go into the proposal. You must have a clearunderstanding of the business proposals objectives, technical scope, and cost.The proposal must convince the evaluators that you are familiar with theirrequirements and that you can do the work in a timely manner. Use yourletterhead stationary.

Executive summary sectionstates why the evaluators should use your company. Write an excellent reasonwhy they should choose your company over the competition. Tell the evaluatorshow you are going to do the requested work.

Answer the topics in thesame sequence in the request for proposal RFP. Answer all of the “major topicquestions” in essay form. 
Benefits or “Servicesprovided section. What are the benefits of using your business? The customer isinterested in what you can do for them. Focus on the highlights of your smallbusiness. The evaluators want to know about projects that you have done thatare similar to this project.

Write the “cost information”section and include the final price. Identify the goals that you want achieved.Stress the benefits of the finished plan including the evaluation.

State in the proposal atimeline and schedule for your completion dates. Write the date that the workwill be finished.

Onvia: First Steps to aWinning Proposal

Findfrp: How to WriteProposal

Examples of a Business Proposal

By Lanee’ Blunt

Have a clear understandingof your objectives when preparing the proposal. A business proposal is used forbidding on a RFP, asking for funding, or used to persuade potential clients orcustomers to support the proposal financially. Focus on how your business intendsto achieve the client’s goal and meet their objectives. Write from an outline.Deconstruct the request for proposal (RFP) to develop the outline before youbegin writing.

Deconstruct the Request forProposal (RFP). Go over the RFP sentence-by-sentence and make sure that youunderstand what it is requesting in order to build an outline to write yourproposal. Explain important and unimportant clauses in the statement of work.

Write a project summary orexecutive summary it is a brief summary of the project. Explain why your businessis best for the contract. Explain if your firm is a member of an organization.

Qualifications information. Explainall of the similar types of contracts that you have handled. State the size, thenumber of participants, or amount of assets. Give the evaluator references from similar contracts that you have done.

Qualifications information. Explain all of the similar types of contracts that you have handled. State the size, the number of participants, or amount of assets.  Give the evaluator references from similar contracts that you have done.

Time of completion. What are your deadline dates? Include dates by which you proposed to complete the job. Write the cost information section and provide the proposed price.

Fedmarket: Proposal Writing:The Devil is in the Detail

A Cleaning Bid: ConstructionSite Clean Up Projects

Lead Generating Marketing Strategies

By Lanee’ Blunt

Lead generation is veryimportant for your small business. Waiting by the telephone for a client tocall you, or sitting at a trade show table for hours, may not be that effective.You can have leads generated and sent to you by agencies or you can do the workyourself.

Lead Generation
Lead generation agenciesspecialize and provide businesses with qualified leads. The agency develops awebsite where they promote and advertise your product or service. The consumersfind the website, completes an online quote request form, ad this form issubmitted to the agency. The buyer’s information matches up with appropriateproviders and then sent by email to prospective providers with their fullcontact information and purchasing requirements.

Social Media
With social media smallbusinesses and medium sized businesses can now afford the same media like bigcorporations. There are powerful and inexpensive tools to reach and communicatewith large numbers of prospects. Know your audience and show them the best waythat your business can solve problems and give solutions. Develop a way tocapture data and maintain information about customers and prospects. Try a CRMprogram. Social media provides a way for small businesses to get out there andget noticed. By using the Facebook fan page to showcase different products orservices. The Facebook messaging you might invite interaction by askingprospects for feedback.  Twitter can beused to pull customers into your company blog post.

SBA; Small BusinessMarketing; Caron Beelsey; 2009
About: Marketing Benefits ofUsing Lead Generation’ Laura Lake
Inc: Lead Generation in theNew Economy

How to Advertise Your Business Service

ByLanee’ Blunt
Advertising your businessservice can be done if you are on a budget. Most business services want toadvertise and want to look for the most cost effective way to do it. Advertiseon a budget and make your money go further. Make your advertising budget workhard.

