Can I Get Help With This?
INTERNS: If you find that you're wearing too many hats and you could use a little help with your advertising, look to your local colleges and universities for an intern. Communication and marketing majors, with heads full of book smarts, are just waiting for the chance for some hands-on experience.
You, or someone on your staff, must be available to supervise them, and you will be required to fill out a performance report once or twice during the time they spend with you (because they will be receiving a grade based on their performance), but a great intern can be worth his or her weight in gold.
Media Reps: Your very own reps are bottomless pits of creativity, they know trends in the market, are experienced copywriters, can come up with great promotional ideas, and can help you lay out and design your print ads. Use them!
Co-op dollars: Retailers can look to vendors for advertising dollars to pay for up to half of your advertising. The co-op available to you will be based on a percentage of merchandise you order, so look to your largest vendors first. Specific brands may have produced radio and television commercials produced and ready to go for as little as $30.00 and all your local stations have to do is tag the last ten seconds of the commercial with your business name, location, etc. They will also have camera-ready print ads and in some cases, billboard copy just for the asking. Your media reps can handle the sometimes confusing co-op details for you. They do it all of the time. Never be put off of using co-op dollars because the instructions sound like a pain in the rear. It's easy - tell your reps to "handle it!"
Ask the Experts: I write a monthly column for Entrepreneur Magazine's web site, entrepreneur.com where you can ask questions of experts in various fields and get quick answers from professionals for free. There are other such sites, like expertcentral.com where you can ask someone just about anything and get a reliable answer. Take advantage of all the experts on the Internet!