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Marketing Help Center

Content and links to help with the marketing aspects of planning a business, from Small Business Town, home of The Entrepreneur's Guidebooks Series.
Featured Content

  1. Links to marketing resources from™.

  2. Guidebook #46
    Understanding WHY PEOPLE BUY
    Explains the importance of beliefs in creating wants, desires, and motivating human behavior. Summarizes Maslow's theory of motivation, how the human brain works, Skinner's positive reinforcement theory and how advertisers can use this information to get people to buy. Provides a summary of over 100 reasons why people buy and 10 reasons why they won't buy. If you are looking to get a better understanding of the consumer mind to improve your marketing plan, you need this guidebook.
    201K 29p.

  3. More Guides to Help You With Your Marketing

Marketing Strategies

Understanding Why People Buy - GB46

The social sciences have given marketing researchers the basics for understanding why people buy certain products and services as opposed to others. Psychologists and sociologists have probed motives, wants, perceptions, attitudes, how people learn and forget, and individual needs both learned and innate. However, most will agree that the key to understanding why people buy, and for that matter all human behavior, it to first understand what they believe in.

Spying on the Competition - GB47

Every business has competition. Even the American Football League has to compete with basketball, hockey and other forms of entertainment. Every business also wants to beat the competition, steal its market share or perhaps even drive it into bankruptcy. But when starting out, realize that competition isn't necessarily a bad thing. It shows there's already some demand for the goods or services you intend to offer. In fact, no competition is usually something that should be treated with caution not jubilation.

Pinpointing Target Markets with Unmet Needs - GB48

Mass marketing is a little like firing a shotgun into a flock of geese and hoping to hit a few. Although having the potential to be extremely profitable, it is often ineffective in today's highly sophisticated and segmented markets, and what's even worse, can easily set you back a small fortune.

Uncovering New Consumer Trends & Demands - GB49

Communication satellites will become the primary symbol of economic power, not nuclear missiles. Telephone companies will increase their range of computerized telephone services as well as easy and cheap access to all parts of the world. In many of the undeveloped poorer countries, cellular phones will be used before telephone lines.

Building a List of Potential Customers - GB50

Generally speaking, whenever a person buys goods or services from you; makes an inquiry; visits your business and registers their presence; writes in to request a catalog; samples a promotion piece; visits your trade show exhibit and leaves a business card; or joins an organization you belong to - these are all opportunities for you to add their name to your mailing list for future direct mail solicitation or promotion.

Developing a Customer Service Plan - GB51

Imagine, you own a flower shop called Flora's Floral Boutique. One fine day, your bell tinkles, and in walks a tall elegant woman in her mid-thirties. What do you suppose she might be thinking and feeling when she first looks around, after she talks to you or one of your staff, or after she buys an expensive crystal vase and on her way out trips over your welcome mat and smashes it into a thousand pieces? A customer service policy attempts to provide answers or rather guidelines to these and other difficult questions.

Establishing a Pricing Policy - GB52

An effective pricing policy can be determined only after you, as the owner-manager of your business, decide specifically what your business is, and how the objectives of your pricing policy can further support and define your identity. Pricing objectives should be closely tied in with your overall business and marketing goals and as a result take into consideration what impact your prices will have on your sales volume, sales revenue, market share, competitive position, company image, and profitability.

Establishing a Credit Policy - GB53

The advantage of extending trade credit is that it will likely attract additional customers and increase sales volume. In fact, most manufacturers and wholesalers find it imperative to offer credit terms to their customers, simply in order to survive. However, although selling on credit can boost sales, it can also increase direct and indirect costs, which must be weighed against its potential benefits.

Creating a Winning Promotional Plan - GB54

Advertising agencies use an insertion order to submit a request to run, cancel or modify a particular ad in a specific newspaper or magazine. When you request an ad insertion in a magazine or newspaper, and you don't have an advertising agency working for you, it is recommended that you also use an insertion order form.

Choosing an Advertising Design Theme - GB55

An Advertorial or News Ad announces a new product, something new about an existing product, or states a position on a social, business or consumer issue. Stated positions are backed with engaging evidence, an analysis, and most importantly, a product solution. Typically, this type of ad uses a newspaper type headline and a newspaper editorial format. Its headline focuses on recent changes or developments, especially ones that suggest profit or self-gain to its readers. This ad format is especially useful in helping you reach a segment of the population that may share attitudes or ideologies similar to your own.

Selecting Advertising Media - GB56

Giveaway items, such as pencils, pens, buttons, calendars and refrigerator magnets, are known in the advertising trade as "specialty advertising." Using specialty advertising, you import your name on these and other similar items and give them away - or sometimes sell them at very low cost - in order that potential customers and clients will: a) notice your name enough times to build "top-of-the mind" awareness (so when they need to eat, for instance, they think of your restaurant first); and b) appreciate your goodwill thus becoming more predisposed to return the favor by giving them your business.

Writing & Editing Like a Pro - GB57

Don't bore your reader. You can't bore people into buying your products or services. If your ad is boring than it probably means, your company and your products are also boring.

Creating "Eye Catching" Graphics - GB58

The major prerequisite for taking a decent business photo is decent equipment, not an uncanny eye for detail or beauty. For starters, you will need a camera, a hand held exposure meter, an assortment of lenses, assorted lighting equipment, a long distance triggering mechanism, slave trigger units, and a rock solid tripod.

Using Words that Sell - GB59

The word "you" is the most important word in the English language, as far as writing advertising copy is concerned. People respond to this word because they like talking about themselves and being talked about in a positive manner.

