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Prescription for Advertising.
A wise man once said, "The person who saves money by not advertising is
like the man who stops the clock to save time." In today's fast-paced,
high-tech age, businesses have to use some form of advertising to make prospects
aware of their products and services.
Even a famous company like Coca-Cola continually spends money on advertising to
support recognition of their products. In 1993, Coca-Cola spent more than $150
million to keep its name in the forefront of the public's eye. So the question
isn't whether or not you can afford to advertise, you simply must if you want
your business to succeed.
Some questions you should consider before buying ads are:
1. What media is the best to use?
2. How important is creativity?
3. Is there a way to buy space and time that will stretch my advertising budget?
When it comes to advertising, a lot of people really don't know what they want,
where to get it or what to do with it after they have it. This publication will
help you learn to determine what type of advertising media is best for you, and
learn to identify guidelines you can use to obtain the advertising exposure you
need. It will help you identify ways to make your advertising more cost
Advertising is an investment in your business's future. And like any investment,
it's important to find out as much as you can before you make a decision. You'll
be able to use this publication as a reliable reference tool often in the months
and years to come.
Every advertising medium has characteristics that give it natural advantages and
limitations. As you look through your newspaper(s), you'll notice some
businesses that advertise regularly. Observe who they are and how they advertise
their products and services. More than likely, their advertising investment is
working if it's selling!
Some Advantages in Newspaper Advertising
Almost every home in the United States receives a newspaper, either by newsstand
or home delivery. Reading the newspaper is a habit for most families. And, there
is something for everybody-- sports, comics, crosswords, news, classifieds, etc.
You can reach certain types of people by placing your ad in different sections
of the paper. People expect advertising in the newspaper. In fact, many people
buy the paper just to read the ads from the supermarket, movies or department
Unlike advertising on TV and radio, advertising in the newspaper can be examined
at your leisure. A newspaper ad can contain details, such as prices and
telephone numbers or coupons.
There are many advantages to advertising in the newspaper. From the advertiser's
point-of-view, newspaper advertising can be convenient because production
changes can be made quickly, if necessary, and you can often insert a new
advertisement on short notice. Another advantage is the large variety of ad
sizes newspaper advertising offers. Even though you may not have a lot of money
in your budget, you can still place a series of small ads, without making a
Some Disadvantages with Newspaper Advertising
Advertising in the newspaper offers many advantages, but it is not without its
inherent disadvantages, such as:
1. Newspapers usually are read once and stay in the house for just a day.
2. The print quality of newspapers isn't always the best, especially for
photographs. So use simple artwork and line drawings for best results.
3. The page size of a newspaper is fairly large and small ads can look
4. Your ad has to compete with other ads for the reader's attention.
5. You're not assured that every person who gets the newspaper will read your
ad. They may not read the section you advertised in, or they may simply have
skipped the page because there wasn't any interesting news on it.
How Should I Work with my Newspaper Representative?
Every newspaper has its own sales staff, and you're normally appointed your
personal newspaper "Sales Representative." A newspaper sales rep can
be very helpful. He or she can keep you posted on special sections or promotions
that may apply to your business, but always keep in mind it is the sales rep's
job to sell you advertising.
Your sales rep might say that the newspaper can layout any of your ads,
pre-prepared or not. But these ads are assembly line products and are not often
very creative or eye-catching. Consider using an artist or agency for your ads.
In addition, your sales rep can sometimes be instrumental in making sure your
story or upcoming announcement "finds" the right reporter because the
relationship between the advertising and editorial staff is chummier than most
people think, even though they claim total anonymity.
Buying Newspaper Advertising Space
Since the Expanded Standard Advertising Unit System was adopted back in 1984, it
is now easier to buy advertising space in newspapers. Advertising is sold by
column and inch, instead of just line rates. You can determine the size ad you
want just by looking in the newspaper in which you want to advertise. If you
can't locate an ad that's the size you want, just measure the columns across and
the inches down. For example, an ad that measures 3 columns across and 7 inches
down would be a 21 inch ad. If the inch rate is $45.67, your ad would cost
$959.07. In case your newspaper is still on the line rate system, remember there
are 14 lines to an inch. So, if the line rate is $3.75, multiply it by 14 and
you will have the cost of an inch rate. (the rate would be $45.50 an inch.)
Here are some other things to remember:
1. Newspaper circulation drops on Saturdays and increases on Sundays, which is
also the day a newspaper is read most thoroughly.
