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Money Saving Marketing Tips

How do you maximize the impact of your advertising and marketing efforts so that people will notice you, without breaking the bank Whether you run a neighbourhood business or sell products online, there are a number of methods you can use to get the best deal for your small business. I've been doing it for years. Here are some tips:

Classifieds Work:

When you wade into the advertising wars, start small. If your product or service is one that is generally in demand, classifieds will probably serve you well for starters. They're cheap (maybe $30 to $70 per day) and you'll reach a large audience, especially in the major daily newspapers. Depending on the product or service you're selling, it won't take much to generate a return of $30 to $70 to at least cover your advertising costs.

Always look to your local newspaper first. Studies show that people pay more attention to the classifieds and articles in their community paper than they do to the major dailies. That's not to say that more people read your local paper---just that people tend to spend a bit more time reading the articles and tend to give more credibility to the ads they see, since they are from right in their community.

Don't Pay the Asking Price:

Buying ads is a bit like buying a used car. The price really isn't the price. It's the starting point. Obviously classifieds are non-negotiable because they cost so little to begin with. A 15 week radio campaign on the other hand, could easily come down 10% or 20% from the proposed selling price before the deal is done. The same goes for TV ads or newspaper ads. Any ad space that's not sold by the station or newspaper generates $0 in revenue. So if the $100 radio spot they were going to sell you ends up being sold to you for $50, the station is still better off than if they don't sell the ad space at all.

I was recently approached by a local radio station to run a 15 week campaign (called a "flight") for the company I work for, with a price tag of $15,000. This included the spots as well as a promotion we were running. I also proposed a contest to accompany the flight.

I didn't have the budget for a $15,000 radio campaign, so I started working on the price. My first step....do nothing. I left the pitch meeting and never called the sales rep back. I made her call me. I explained that $15,000 was too much. Quicker than you could say "radio campaign", the price magically shrunk to $13,500. Then we talked about dropping the contest spots and running just the regular spots for under $10,000. In the end, I passed on the opportunity. I didn't believe that the station was large enough or had the right audience for our company to make a profit on the deal. Still, it was a clear example of how quickly an ad campaign can come down in price if you are patient.

The same happens with our newspaper ads. Every month or two, the major daily in our city runs a special employment related section. And they always approach us to advertise. The asking price is always quite high, but they justify it by saying that because the section is focused just on companies in our business, the ads are worth the money. In fact, the opposite may be true. Why would I want to put my small marketing budget up against the larger ads of my bigger competitors So instead of jumping in, I sat back. As the ad deadline approached, the price for the remaining ads started to fall. By the time the ad deadline arrived, the back page of the section was still not sold. The original asking price was over $3,000. I paid $1,500.

Spend a Little on your PR Efforts:

Publicity is free and offers your business a great chance to get local recognition. But it won't work without well crafted news releases. So don't be afraid to spend a few bucks to get a writer working for you on a freelance basis. It's cheaper than you think. One significant article in the local paper could be worth thousands of dollars in additional sales to your small business and will often prove much more effective than straight advertising. For the $1500 figure I quoted above to run a full page newspaper ad, you could pay for the writing and wide distribution of 3 news releases to the media.

You work hard to generate sales for your business, and you use that revenue to further market and promote your business. Make sure your dollars go as far as possible by following the tips in this article.

by Will Dylan (copyright)

Article contents 2004 by marketingyoursmallbusiness.com -excerpted from "Small Business Big Marketing", a no charge ebook available at www.marketingyoursmallbusiness.com. Will Dylan is the Author of "Small Business Big Marketing" and also writes news releases for small businesses for just $179.

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