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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I'm doing my business plan for an Internet company. I'm trying to figure out a couple of things, perhaps someone can help.

1) Media-wise, I plan to use direct response radio and TV to drive response to a website or 900#. Without the help of an advertising agency, is there any way I can calculate how many GRP's (gross rating points) I need to buy in order to generate a certain number of calls? Are there any media sites out there I can go to?

2) I know how much my web access, transaction fee, etc. are going to cost me. Are there any other costs associated with running a website I'm missing?


Answer from our Guest Expert Lillyvette Montalvo

Hi, Sebastian:

I sure liked your opening sentence: "I'm doing my business plan´┐Ż" That's a very wise decision! Because you're digging in and really getting the scoop on your business, you'll be better prepared for the bumps and grinds down the road. Even if you've been in business for a while, doing your own biz plan, is a great way to freshen up goals and readjust procedures if necessary. You learn so much!

Marketing Mix

I'm curious, though, what made you choose radio and TV as marketing avenues? I ask this because these avenues are some of the most expensive you can implement in your business. Be sure to consider other, less expensive advertising strategies as well. to help you build numbers and reach other targeted audiences. These are just a few ideas to chew over;

  • Have you tried writing articles and submitting them to certain print media for possible publication? Having your by-line and website address at the end of your article is Terrific "free" exposure for your company, not to mention it builds an image of credibility.
  • How about sending an announcement regarding your new business to your local newspaper or biz journal? This info can be included in the "People in the News" section and it's FREE!
  • Before buying advertising, have you considered contacting your local TV and radio stations (since this is an outlet you seem very interested in) and tell them about your company? Offer to be available for brief morning talk show interviews or noon TV shows as a source of information. Try to find a newsworthy angle to your website or business that may inspire a crew to come interview you. Your time (and theirs) will be very limited, so make sure you're brief and to the point.
  • What about public speaking engagements? You can make presentations to various organizations, clubs, and chambers and tell them all the different things your company does -- be sure to put your unique spin on your company and your services -- and how you can benefit them.
  • Is your website address everywhere? Make sure your website address (your bread and butter) is printed on every piece of material you send or give out. That includes envelopes, stationery, biz cards, brochures, T-shirts, specialty ad items, email signatures, news releases, and so on.

Always remember to network! network! network! This is a great way to get your name out in front of the biz community and your target market, and it's at a minimal cost to you. In short, look at all your available advertising options -- take into account the cost and possibly the freebies that will assist you in marketing your biz in the most effective manner without having to put out a lot of capital.

You'll never really know how many calls direct response advertising will generate, but the fact remains, consistent marketing of yourself and your company in a positive manner is the best way to build traffic to your site. Limiting yourself to direct response advertising is an expensive way to begin; however, if you have a large amount of capital and a large advertising budget, you can certainly hire an ad agency to do your work for you. If that isn't the case, carefully include in your biz plan how you'll go about achieving all of the things that have been outlined in terms of your marketing strategies.

Media Marketing Sites

In terms of media sites, do a quick search on the Net. Once you get to that point, be specific as to what type of media you're seeking. That's the best research you can take advantage of. Another great source is your local library. Our tax dollars support these and there are many valuable resources in that wonderful location. You can get assistance (free!) from one of the persons that works there and she'll lead you in the right direction for the sites you're looking for to do more extensive research for your biz plan. A marketing consultant may be able to help you with your gross ratings points question too, though may charge a small consulting fee to do so.

Domain Name Game

Your domain name is an ongoing cost for your business that usually costs somewhere around $75 a year to renew. You can do that through your ISP or you can do that directly through Network Solutions, Inc. Find out how your ISP will work with you on this. Other than the normal monthly/annual costs, it'll cost you your time.

Your most precious commodity... time. Don't forget to calculate how much time you're willing to put into your project and always give yourself a bit of breathing room so you don't crash into the burn-out mode. Sounds like you're well on your way! Hope all of this helps!

Best of success to you!

Lillyvette Montalvo

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