Advertising represents a significant expense for many small business owners in the economy today. In today’s economy, that 6% gap can represent the difference between failure and success, growth and stagnation, but the cost of that much advertising can also represent the difference between solvency and insolvency. Many small business owners have responded to this situation by focusing almost exclusively on online marketing, which is more affordable and easier to manage than traditional forms of mass advertising. Unfortunately, this approach is often akin to firing blanks, and sacrifices quality for quantity if not managed properly.
Quality web design and SEO services are available for an affordable price, and PPC advertising like Google AdWords is slightly more pricy at first but spectacularly successful in the grand scheme of things. And for those who think its too late to get positioned online, who stand a generation apart, know that the explosion of mobile devices presents a window of opportunity that has not been seen since the dot-com boom of the late 90?s.
About GSMGolden State Marketing was founded in April, 2014 as a full-service online marketing company, providing search engine optimization, social media management and professional web design services to Bay Area businesses. Since then, GSM has become one of the fastest growing marketing companies in the Bay Area and has been able to successfully increase wen traffic and revenue for numerous companies. One of the great things about being older is having had the opportunity to work with some very intelligent and creative people over the past thirty years.
Since the information wasn't mine to begin with, it only seems right to pass it along to you as they did with me. Note: A pharmaceutical company shelved a cold medicine because they couldn't correct the drowsiness it produced. Note: Joe Girard, the famous car salesman, used to throw handfuls of business cards, like confetti, out of the upper deck at football games, onto the expensive seats below.
A swipe file is a collection of ads and brochures that copywriters and artists collect, or swipe from other artists, for those times when they are stumped for a good idea. Don't copy them exactly, but many good ideas can come from what the guy down the street is doing. Too many people worry so much about their competitors that they forget what they are doing. While people like to believe they react rationally to offers, etc., the truth is they react emotionally and then look for the rationale to confirm their decision. Turn the page of any catalog and the first thing you look at is the upper left hand corner of the spread. Put a pair of wild socks in the upper left for stopping power and direct your reader to the old tried and true elsewhere on the spread. Be ready to be where your customer wants you, when your customer wants you, with what your customer wants. Just-in-time marketing is crucial as people become spoiled by 24-hour, seven-day-a-week customized products and services.
Pick up any business book, by any author, and they will tell you there is no other way to sell a product that is cheaper and more successful than direct mail. These sections usually have a larger readership than the regular newspaper and your ad can generate more business. Note: Look at last years edition and check with advertisers and see if the response was worth going in these sections. Where your ad appears in the paper can have a dramatic impact on how successful it will be. Not because they can't do it, or don't have the ability, but because newspaper designers are under a deadline to create many ads in a short amount of time. If you doubt this pick up almost any paper and proof read the ads or look for corrections and retractions of past incorrect ads. This way the reader can see everyone's face clearly and the ad will be much more effective. When news of your business is published be sure to send a copy to any trade organizations you belong to so they can include the news in their magazine or newsletters. If you do get an article printed about your business be sure to send a thank you card or letter to the reporter. If your paper prints a story regarding your business or industry that is negative, prepare a press release that shows the positive side of the story.
Just because you're in a small town doesn't mean your local town paper is the only print option.
In Bozeman, MT we have the Bozeman Chronicle but many people also subscribe to the Billings Gazette. Invite them to spend the day or part of a day with you so they can write the story from actual first-hand observation.
Netsmart found the primary reason consumers go to commercial Web sites is to be informed (97%), not to be entertained. 69% report Web site info is a crucial factor in their final purchase decision, only 15% go on-line to compare prices.
If there are no new products lined up, provide industry updates, gossip, trends and forecasts. In evaluating the performance of some 30 ads over the last five months, ZD Net of Cambridge, Mass., found that animated ads generated click-through rates at least 15% higher than static ads, and in some cases as much as 40% higher.
One important point, you can't rely completely on search engines to publicize your web site.