2. Position is important, so specify in what section you want your ad to appear.
Sometimes there's a surcharge for exact position...but don't be afraid to pay
for it if you need it.
3. Request an outside position for ads that have coupons. That makes them easier
to cut out.
4. If a newspaper is delivered twice daily (morning/evening), it often offers
"combination" rates or discounts for advertising in both papers, You
usually can reach more readers, so this kind of advertising may be something to
Other important tips to remember are:
* Before you advertise, have in mind a definite plan for what it is you want to
* Create short, descriptive copy for your ad. Include prices if applicable.
Consider using a copywriter or ask your newspaper for free copy assistance.
* Face your products toward the inside of the ad. If the product you want to use
faces right, change your copy layout to the left.
* Be sure to include your company name and logo, address and telephone number in
* Neat, uncluttered and orderly ads encourage readership. Don't try to crowd
everything you can in the layout space. If the newspaper helps you with the
layout, be sure to request a proof of the final version so you can approve it or
make changes before it is printed.
Always make sure you are satisfied with what your advertising says and how it
looks before it goes to print.
Many of the same "print" type principles which apply to newspaper
advertising also apply to magazine advertising. The biggest differences are:
* Magazines are usually weekly or monthly publications instead of daily.
* Advertising messages are more image-oriented and less price-oriented.
* The quality of the pictures and paper are superior to newsprint.
* Advertisements involve color more often.
The general rule that you can run the same ad 3-5 times within a campaign period
before its appeal lessens applies to magazine advertising as well, even with a
monthly publication. So it makes sense to spend extra time and money to prepare
a worthwhile ad that can be successfully repeated.
Over long terms such as these, however, be aware that the client (you) often
tire of the ad before the audience does.
Because ads in magazines are not immediate, they take more planning. Often, an
ad for a monthly magazine must be prepared at least a month in advance of
publication, so ads detailing prices and items have to be carefully crafted to
Since the quality of the magazines are superior, the advertising that you
generate must be superior as well. Negatives are usually required instead of
prints or "PMTs" (photo-mechanical transfers). Consider getting
assistance from a graphic artist or an advertising agency.
There are two categories of magazines: trade magazines and consumer magazines.
Trade magazines are publications that go to certain types of businesses,
services and industries. Consumer magazines are generally the kind you find on
the average news stand. Investigate which type would do your business the most
An agency can also purchase the magazine space for you, often at no charge,
because the magazine pays the agency a commission directly. If you wish to
purchase the advertising yourself, contact the magazine directly and ask for an
"Ad Kit" or "Media Package." They will send you a folder
that includes demographic information, reach information, a current rate card
and a sample of the publication.
Although most magazines are national in nature, many have regional advertising
sections that allow your business to look like it purchased a national ad when
it only went to a certain geographical area. This can be especially useful if
your product or service is regional in nature as well and could not benefit from
the magazines complete readership. Each magazine does this differently, so
contact the one(s) you are interested in and ask them about their geographic
editions. Some sophisticated magazines even have demographic editions available,
which might also be advantageous.
Since its inception, radio has become an integral part of American culture. In
some way, it touches the lives of almost everyone, every day. Radio, as a
medium, offers a form of entertainment that attracts listeners while they are
working, traveling, relaxing or doing almost anything. A farmer, for example,
may listen to the radio while he is having breakfast or plowing his field.
People driving to work often listen to the radio. Radio offers information such
as: news, weather reports, traffic conditions, advertising and music for your
What Are Some of the Good Things About Radio?
Radio is a relatively inexpensive way of reaching people. It has often been
called the "theater of the mind" because voices or sounds can be used
to create moods or images that if crested by visual effects would be impossible
You can also negotiate rates for your commercials, or even barter. Stations are
often looking for prizes they can give away to listeners, so it's possible to
get full commercial credit for the product or service you offer.
Advantages to radio advertising include:
* The ability to easily change and update scripts are paramount to radio
broadcasting, since news stories can and often do happen live.
* Radio is a personal advertising medium. Station personalities have a good
rapport with their listeners. If a radio personality announces your commercial,
it's almost an implied endorsement.
* Radio is also a way to support your printed advertising. You can say in your
commercial, "See our ad in the Sunday Times," which makes your message
twice as effective.
What are Some Limitations to Radio Advertising?
