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There are tons of ways to advertise your business for little to no cost. ((SEO is a great way to advertise if you get someone that knows what they are doing.. www.redtiemedia.net)) I would offer a special discount on twitter, this will allow your current followers a reason to come buy and also gives them a reason to tell their friends ((make it so they have to be a follower to get the discount)) this will increase your followers and bring in more business.
Business Cards and Flyers-- leave them everywhere.
Advertise your website on forums, Place it in here. Find local forums, if your able to ship your product then place your website in other forums, Craigs List is always a good way to go for selling things
Contact Red Tie Media and have us assist you with an aggressive online marketing campaign.
Red Tie Media
1. Where is your store located?
8. What is your web address?
I look forward to your responses.
All the Best,
Hey Doug, you sound like a Jay Abraham graduate. Good questions!
All The Best.....
"Our Purpose and Passion is to Serve. To bring Clients
Thanks for the compliment, Tony.
Actually, I haven't read any of Mr. Abrahams materials. But, I am always studying business materials, plus I apply what I've learned from my successes and failures in the past as an executive and as an owner of my own businesses.
Giving advice without asking appropriate questions is like walking into a doctor's office and having them give you the latest prescription without even discussing your symptoms and checking your vitals.
All the Best,
R U recommending SMS text as a marketing vehicle to your clients?
There are many SEO companies that "guarantee" rankings and cost quite a bit of money. It is impossible for any company to guarantee something that they have no control over. Moreover, many SEO companies put your sites in what is known as "link farms". These sites typically to increase your page ranking for a short while, however your website can be placed on blacklists which make it impossible for your site to show up with the Top 10 pages of related keyword searches. The new "Google formula" has been created to actively combat SEO companies from exploiting these methods to artificially increase page ranking. If your site currently has a low page ranking in comparison to competing websites with similar keywords, Google can take 6 months or more to crawl your website for an update, which is time that many businesses do not have - especially in this economy.
Real SEO happens organically. This means that you add your business on directories that already have high page ranks such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, etc...Don't stop with just a few - you really need to add your site on hundreds of sites. You should continue to participate in forums (such as these), but you should try to include your URL as well as other basic company information whenever possible. This will also raise your page ranking. Have you noticed that when you search for certain terms Google will now place YouTube results ahead of other search engine results? Utilizing video can help your SEO efforts.
Many small and medium sized business do not think they can afford television advertising and resort to mediums that are simply not as effective such as artificial search engine optimization, direct mail, radio, or newspaper advertising. Tonangi Media (http://www.tonangi.com) is able to keep your advertising costs low by constantly negotiating with our local and national partners to provide targeted and cost effective advertising both on television as well as the internet. Think how much you have spent on other marketing mediums in the past. These methods may be cheaper but if they don't bring in customers is it really cost effective or is it a waste? With a budget of less then $6,000 you can reach 1/2 a million people (in most areas) - and target them based on gender, income, and geographical location. We have customers that spend as little as $2,000 a month and customers that spend well over $25,000 a month. You decide your budget and Tonangi Media will help you meet your goals.
Tonangi Media is a full scale video production and advertising agency. We can create your concept, record a custom video complete with professional voice overs and original animation sequences that will make your advertisement stand out.
For more information please visit http://www.tonangi.com
Video Production and Advertising for Small businesses
I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH ADVERTISING YOU NEED BUT YOU CAN BUY SMALL SPOTS ON SEMI'S DEPENDING ON THE BUSINESS YOU HAVE AND WHO YOU ARE TRYING TO CATCH THE EYE OF MR.OVERTIME
There are many ways besides SEO to get traffic to your website and many ways to convert that traffic to paying customers and to build lists to get repeat customers.
The three legs of a successful online marketing stool are:
1. Targeted traffic.
2. A website that converts. Most sites don't do this, but you can get 18% soft conversions (actions that lead to a sale or solid leads) and 3-6% hard conversions (closed sales). That's the benchmark we set for our clients' websites and our own.
3. A list of interested, motivated prospects you continue to sell to.
As far as traffic goes, there are many ways including good SEO. We've managed to get 1st place positions in Google for many of our clients. But this isn't done overnight. It takes a lot of work and involves several other methods of generating traffic. This includes creating and maintaning an active blog, writing targeted articles linking back to the site, press releases, Social Media, etc. All these methods generate traffic on their own, but also help the site rank higher in the search engines. The more inbound links from popular, relevant websites the better. We also use direct mail and articles and press releases placed in off-line publications, and even posters and T-shirts and local contests.
We feature a lot of these ideas on our website in case studies and also general online marketing information and resources, like our free e-book The Complete Online Selling System: 5 Proven Steps That Turn Your Website Into A Powerful Sales Magnet. Free e-books are another great marketing tool, but take some time and skill to write.
