Advantages of the Marketing Mix

ByLanee’ Blunt
4 Ps of Marketing Mix--

Themarketing mix has benefits for a small business that wants to market theirbusiness. The marketing mix consists of the choices and decisions that abusiness must make to bring their product or service to the market. All smallbusinesses should spend a certain amount of their finances on marketing. Thereis some work to do to find out what your customers want and how your companycan produce the product or service at a price that will represent a value tothem.

Yourproduct or service should be looked at in terms of how customers willexperience it. Think about the features and does it meet their needs. How isyour product branded? How are you different from your competitors?

Accessthe right distribution channels to sell your product or service. Attend tradefairs, make online submissions, or should you send samples to customers.

Picka price for your product or service that will add value to the buyer. How doesyour price compare with the competition? 

Promoteyour product or service to your target market. Reach your audience withadvertising, direct mail, TV or radio, and through public relations. Build awebsite. Look at your competitors and how they promote their business.

Themarketing mix is known as the 4 Ps because each ingredient affects the other.The marketing mix is the way in which a business uses price, product, place,and promotion to sell its product or service.

 Mind Tools: The Marketing Mix and 4 Ps
Tutor2u:The Marketing Mix 

Advantages of Email Marketing Letters

ByLanee’ Blunt

Emailmarketing is an effective way to advertise your product or service.  Your email marketing letter can providecustomers with information, and special offers. Most small businesses may notunderstand how email marketing can benefit their business here are some advantagesof email marketing letters.

Oneadvantage of email marketing is that it is cost effective. By using a freeemail account your email marketing will be free. Emailing direct mail ischeaper than sending regular direct mail you will save on postage, andstationary.

Emailmarketing has the advantage of reaching a wide range of prospects. It allowsyou to market your product or service around the clock. The internet allowsprospects to respond to your email messages immediately.

Directemail marketing can be measured. You can keep track of your marketing effortsby measuring the details from the open and click through rates to evaluate thesuccess of your campaign.

Fastand Easy
Itallows marketers the ease of delivering messages fast. Just with the basicknowledge of the internet you will be able to type your direct marketing letterand click send. It is also fast, your prospects will receive your emailmarketing letter within minutes. The speed is faster than direct mail, waitingfor the post office to deliver, and waiting to hear from the prospect.

Tips on Direct Mail Marketing

ByLanee’ Blunt

Direct mail isnot just for large corporations, if it is written correctly, it will be to youradvantage to use. It will help you get more prospects. Actually the salesletter is ideal for small business because it can completely give the benefitsof using your service. The package can be highly personalized to your targetaudience and can be produced with a laser printer, and letterhead stationery.
They are goodat keeping your name in front of prospects so when they are ready to buy theymight call your company.  They areeffective in helping to keep in touch with former customers.  You can obtain better qualified leads andwhen someone sends you a reply form back they will be expecting you to callthem.

The direct mail should have an offer.The most important element to have in direct mail is the offer. It gives theprospect a reason to respond to your direct mail. An offer is what yourprospect will receive when he calls you. The offer gives the prospect a reasonto call. For example, you can offer your prospect a free sample if he calls, orgive him a free informative brochure.
Your directmail can be targeted toward a group of people and written just for that groupto interest them in your product or service. Examine carefully your product orservice and make a list of the features and benefits.

How to Make Quality Business Cards

ByLanee’ Blunt

Businesscards are used for networking, advertising to get your message out there, andfor your making contact information available to prospects. A small businessowner should have a quality business card because it lets customers know thatyou are ready to compete. You can make a business card on your computer or goto a professional printer.
Createa Business Logo
Alogo can be created using a graphics program or a clip art program. Choose alogo that relates to your company. Save the image of the logo in a .jpg or .pngfile.
Openthe tools menu and choose business cards. Look at the templates. Choose apublication design that you like in the gallery.   A Business card template appears. Click oncard. Click download. Type your business informathon into the personalinformation page.  This includes yourname, job or position, organization name, address, phone, fax, and email.Import your company logo right in the design of the business card. Your logoshould be a design that expresses what your business is and helps you stand outfrom the competition.
Savethe File
Ifyou are going to print the business cards yourself use the Print Previewcommand to make sure that the cards look satisfactory. Print as many as youneed. If you are going to let a professional print the card save it on CD andtake it to a copy center.

