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- Bandera Business Association - Biz advice for small town merchants


Author Tom Eglehoff has written several books on successfully marketing small town businesses. Over the next few weeks, his sound suggestions will be presented in this Bandera Business Association column.

To increase their share of the revenue market, local business owners should consider implementing these simple suggestions:

Use scan ads - Every state has a state newspaper association and offer what are called "scan ads." A scan ad is a small classified ad that is placed once with a member paper and appears in hundreds of newspapers throughout that state.

For example, in Montana scan ads run about $100 dollars for 100-120 state and local papers. In California, scan ads are in the $400 - $500 range but appear in papers with an estimated readership of several million people.

Texas has scan ads but try your local and area papers first.

Use the service organizations you belong to - When news of your business is published, be sure to send a copy to any trade organizations you belong to so they can include the news in their magazine or newsletters. The Bandera Business Association and the Chamber have e-mail blasts that can help you there - but you must be a member to get the free advertising.

Say 'Thanks for the Memory' - If you have an article printed about your business be sure to send a thank you card or letter to the reporter. Let them know you would be pleased to be a source in any future articles on your subject.

There are always two sides to any story - If your paper prints a story regarding your business or industry that is negative, prepare a press release that shows the positive side of the story. If the topic is controversial, it may spark a positive article with your company portrayed in a positive light.

There's more than one paper - Just because you're in a small town, it doesn't mean your local town paper is the only print option. Many people and businesses subscribe to papers from your state's larger cities. If you're doing business throughout the state this may be another advertising option.

Get the subscription numbers for other papers in your area. They may be more economical and reach more customers. Or try the small want ads in those papers and keep your display ads local.