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Advertising your Home Business on a Budget

Ross Gravett

When you are starting out in a new home business

and no one knows who you are, one of the greatest

challenges you will face is how to drum up new

business.

If there were not people in your community or

marketplace that you knew who needed your

products or services, you probably would not have

started your business to begin with. But, once

you have talked to those who you personally knew

who needed your what you offer, then your next

task is to find others who will help keep your

doors open.

Many people know that they must turn to

advertising at some point in the future, but they

hope that day will be long down the road. For

some, this utopian concept will come to fruition.

But for the rest of us in the real world, we must

come up with creative solutions for meeting our

home business advertising needs while working

within our budget.

Most people have a misconception about having to

spend lots of money in order to advertise their

home business. When you start out, you honestly

will not have much money available for

advertising, and if you do, you should still

spend it wisely.

Before you jump headfirst into the world of

advertising, let me share some of the lessons I

have learned concerning this most important topic.

LESSON #1

It does not have to cost an arm and a leg to

advertise your home business, unless you fail to

plan and fail to test.

As much as is possible, you should always test

your advertising. If you jump in and start

dumping tons of money in to advertising without

first testing your advertising, you might find

yourself broke and without sales at the end of

the road. Most people who commit this error write

off their failure on the home business they chose

or the economy or any of a hundred other excuses.

But, if they are unwilling to take responsibility

for their mistake, they will never learn from

their mistake. Don`t let this be you.

LESSON #2

All testing should be done in blocks. If you

begin to advertise simultaneously in newspapers,

radio and television, how will you know which

advertising is bringing people to your cash

register? You won`t. All you will know that

something might be working, but you will not know

what is actually doing the trick.

Even if you tell people in your advertising to

tell you how they found you, my experience shows

that fewer than 10% of the people ever will tell

you anything and those people who do may not

even get the facts straight! You cannot rely on

your customers to tell you what advertising is

working for your home business. You must put in

the extra effort to know for yourself.

LESSON #3

Only when you have a proven and solid advertising

portfolio should you venture to drop big bucks in

an advertising campaign. Even then, you should be

careful to keep further measurements to determine

how much the maximum advantage of an ad would be.

Sometimes you might be able to reach ten times as

many people, but depending on the kind of media

and other factors, the additional exposure will

only generate twice as many sales. Keep your eye

attuned to situations like this to get the most

from your advertising dollars.

LESSON #4

As Lesson #3 illustrates, sometimes your best

advertising investment may actually cost you less

money. When you are first starting out, whether

you are running a home business or a business

outside of your home, you need to be able to get

people talking and thinking about your business.

If you are busy testing ads in media`s such as

the newspaper, magazines, radio, and television,

you need to learn ways of promoting your business

that do not require large cash expenditures. A

few examples are:

Word of Mouth

Business Cards

Press Releases

Non-Primetime Ads on Radio and Television

Here is more information about each type of

low-cost advertising:

WORD OF MOUTH

This of course is the cheapest kind of

advertising on the planet it does not cost

you anything. Ask your customers if they know

anyone who could also use your products or

services. When they are happy with your offerings

and service, they will be willing to tell you

whom you can contact, and they will pass the

word for you.

BUSINESS CARDS

You can usually pick up 500 business cards for

about $20. When you do, hand them out. Do not

give more than a couple of cards to each person.

If they need more cards from you, they will ask.

Some people are known to network with others on a

regular basis. Some of these people are also

known to be always looking for an extra few

bucks. With these people, you can suggest to them

that if they write their name on the back of one

of your business cards and the card is presented

to you, then you will pay a referral fee to them.

You do not have to offer much sometimes one

dollar is enough. Look at your home business and

your offerings and decide how much would be a

good referral fee.

PRESS RELEASES

Press Releases are a good source for generating

news about your home business. The business

editor at your local newspaper is always on the

lookout for a good business story to fill the

business news section of the newspaper.

Of course, the business editor understands the

economics of running a paper and is more inclined

to run your story if you buy advertising in

his/her publication, but will still print

stories for special events and openings.

The important thing to remember about Press

Releases is that it must be constructed in the

form of a news story. Even if you are a sole

proprietorship, quotes from you should be written

in a third person format: John Doe said, "Your

quote here."

A Press Release should pack the most important

information at the beginning of the copy, and

leave extra details towards the end.

You should always provide the reporter who gets

the task a simple and easy way for him/her to

contact you directly. Often the reporter will

want to contact you to get details that will

enhance their take on your story.

NON-PRIMETIME ADS ON RADIO AND TELEVISION

Believe it or not, some of the best rates for

radio and television are on the overnight and

non-primetime venues. These target times are not

a total waste as they can easily keep the

infomercial people in business.

These off-hours are just less populated than the

primetime hours.

Don`t be afraid to check your local radio and

television rates for non-primetime hours to see

what bargains may exist. With television,

primetime is 7pm to 10pm. With radio, primetime is

8am to 5pm. This sure leaves a whole lot of hours

available to advertise your home business at

discount rates!

IN CONCLUSION

When it comes down to it, there is a lot to

understand about advertising, but when you have

the basic knowledge down pat, everything will

fall into place and bring more dollars to your

bank account.

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Drums Along the Jacks Fork

Small Press Bookwatch , August, 2004

Drums Along The Jacks Fork

Henry Hoffman

Echelon Press

PO Box 1375, Pittsboro, NC 27312

1590803086

Billie Staley is a determined young woman still suffering from the sudden deaths of her parents when she accepts a government job in Woodland Hills, Missouri. But before she get underway in building a new life for herself she is caught up in a computer technology backlash and a sinister militia movement. Throwing herself into her work, Billie unexpectedly discovers that the new man who has entered her life and her heart is much more than he seemed. Things get out of hand as one catastrophic even of uncertain origin leaves the town of Woodland Hills in ruin and Billie must fight for her life while discovering how such an unexpected disaster came to be. Very highly recommended reading, Drums Along The Jacks Fork is a polished work of considerable originality and clearly documents author Henry Hoffman as an able novelist whose readers will look eagerly forward to his next effort.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Midwest Book Review

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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