As I'm sure you know, marketing online is highly competitive. And that competition is only going to increase. You have to be smart about it to stand out and get noticed (in a good way). And the methods and techniques are very different from traditional off-line push marketing. There is a steep learning curve. But once you understand the environment, the opportunities are huge. It's best to use a combination of advertising means, both online and offline, and to use both appropriately and effectively. Fortunately you can test and tweak every aspect of both your offline and online campaigns to get just the right mix. And it cost very little and often nothing to test your online campaigns. There's no excuse for an online campaign that's not giving you good results. If it's not, change it until it does.
We're not done with a client until we hit the benchmarks we agree on. That's in our contract. It's all about results.
Principal / Creative Director
We don't just create websites.
We create results.
studio 525 you make really good points there.Diversification is the key. Using all methods available to you to bring in targeted traffic is what has to be done. Organic SEO and content that actually converts sales is the foundation you build on. The link building methods you suggested are great. The old web directory links method is out and not worth paying for.
I'm old school. I was doing keyword research and building sites in 1995 before I knew what SEO was. The methods haven't changed as much as people like to say they have.
1. Good content that converts sales has always been important.
2. Targeting the right keywords and phrases in the content has always been important.
3. Link building has always been important. However, building 100s or 1000s of links just for the sake of building links is worthless. I don't want linkls that do not have the capablity of bring me direct trasffic. I don't care about the rest and have my own and client websites that rank #1 in Google with as few as 10 backlinks. Of course I make sure they are 10 very good backlinks. :)t
4. Social Networking isn't new. Forums like this one and chat rooms and BBS were the first social networking sites. We're doing social networking right now.
5. Clean html helped you rank well in 1995 and it still does.
6. Twitter brought us microblogging, but it is almost like a well-organized chat room that saves what you wrote. :)
7. MySpace and Facebook are the modern version of geocities type communities.
My point is the basics don't change much, just what they are called and some improvements being made. There are no Google secrets, magic pills or shortcuts to success on the web. It either takes your own hard work or the money to pay someone for the hard work they do to be successful.
So when you see guarantees, be wary. When you see one-size-fits-all gold, silver, braonze package deals, think it over. Every client and every business is a little different. There are diofferent budgets to work with, different numbers of competitors, different level of competitors, different client goals, etc. Packages should be custom designed to fit each client's needs.
Individual services can always be priced with standard pricing for everyone, but when it comes to a diversified marketing plan, no two are exactly the same.
Just the two cents worth from an old fart. :)
Your cute new custom designed MASCOT!
I picture him/her looking like a lifesize pillow
case, with a linen bedsheet cape! He appears
at school carnivals, town festival, city parade,
front of your store, apprear at special events,
etc. Louie Linen carries a star sheet with two
weeks of blocks on the sheet that he/she
passes out. This sheet encourages the youth
to make their own beds each day. After making
their bed for two weeks (parent signs each day
on the chart) they bring the chart back into your
store for a free________(small stuffed animal,
Carnivals, festivals, etc. love having festive
mascots...simply ask to attend and they jump
at having you. Spreading a message is a
bigger plus, asking kids to help with chores
(making bed, allows you to use the linen theme).
Make sure to have your store name within the
Mascot outfit, include Louie Linen face on your
store window, logo, auto, etc.
Now your store is family focused, community
oriented, upbeat, and easy to relate with.
You may want to also have a Birthday Call
to children on their birthday from Louie Linen.
Of course name this Mascot as you wish, simply
make it fun for all ages and neither boy or girl so
all can relate to your Mascot.
A well-planned direct mailing postcard campaign can work wonders. You can keep a mailing list of previous customers to generate repeat business and referrals. It's also possible to generate mailing lists based on demographic target info (age, income, location, etc.) A good online printing company like Expresscopy.com can help create a list, plus they have tons of customizable design templates to work with.
If you are interested in Television advertising you can ask for ROS spots. These spots can cost as low a $10 or $20 per spot and will be placed in open spots at all hours of the day. When a spot is purchased it is placed in a predetermined time or show. If they do not have enough advertising to fill the news or any show they will look at the ROS spots and place one in the open location. If there are no ROS paid spots they will place a free PSA or PROMO in the slot. With ROS rotation some spots will be dogs but some will be a expensive spot that you would not normally purchase. This is a less expensive way to get some very good advertising for your business.
I agree with Medinvestment that ROS (Run of Schedule) is an affordable solution, however just because a method is cheaper does not mean it is more cost effective if it does not result in sales. Advertising in prime time, or late evening would not obtain the results you seek, and therefore your advertising dollars would be a waste. You can not simply purchase ad time without thinking about your demographic, otherwise you will end up wasting your entire advertising budget.
