Handbills can be an inexpensive and highly effective form of advertising for small-business owners. They are especially useful to announce your grand opening for periodic reminders of the merchandise and services (if any) that you offer and for advertising special sales. Plan handbills carefully with attention to layout message appeal headlines and appearance. A good printer can advise you on the quality of paper to use overall appearance size cost and similar factors, however do not depend on your printer to help with the sales message or the advertising copy.

Since the use of handbills is likely to be undertaken partly because of low cost there is a real danger that efficient distribution may be neglected. Select reliable distributors and pay adequately for the work. Either you or some other competent adult should supervise distribution. Organized



Davis Tire & Battery 1234 South Fifth Omaha NE 21880

Saturday: 24 March, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Ask about our exclusive line of snow tire retreads and the deal you 11 get if you buy before the end of summer!

Handbill distributors who guarantee effective circulation can be found in many cities.

Use handbills to announce your grand opening. The best bet if you are in a suburban location is to leaflet the residential area surrounding your store. If you are located on the outskirts of a city where people will have to drive to find you leaflet residential areas whose demographics conform most closely to the market profile you have chosen to serve. The handbill should go on the windshields ™ of cars if you are covering an area consisting mainly of apartment dwellers. If you are covering neighborhoods primarily made up of single-family dwellings you may want to have your handbills made up in the form of door hangers. The handbill should hit your targets about a week before your first grand-opening weekend. If you distribute on say Tuesday the homeowner should keep it around until the weekend. Don’t distribute two weekends in advance, this may cause the customer to become confused or to throw away the handbill altogether because two weekends in advance is too far ahead to plan.

When seeking fleet or organization business stress volume discounts and service. Most business owners who need tire replacement will be interested in price but they are usually more interested in the kind of service that will not tie up their fleet in the shop. Emphasize your respect for business schedules and the fact that you will promise fast turnaround for the business owner who has his fleet’s tires replaced by your shop. Look at the sample direct-mail pitch letter included with this report for an idea of how to slant your mailing. Also when you are dealing with business customers it makes sense to follow up with a phone call or a personal visit. This makes you a known quantity in the business com-munity and helps enhance your reputation as a serious business person.

Direct Mail

Direct-mail advertising can be defined as the controlled distribution of information to a selected audience. It offers you more flexibility in budgeting and greater selectivity in choosing prospects than other kinds of advertising. It also allows you to send a personalized sales message to prospective customers. Our postal laws provide special rates for direct mail making this highly effective medium available at a reasonable cost.

Your direct-mail advertising should be personal informal and selectively directed. Careful study of charge-account and delivery records as well as your personal knowledge of your customers will enable you to classify most of the clientele into groups based on common buying interests. If you thoughtfully word your direct-mail pieces you can create the impression of individualized attention to each recipient.

Mailing lists can be rented from list brokers. You can find them in your Yellow Pages under “Advertising Direct Mail.” Mailing lists today are ultra sophisticated and you can get lists in just about any category you want? The one-time rental fee for these names is usually between $35 and $50 per thousand with a minimum rental of 5 000 names.

How do you pick a list? Use the RFM formula: R stands for regency F for frequency and M for money, because people and businesses move and their economic status changes regency is vital to the success of a list. Frequency refers to how many times the people on the list purchased your tires. And money refers to how much they spent.

Because good mailing lists are essential for the success of a direct-marketing campaign check out the list as thoroughly as possible. Buy only from established services. Ask how many times the list has been sold in the previous six months and


Davis Tire Center 1234 South Fifth Omaha NE 21880

Mr. Harry B. Walled Acme Cab Company 238 South Broadway Omaha NE 21881

Dear Mr. Walled: Just a moment from your busy day to tell you about the exceptional tire values available to your fleet’s tire replacement needs from Davis Tire Center

Whether you want your cabs to ride on all-new major- brand steel-belted radials or on sturdy radial retreads we can give you the kind of value and service you need to keep your fleet on the road safely and dependably. We’ve got all season tires to cover Nebraska winters. We’ve got durable retreads that will surprise you in smooth ride strong traction and affordable price.

Davis Tire Center is new to Omaha and we want to prove to the business community that we can offer you unequalled service at a price. This is what we’ll do from now through Memorial Day Weekend. If you’ll let us replace tires on the cabs in your fleet we’ll give Acme Cab at 15 percent off of retail including installation. Not only that we’ll throw in an extended-warranty alignment plan for 15 percent off the usual premium.

