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Featured small business marketing article:

10 Tips for Achieving Greater Marketing & Advertising Success

Marketing and advertising is like a double edged sword. If used cost-effectively, consistently, and systematically, marketing and advertising can be the flame which ignites the growth of your business.

On the other hand, marketing and advertising, if approached in a careless, sporadic, and unrealistic way, can drain your bank account, produce disappointing results, and -- in a worst-case scenario -- result in business failure.

Avoid Marketing and Advertising Mistakes... and Seize Opportunities

Half the battle in using marketing and advertising to your advantage is to avoid common mistakes that many small business owners make in developing what might be loosely called an advertising and marketing campaign.

Here are ten key pitfalls to avoid when launching any marketing and advertising campaign

1) Target all your marketing and advertising efforts: If your intended target market is senior citizens or housewives or newlyweds or parents, then do everything you can to reach that specific group. Most products and services have one or more target markets. Advertising and marketing dollars that are not spent on reaching your target or niche market may represent wasted money.

2) Start conservatively. Spend your marketing and advertising dollars cautiously, at first, until you discover, through experimentation, what works. Words have a tremendous amount of power in sales, marketing, and advertising, so consider either hiring a professional copywriter or -- if you have the time and interest -- learn the basic principles of successful copywriting and advertising, yourself. Fill-in-the-blank Instant Sales Letter templates

3) Don't Get Lost in a Sea of Ads!

If you can't arrange to have your ad in a spot that will be seen, then you might give some thought to postponing the ad or placing it in a different publication. When a whole bunch of display ads are grouped together, it increases the tendancy of many readers to ignore all of them. If your ad is surrounded by other ads, it dilutes the potential effectiveness of the ad. The name of the game in marketing and advertising is to STAND OUT AND BE NOTICED! (Hopefully for all the right reasons.)

4) Advertising Salespeople May Have Their Own Agenda

When you meet with an advertising salesperson, go into it with a healthy dose of skepticism. While many of them will provide you with helpful advice, guidance, and advertising ideas, keep in mind that their primary objective is probably to make as much of a commission as they can. This is not necessarily a 'rule of thumb', but they may try to sell you more than you need, both in terms of the size of an ad and its duration. Until you're sure that you have a winning ad that has been proven to generate responses, it's usually a sound ideas to prodceed with caution when making media buys.

5) Continually expand and strengthen your network. In most businesses, nothing beats the marketing power of having a well-established network of personal contacts. Not only is this valuable as a relationship marketing strategy, but you can also get a lot of mileage out of it from a referral and lead-generating standpoint.

By the way, if getting referrals is not one of your strong point, this collection of referral generating systems may create a slew of new sales opportunities for you: Instant Referal Systems

6) Don't Miss Opportunities for Free Publicity. If you get in the habit of sending a press release to local newspapers and other media outlets every time you hire someone new, win an award, chair a fundraising drive, open a new branch, move or expand your business, partner with another business, or even start a new web site, you'll increase your visibility, your 'recognition factor', and your credibility. If you're lucky (or somewhat aggressive in promoting your availability as a media spokesman and/or source of information), you could spark a reporter's interest in doing an article or feature store about you or your business. That kind of publicity can really lend an air of credibility in the marketplace.

7) Know Thyself! By determining what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can capitalize on your strengtjs and work toward correcting or compensating for your weaknesses.

8) An Internet Presence is Increasingly Important. Not only is having a web site becoming a vitally important part of a well-rounded marketing and advertising program, but many customers and prospective customers expect it from you. Having a well developed, up-to-date web site can not only help people find you, it can also help you communicate more effectively with your clients about everything from prices and product features to company policies and personnel changes. For most small businesses, the Internet is an underutilized marketing and advertising tool, and it's potential is tremendous.

9) Prospects are only Interested in One Thing! Whether you're giving a sales presentation, responding to a phone inquiry, writing a newspaper ad or crafting a brochure, your first step should always be to 'leave your ego at the door' and concentrate on what you can do to enhance your customers' (or prospects') life, solve a problem for them, add to their enjoyment, help them reach their goals, give them security, make them safer, help them to feel better about themselves, or help them satisfy their need to be happier, healthier, more loved, appreciated or... well, you get the idea! They're mostly interested in how your product or service can benefit them and whether it's more affordable, easier, and more service oriented than the competition. If you base your marketing and advertising on that premise, your foundation for success will be rock solid!

10) Develop in Yourself a Marketing and Advertising 'consciousness': Cultivate a curiosity and interest in marketing and advertising, and pay attention to what other businesses are doing to promote themselves to the public. You'll increase your own marketing and advertising effectiveness if you become sort of a 'student' of what motivates people to choose one business or another. Read everything you can get your hands on and keep a notebook with all the good ideas and strategies that you come across.


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