Radio advertising is not without its disadvantages too, such
* You can't review a radio commercial. Once it plays, it's gone. If you didn't
catch all the message, you can't go back and hear it again.
* Since there are a lot of radio stations, the total listening audience for any
one station is just a piece of a much larger whole. That's why it's important to
know what stations your customers and prospects probably listen to. Therefore,
most of the time, you'll have to buy time on several radio stations to reach the
market you are after.
* People don't listen to the radio all the time...only during certain times of
day. So, it's important to know when your customers or prospects are listening.
For example, if you want to reach a large portion of your audience by
advertising during the morning farm report, you'll have to specify that time
period to the radio station when you buy the time.
One of the most popular times to reach people is during Drive Times (from 6 a.m.
to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) It's called that because most people are going
to or from work during this period, and because most people listen to their
radio when they drive. Unfortunately, radio stations know that this is a
favorite time to advertise, so commercial costs are much higher during this
* Radio as a broadcasting medium, can effectively sell an image...or one or two
ideas at the most. It is not, however, a detailed medium...and is a poor place
for prices and telephone numbers.
* Radio listeners increase in the spring and summer, contrary to television
audiences which increase in the fall and winter and decrease in the summer. This
is an important aspect to consider when you are choosing advertising media.
How Should I Buy Time on the Radio?
Like a newspaper, each radio station has its own advertising staff. Each wants
you to believe that their station is the absolute best buy for your money...and
many will go to great lengths to prove it. But if you've done your research, or
you are using an advertising agency, you probably have a good idea of the
station you want to buy time on and when. If you don't know which stations you
want to use, ask each station for its own research, that is, he type of
programming, musical format, geographic reach, number of listeners and station
By getting the station ratings and the number of people it reaches, you can
figure out the cost-per-thousand people (CPM) by simply dividing the cost of a
commercial by the thousands of people you are reaching.
Cost of commercial = $35.00
Audience reached = 45,000 people
Cost of commercial per 1000 people = 35/45 = $0.78 per 1000
Without getting complicated, here are two cardinal rules for radio advertising:
1. It's better to advertise when people are listening than when they are not.
2. It's better to bunch your commercials together than to spread them apart.
A lot of radio sales reps will try to talk you out of advertising during
specific times. They'll offer you a reduced rate called TAP (Total Audience
Plan) that splits your advertising time into 1/3 drive, 1/3 mid-day and 1/3
night. This may sound like a good deal, but airing commercials during times when
your audience isn't listening is bad advertising. If however, you are sponsoring
a show such as Paul Harvey or the Morning Farm Report, it makes sense to
advertise once or twice a day on a regular basis, since those programs have
regular listener ship. Frequency is a vital element for effective radio
Since you can't automatically recall the radio commercial and hear it again, you
may have to hear the same commercial two, four, or maybe six times before the
message sinks in. If you missed the address the first time, you consciously or
subconsciously are hoping the commercial will be aired again so you can get the
information you need. That's the way radio advertising works. And that's also
the way you buy it.
Most of the time, radio advertising should be bought in chunks. High frequency
over a short period of time is much more effective than low frequency over a
longer period of time. It's important for your audience to hear your spot again
to get more information out of it. For example, if you wanted to advertise a two
week campaign and you could afford 42 radio commercials, the following buy would
serve you well: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, place three spots between
7-9 a.m. and four spots between 3-6 p.m. for two weeks. Notice that both day and
hour periods are concentrated.
By advertising in concentrated areas in tight day groups, you seem larger than
you really are. And people hearing your concentrated campaign for two or three
days will think you're on all the time. The radio sales reps may try to sell you
three spots everyday on the station for 14 days (a total of 42 spots). But your
campaign won't be nearly as effective.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your commercials:
1. If you're including your address in the commercial, simplify it. Instead of
"134525 East Pines," say "at the corner of First & Pines,
next to Gumbies." It's easier to
2. Don't use phone numbers in your commercial. If you have to mention your phone
number, refer to the Yellow Pages in the local phone book.
3. Radio works better when you combine it with other advertising media.
4. Check out the price differences between 60-second and 30-second commercials.
Normally, 30-second commercials are only 1/3 less than 60's, which makes a
60-second commercial a better buy.
5. Be creative with your radio advertising, too. If it sounds like all the rest
of the commercials, it won't stand out. Your message won't be heard nearly as
well. Advertising agencies are usually quite good at producing creative radio
If you decide to write your own radio scripts, remember these basic copy writing
* Get your listener's attention immediately.
