Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

FORTUNE Small Business:

Jump-start your marketing

A new retailer needs to spread the word it's open for business. Ask FSB's experts weigh in with marketing tips.

Subscribe to Top Stories
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

Get small-business intelligence from the experts. Here's a chance for YOU to ask your pressing small-business questions, and FSB editors will help you get answers from the appropriate experts.
Your name:
* Your e-mail address:
* Your city:
* Your state:
* Your daytime phone #:
* Your questions:

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: My business opened two months ago, I'm worried that I'm not getting the word out fast enough. What is the fastest way to get the word out that I'm here and now open?

- Rhonda Bernard, Roni's Lingerie, Redding, Calif.

Dear Rhonda: If you're challenged by cash flow, you'll need to get the word out quickly. Neil Schaffer, CEO of Princeton, N.J.-based Longview Consulting Group, recommends that you concentrate on differentiation. In Redding and the surrounding area, you have your fair share of competition with Victoria's Secret (LTD, Fortune 500) and other lingerie boutiques.

"Without the funds for a mass-market advertising campaign, take a hard look at your product line, pricing and service. What can you offer that your competitors can't?" Schaffer says. "Once you find your edge, figure out your target market and increase awareness through direct and guerilla marketing."

Lois Geller of Mason & Geller Direct Marketing in Hollywood, Fla., suggests evaluating your signage and window displays so that passersby will be drawn in. She also recommends guerilla marketing techniques. "Design promotions such as '10 percent off the first purchase' or a gift when a certain amount is spent in one visit," she suggests.

Schaffer suggests going to shoe and clothing boutiques, where potential customers are already shopping. Negotiate offers with the owners of those stores to swap coupons to put on checkout counters.

Still no luck? Schaffer recommends organizing Tupperware parties or a fashion show.

"If there's a university nearby, get students involved," he says. "Use them as both your models and your audience. Post ads around the campus. Even if only a small number shows up, you know that plenty more know about it - and awareness is the key to bringing in new customers."

For more information, check out our October 2006 story, "Taking on Victoria's Secret," and the update on that story in July 2007. To top of page

Post your best rogue marketing tips

How do you market your business? Share your tips.
Photo Galleries
17 cool gadgets that tease the future Smart telescopes, surveillance for dogs, an electric roadster and more from CES 2018. More
These 12 airplane beds let you really sleep on a flight For the price of a premium class ticket, you may just get a space that's comfortable, private, and quiet enough to ensure a good rest. More
CES 2018 kicks off with oddball gadgets The biggest tech show of the year opened with a collection of quirky gadgets. More