Personal Letters
Small business advertisingcan to be done on a small direct mail campaign. Send personal letters with theprospects full name and business address. Make the tone of the letter is friendly. It usually begins by gainingthe attention of the prospect, and gives benefits for using your business. Explainin the letter how the business or service can solve a problem. According to JayConrad Levinson, in his book, GuerrillaMarketing, “The writing of personal letters, not direct mailings of largequantities of letters and brochures, but simple, personal letters, is one ofthe most effective, easy, inexpensive, and overlooked methods of marketing.”Personal letters can be very inexpensive.

Email Marketing
Email marketing is a form ofdirect marketing. It solicits prospects to take some form of action. Emailmarketing is a very cost effective way that you can market your business, andadd new customers. Sending an email sales letter to a target audience has itsadvantages.  With email marketing you cantarget your prospects by their interest, age, profession and etc. Emailmarketing letters are successful if handled properly.

Have a strong headline onthe flyer. Tell about your service. Stress benefits of using your company.Write your contact information, name, title, phone, address and email address.Use a light colored inexpensive bond paper with two standard colors of ink.Have the flyer printed professionally by a printer because it makes your smallbusiness appear more established to your prospects. Put them on bulletinboards, windshield wipers in office parking lots, and shopping malls.

Door Hangers
Door hangers are anotherinexpensive way to advertise your business they are affordable and effective.You are able to write your own ad on them and target the market that you want.

Jay Conrad Levinson, in hisbook, Guerrilla Marketing, HoughtonMifflin

How to Create a Catering Brochure

By Lanee’ Blunt

Creating a catering brochuremight help you get your foot in the door, or help you generate leads.Presentation skills and the ability to make food look fancy go a long way, andkeeping up with the latest trends in food and party ideas will help make yourcatering business a success. A brochure will help you showcase your cateringbusiness and helps the customer get a detailed account of your company orservice.

Explain completely what yourservice is about.  What type of food doyou make and what are some of the parties that you have catered.  Do you handle weddings and work with weddingplanners. What type of service do you offer? What do you offer the client thatis different from your competition? What are the types of accounts you handle?

Write a strong headline onthe cover of the brochure and make it something that the customer will remember.Many prospects will only read the first page and glance through the brochure.Gain their interest in what you are selling with the headline. “The cover of abrochure works like the headline of a print advertisement. State your positionor promise a benefit to the reader,” according to Kenneth Roman, Jane Mass, andMartin Nisenholtz, in their book, How toAdvertise.

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 the cooks andservers. Use headings and subheads with bullets. Keep it simple by breakinglarge text into easy to read sections.

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

Advantages of Direct Mail for Mortgage Brokers

By Lanee’ Blunt

A direct mail can beproduced with a laser printer, letterhead stationary, and a qualified mailinglist. If the sales message is what it should be a percentage of readers on yourmailing list will respond about the advertised product or service. When youneed more leads for your mortgage business there are some advantages of using asales letter to generate leads.  Directmail is not just for large corporations, if it is written correctly, it will beto your advantage to use.

Sales Letter
A sales letter is used inthe direct package. It is a powerful tool if written properly. The lettershould drive home your selling points and the benefits of using your mortgagebusiness. A careful analysis of the market has to be made when you write theletter. For example, it requires that you know your audience. The letter has togain the attention of the reader and specify your selling points. Most of theselling in the direct mail package is done in the sales letter. Sales lettercan outdo most of the direct mail packages that don’t have a letter.

The Direct Mail can be Tested
A great benefit of using adirect 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 test yoursales letter.  You have to know if theletter will pull a response.  You can usea small sample of one hundred letters, mail them and test your response.  If the letter is not strong enough and youreceive no response then you must revise your letter.

You Can Determine your Response
Lead generating direct getresults. Each time you send it out you can expect the package to pull in thesame amount of leads. You can determine the result of your direct mail afteryou send out the package.  After you havetested the sample your response rate should be the same every time you send thedirect mail. According to C.A. Nolan and R.F. Warmke’s book, Marketing Sales Promotion and Advertising, “Largebusiness organizations make every attempt to predetermine the market before asales letter campaign is started.”

C.A. Nolan and R.F. Warmke’sbook; Marketing Sales Promotion andAdvertising; South-Western

Advantages of Direct Mail Advertising for Computer Technicians

By Lanee’ Blunt

A direct mail package hasmany advantages to offer your computer repair business. There are many benefitsto using direct mail for a computer technician. Your advertising efforts willposition your company name in the customer’s mind so when they think of hiringa computer technician they’ll call you.