* Write in conversational style.
* Avoid using buzz words or jargon.
* Repeat your important points.
* Make your ending strong and positive with call-to-action for response.
Television is often called "king" of the advertising media, since a
majority of people spend more hours watching TV per day than any other medium.
It combines the use of sight, color, sound and motion...and it works. TV has
proven its persuasive power in influencing human behavior time and time again.
But it's also the "king" of advertising costs.
Advantages in Television Advertising
Television reaches very large audiences-audiences that are usually larger than
the audience your city's newspaper reaches. The area that a television station's
broadcast signal covers is called A.D.I., which stands for "Area of
Some advantages of television advertising include the following:
1. Advertising on television can give a product or service instant validity and
2. You can easily reach the audiences you have targeted by advertising on TV.
Children can be reached during cartoon programming, farmers during the morning
agricultural reports and housewives during the afternoon soap operas. A special
documentary on energy sources for heating homes and business will also attract
viewers interested in heating alternatives.
3. TV offers the greatest possibility for creative advertising. With a camera,
you can take your audience anywhere and show them almost anything.
4. Since there are fewer television stations than radio stations in a given
area, each TV audience is divided into much larger segments, which enables you
to reach a larger, yet, more diverse audience.
Disadvantages in Television Advertising
Because TV has such a larger A.D.I., the stations can charge more for
commercials based on the larger number of viewers reached. The cost of
television commercial time is based on two variables:
1. The number of viewers who watch the program.
2. The time during the day the program airs.
One 30 second television commercial during prime time viewing (8 p.m. to 11
p.m.) can cost 10 to 30 times more than one radio spot during drive time (which
is considered prime listening time).
While the newspaper may cover the city's general metropolitan area, TV may cover
a good portion of the state where you live. If such a coverage blankets most of
your sales territory, TV advertising may be the best advertising alternative for
Producing a commercial is also an important variable to consider. On the whole,
television audiences have become more sophisticated and have come to expect
quality commercials. A poorly produced commercial could severely limit the
effectiveness of your message, and may even create a bad image in your
Advertising agencies or TV commercial production facilities are the best
organizations for creating a commercial that will be effective for the goods or
service you are offering. But the cost of a well-produced commercial is often
more expensive than people think. Some TV stations will claim they can put
together commercials for "almost nothing." Before agreeing to this,
find out what "almost nothing" means. Then, determine if the
commercial quality and content they are proposing will represent your firm's
Many companies use the station's commercial production facilities for creating
"tag lines" on pre-produced commercials. Often, the station will help
you personalize the spot for little or no cost...if you advertise with them.
Remember, more than anything else, when it comes to making a TV commercial, you
get what you pay for. And when you're buying commercial time for one 30-second
TV spot costing from $600 to $1,200, it makes sense to have the best sales
Remember, like radio, the message comes and goes...and that's it. The viewer
doesn't see your commercial again unless you buy more placements.
Creativity: A Vital Element
When you advertise on TV, your commercial is not only competing with other
commercials, it's also competing with the other elements in the viewer's
environment as well.
The viewer may choose to get a snack during the commercial break, go to the
bathroom or have a conversation about what they just saw on the show they were
viewing. Even if your commercial is being aired, viewers may never see it unless
it is creative enough to capture their attention. That's why it's so important
to consider the kind of commercial you are going to create...and how you want
your audience to be affected. Spending money on a good commercial in the
beginning will pay dividends in the end.
Don't Use TV Unless Your Budget Allows
Attempting to use TV advertising by using a poorly-produced commercial; buying
inexpensive late night commercial time that few people watch; or just placing
your commercial a couple times on the air will guarantee disappointing results.
To obtain positive results from TV advertising you must have enough money in
your budget to:
1. Pay for the cost of producing a good TV commercial (today costs range from
$2,500 to $20,000 and above).
2. Pay for effective commercial time that will reach your viewer at least 5-7
Properly done, television advertising is the most effective medium there is. But
it is big league advertising...and you shouldn't attempt it unless you have
enough money in your budget to do it right.
