Building Your Business – Advertising

Starting a new business, almost seems about spending money, getting your business cards designed and printed, setting up your inventory and acquiring a lease on a high street shop/ mall premises, and all this is before you get any customers through your front door. To start getting customers through your front door and to start placing orders for your product of service, you must advertise. Advertising has so many different perspectives and aspects, there is print advertising, radio, television, direct marketing, email marketing, internet marketing and much more.

Without advertising, no customers is going to be calling you, despite the fact you may have the most amazing product on the planet, which could revolutionize the whole industry.

Advertising is a means to inform people about your product or service and to get them to think about your product or service which you are offering, it is not about getting them to buy. This is the first mistake many small business owners make, confusing advertising and your sales pitch.

Options

Yellow Pages advertising – This form of advertising is traditionally done for the entire year, the cost is generally very high and once the advertisement is created it cannot be changed. For a new business this is not recommended due to the high cost. Even well established small businesses need to consider the Return on Investment and the cost per lead.. Remember more people everyday are using the internet to search

Newspaper Advertising – The cost of newspaper advertising is directly related to the circulation of the newspaper. To be effective with a daily you need to run your campaign for a week or more continuously, pushing the cost up. For a weekly newspaper you generally receive enquires for the first several days before the enquires taper off, similarly for a monthly magazine, you typically receive calls for the first week, then tapers off gradually. Conversions rates are very low and the return on investment is low but higher than for the Yellow pages.

Radio Advertising – Radio Advertising is a much forgotten form of advertising, and is generally over looked by many small businesses, with the cost being very reasonable for the audience you are reaching, further to this you can sponsor a segment by giving away a product or service and the amount of promotion you receive will be higher than a normal radio slot. Definitely consider this in your advertising strategy.

Television advertising – generally out of the reach of most small businesses, and definitely out of reach for start up companies, requiring thousands of dollars to get a small slice of air time. Late night television will reduce you cost, but television advertising is not recommended for businesses just starting out.

Direct Marketing – Direct marketing fell out of favor for a while; and many saw it simply as junk mail. Traditionally junk mail has been thrown directly into the bin without even being opened. The latest train of thought; is that people change their email address very regularly, and when they get too much junk email, they change the address, where as people seldom change their phone number or address. This is an option to consider once your business has become established.

eMail Marketing – email marketing is simple and cheap, you can buy a email list, you can capture email addresses on your webpage, however firstly you need to comply with the spam laws of your country(generally these will include a double optin and privacy policy), you will need to purchase the software to handle your marketing. Unfortunately as already mentioned, people change their email address, very regularly so the email address that you capture may only be effective for a short time and secondly it takes a long time to get enough email addresses.

Local Internet Marketing – Local Internet marketing is a means to highly target all your potential customers, and to ensure you have a better return on Profit while reducing your Operating Costs and Improving your Return on Investment for your advertising dollar. Local Internet Marketing can be highly specific to your area(suburb) or you target a particular demographic or market segment, help you reduce your advertising cost and find new customers. The cost is usually less that newspaper display ads, with the added benefit that local internet marketing is working for you 24 hours a day. Target as many areas as you want, reach the whole population, reach across state lines, the choice is yours on how much internet marketing your do. Remember more people are using the internet to do their research, even those people entering retirement are now searching for holidays, researching the latest medical trends. This is definitely not and advertising medium you should ignore.

Regardless of your strategy, your business will benefit from using a combination of all these methods, some being for more mature businesses and others for start up, try the methods out and work out what is best for you.

Bond Investing – Is It A Safer Place For Your Money?

Bond investing is one way for investors to receive a regular fixed income, and it is a particularly popular form of investment during shaky times in the stock market. That is because bonds typically offer less volatility than stocks, although that is not to say that the bond market does not have unique risks of its own. Almost a trillion dollars exchanges hands daily on the United States bond market.

A bond is basically a loan from you to a government or company. That government or company uses the bond as a way to borrow money in return for paying it back with a certain amount of interest over a certain amount of time. That period of time can range from months to decades. Has a relative ever given you a savings bond? That is one form of bond. In that case, the federal government is the borrower.

Federal bonds are some of the safest investments available. Because of this, the interest rate is lower compared to most other bonds. However, the risk of the federal government not paying you back is minuscule compared to just about any other potential borrower.

Municipal bonds are offered by local governments such as cities, counties, or states, these local governments sometimes feel the need to take on bond debt in order to finance special projects that they otherwise would be unable to afford at the time. As a bonus, municipal bond holders often are exempt from paying taxes on the interest income they receive.

Corporate bonds are offered by many of the same companies that are listed on stock markets. Since stock offerings are a one-time way for companies to raise funds, companies use corporate bonds in much the same way that governments use bonds-for the funding of something special that wouldn’t be affordable at the time without outside help from people involved in bond investing.

It is important for bond investors to be aware of the risks and rewards of bonds. Not all borrowers are equal. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s are the two major services out there to help you evaluate the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. The safest investments are with borrowers rated with an A or with multiple A’s. Those with low grades, often called junk bonds, run a much higher risk of defaulting on their loans. However, people have been known to get rich from investing in junk bonds-just make sure any money you invest in that area is money you could afford to lose.

Some bonds give the borrower the option to pay their loans back early, saving them from paying you the interest you would have continued to receive for the expected life of the bond. You may wish to avoid these bonds that have a “call option,” so you don’t have to worry about your interest income ending prematurely.

As is the case with any investment, it is important for investors to carefully assess their current investment situations and goals for the future. If you are looking for an investment that offers regular interest income, are looking to hedge against downturns in other markets, or you simply want to keep your portfolio diverse, bond investing may be the right fit for you.

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