Reaches a Target Market
Your direct mail can betargeted toward a group of people and written just for that group to interestthem in your computer repair service. “Direct mail is the only mass medium thatcan be 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 and James D. Hlavacek, in their book, Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms.

Low Cost
Your letters can be writtenon 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 oneletter.  According to Jay ConradLevinson, in his book, GuerrillaMarketing, “The writing of personal letters, not direct mailings of largequantities of letters and brochures, but simple, personal letters, is one ofthe most effective, easy, inexpensive and overlooked methods of marketing.”

Direct mail can generateleads. If you don’t like cold calling, then you’ll love direct mail. You cansend out hundreds or even thousands of letters without ever having to make onephone call. The prospect will call you if you provide your contact information.You will have a ratio of how many letters to send to receive a reply.

Jay Conrad Levinson; GuerrillaMarketing; Houghton Mifflin
B. Charles Ames and James D.Hlavacek; Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms; Random House

How to Advertise a Cleaning Service

By Lanee’ Blunt

Having several ads ontelevision may be out of reach for most cleaning services. Most cleaningbusinesses are on a budget and must make their money go further, and make theirads work harder. Your advertising efforts will position your company name inthe customer’s mind so when they think of hiring a cleaning service they’llcall you. Small business advertising can be done on a budget it will requiretime on your part, but it will be worth the effort.

Business Cards
They are an importantmarketing tool because you can make them a mini ad by listing some of yourservices that you offer.  Always carrythem with you and give people at least 2 or 3 so they can refer you to others.

Create a company website sothat customers can research your company information. Write helpful articlesthat will drive traffic to your site.

Get your company listed inthe Yellow Pages. Electronic directories are a good place to have a businesslisted; some are free and will let you include a profile about your company.

Magnetic Sign
Use a magnetic vehicle sign.Include your company information, your website address, and phone number.

Advertise with direct mailpostcards. Get a mailing list. Write a headline that will attract attention forexample, “Cleaning at Affordable Prices. I Guarantee Your Satisfaction.”Include a photo of you and your crew. Show the prices of your service.

Office Cleaning Business:How to Advertise a Cleaning Business?

Print Label and Mail: DirectMail Advertising Ideas for a Cleaning Service; Jim Negron

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How to Advertise Your Plumbing Business

ByLanee’ Blunt

Advertisingyour plumbing business on a budget is possible. Advertising is about ideas andwhat strategy you are going to take. You can market your plumbing business byapplying innovative, cost-efficient advertising techniques that makes you standout from your competition.

Advertiseyour plumbing business with postcards. Get a mailing list. Write a headline forthe postcard that will gain attention. Think about all of the services that youprovide to customers such as, upgrading bathroom fixtures, changing a faucet,installing a water line for an automatic ice maker, and plumbing problems. Tellthem about your service.

Passout fliers if you are on a budget. They are inexpensive to use and they areeffective. Tell about your service. Stress benefits of using your plumbingbusiness. Write your contact information, name, title, website, phone, addressand email address. Have the flyer printed professionally by a printer becauseit makes your business look professional and appear more established.

Buyad placements in directories. Get your plumbing business listed in the YellowPages. Buy Adwords and list your plumbing business in online advertisements,and electronic directories.

Passout your business cards.  Start a websiteand include your logo. List your prices of the services that you offer. Giveyour customers an idea of the cost of your service, for example, faucet replacement$89.00. Most customers will see the price and think I didn't know it was thatreasonable, but there are some that will think the price is high, but listingthe price will pre-qualify the customer before they call you.

PrintLabel and Mail: Direct Mail Advertising Ideas for Plumbers; Jim Negron

Create a Marketing Brochure for a Consultant Service

By Lanee’ Blunt

Creating a brochure is veryimportant. All small businesses need sales material so that you can make aconnection with your clients and close the sale. The brochure offers prospectsa detailed look at your service, a description of a product or service andenough information to be able to order something or hire you.