Marketing Brochure Example

ByLanee’ Blunt

Writingbrochure content is important when you understand what you want the brochure toaccomplish. A good marketing brochure is the result of exceptional planning.Whether you need a brochure for a new product that you are launching or if youneed one to pass out after your public speech, you’ll need to follow a basicstructure.
Whatis Your Product or Service?
Describeyour product or service completely. Convince the prospects to buy your productin the brochure. Customers want the information especially if they are going tospend a lot of money on a big ticket item. For example, a vacation or college,so don’t just give the information but sell also.

DescribeWhat You Offer
Allof your services should be written in detail. Describe what you offer and howyou are different from your competition. Don’t just focus on your company butfocus on your customer. Talk about how your product or service can service theneeds and wants of your customers.

Usegraphs, charts, tables, and other visual aids to help illustrate your product.Organize the brochure with headings and subheads which make it easy to read.Use photos that show how your product is used. Write a caption under each ofyour photographs.

JaneMaas; Better Brochures Catalogs and Mailing Pieces: A Practical Guide; St.Martin’s Press

How to Advertise a Small Business for Free Online

ByLanee’ Blunt

Whenyou need new clients or customers despite how good your product or service isyou will have to advertise. In difficult times the marketing budget is alwaysthe first to go. When you are on a budget you can network and also cold call. Advertisingyour small business for free is possible online.

Getyour small business listed in online directories. Electronic directories are a goodplace to have your business listed; some are free and will let you include aprofile about your small business.

Itis a free way to advertise your business. Set up an account by submitting yourcompany information, photos and video. You have to verify your listing by phoneor by postcard. Google places will list your small business. After the listingis setup, fill out the information about your company, phone, fax, email.Include your payment options and your categories for your business. Most consumerssearch for local businesses online.

Listyour company on craigslist. Post an ad on Craigslist for free. List yourbusiness under the right category and location.

Inc;How to Market Your Business Using Google Places; Eric Markowitz; 2011
MyGoogle Marketing; How to Advertise Your Small Business Online For Free; Admin;2011

How to Open a Bakery Business

ByLanee’ Blunt

Youmay get a lot of compliments from your family and friends about your cakes andpies. Owning your own bakery may be your dream and you want to open a bakery. Adegree in pastry arts may help, but it's not necessary to open a bakery. Youcan learn the craft with time and experience and you have the potential to makegood money.

Writea Business Plan
Abusiness plan will be required if you are going to request financing,considering constructing, remodeling or taking over an existing food establishment.It can help you by getting you a business loan and investors.

Evaluateyour funds and make sure that you have enough money to carry you through 18 to24 months.  Baking entrepreneurs oftenself-finance. You may need to secure outside funding. Try your local communityto bank.

Lookfor a high traffic location, for example near a school, college, bus or trainterminal.

Buycommercial sized equipment that will be able to stand the heavy cookingyou will be doing. Talk to equipment dealers for the best technical advice.

Youwill need to check with your state for information or contact the Bureau ofConsumer Health Services to get a health inspection. Once the inspection hasbeen passed, fill out the necessary forms and pay for the permit. For a mobilebakery stand you will need an inspection of your kitchen and apply for aseparate mobile food permit. Visit or go to your local health departmentwebsite and find out the licenses and permits you will need to apply for.


TheStreet: A Dozen Hot Tips for Starting a Bakery; Lan Nguyen; 2008
Cityof Houston; Opening a Food Establishment
Entrepreneur;How to Start a Bakery Business; 2011

Creating a Small Business Website

ByLanee’ Blunt

Creatinga small business website for your company is a wise investment. After you haveset up the website what content should you include on your site? Most smallbusinesses are concerned with graphics, and miss the one thing that sells.Words. A salesman knows the right presentation to bring in sales. Why shouldn’tyour website do the same thing for you?
Studyyour competitor’s site carefully and stress how your small business isdifferent. Please don’t plagiarize. Stress what makes you stand out from thecrowd.

