Tightwad Marketing

www.tightwadmarketing.com
Answers to frequently asked questions

John Kuraoka, a project of www.kuraoka.com

Tightwad
Marketing

Advertising and
marketing advice

Reviews
and links

About me ...
and this website

FAQ

If you’ve read the rest of this website, then you have the resources to support quite a bit of do-it-yourself small business marketing. However, if you don’t want to do that, or if you need specific help with a particular marketing problem, then I answer around the clock and I have fees.

Here are answers to some very common questions about this website, marketing, and advertising. There are two reasons your question may not be answered here. First, because I overlooked it. Second, because the answer would take time or expertise that I (or anyone else of professional competence) should be paid for. Either way, you’ve got nothing to lose by shooting an email to me at .

Quick finder:
Do you exchange links?
If you’re not making money off it, what do you get out of this site?
I saw a link on your website and now it’s not there any more - why?
Why don’t you sell your articles as an e-book?
Can I donate money to support the Tightwad Marketing website?
May I reprint or redistribute the articles here?
What’s the difference between big- and small-business advertising?
How much should my small business spend on advertising?
How should I select an ad agency?
How should I select a freelancer?
My question wasn’t answered. How do I contact you?

Q: Do you exchange links?
A: No. Participation in a link exchange or affiliate program would compromise the integrity of the impartial recommendations made within this website. So, I don’t.
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Q: If you’re not making money off it, what do you get out of this site?
A: Well, for starters this site still serves its original purpose as a way for me to give back to the business community at large. It also serves as a categorized list of my own bookmarks. It has grown far beyond that, though. My biggest payoff is the professional satisfaction I get knowing that I’m helping countless small businesses all over the world market themselves effectively and efficiently. Every so often I get an email from someone telling me that something I wrote helped them in their business. That just makes my day. I also entertain the fantasy that someone will grow so big based on the advice here, that I’ll be tapped to handle their multi-million-dollar account.
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Q: I saw a link on your website and now it’s not there any more - why?
A: Because my standards were no longer met. It might have been a quality issue, a change in the Terms of Service, or perhaps the website itself went off-line. Sometimes free resources, in an attempt to generate revenue, start bombarding my screen with pop-ups and my email with spam, which is another big reason I kick links off. At any rate, it’s worth re-iterating that the reviewed websites are essentially my own personal bookmarks. If I wouldn’t recommend a resource to a friend, then it’s not listed. Period.
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Q: Why don’t you sell your articles as an e-book?
A: Because the articles - like most e-books - are simply informational. They have value to your small business only to the extent that you put the ideas into action. Information is free, and ideas are the easy part. It’s implementation that matters - and that’s the money you save (and the time you spend) doing it yourself.
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Q: Can I donate money to support the Tightwad Marketing website?
A: Well, if you really want to pay me something for all this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And, I want to give you something extra in return. Click here for more information.
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Q: May I reprint or redistribute the articles here?
A: No. All the articles, worksheets, reviews, and other content on this website are original copyrighted materials, and may not be copied or distributed without permission and credit. For information about obtaining limited publication rights, please contact me at .
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Q: What’s the difference between big- and small-business advertising?
A: It’s tempting to say accountability, because big budgets can hide a lot of waste and stupid choices. But, there’s a larger issue. Advertising is a highly visible aspect of marketing. For most big businesses, advertising is just one element in a carefully considered marketing plan. In contrast, for most small businesses, advertising is the marketing plan. This is a mistake, and if there’s one thing this website is about, it’s doing more (and smarter) marketing, and more (and smarter) planning.
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Q: How much should my small business spend on advertising?
A: Throughout this website are articles and resources to help you save money on marketing your small business, but at some point you have to put up some cash. There is no single answer to the ad budget question, though, because every small business is different and occupies a different competitive environment. However, here are some rules of thumb:

  • Whatever your competition is spending, you probably need to match. You can get a rough idea by collecting competitive marketing and getting rate information from the media. That does not, however, mean you should go into the same media, at the same volume, as your competition.
  • The more competition you have, the more you’ll probably need to spend to set your business apart.
  • High-volume, low-markup businesses may need to spend more on advertising than low-volume, high-markup businesses. For example, a costume jewelry store should plan to spend more on advertising than a high-end jeweler.
  • High-image, low-volume businesses may need to spend more on creative services than media. Low-image, high-volume businesses may need to spend more on media than creative services. For example, a landscape architect may invest in professionally produced ads in a few media, while a gardener may benefit more from placing frequent small ads in several media.
  • Businesses that rely on a constant flow of new customers may need to spend more on advertising than businesses that can rely on an income stream from existing customers. For example, an auto dealer should plan to spend more on advertising than an auto mechanic.
  • New businesses should plan to spend more on marketing than established businesses.
  • Independent businesses should plan to spend more on marketing than franchises.
  • The more service-oriented your business, the more you may need to spend on creative services, like graphic designers and copywriters, who will make your advertising communicate your business personality and brand image.
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Q: How should I select an ad agency?
A: Clip out ads that you think are effective. Look at ads for products and services both within your industry and outside of it. Then, find out which ad agencies did the work. Toss out the ad agencies that are too big - your account will get lost in the shuffle. Toss out the ad agencies that are too small - their survival will depend so much on kissing your fanny that you might not get the good outside counsel you’re paying for. Then, meet with the people you’d be working with on a day-to-day basis. Make a decision based on how those people and processes fit with you and your people and processes. It’s that simple. No agency reviews (at which you’ll learn nothing more than which agencies are dumb enough to shovel lots of time and talent into a purely speculative project). No agency review consultants (who collect their fee with little, if any, accountability for your later success or failure). No dog-and-pony shows, no wasted effort, no beating around the bush. Hire good people, and grow with them.
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Q: How should I select a freelancer?
A: Ahem. Dare I suggest that you give top consideration to the freelancer who has already invested some time and effort into building your business: namely, me? To learn more about me, check out my main website. There you’ll find lists of companies and organizations I’ve done work for (sorted by industry), samples of my work, and even more free advice.
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Q: My question wasn’t answered. How do I contact you?
A: Send an email to , and if it’s something simple I’ll answer your question and add it to this FAQ. If it’s not, well ... then we’ll have to talk. If you can’t read the email address, then you have JavaScript disabled. You’ll have to type john at-symbol tightwadmarketing-dot-com into your email program.
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