13 best marketing tips for small businessesJeffrey Dobkindirect marketing, small business marketing strategies, business communication I've been involved in marketing and direct marketing since ... my God! Am I that old already? Anyhow, over the years I've been asked to give tips on marketing along with my specific advice. Here's a short list of some of my best tips. 1. The most valuable tool in marketing at the lowest cost is a letter. In fact, the most valuable tool in marketing at any cost is a letter. Write one business-getting letter every day. 2. The best formula for creating headlines in marketing is "New product offers benefit, benefit, benefit." Use this to create the headline of your press releases and advertisements, for envelope teaser copy, and for the beginning lead of your brochure. Example: "New keyboard offers faster typing, greater accuracy, and is less tiring." Use Jeff Dobkin's 100 to 1 Rule: Write 100 lines, go back and pick your best 1. 3. The most valuable single sheet of paper you can create in marketing is a press release. You should be sending press releases every month. 4. The most effective trick I've learned in 25 years of copywriting is this: when you are having a tough time writing, just start writing anything, then go back and cross out your first sentence. 5. Follow up serious inquiries and sales leads with more than one piece of mail. 6. The 11 most valuable words to get any press release published are "Are you the person I should send this press release to?" Before sending any important press release, call the magazine or newspaper editor and say these 11 words. 7. Create a letter series--in advance--to get new business. Mail one letter a month. This is the best campaign I can think of, and the basis for one of my books, How To Market A Product For Under $500! Shhh, don't tell anyone this, they won't buy it. 8. Always acknowledge when something nice is done for you with a thank you letter. No, a call is not the same. 9. When you start to write any business communication, always write your objective first. Figure out and state in writing what you are trying to accomplish. For example, an ad objective may be to generate maximum direct orders, or get as many leads as possible, or generate retail store traffic. This gives your writing more focus. 10. If you'd really like a response from a personal letter, include a return envelope in it with a live stamp on it. It'll increase your response or it'll drive them nuts. 11. Anytime you run a successful long-term direct mail campaign, test the variables in subsequent mailings. 12. Take your time writing. No one will ever know the one-page letter they received took you three weeks to write. Just make sure when you send it, it's perfect. 13. In a direct mail solicitation, don't be afraid to ask for the order--several times. If the recipient doesn't call or send an order, the piece fails. For best results, be very explicit and tell the reader exactly what you want him to do--twice in the body copy, and again in the PS.