Listthe benefits of your company. Think about why your visitors are coming to yourwebsite. What is in it for them and what do they want?

Youmust build trust and credibility. There are a lot of phonies out there andpeople looking to scam others. What value do you offer your customers?

Includeall of your contact information in one place. A contact page complete withaddress, phone, fax, email, and etc.

Callto Action
Youwant the prospect to buy from you, or generate an inquiry. You can create acall to action to get an immediate response. The offer might be for example,enter your email address for a free newsletter.

Yourwebsite is an excellent place to send your customers to learn more about yourcompany and to showcase your service. Reference:

RobertW. Bly; The Online Copywriter’s Handbook; McGrall; 2003

How to Start Up an Online Business

ByLanee’ Blunt

Whenyou start an online business you can sell your own products, work withwholesale suppliers, write content, or start an online store. Starting anInternet business doesn’t require a lot of overhead, and is a business to getinto with minimum upfront investment.

Decidewhat type of internet business you will be going into. Is it a product orproducts that you are selling or are you going to sell; business to business,or sell your service? Are you going to do affiliate marketing? A sales taxlicense is required to collect sales taxes. The requirements may be different,so you must check with your own local licensing department. Most onlinebusinesses will take time and work to get going, there will be a lot of thingsto learn, and things to do before the commerce is started.

Registeryour domain name. This is the web address of your online business. Get a webhost. It will provide you with space and support to create your website. Designyour website because it will be considered your store front. You can design ityourself, use a template, or hire someone to design it for you.

Usesearch engine optimization to drive people to your website. Pay-per-clickadvertising is an effective method to get traffic to a new site. Capture yourvisitor's email addresses when they visit your site. Build an opt-in list fromyour customers and subscribers by asking them to give you permission to sendthem an e-mail. Create an email newsletter and send it to your customers.

Entrepreneur:How to Start a Business Online; Allen Moon
SBA:Starting an Online Business
StartOnline Business Guide: Online Business Ideas; Kanute Fleming

Advantages of Online Marketing Over Traditional Marketing

ByLanee’ Blunt

Asmall business has many advantages of marketing their company online. Manysmall businesses are having less of a return from traditional marketing likethe Yellow Pages, and newspapers. They are looking for new ways to market theirbusiness. Marketing online helps to stretch your marketing budget. There aremany benefits to marketing online that traditional offline marketing doesn’toffer.

Marketingonline allows you to specifically target and measure the response fromdemographics such as gender, age and location. It allows you to target incomelevels, occupation levels and education levels. The same demographic researchcan be done in traditional marketing but with online marketing it is easier.

Placing your product or service on a TV commercial can beexpensive depending on the time it’s shown. Internet marketing is much cheaperbecause a free listing on Google Local is just as effective as a listing in theYellow Pages. A search engine optimization campaign can offer long-term result anda small ad with Pay-Per-Click is very effective. When a person is searching fora product or service your ad may be on the first page of the Google results forthat keyword.

Onlinemarketing has the ability to convert customers instantly by capturing thecustomer’s email address, contract information, and it also gives them the abilityto buy from you with the click of a mouse. On the other hand, when you senddirect mail you have to get the right mailing list, send reply cards and followup on leads.

MarketingSmart: 10 Advantages of Online Marketing vs. Traditional Media; Martin Wong;2009
TechieBuzz; The Advantages of Internet Marketing Over Traditional Marketing; GuestPost; 2011

Creating a Company Newsletter

ByLanee’ Blunt

Havinga professional looking newsletter is an excellent way to promote your smallbusiness. It is a very effective public relations tool that helps to marketyour product or service, by drawing attention to your small business.  Publishing a newsletter is a big commitmentin time, but it also helps you keep in touch with prospects, generate trust anddevelop brand awareness.

Thesize of your newsletter should depend on the amount of information you want toinclude. Most newsletters are between four and eight pages long. The typical newsletteris four pages long with the back used as a self-mailer.

