Monday, July 4, 2011

Avoid The Small Business Marketing Money Trap

Small businesses are constantly being offered various advertising and marketing services. Here are some of the mistakes you can avoid to make the most out of your local marketing effort.

1) Don't sign long-term contracts with local newspapers. Local newspapers will typically try to sell you on 6 or twelve month contracts, offering you a price break for the longer term.

This is fine, if it works.

But if you buy a business card sized local advertisement and it is on a page with 30 similar ads, with five from the same industry, your effort is sunk. Instead, don't waste your time with a business card-sized ad. You're likely to be buried in with a gazillion others. Put your money into a large ad - a half or full-page.

Then, don't agree to a six month term. Agree to 2 or 3 issues. If you have a good ad, and it catches the eye of an interested buyer, that prospect is not going to wait 6 months to call you for help. If the sales rep won't agree to a short-term test, walk.

2) Set Up Tracking. If you don't know how a marketing effort is performing, how will you know if you should spend money on it in the future?

Use a unique phone number to track success. You can find phone number tracking services very inexpensively. Usually something like $10 per month per number plus a per minute charge. But there are other, cheaper options. This will allow you to know the exact number of customer inquiries from the ad.

Also set up a unique email address for use with specific activities. That way, any inquiries to that address will be proven to be from the campaign.

3) Don't Lose Money on Pay Per Click. Pay Per Click ads work, particularly, if your average customer value is on the higher side, say over $500.

Unless you go about it the wrong way.

The biggest jeopardy with PPC is how easy it is to set up and launch. Google makes it VERY easy to create an AdWords account, choose your keywords, and let the campaign fly.

PPC is a complex process, ease of setup notwithstanding. It is very easy to make some fundamental mistakes and not even know it.

There are excellent books available that teach he basics of Pay-Per-Click. read one before launching a campaign on your own.

4) Watch The Value in Coupon Mailers. Coupon mailers are still alive and well, but set up your campaign correctly to make the most out of it. Try to maximize your distribution. You will likely see the best result when you increase the circulation. Understand all the options first and then make a decision. You may be better off with using PPC for a small budget.

5) Market with Features. Spend some time figuring out the difference between features and benefits. You'll thank yourself for it.

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