Let us prove what we can do to help you save money and keep your confidence in your cabs. I’ll be calling you next week to set up an appointment. Meanwhile if you have any questions call me at 555-2987 Monday through Friday 9 to 5.

Sincerely, Harvey Davis President gets the names and telephone numbers of some of the buyers. Call them and ask what their response rate was with the list how many pieces were returned because of bad addresses and if they thought the list was worth the cost.

Those who establish themselves in business are often able to trade their lists with other established businesses, of course as a newcomer you won’t have either the names or the credibility that established businesses have. But doing this is something to aspire to because it is basically a no-cost way of building a list.

Bulk versus First Class

Uncle Sam will get his cut in the form of postage. There are two ways to go. Bulk rate requires filing an application with the Postal Service. This involves a one-time application fee (remaining in force as long as you use the service at least once a year). There’s also an annual fee good from January through December.

This means that if you pay your fee on December 10 and want to do a mailing after the new year you will have to pay another annual fee when the new year begins. At this writing cost per letter runs at a discount of about 45 percent from the current first-class rate. Minimum mailing is 200 pieces or 50 pounds.

To send by bulk requires bundling the mail according to zip codes and any non deliverable pieces are tossed unless you state on the face “Return postage guaranteed.” Bulk is slow, local delivery can take five to seven days and to get from one coast to the other may take two weeks or more. Postal workers deliver bulk mail only when they have room after taking all other classes of mail.

Bulk mail has the advantage of being relatively cheap, a 45-percent discount is nothing to dismiss out of hand. But it has some important shortcomings typically slowness and unpredictability. Also bulk is generally perceived as junk mail. If image is important in your business it makes sense to use first-class mail because you need to leave a strong and favorable impression on customer or client prospects. The Postal Service also has first-class bulk rates at a discount for those mailers who bundle their mail. Investigate this in the same manner as described for bulk rate.

An alternative to the “directness” of direct mail is the coupon mailer. Retail businesses within a community will be grouped together in a coupon mailer (mini advertisements usually offering a discount or introductory special bound together in a small book). Each business represented in the mailer pays a fee to the company producing and distributing it.

In such an arrangement you provide the art to the mailers and pay from six to ten cents for a specified number or pieces. The coupon packages are mailed to a certain zip code. For a nominal amount you can reach a specific market area. While some coupon mailers are distributed through the mail others are distributed door to door as if they were handbills. The cost is pretty much the same to you in either case. A variation on this theme is to have your coupon or handbill included in a Welcome Wagon package in your community a good way of establishing a connection with newcomers. Several such companies should be listed in your Yellow Pages.


As a method of explaining the services you offer a brochure conveys professionalism. A brochure can give the impression of a serious established high- quality business even if you just opened up yesterday with your college diploma in one hand and a $5 000 check (your graduation present) in the other.

Your company brochure does not have to be a four-color job if you want to keep expenses down. Rather go for a light-color card stock measuring 7 ¼ x 8 ½ inches. With one center folded lengthwise the brochure fits easily into a No. 10 envelope. This makes it an ideal companion for your direct-mail marketing efforts as well as an excellent handout. We stress the size because an ordinary-size sheet of paper will tend to blend in with other stacks of paper, an oversized brochure is pretentious and may convey the impression that there’s no substance to your shadow.

If you know that you write well and persuasively then handle writing the brochure yourself. If you have any doubt about your ability to do a top-notch job trust the writing and the design to professionals.

Be careful about typeface which should be easy to read and no smaller than 10-point. (The printing on this page is 11- point.) It should take not much more than a minute for anybody to scan your brochure; however those 60-odd seconds should be packed with memorable information. Many companies do not use brochures. But why not give yourself the extra advertising edge it can provide?


No matter what communication vehicle(s) you select to advertise your tire store and product lines all good advertising follows established rules for form and content. Of course rules are made to be changed and broken and innovators are often successful when they do that, however as a novice learn to imitate and follow the styles and techniques of successful advertisers before you try to become a maverick.

An ad doesn’t necessarily have to be logical or even artistic to be effective. It doesn’t even have to look or sound good. As long as your ad is memorable your name will stick in the mind of the consumers.