Concentrateon your audience when writing the articles. Know your audience and what isimportant to them. There are three or four feature articles included in thenewsletter. Give the reader important tips and information that they can use.

Writethe newsletter in a desktop publishing program. They are very useful fornewsletters. Some programs are easy to learn and inexpensive. If you arecreative you can create a professional looking newsletter in full color foryour company. “Initially, it might take several issues for you to produce thefinished product with relative ease. Your desktop skills will improve withevery newsletter you produce, so practice is essential,” according to LoriannOberlin-Hoff in her book Writing for Money. The publication frequency of thenewsletter depends on your commitment, if it will be published weekly, monthlyor quarterly.

RalphF. Wilson; Planning Your Internet Marketing Strategy; Wiley
LoriannOberlin-Hoff; Writing for Money; Writer’s Digest Books

Lead Generation Strategies

By Lanee’ Blunt

Lead generation is not a new concept. Large corporations and brokers often advertise that they will send a booklet of information concerning income tax or their special market letters free of charge. The purpose of the free offer is to get names of people of a certain financial standing that is interested in the offering. Gaining leads for your small business is a numbers game.

An ad can be written for your product or service to produce a certain amount of leads. Ads that are aimed to generate leads do not give the full story, to get the full story the prospect must call, mail in a coupon, write, or go to a website. You can launch the ad promotion for a certain amount of days and then cut the ad when you have enough leads. Although, advertising has a high cost you still have a high level of control.

A referral is a low cost method of lead generation. Be creative in obtaining referrals. You can create a referral program by contacting your customers within 30 or 45 days and ask them for three names and phone numbers of someone they know that can use your product or service.

Lead Generation Agencies
They specialize in providing leads for your company. These leads are usually qualified for your product or service. Your product or service is advertised and promoted on a website. The consumer finds the informational website or directory and then they are able to complete an online quote or form which is submitted to the agency. The new lead’s information is verified and sent to the appropriate provider in an email.

Entrepreneur; Gaining the Lead; John Jantsh; 2008
About: Marketing Benefits of Using Lead Generation; Laura Lake

How to Create Your Own Letterhead

By Lanee’Blunt

A smallbusiness or a consultant should have their own letterhead because it makes youlook professional and helps you compete with other companies. “A letterheadoften is the first section a reader notices on a letter.  Thus, it is important your letterheadappropriately reflect the essence of the individual or business,” according toGary Shelly, Thomas Cashman and Misty Vermaat in their book, “Microsoft Office2007.”

Most desktoppublishing programs have features for letterheads but you can also create aletterhead in a word processing program. Look at the templates. Choose a letterheaddesign that you like in the gallery.  Aletterhead template appears.

Some softwareprograms will allow you to create a logo or download one from the internet. Importyour company logo right in the design of the letterhead. Your logo should be adesign that will help you stand out from your competition.

Determine theplacement of the letterhead. Some letterheads have a design and color at thetop of the paper and the same color or another color on the bottom. Verticaldesigns are another option to consider with bright designs along the side withyour logo.

Type yourbusiness information into the personal information page.  This includes your name, job or position,organization name, address, suite number, phone, fax, and email. Choose a professionalfont size. 

Proofreadbefore printing. Print one copy to be sure that you like the color scheme andlayout. Print as many copies as needed.

Gary Shelly,Thomas Cashman and Misty Vermaat; Microsoft Office 2007; Thomson Course Technology

How to Create a Sales Brochure

By Lanee’ Blunt

Creating a sales brochure is more than adding a list of yourservices to a desktop publishing program. Your company brochure must reflectyour overall company image and be in tune with your marketing message. Don’twait until the last minute to create a brochure. You will have limited time tocreate one when you are trying to win a bid, or when a prime prospect asks formore information on your small business.

Know Your Audience
The brochure has to be written with your audience inmind.  What do they want from yourcompany? This is not the opportunity to go on and on about how great yourcompany is. Look at it from the prospective of; what do they want from you?