If you're still attracted to TV, it's a good idea to call in an advertising
agency for production and media buying estimates. Then, figure out what sales
results you can expect. With such data, you should be able to reach a logical
Buying Television Advertising Time
There are many things to know and consider before buying a TV programming
schedule. That's why, in most cases, using an advertising agency or a media
buying service is recommended when advertising on TV. If these services are
unavailable, find a TV representative that you can trust. Your agency or
representative can help you select the programs you should advertise on in order
to reach your market. Also, ask about "fringe" time, adjacencies and
When you are engineering your schedule, remember that repetition (or frequency)
is a very important ingredient to use. Make sure your audience sees your
commercial with the context of the programs you're buying. Ask for a commercial
affidavit. Normally, it doesn't cost any more and the station will provide you
with a list of the exact times your commercial was run.
For an effective and inexpensive way to get your message on the TV screen,
consider using pre-prepared TV commercials that may be available to you through
a manufacture or distributor you deal with. You can add your name and logo to
the end of the commercial for little or no cost. Look at cooperative advertising
too. Many companies offer prepared advertising materials you can use and at the
same time may pay for a portion of the advertising schedule.
Cable advertising is a lower cost alternative to advertising on broadcast
television. It has many of the same qualities as broadcast television, and in
fact, since it offers more programming, it's even easier to reach a designated
The trouble with cable is it doesn't reach everyone in the market area, since
the signal has to be wired instead of broadcast, and also because not everyone
subscribes to cable.
If cable does reach a large part of your market, have an advertising agency
investigate its cost or call the cable company's advertising sales department.
Chances are the commercial time will be 10 to 20 percent of the costs of regular
Telephone book advertising is another way to reach your market area. It allows
you to place your business listing or ad in selected classifications within the
book, with the theory being that when people need your product or service, they
look up the classification and contact you.
Much of the "sell" copy for a product or service, therefore, does not
have to be in your ad content, since the people who have looked up your
classification are already in the market to buy. The thing to be aware of when
you write the ad is the other firms' ads within your classification. In other
words, why should the reader select your firm over your competition? That is the
crucial question -- and your ad should provide the answer.
Telephone Yellow Pages salespeople often employ the technique of selling as
large of ad as they can to one company, then showing the other companies in the
same classification what the one company is doing so that they can match it or
beat it. This is not the best criteria for determining ad size, but is
definitely good for the ad salesperson.
To determine the size you should use, consider the following:
* Your ad should be large enough to incorporate the vital information the reader
needs to make a contact decision (as mentioned above).
* Remember your lessons in print advertising. Keep your ad clean, creative and
eye-appealing. Even though the phone company will "design your ad for
free," some firms employ graphic artists and advertising agencies to create
a Yellow Pages ad that really stands out.
* Give yourself a budget to work with. Figure out how much you want to spend on
Yellow Pages advertising for the entire year, then divide it by 12. That will
give you the payment that is automatically attached to your phone bill every
Do something unique or different. If no one else is using color, use color. Even
shades of gray can make an ad look better and more appealing.
Advantages of Yellow Pages Advertising
* One ad works all year long.
* Gives your prospect a method of easily locating and contacting your business,
even if they didn't initially know your name.
* Can help you describe the differences between you and your competition.
* You pay by the month instead of one large payment.
Disadvantages of Yellow Pages Advertising
* You must commit to an entire year of advertising.
* You are immediately placed with a group of your competitors, making it easy
for the prospect to comparison shop.
* Some classifications are so cluttered with advertising, your ad is buried and
* It is only effective when a prospect looks you up in the correct
classification, assuming the prospect knows what classification to look for in
the first place.
If you require more than one classification, your Yellow Pages representative
often has packages and programs that can save you some money. In addition, the
same is often true if you need to be advertising in more than one city or
Yellow Pages advertising is an important medium to consider in our fast-paced,
information-hungry society. People really do let their "fingers do the
walking" instead of driving around blindly. Make sure your Yellow Pages ad
is attractive and informative enough to be the one or two businesses the
prospect actually does select to call. And then make sure you have the resources
to deal with the inquiry. After all, there is nothing more annoying than being
put "on-hold" by a busy checker or being served by an uninterested
or unknowledgeable employee.
When people think of Outdoor Advertising, they usually think of the colorful
billboards along our streets and highways. Included in the "outdoor"
classification, however, are benches, posters, signs and transit advertising
(the advertising on buses, subways, taxicabs and trains). They are all share
similar advertising rules and methods.
Outdoor advertising reaches its audience as an element of the environment.
Unlike newspaper, radio or TV, it doesn't have to be invited into the home. And
it doesn't provide entertainment to sustain its audience.