To put together an effective advertisement you first have to analyze the inventory you want to advertise your company and the type of customers you want to appeal to in the add Next you have to design an appeal that is something that will benefit the target audience and incorporate it into ad copy. Here are some guidelines that if followed will help you create strong response-getting ads:

•         Create a sense of immediacy. Because response diminishes over time advertising relies on getting people to act immediately. Most people like to be led particularly when in unfamiliar territory, tell your audience what response you want. At different points throughout the ad and especially at the conclusion ask for a physical response: “Act quickly “Limited-time offers “Call now etc.

•         Repetition sells. Keep weaving and reweaving the same sales pitch throughout the ad each time adding a slightly new slant to the significant features and benefits of shopping at your tire store. Repetition sells because the more times someone hears or reads something the more believable it becomes. Repetition is particularly important in advertising (as in speeches) because you normally don’t have the full attention of your audience. For a lot of people writing repetitiously is difficult because they were taught in school to avoid redundancy at all cost, when writing ad copy forget this training and repeat, repeat, repeat.

•         Hit the “buttons” Different people will be turned on by different things about your tire dealership. One person may admire quality while another likes the wide selection. Decide what is different and exciting about your dealership and products, then tell your audience how and why they need what you have to sell.

•         “Sell the sizzle not the steak.” This is an old advertising axiom. It means sell the action not merely the dealership or product line. There’s nothing wrong with talking about the features of your store and products but unless you spell out how the customers will directly benefit your ad won’t have maximum effectiveness. To excite your audience you must ™ display and/or describe your store and inventory in a captivating way. This does not mean fancy words or constructions that might confuse the reader/listener/viewer. Use plain simple English. Be straightforward. Keep your ad copy at a level understandable by an 11- or 12-year-old, anything higher and you’ll lose much of your audience.

•         Evaluate other ads. Collect all kinds of ads and study them. This is a habit of all good ad-makers. Use their ideas if they’re worthwhile. Don’t be a martyr trying to create everything new because you want to be different. Certainly it is essential to put your own imagination to use but learn to emulate the strengths of others who are successful with their advertising.

For print ads the next element you’ll need to include is the visual art. Your visual element should create human interest emotion and realism.

If you can afford photography in print ads use it. Photographs are generally more believable than illustrations and they’re usually better-remembered. As with television advertising you’re creating a visual image that conveys a message.

There are other ways to add visual impact to a print add One is to create an ad with a lot of “white space” if you’re advertising in the newspapers “yellow space” if you’re advertising in the Yellow Pages. These kinds of ads work well because of the dense columns of type used in these publications. Anything that breaks up the pattern stands out.

This is true not only for the design of the print ad but for its size as well. Ads that are different in size from standard formats will stand out in a publication. For in- 4 stances a diagonal ad will break up standard media formats as will running three ads in rapid succession. Placing an ad that runs across two pages is another widely used method.


Ad specialties are primarily products that feature your company’s name and/or logo. If used correctly they can offer more diverse and long-lasting results than print or electronic ads. They work best for companies that are known for their service and attention to the customers. So when a customer buys a T-shirt with your company logo on it and wears it all over town you are essentially getting an endorsement of satisfaction from that person. This kind of exposure can enhance the effects of other advertising and increase your credibility.

You can inscribe your company’s name and/or logo on visors T-shirts sunglasses matchbooks calendars pens etc. The list of potential products is practically endless. Many higher-ticket items can be sold while the more inexpensive specialties can be handed out free to customers for patronizing your business.

The purpose of ad specialties is to help your customers enjoy identification with your company. So it helps if your company has a good image. Without a good reputation you can put your company logo on everything in sight and it won’t mean a thing.

In addition to having a good reputation you also have to know your market thoroughly and have a strong idea of the image you want to project. Then you can go out and get the appropriate ad-special products.


Advertising is a big expense but that cost can be cut down substantially by using co-op advertising. Each year manufacturers budget millions of dollars for the specific purpose of cooperative advertising. Unfortunately the majority of this money is never used by distributors and retailers of the manufacturers’ products.

Cooperative advertising is a cost-efficient and effective way for both the manufacturer and retailer or distributor to reach their target markets. Although co-op advertising policies differ from manufacturer to manufacturer most will pay a portion of the advertising costs and supply the retailer with material to include in the ad whether it is print radio or television.

Using co-op advertising cuts down not only on the media cost but the production and creative expenses as well. A smart advertiser will factor co-op advertising into his budget. The major drawback to coop advertising is that some manufacturers have more restrictive programs than others. The retailer of course would like to tailor his message to his own individual needs and run an ad for his service featuring the manufacturer’s product while the manufacturer would prefer to run an ad featuring just the product.