The Strategy
Your strategy should beginwith understanding your target audience and what they want from you. Decidewhere you have an edge by studying your competition. Have a plan before youstart to write it, to drive home your selling points.

Explain What the Service Is
Explain completely what yourservice is about.  What do you offer theclient that is different from your competition? What are the types of accountsyou handle? All of the services offered by your firm should be written indetail descriptions explaining how the service works.

Ask for the Order
Tell the reader what thenext step will be. What action do you want them to take, telephone, credit cardor check, or go to your website. Always include a clear call to action in yourbrochure.

Don’t wait until the lastminute to create a brochure. You will have limited time to create one when youare trying to win a bid, or when a prime prospect asks for more information onyour service. Whether consumers are buying a car or hiring an accountant theystill like to glance through a brochure.

KennethRoman, Jane Mass, and Martin Nisenholtz; How to Advertise; 2003

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How to Create a Small Business Website Home Page

By Lanee’ Blunt

A website home page is whereyou will address your customers and prospects and where customers come to learnmore about your small business. This gives you an opportunity to sell to yourprospects. Content is the most important thing about your website. It shouldlook good but it should also help sell your product or service.

“Web developers areconcerned with layout and graphics that serve primarily to make the websitemore readable and not the key drivers. Strip away the bells and whistles thatweb developers design with flash presentation, rich media and there is nosale,” according to Robert Bly in his book The Online Copywriter’s Handbook.

A home page should tell thecustomer about your small business. Know your audience and think in terms ofwhy they are coming to your website, and what are they coming to learn aboutyour small business.

Write a killer headline foryour home page. Your headline is very important and you must give a lot ofthought to it. You must attract attention and interest to your home page.People are always in a hurry and they are not going to read your business talkunless you make it worth their while and let the headline attract theirattention.

Write about the benefits ofusing your product or service. How does your service solve problems? Do yougive a money back guarantee; are you cheaper than the competition?

Robert W. Bly; The OnlineCopywriter’s Handbook; McGrall

Postcard Marketing Tips

By Lanee’ Blunt

Postcard marketing works ifit is done the right way. Postcard advertising is ideal for the small businessowner on a budget. You have a better chance of getting the postcard readbecause it has no envelope. It is important that you know your market becauseyou can have the best laminated postcard, with graphics design and if yourmailing list is wrong you won’t profit from the campaign.

The Offer
The postcard should have anoffer.  What does your company offer theprospect?  Your response rate will bemuch higher if your small business has an offer.  You might offer free shipping, or a specialbonus offer, or a discount on your service.

The Mailing List
Purchase a mailing list froma list broker or media company to use for a specified length of time, or for acertain number of communications. Know your audience before you order yourmailing list. It is important that you are clear about your best customers and thentry and clone them. The best lists available to you will be your house list.  A house list consists of customers and peoplethat have already responded to your ads and have bought from you in the past.

The cost is low, here in theUSA;postage for a postcard is about $0.28 opposed to $0.44 for a first classenvelope. You don’t have to send a lot of postcards at one time, and if youhave a new prospect then them a postcard.

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Market your Business by Email

By Lanee’ Blunt

Email marketing can be usedby small business to try and acquire new customers, encourage customer loyalty,and get existing customers to buy from you again. It has the ability to buildbrand awareness and loyalty by providing customers with the information thatinterest them about your product or service. The internet is an effective wayto reach your customers.

Email Letter
An email marketing letter isa good way to market your small business. You don’t want to send spam, but asales letter that will be effective.  Writea marketing letter that will get your foot in the door and get your productsold.  Email marketing letters aresuccessful if handled properly.

Give your prospect a lot ofuseful information. Offer the customer detailed information about yourbusiness.  Write helpful articles aboutyour line of business, or interview some of your employees. You can get a lotof information into your newsletter, far more than you can a brochure.
Create an incentive forsigning up for your email newsletter. Give them some benefits for receiving an email newsletter, for example,by stressing the great information they will be receiving from it.

Advertise in Newsletters
Not interested in sendingout your own email newsletter. You can find newsletters that are published byothers and pay for advertising in their newsletter that they email and send tosubscribers. Some newsletters are created just for the purpose of sellingadvertising space to other firms.