Some Outdoor Advantages
* Since it is in the public domain, Outdoor Advertising assuredly reaches its
audience. People can't "switch it off" or "throw it out."
People are exposed to it whether they like it or not. In this sense, outdoor
advertising truly has a "captured audience."
* It's messages work on the advertising principle of "frequency."
Since most messages stay in the same place for a period of a month or more,
people who drive by or walk past see the same message a number of times.
* Particular locations can be acquired for certain purposes. A billboard located
a block in front of your business can direct people to your showroom. Or you can
reach rural areas efficiently by placing a billboard in each small town.
* Outdoor advertising is an excellent adjunct to other types of advertising you
are doing. In fact, it is most effective when coupled with other media.
Some Outdoor Disadvantages
* Outdoor advertising is a glance medium. At best, it only draws 2-3 seconds of
a reader's time.
* Messages must be brief to fit in that 2-3 second time frame. Ninety-five
percent of the time, either the message or the audience is in motion.
* The nature of the way you have to buy outdoor advertising (usually a three
month commitment) is not conducive to a very short, week-long campaign.
When you buy outdoor advertising, remember that location is everything. High
traffic areas are ideal. A billboard in an undesirable area will do you little
good. Keep your message concise (use only five to seven words) and make it
creatively appealing to attract readership. Few words, large illustrations (or
photos), bold colors and simple backgrounds will create the most effective
outdoor advertising messages.
What makes "direct" mail different than regular mail? Nothing. It's
just a way the advertising world describes a promotional message that
circumvents traditional media (newspaper, radio, TV) and appeals directly to an
individual consumer. Usually through the mail, but other carriers also
Direct mail may be used more than you think. Studies indicate that it is the
third largest media expenditure behind television and newspaper.
Rules to Remember
* Define your audience. Figure out who you want to reach before developing your
direct mail program. This allows you to specifically target your message to fit
common needs. It is the best advertising medium for "tailoring" your
* Locate the right mailing list. You can either build a "house list"
by doing the research yourself and compiling the information on a computer
ώ or you can purchase an "outside list" from a list house or
mailing organization already pre-prepared and ready to go.
* There are many ways to purchase lists. You can buy them demographically (by
age, profession, habits or business), or geographically (by location, state and
zip code). Or you can by a list with both qualities. More than likely, there is
a mailing list company in your area that would happy to consult with you on your
needs. If not, there are a number of national mailing lists available. On the
average, you should pay between 4 to 5 cents a name.
* For assembly, addressing and mailing your project, you also have the choice of
doing it yourself or locating a mailing service company to do it for you. As the
numbers of your direct mail pieces increase, the more practical it is for you to
enlist such an organization for assistance. They also are very good at getting
you the lowest postal rates.
* Consider using a self-addressed reply card or envelope to strengthen return.
Use a Business Reply Postage Number on the envelope and you'll only pay for the
cards which are sent back to you.
The blessing (or curse) of direct mail is that there are no set rules for form
or content. The task of deciding what your mailing should have as content, its
design and its message(s) is up to you. However, remember to attract the
reader's attention with color and creativity. Use clear, comfortable writing and
make your appeal easy to respond.
And of course, coordinate the mailing with other advertising media if you are
also using them in the same campaign. It can significantly increase the
"Giveaways" -- the pencils, pens, buttons, calendars and refrigerator
magnets you see everyday -- are called "Specialty Advertising" in the
Chances are, you have some specialty advertising items right at your desk.
Businesses imprint their name on items and give them away (or sometimes sell
them at very low cost) in order that:
* You notice their name enough times on the item to build
"top-of-the-mind" awareness. So when you need a restaurant, for
instance, you think of their name first.
* You appreciate the goodwill of the company giving you the item and eventually
return the favor by giving them some business.
These are both long-term advertising investments that can take months or years
to turn into actual sales.
First, select the best item that would tell your story most effectively. While
an accountant can give away an inexpensive calculator, the same item may not be
ideal for a hairdresser. A comb or brush might be more appropriate in that case.
Second, decide what you are going to say on the item. A company slogan? Address
directions? Since you have a relatively small area, you must be very concise and
Third, figure out your method of distribution. Are you going to send them to
each customer through the mail? If so, how much will that cost? Will you have
them in a big bowl that says "take one"? Distribution is just as
important to consider as buying the item.