As a business owner you should never stop surveying and studying your customers. Neighborhoods and customers’ habits change. If a customer drifts away try at once to determine why.

Check the effectiveness of your advertising programs regularly using tests like the following:

1.        Advertise one item in one ad only. Have no references to the item on the business premises. Then count the calls and requests for the advertised item.

2.        Run the same ad in two different publications with an identifying mark on each. The reader is asked to bring in the ad to receive a special price or discount. See how many ads come in from each source.

3.        Omit a regular advertising project for intermittent periods and watch any change in sales.

4.        Check sales results when you place a new advertisement.

These checks cannot provide precise measurements but they can give you some idea how your program is performing. Timing items advertised weather season economic conditions and other such factors will affect any advertising program. If results are not significant the program may still have served an institutional purpose by telling people your firm is there. Some may give you their business in the future.


Professional advertising-agency personnel and media representatives can help you plan your advertising efforts. Ad agencies earn a large portion of their profits in commissions from advertising media placed on behalf of their clients. The ads cost the client the same whether placed through an agency or directly with the media. However the agencies usually bill their clients for other services performed such as consultation copywriting and artwork.

A thorough knowledge of advertising is essential to any businessperson. More information on effective advertising techniques can be found in Entrepreneurs Institute.


You need sales promotion to attract new customers and hold present ones to counteract competition and to take advantage of opportunities revealed by your market research. Your promotional activities may include any or all of the following: advertising publicity public-relations activities special “sales” (clearances closeouts Fourth of July etc.) contests premium awards and displays of products or promotional materials on the business premises.

Promotion requires ongoing planning and execution to accomplish the following:

•         Establishment of clear policies outlining pricing procedures returns and adjustments rules policies regarding the servicing of products salesperson compensation and salesperson market responsibilities.

•         Creation of a company image emphasizing the competitive distinctions of the company such as better quality faster service lower prices and convenience.

• Staging of promotional activities and special events such as individual product promotions demonstrations showings at conventions and meetings.

Plan your sales promotion activities at the beginning of each business year and revise them during the year. Base your strategies on market opportunities indicated by reliable market research telling you what to promote where to promote and when to promote.

Determine what to promote by considering where the best profit opportunities lie and noting which market areas hold the greatest promise for development. Your promotion may also depend on products you want to move out of stock. A buildup of one product in inventory may indicate a need for a special clearance to reduce stock to normal levels.

If your analysis of company sales shows that normal sales efforts are not penetrating certain areas of town you may have to plan a special promotion to open up those areas.


A newspaper editor’s major problem is filling the paper with newsworthy items. Local newspapers are most interested in local news and that’s what you are as a local business owner. When you start a new business when you have a contest promotion when you do something charitable when something unusual happens to you your business or your employees these are newsworthy events and worth letting the media know about.

Why is publicity so important and what will it do that advertising won’t? In general a news story or magazine article takes more time to read than add the more time a reader spends with your story the more likely he is to remember you.

Then there’s the factor of “reach.” You can place news and feature stories in more periodicals than you could afford to reach through paid advertising, besides an article in a respected newspaper or magazine or an appearance on radio or television occurs only if it meets the standards of the editor or programming director. It therefore gives third-party credibility to your story that cannot be duplicated with paid advertisements.

It’s important when you begin any publicity campaign that you make the right media contacts. For newspapers the most likely contact is the city editor, for radio or cable television the programming director. Just call up the newspaper or broadcast station asks for the name of the person and be sure you have the correct spelling of the name and the correct address. This is common courtesy and is extremely important to some media people. So take the time to run down the right people. This will pay off for you.

Mail order expert Joe Cossman is a great believer in publicity. He tells of discovering a duck living in his swimming pool. He called the local newspaper and TV station which covered the story. It was syndicated nationwide and his name appeared in all the articles along with the additional fact that he wrote How I Made a Million Dollars in Mail Order great publicity for his book. Once he persuaded the media to interview him about his duck he was able to control the progress of the interview so that it focused on what he had written.

Keep alert to anything that can give you publicity. Not everything may be accepted by the media but whatever is accepted will be a form of free advertising for you. Be sure to reprint all your publicity stories and news releases. Use them as highly credible advertising handouts and mailers.

More information about public relations and promotion tips can be found in Entrepreneurs Institute.