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Small businesses – the best return advertising for least money?

What have been some of your most successful advertising campaigns for small businesses – I’m a painter and decorator and am just setting out so I have VERY little money to outlay. I am going to do the local paper and am in Yellow Pages, but what about websites or similar that people have used? All advice welcomed.

Use advertising effectively by planning it well.
For most service trades, leaflet distribution is great.
There is a company called goodtime printing, I think they are in Kent, but they do an excellent price on leaflets.
You should print around 20,000 leaflets one colour on white.
You should distribute 1000 leaflets a day, for best results 1 per door, folded once with the writing on the outside.
The top should have your name in large letters, the bottom should have in bold a special offer, say 10% discount with this leaflet.
Put as many as possible out before 10am. (it can take 6 hours to put 1000, early morning, around 4 hours)
People like to see eagerness.

Also, stick a map on your wall. Select areas to target.
Spend a week covering area 1, then move on to area 2.
Keep a track of your responses. Some areas will prefer a different style leaflet to others, and keeping a record will help with further campaigns. Repeat areas every 4 weeks. people become familiar with a name.
You will find, eventually that you will get a standard success rate. Say 2 or even 4 jobs per 1000. I think with decorating it can be as high as six. But these are actual jobs. And you know when you need more work, this strategy is going to work.
Your first few drops, even for two or three weeks may give a very poor response, as you are a new name, but once it starts, it starts.
Leaflet distribution is cheap and effective.
Other points to remember. Always put your address on the leaflet, and always mention free estimates.
Need any more help with that, email me.

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