Just as there are many reputable specialty advertising professionals in your
area, the industry is notorious with a lot of high-pressure telephone and mail
solicitors who often give specialty advertising a bad name. Don't buy specialty
advertising through the mail without checking the quality and prices with
trusted local representatives first. And, buying specialty advertising over the
telephone is not recommended at all.
Specialty advertising is a unique way to generate goodwill and put your name on
items that people remember. But don't do it unless you have an item and
distribution plan that will benefit your business.
There is no one -- sure-fire -- best way to advertise your product or service.
It is important to explore the various advertising media and select those which
will most effectively convey your message to your customers in a cost-efficient
Always remember, advertising is an investment in the future of your business.
APPENDIX: INFORMATION RESOURCES
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA offers an extensive selection of information on most business management
topics, from how to start a business to exporting your products.
This information is listed in The Small Business Directory. For a free copy
contact your nearest SBA office.
SBA has offices throughout the country. Consult the U.S. Government section in
your telephone directory for the office nearest you. SBA offers a number of
programs and services, including training and educational programs, counseling
services, financial programs and contract assistance. Ask about
* Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a national organization sponsored
by SBA of over 13,000 volunteer business executives who provide free counseling,
workshops and seminars to prospective and existing small business people.
* Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), sponsored by the SBA in
partnership with state and local governments, the educational community and the
private sector. They provide assistance, counseling and training to prospective
and existing business people.
* Small Business Institutes (SBIs),organized through SBA on more than 500
college campuses nationwide. The institutes provide counseling by students and
faculty to small business clients.
For more information about SBA business development programs and services call
the SBA Small Business Answer Desk at 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (827-5722).
Other U.S. Government Resources
Many publications on business management and other related topics are available
from the Government Printing Office (GPO). GPO bookstores are located in 24
major cities and are listed in the Yellow Pages under the bookstore heading. You
can request a Subject Bibliography by writing to Government Printing Office,
Superintendent of Documents, Washington, DC 20402-9328.
Many federal agencies offer publications of interest to small businesses. There
is a nominal fee for some, but most are free. Below is a selected list of
government agencies that provide publications and other services targeted to
small businesses. To get their publications, contact the regional offices listed
in the telephone directory or write to the addresses below:
Consumer Information Center (CIC) P.O. Box 100 Pueblo, CO 81002
The CIC offers a consumer information catalog of federal publications.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Publications Request Washington, DC
The CPSC offers guidelines for product safety requirements.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 12th Street and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
The USDA offers publications on selling to the USDA. Publications and programs
on entrepreneurship are also available through county extension offices
U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Office of Business Liaison 14th Street and
Constitution Avenue, NW Room 5898C Washington, DC 20230
DOC's Business Assistance Center provides listings of business opportunities
available in the federal government. This service also will refer businesses to
different programs and services in the DOC and other federal agencies.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health Service
Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration 5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Drug Free Workplace Helpline: 1-800-843-4971. Provides information on Employee
Assistance Programs.National Institute for Drug Abuse Hotline: 1-800-662-4357.
Provides information on preventing substance abuse in the workplace. The
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information: 1-800-729-6686
toll-free. Provides pamphlets and resource materials on substance abuse.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Standards Administration 200
Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20210
The DOL offers publications on compliance with labor laws.
U.S. Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS) P.O. Box 25866
Richmond, VA 23260 1-800-424-3676
The IRS offers information on tax requirements for small businesses.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Small Business Ombudsman 401 M
Street, SW (A-149C) Washington, DC 20460
1-800-368-5888 except DC and VA 703-557-1938 in DC and VA
The EPA offers more than 100 publications designed to help small businesses
understand how they can comply with EPA regulations.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition 200 Charles Street, SW Washington, DC 20402
The FDA offers information on packaging and labeling requirements for food and
For More Information
A librarian can help you locate the specific information you need in reference
books. Most libraries have a variety of directories, indexes and encyclopedias
that cover many business topics. They also have other resources, such as
* Trade association information Ask the librarian to show you a directory of
trade associations. Associations provide a valuable network of resources to
their members through publications and services such as newsletters, conferences
Many guidebooks, textbooks and manuals on small business are published annually.
To find the names of books not in your local library check Books In Print, a
directory of books currently available from publishers.
Magazine and newspaper articles Business and professional magazines provide
information that is more current than that found in books and textbooks. There
are a number of indexes to help you find specific articles in periodicals.
In addition to books and magazines, many libraries offer free workshops, lend
skill-building tapes and have catalogues and brochures describing continuing