Mastering Ad Design & Layout - GB60

Unity can be created by having one central focus or focal point where the eye has a tendency to concentrate on. This is usually a visual, but can also be a headline. You can also create unity by making sure graphics support body copy, headlines support body copy, subheads support body copy, and captions support graphics. Keep in mind that all elements in an ad are part of the visual language, all contribute to the whole - all have equal value.

Collecting Product Info to Help Write & Design Ads - GB61

Getting in the proper frame of mind for copywriting is more a combination of preparation and organization rather than following specific rules and strategies. However, if you believe in your own creativity and are not afraid of subjecting your work to constant outside criticism, than you will find that copywriting becomes less intimidating and more of a chance to let your imagination run wild.

Using ODAC - The "Advertiser's Soulmate" - GB62

Advertising books are filled with formulas all designed to unleash a persons creative and intellectual powers. Authors have given serious consideration to their choice of words, ideas behind their words, and all the applications of their formulas in the real world, and each should be given credit for attempting the impossible. However, some formulas are more useful than others. This guidebook is dedicated to teaching you the greatest advertising formula of all time. Brace yourself.

Creating Classifieds, Space Ads, Brochures & Catalogs - GB63

Dollar for dollar, classified advertising generates more profit than any other kind of space advertising. In fact, considering that classifieds are relatively inexpensive to run and can be spread out to other newspapers - there are more than 10,000 newspapers in the U.S. alone - they should be the first choice for any mail-order operator, consultant or the like looking to drum up business sales and leads.

Creating Newsletters & Direct Mail Promotions - GB64

To succeed, a newsletter must not contain too much advertising material. Rather it must have enough useful information to persuade the reader to read the entire newsletter. A newsletter must also never seem like a brochure or ad. Rather, people must look forward to reading them for content not to look at their pictures.

Creating Award-Winning Radio & TV Ads - GB65

Let the viewer hear the car engine roaring, the pancakes frying, the airplane whooshing, the popcorn popping, the club soda fizzing, the ice cubes plopping into a cold, tall drink. Use sound effects to create the right mood and setting. Many people find the sound of sizzling bacon more appetizing than how it actually looks.

Getting Free Publicity - GB66

The body of a news release begins about one-third of the way down the page allowing some white space for comments, or notes from the editor. The body of a news release is double-spaced - never single-space a news release. Paragraphs are usually indented with normal spacing between graphs. Often the city of origin of the news release begins the copy.

Designing Packaging - GB67

Putting a widget in a box, covering the box with a few pictures and labels, and calling it packaging, is DANGEROUS. Packaging is much more than that. Packaging has protective and distributive functions. It makes product contents convenient to use, safe to use and easy to store. It also performs an integral role in all advertising, promotion, and marketing efforts, and more than any other single factor is responsible for creating a company's image. In fact, some people prefer to think of packaging as an exact science.

Preparing Advertising Records - GB68

An advertising key is a special code, number or word added to an ad, coupon or company address, to help companies keep track of their advertising effectiveness and response rates. Every time the key is spotted, it is noted and the promotional media that generated the order is traced. Mail order and direct marketing companies especially, have mastered the art of using advertising keys.

Testing Promotions and Analyzing Results - GB69

If your promotion can be sold via a classified ad or a display ad, test both mediums, as one may prove to be substantially more profitable than the other. Classified ads cost less, but produce less. Display ads cost more, but may also produce more, pulling in forty times more responses than a classified ad.

Conducting Surveys - GB70

The preparation of a useful survey or questionnaire requires clear thinking and planning. In particular, consideration should be given to the wording and sequencing of questions, how easily results can be tabulated, the validity of the questions themselves, and so forth.

Opening Distribution Channels - GB71

Trading houses specialize in exporting, importing, and trading goods and services produced by others. They provide a wide range of specialized services to businesses who wish to export (for a fee or commission of course). Exporters can work out arrangements customized to their particular needs, from having the trading house manage all export activities to using the trading house solely to identify customers or advise on exporting activities.

Fostering Repeat Business - GB72

Always plan what you are going to sell to your customers next. Never send a package to a customer without including an order form for reorders and sales literature on other products you think they might need.

Creating New Market Opportunities - GB73

Entrepreneurs must learn to be like bloodhounds. Except instead of sniffing out escaped convicts, lost children, or perhaps drugs in the handbag of a little old lady from Pasadena, they must learn how to sniff out the unmet needs of the people they wish to serve. To win new customers, ask the golden question: "What's the unmet want and how can we meet this unmet want before anybody else does?"

Innovating Your Promotional Plan - GB74

Community participation and visibility is a good way of building your company image. Start by joining groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce or service clubs. By doing this, two things are accomplished. Firstly, you are promoting your store by gaining recognition as a community orientated merchandiser or service provider and, secondly, you are increasing your credibility in the eyes of the consumer (having a Chamber of Commerce logo stamped on your letterhead will easily pay for the cost of membership).

Licensing Successful Products & Services - GB75

If you have a special technical process, service or product, and limited marketing and selling skills, you may be able to find an established company in other markets who would be willing to pay you a royalty for the rights to use your process or service or sell your product.

Franchising Your Operations - GB76

To set-up a franchised business, a license must be granted by your company, the franchiser, to an individual or firm, the franchisee, to own and operate a business similar to yours under certain terms and conditions as outlined by the license. The license may give the rights for the franchisee to use your name, tradenames, trademarks, service marks and/or advertising symbols, as well as your service, promotion, selling, distribution, and display methods.

Network Marketing - GB77

Network marketing distributors are often very zealous and hard working. On one extreme independent distributors are lazy part-time workers who do little to promote you company. However, on the other extreme they have proven to be very zealous working much harder than any salaried employee. They will often have more drive, enthusiasms, and spirit than will regular, full-time employees.

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