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References

"Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is a most valued and enthusiastic guest contributor to the business segment of our radio show dealing with the challenges facing today's entrepreneurs. His practical and insightful advice has served to enhance our ability, as broadcasters, to help business owners move ahead in their various fields of endeavor. ....Thank you, Bruce."

Sue Tovey / Sande Foster

Co-Hosts

WTBQ 1110 AM (ABC Affiliate Station)

"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"

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AlternaCare Wellness Centers, LLC

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APR Principal

Maslowski & Associates Public Relations

Accessing Information via the Internet

Dear Professor Bruce:

We are a small consulting company. Although we realize the importance of promotion even in a difficult economy, we need to reduce our company's marketing budget as we head into next year. Traditionally, we have spent the most on print materials such as new business kits and company handbooks which we distribute to sales prospects. Can you give us a few ways to get a "better bang for the buck"?

Answer:

While it's true that we are living and working thru a very challenging economic time in our history, this is no reason to put your company at risk by being overly cautious and reserved. Most small businesses make overly drastic and conservative moves during times like this and as a result suffer the consequences from a competitive standpoint. Always remember that you are waging a battle between your business and that of your competitors for customer acquisition and retention.

According to Al DiGuido, CEO of Zeta Interactive, "there is little doubt that your consumers continue to spend more and more time accessing information about product and solution choices via the internet". The meteoric rise of the installed base of e-readers should send a signal to all business people that the days of printing and distributing expensive company collateral, sales promotion and direct mail are on the wane. Forecasts indicate that consumer and business adoption of digital platforms will skyrocket in the next 2-3 years. Now is the time for you as a small business owner to take a page out of the marketing playbook of many large consumer companies. It's time to begin (if you haven't already) capturing email addresses for your existing customers and looking at every potential prospect touch point that you have.

With a rich customer database and knowledge of the interactive tool set, including email marketing, search, effective web design and creativity, you can actually build tighter relationships between your customers and your product and/or solution offering. It's a lot cheaper to send a customer a relevant message via targeted email than printing a "one size fits all" direct mail or promotional kit.

Getting a better "bang for the buck" is all about being more relevant, targeted and efficient in your sales and marketing efforts. The more that you know about your customer; whether it be through observing their transaction patterns, online surveys or asking for their preferences on your website…the better job you can do in creating electronic messaging that is tailored to their specific profile. When a relevant message reaches an interested customer your customer loyalty, affinity and sales will naturally increase.

For further information, please visit www.zetainteractive.com.

Forecasts indicate that consumer and business adoption of digital platforms will skyrocket in the next 2-3 years.