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Marketing Biz: Getting Started on a Shoestring

If you had the ear of a leading marketing guru, what questions would you ask? We were recently fortunate enough to have this opportunity, as we interviewed Jay Levinson, the noted author of Guerrilla Marketing.

We have divided the interview into three parts that will be featured in the coming months. In this first part of the interview, we asked Jay about marketing a new business without breaking the bank.

Article menu:
Page 1: Getting Started on a Shoestring
Page 2: Once You're Up And Running
Page 3: Keeping Abreast

Page 1: Getting Started on a Shoestring

CO New entrepreneurs often need customers immediately, but they also tend to have very small marketing budgets. What would you suggest for someone in this situation?
JL

I'd recommend marketing on the Internet, using email and active participation in newsgroups and forums.

I'd offer my services as a speaker to clubs and write articles for free for publications. Establishing yourself as an expert costs nothing and you can use reprints of any articles for a long time.

Other very powerful and free marketing vehicles include offers of free consultations, free seminars, free samples and free demonstrations. Newsletters now cost less than ever to produce. Free classified ads online help a lot.

CO What are the absolute essentials that a small business owner would need for their marketing toolkit?
JL

They'd have to begin with a marketing plan. That's where it all starts.

Next comes a logo, a theme line, business cards, stationery, a brochure, a website, a follow-up program, a referral program and involvement with community so that you separate yourself from the ranks of strangers and open up a new world of networking opportunities.

CO New entrepreneurs often have difficulty recognizing what sets them apart and what benefits will motivate customers to buy. How can entrepreneurs effectively define the key benefits and unique selling proposition (USP) of their new businesses?
JL

They must focus on the main reason they inaugurated their business and how their business will help others. They should compile a list of the benefits of doing business with them and concentrate on their competitive advantages.

Sending out questionnaires is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to learn about customers and prospects—and what they'd look for in an ideal business such as the one being launched.

CO What are the most common marketing mistakes that new entrepreneurs make?
JL

The most common is starting without a marketing plan. Next comes expecting marketing to work faster than it can. And that leads to the third biggest mistake - abandoning a marketing campaign before it has a chance to take effect.

The key to succeeding in marketing is commitment.

CO Sometimes launching a new product means educating potential customers about the value of a new product or service. What can entrepreneurs do to get over this information-hurdle...without breaking the bank?
JL

Conduct free consultations, free seminars and free demonstrations.

Many savvy entrepreneurs run lots of tiny ads offering their free brochure, then focus on those who request brochures. The same can be accomplished with a website offering a chance to sign up for something like a newsletter or a weekly update.

CO ywrsxtwsbxffzzuyczsvcyyzxubvweyrvzwfaHow are marketing and advertising different? What are some of the most effective forms of advertising that small businesses can use to launch their business?
JL

Advertising is only one part of marketing. Marketing embraces service, direct response, attitude and convenience. The most effective forms of advertising differ from business to business—and often, a business can succeed with no advertising at all.

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