For example, you may want to notify customers about your site security if you are using credit cards. Spelling these out in advance and posting them as part of your site can head off legal problems down the road. Update weekly, daily if possible, and be sure to note on the first page the date of the update. Before you decide to place an ad or banner on another Web site monitor the site for about a month. If the site has nothing new to offer the traffic will slow and your ad will become ineffective.
Check their web sites for past articles on your business or industry and contact them via e-mail about your page.
The nice thing about this is once you've created the decorations they can be reused year after year. Start setting aside time to surf the Web for pages about your industry and see who is linked to who and where the links go. What you're looking for is a community of sites within your industry that have linked together for the good of all. Intellectual property on the net is defined as: software, patents, books, videos, music, photographs, trademarks, fictional characters, copyrights and Web Pages. The 2010 launch of Small Business Saturday gives local small businesses new promotional opportunities to encourage patronage within their local markets… and each year the opportunities get bigger and bigger as Small Business Saturday popularity grows!
While Black Friday is typically a day that “big box” retail stores thrive and Cyber Monday is one of the most successful days for online retailers, Small Business Saturday is intended to drum up business for local merchants owned and operated by businesses within communities. Marketed by AMEX Open (the small business arm of American Express), Small Business Saturday is supported with TV advertisements, online ads, social media and more.
The overall promotional effort is aimed at encouraging customers to support their local communities and businesses on one dedicated day a year. You can also take advantage of the Small Business Saturday Checklist for more ideas, resources and promotional tools. With over 20 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. In a world of micro-moment marketing, customers and prospects are seeking more bite-size content to consume.
Please enter at least one email addressYou are trying to send out more invites than you have remaining. We help many small business owners increase their enquiry and convert more sales with online advertising. Whether you are new to online advertising, or just wanting some expert advice, our team offers a personalised service dedicated to ensuring you get great returns that won’t cost you the earth.

So, feel free to call us to discuss the best options that can help get more customers for your business today. The Print Ad titled SPEED KILLS was done by Ikon Advertising & Marketing advertising agency for brand: Ikon Advertising & Marketing in United Arab Emirates. Small Business Administration recommends that small businesses spend at least 7-8% of their gross revenues on online marketing, most such businesses can only afford to spend 2-3%. As a result, many business owners feel hopelessly trapped by the present situation; unable to advertise their services effectively to compensate for a shrinking customer base without spending money they can’t really afford.
Other businesses have chosen to diversify their marketing efforts by dabbling a bit in every field: Internet, print, radio, telemarketing and TV.
There is no point spending money on advertising if you are not generating quality leads and converting them into business. Social media, newsletters, email campaigns, blogs, and simple website design can generate revenue and are free avenues of advertising available to anyone. When crafting a multi-media marketing strategy, I usually view the relative values of each approach based upon a sliding scale that correlates directly to ROI. Make no mistake, content marketing will be the dominant form of advertising going forward, and it is important to get in on it as early as possible.
Postcards will keep your mailing list clean (Address Correction Requested), First class returned and corrected free of charge by the Post Office. Include a coupon or special offer or tell them about your product that they should give themselves as a gift. You'll receive faster results, it costs less, and you'll generate greater input and feedback. Higher prices separate you from the crowd, and implies your product is better, an deserves a premium price. A quote from the person pictured conveys friendliness and builds confidence in your company. For products that increase personal security, personal safety or health, fear can be an effective business-boosting tool. You are holding this information because of an Internet site or a local or national promotion.
If you're printing an expensive color piece, ask the printer to quote the price of his house paper.
For example: A florist wants red flowers around the borders of his brochure and black ink for the text. Thank anyone who refers business to you with a personalized thank you card, phone call, discounts, flowers, dinner or even a commission.
Invite clients and friends to your home based business or store, serve refreshments and plan an interesting demonstration of your product or service.
Offer a specialty item that's useful enough to save and that also serves as a reminder of your business. Offer customers genuinely useful products or services that make you and your customers happy. Every quarter or so, put up a dozen of these advisers (friends, family, business associates whose opinions and judgment you value) into a room and allow them to critique every aspect of your business. When explaining your product or service to customers, stop every 30 to 45 seconds and ask a question to see if your message is being received. Starting a company or introducing a new product is a monumental task if you approach it as a done deal.