Describe What You Offer
You should have a well-planned outline before you write it,so you can drive home the selling points. The brochure has to provide informationabout the features of using your product or service. “There are many ways toformat and design a brochure, but the content is the most important part ofyour brochure and its purpose is to inform the reader with intention selling, accordingto Ian B. Rosengarten’s book How to Market your Business.

The layout of the brochure is important and you should be concernedwith how it looks. Use visuals that will help you make your sales point. “Thebest brochure photos demonstrate the product’s usefulness by showing it inaction. Putting people in these photos usually adds to the visual’s appeal(people like looking at pictures of people), according Robert W. Bly in hisbook The Copywriter’s Handbook. A Step by Step Guide to Writing Copy thatSells. Your paper size is important also, you have a choice between two basicbrochure print sizes 8 ½” X 11” or 11” X 17”.

Ian B. Rosengarten; How to Market your Business; Sourcebooks
Robert W. Bly; The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step by Step Guideto Writing Copy that Sells; Owl Books

How to Write a Proposal to Bid on a Job

ByLanee’ Blunt

Writingan effective proposal can win you the bid. It is important that you come upwith the most accurate cost estimate and develop a low-competitive priced bid. Abid proposal is necessary for a business to be considered on a project, and isusually part of a sealed bidding process.

Readthe request for proposal (RFP) several times before preparing the bid. Addressthe major topics in the RFP making sure that you have a clear understanding ofthe specifications and requirements. Gather all of the information and completeall required forms that must be submitted with the bid.

Writeyour bid response. Write the company profile section. Include information aboutyour small business, your experience, and your method of performance. Tell thereader why they should hire your company. Give your work references or samplesof the type of work you have performed.

Performancesection explains how your company will do the job. Focus on the highlights ofyour business. What are the benefits of using your business?
Providea list of your employees and resumes of key personnel. All of your senior staffshould have professional resumes included in the proposal. Write a detaileddescription of your business, your experience, and the date you established thecompany.

Costsection. The bidding price should come out of the budget detail, the cost ofmaterial if any; labor, overhead, packaging and transportation. The priceshould meet the supplier’s rate of return objectives.

Attachfinancial statements, compliance reports, certificates, licenses, and companybrochures with your bid proposal.


SBA: Bidding on Federal Construction Projects 
Findfrp:How to Write a Proposal or Respond to a Bid Solicitation
RfpTemplates: Bid Responsiveness Determination

Affordable Small Business Advertising

By Lanee' Blunt

Advertising a small business is effective when you put increativity and time. You may not have a big advertising budget when startingout, but there are several ways to advertise and produce results. Use a combinationof advertising ideas. Advertise in peak seasons if you’re in lawn care,housekeeping, and roofing. Here are some small business ideas.

Write Personal Letters
Advertise your small business by sending personal salesletters, use your computer to generate the letter, and use the mail mergefeature it will personalize your mailing list. Write a personal letter with afriendly tone for example; sound as if the prospect is sitting across from yourdesk in your office. Address the letter with the prospects full name andaddress. Most letters say something personal to the prospect, for example,congratulations on opening your new business. You can stress the benefits ofusing your product or service in the letter. The personal letter should containa specific piece of information. It contains a P.S., and it must be signed inink or a fountain pen.

Get Listed in Directories
Numerous directories carry a large amount of advertising.List your small business with the Yellow Pages. You will get local calls fromyour advertisement. The Yellow Pages is used often and almost by everyone. Thedirectory is usually used when someone has searched for a definite need orinformation. Create your ad like you would for a business-card with a listingof; the name, the trademark, the product, or the service that you offer.Register on web directories also. There are a number of free directories thatwill list your business information and telephone number.

Get Referrals
A good referral program can go a long way for gettingcustomers. Devise a referral program and give a free gift if your customersgive you three referrals. Ask them for a name, address, and phone number ofthree of their friends.

Specialty Products
Get pens, calendars, or mugs made up with your smallbusiness name, address and phone number. Distribute the specialty item toclients, to prospects and to everyone that you think can use your product orservice.

Pay Per Click
The approach is different from advertising on televisionwith pay per impression. Adwords is pay per click (PPC) which allows you toadvertise your website or a product on the side or top of the page of thesearch engine or on someone’s website. When someone clicks on your ad they will be directed to your website.This drives traffic in high volumes to your website.