Look the books over for two weeks and buy the ones you want to add to your business library.
If you continue to work on an ad, brochure, mailer long enough, eventually you will get it perfect. The reality is that no communications project is ever more than 90% perfect There's always something that could be revised and improved. It is better to accept a 90% perfect project and finish it so it can begin to do its work, rather than keeping it caged while chasing the elusive 100% perfect goal. If you have a new business or product, the important thing is getting some kind of message out there. Just because issues are important within an organization they do not automatically have relevance to your customers. When you consider any project look at it from the customers point of view, not the company. What small thing can you do for your customers that will surprise them without additional cost to the company?
Talk to your suppliers and salespeople who call on you, they know more about your competition than anyone else. If you can serve some subgroup of that market effectively you may be able to capture a loyal and lucrative customer base.
Talking to people in the same industry can give you a good idea of what to try and not try in business promotion. If your competitor is offering 50% off over a four day weekend and you can't afford the extra inventory or the mark-down for that long, what can you do?
Create a form to keep track of clients requests for special services and products and whether you can meet these requests. By studying these forms periodically, you can track interest in new products or services that you should offer. Print your company name, address, and fax number on all materials including, packing slips and invoices.
Customers who have to search for your number may come across your competitor's number first. Seminars help cement relations with current customers, attract prospects, and increase your company's exposure. Letters enhance a company's professional image, help avoid misunderstandings and often make a sale. Write letters explaining your company's services, detailing how your company helped another well-known client or thanking a customer for an order. If they have a problem you can solve, your name and number are right there stuck to the page. You'll quickly realize that some high-volume accounts are not contributing significantly to the bottom line. Develop a plan to inform all employees who the most profitable customers are and who should receive the best efforts of the company.
People respond better to illustrations or photos showing the product in use rather than those that show the product just sitting there.
Should you use your limited advertising budget to create larger, more visible ads that restrict you to advertising less frequently, or smaller, less visible ads that you can then afford to run more frequently?
Negative word of mouth, especially on computer bulletin boards and systems like the Internet, can cripple your business even more than positive public relations can help it. It's sometimes better to focus on a smaller market one nobody is serving because they're all off catering to the bigger trend. Wouldn't it be nice if we could only have our 11 page ad delivered to the Time subscribers who were interested in our product?
Now we can send our eleven page ad for substantially less than the Time ad, we don't have to compete with other ads in the same magazine, and our message is reaching a target audience that has demonstrated that they have a definite need for our product and a history of buying it.
In most cases your ad won't receive the care and attention to detail it deserves because of the time constraints.
If you're using photos of your building, keep in mind the image you want to project to the reader.
If you are using a photo of your employees, the common mistake is to take the photo from too far away. A scan ad is a small classified ad that is placed once with a member paper and appears in hundreds of newspapers in that state. If the topic is controversial it may spark a positive article with your company portrayed in a positive light.

If your product or service saves time or makes life easier, that may be more important to some customers than saving money.
We live in ski country and three different resort areas deliver snow reports on one of the radio stations. Users go off-line to ring up high ticket sales, but the web is where they make up their minds.
Avoid the hot new technologies like VRML, Active X, Java, etc., unless you are targeting a true high-tech audience. This will bring visitors back and motivate them to spread the word on the Internet grapevine.
Business cards, brochures, postcards, flyers, ads, signs, delivery vehicles consider a tattoo?
This will protect you if some one else decides to download some of your graphics and use them on their site. If you are going to sell or market products on the web, it is important that your site have certain legal positions spelled out in legal language. Keep track of frequent customers and big spenders and ask if you can e-mail them with any special sales or promotions you have planned. With so many small local merchants struggling to compete against bigger businesses, the Small Business Saturday event hopes to put an annual focus on shopping with local retailers and merchants on Thanksgiving weekend nationwide. Get the word out early by communicating often with customers and your community through Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters, on your website and in person at your store. Connect your business with the cause of local community support – not just support of your local business.
Or, download a full marketing resources kit from American Express that includes logos, signage, social media templates and more. Increase the incentives with special one-day discounts and promotions that will improve foot traffic into your store location. Extend your shopping day for customers on the day of the event by opening earlier or staying open later to make it even easier for customers to shop at your business location.
You can create even more excitement for your local small business by doing something different to draw attention. Build on momentum from each other by having multiple businesses in the same line of stores or area actively participating in Small Business Saturday with promotions to increase visibility and attention for all local businesses. The Small Business Saturday promotional event is a great opportunity to build your own customer database for long-term marketing throughout the year. Ask your loyal existing customers to share your Small Business Saturday promotions with their friends or colleagues to help spread the word. Check out our Marketing Plan Template Builder that helps you easily customize marketing plans for special events like Small Business Saturday, as well as your ongoing marketing efforts.
Diane also serves as the marketing director for SureShade, a growing small business that has become the new standard for shade on boats, and runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing.
There will be even more media attention on Small Business Saturday this year which really helps with local promotions. They are looking for information that is quick, understandable and easy to act upon if desired. Although a good advertising strategy will vary naturally based upon the industry and the target audience, content marketing stands alone as the most cost-effective approach to consumer advertising for the foreseeable future. How much revenue will this form of advertising yield compared to the amount of money I put into it?
That way you can print up large quantities (5,000 or more) of the outside only and have the printer keep them on hand. General Motors didn't start at its present size, its doors opened on the first day of business with no customers just like yours. Isn't it better to get complaint feedback right away rather than wait until you have hundreds of unhappy customers.
Sometimes in the course of casual conversation they may, unknowingly, give you important information about your competition's future plans. The Video Software Dealers have one of the largest conventions in Las Vegas every year (sorry, Video Dealers only). But they are an effective means of communication and unlike phone calls, almost always reach the intended audience.
With Personalized Post-It notes everyone from the CEO to the receptionist will see your company name almost every day.
Most people even those who are likely candidates for your products typically don't respond to ads the first time they see them.
Your customer is experiencing those best in-class processes from someone and they are measuring your delivery against those some ones.
A list of people who should buy our product based on our product position and their past buying behavior.
For some strange reason people feel we must include the full body in the shot and the faces of the employees are lost. For example, in Montana scan ads run about $100 dollars for 100-120 state and local papers. If you know the demographics of your site you can then provide this information to other companies who may pay you to post a banner on your page or a paid link to their page. Your most loyal customers can become your biggest advocates and help spread the word to new customers in your community.
Emphasize the fact that supporting your business and other local businesses is an investment in your community.
Serve free coffee in the morning, display balloons outside your store, hire a musician to play music in your store or create a contest for a drawing. Be sure to capture contacts of new customers for email marketing, social media or direct mail to continue to communicate to local consumers with specials after the event.
Encourage sharing on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, along with good old-fashioned offline word of mouth! Those costs are expected to go up through the end of the year, reflecting a pattern that represents a serious problem for many cash-strapped businesses. Viewed in this straightforward manner of investment return, online advertising is the best approach, far and away.
You will still drain off a lot of his customers on a busy sale day and you will be perceived as a better place to do business.
If you only measure yourself versus your competition, you'll only be as good or a little better than they are.
In California scan ads are in the $400 - $500 range but appear in papers with an estimated readership of several million people.
Pet supply companies called down to research and development and asked how many formulas they could use to make clumping cat litter. You can have some pink flowers and some red flowers with little or no additional cost depending on how your printer handles screens. Your materials will go through several evolutionary changes over the years and you will never be totally happy with them.
Armed with that knowledge you can let these customers know that you will solve the problem with no hassles or problems. They could make the best cake mix in the world and it would still be a very tough sell for most people. This is important information because if the area can't afford or doesn't want your product then you're out of business before you even start. Use gray (a tint of black) and presto, a 4 color brochure (red, pink, gray and black) for a 2 Color price.

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