Jay Conrad Levinson, Jeannie Levinson & Amy Levinson;Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profitsfrom your Small Business; Houghton Mifflin; 2007

SBA: Market and Price; 100+ Marketing Ideas

Direct Mail Advertising

ByLanee’ Blunt
Write a product marketing letter--

Directmail advertising is a common form of advertising. They are used by multimilliondollar corporations and by small businesses. Direct mail is effective ingetting more leads, selling products, and getting your sales team into thedoor. Marketing letters are effective in getting sales leads and can help youmarket your service with direct mail.   Directmail can be used instead of cold calling and when you call the prospect theywill expect to hear from you.

Reachesa Target Market
Yourdirect mail can be targeted toward a group of people and written just for thatgroup to interest them in your product or service. Examine carefully yourproduct or service and make a list of the features and benefits. “Direct mailis the only mass medium that can be directed toward target groups or prospects.The message may be highly personalized and can also be designed as an effectivemarket research tool,” according to B. Charles Ames and James D. Hlavacek, intheir book, Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms, Random House,

An advantageof using a sales letter is that it can be tested to see how well it will do. Testyour sales letter before you invest your time and your money in a direct mailprogram.  You have to know if the letterwill pull a response.  You can use asmall 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.

B. CharlesAmes and James D. Hlavacek; Managerial Marketing for Industrial Firms, RandomHouse

How to Open an Estate Sale Business

By Lanee’ Blunt

Starting an estate salebusiness can be lucrative if you love to deal with antiques and organizingthings. An estate sales facilitator is called in when a loved one has died orif the family has to put someone in a nursing home. The family may not want todeal with the cleaning up and organizing of the loved ones items and gettingthe items sold so that the home can be sold.

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. You can operate your business under your own name or get a fictitiousname DBA and operate as a sole proprietorship. Get bonded because most familieswon’t work with you if you are not bonded. Obtain insurance to protect yourselfif you accidentally damage property or if you get hurt while on the job.

Hire employees. You may haveto work for families that have not cleaned up. And you may need to hire someoneon days when you have a lot of organizing to do for the big sale.  

Advertise your estate salebusiness. Market your business by passing out fliers. You can put up signsannouncing the sale. Put an ad in the newspaper.

The estate sale business isa good business and is almost recession proof. There will always be someonethat will need your service for their love one. If you are not great atappraising antiques you can always outsource and have a professional appraisethe antiques. Develop relationships with realtors and ask if they can recommendyou to their clients.


Entrepreneurship: Starting aLow Start up Cost Business; Rae Morvay

Restaurant Business Plan

By Lanee’ Blunt

A lender will require thatyou have a restaurant business plan so start writing it before you approach them.Having a business plan helps you to focus on things that you want to do and toget your ideas down on paper. You will be showing the bank that you are clearand you have a plan to get your restaurant open and running. Although, there areno formulas for writing one, but there are some elements that are consistentthroughout all business plans.

Executive Summary
Write an overview of yourbasic idea of the restaurant. What is the name, and where is it located.Explain why you are best for the restaurant. What previous experience are youbringing to the restaurant?

Company Description
Write the company descriptionor the business analysis. Write your mission statement. Write about the localcompetition, and the population base. How many hours and days are you going tobe open?
What are some of the methodsthat you are going to use to get customers? How are you going to promote the restaurant?

Tell investors about theteam and how many employees are you going to hire. Write about your managementteam. Who is going to be the general manager? What experience and education does he or she have? Who is going to bethe chef and the experience that he or she has? What is your role in therestaurant? Are you going to be the manager or the head cook?

Finance Section
The finance section of thebusiness plan should include a profit and loss statement that projects how muchyou are going to spend vs. how much to intend to make. Company incomestatements, balance sheets and other financial ratios, such as a break-evenanalysis, or a cost estimate that explains the estimated cost of the building,equipment needed, cost of installation of equipment, vehicles needed fortransportation. You may require help from your accountant or a good spreadsheetsoftware program.