In addition you will find that when you talk to stations as a business owner you will find that they will require you to commit to a long term contract - usually about a year. . By utilizing an agency like Tonangi Media (http://www.tonangi.com) you can play your ad on multiple stations simultaneously and because we have many clients we are able to obtain wholesale rates and pass those rates along to our customers. Most of the publishers that we work with do not place large minimum requirements on us because we have given them business repeatedly - this means that you can work with us on a month to month basis instead of putting up a large deposit for a year contract.
Let me know if you would like to utilize Tonangi Media to advertise your products on local or national television.
This is a little off subject but have you may want to check out your local procurement department. The local government purchases all kinds of products and it is not as competitive as the national procurement agencies. They need linen for prisons and you may be surprised how much they purchase. The local colleges may also be a great source. They have students that need to supply their dorms. They also have some furnished rooms for VIP's ect. Look around your area and you may find some additional opportunities that you missed the first time. Back on subject, Some television stations may require contracts but the 3 that I worked for as a traffic manager (I placed the commercials.) did not require long term contracts. Good Luck in your venture. I hope that this helped you a little.
Not knowing the particulars of your business area, Ill just throw some out there. Pick the one that may suit your situation.
Advertise your business to a target market like clubs and craft fairs. The local procumbent market (city, state, federal Gov) was a good idea but you may have to float some monies before you get paid. But some gov procurement buys on a credit card right away. Offer free samples to get people in the door to try your goods. Invest in a good demographic mailing list for your area and direct market to it. Advertise in the bulletins or newsletters in churches. Try an ebay store to keep things moving while trying to get started its basically free. If you can ship try advertising in fairly inexpensive newpaper ads from www.nationwideadvertising.com they advertise to almost any newspaper around the country you can think of. If you are on the side of or near a highway theres another Free option with www.milesurfer.com they have a Free basic ad for businesses on the side of the highways it will allow travelers to find you off your exit from there mobile app. if that is the case.
I wish you best of luck in your business venture.
Quote - "We do have a web site but it doesn't rank high. We have had two SEO for it, that talked a good game, with no results and cost alot of money"
90% of it is a case of link building. You need as many people out there linking to your site as possible. But you need to go for quality and not the instant "submit your site to 1000 directories for $50" approach.
There are a multitude of free resources out there, free directories, free business forums, that will generate you backlinks as well as get your name out there. Become known as an expert across multiple forums, before you know it, people will be referring clients to you. Start a blog, writing quality content about your business will also generate links to your site, plus maybe some traffic and potential clients.
Theres no quickfix to marketing, especially online, unless you have a huge budget, but if you can allocate 1 or 2 hours a night online, you will be amazed with waht you can achieve.
2 resources you can start with.
Free Commercial US Business Directory
A new Business Forum Community
hope that helps
Just to chime in on the SEO side of things. All things are possible with SEO, but it's not up to your SEO company to convert traffic --- instead they drive traffic. This does not mean you should be hands-off with your business, when the traffic arrives at your website you will need to convert that traffic by engaging your audience.
1) Do you have a newsletter?
2) Does your web design appeal to it's target audience?
3) Is your website navigation user friendly?
4) Have you wrote compelling content, onsite and offsite?
5) Have you wrote compelling ad copy on your homepage and sales (funnel) pages?
6) Does your brand have a social presence?
7) Are you engaging your customers?
8) Do you follow up on leads?
9) Have you set up tracking for your website? Do you analyze it?
10) Are you still endorsing other advertising vehicles, such as email marketing, graphical banner advertising, or traditional marketing (print, tv, radio)?
The above are things you should be doing regardless if you hired an SEO company or not. You should run the business and engage your audience. Now in all respects, the SEO can wear many hats and assist with all those tasks, but if you were to pawn off all those elements of your business, then in essence you don't have a business. It should be handled and managed by yourself or your full-time staff. What the SEO brings to the table should be treated completely separate from your current efforts. The SEO is in addition to what you already do, not the sole solution for your business.
The SEO strengths come in at delivering targeted traffic to one's website. Getting high rankings in the Google for one or two keywords is not going to make or break you --- in most cases regardless how popular the keywords are. Most authority websites rank for a large multitude of keywords (hundreds, if not thousands) --- short and long tail, many different variations, etc. In particular these websites rank in all search engines and not just Google. To obtain this type of noterity online it takes time, effort, strategy, and money! There is no way around those four elements, unless you believe in luck!
Here are the things a good SEO company should do for you, in addition to the things you already do to run YOUR business.
* Keyword research
* Analytics installation / site tracking
* Analytics monitoring
* Website analysis
* Competitor analysis
* On page optimization
* Page title optimization
* Meta tags optimization
* Heading tags optimization
* Page content optimization
* Alternate text optimization
* Internal link architecture
* On page content creation
* Sitemap.xml creation, upload, and notification
* Robots.txt create
* Periodic updates and reports delivery
2) LINK BUILDING
* Article marketing
* External blogging (blogger, livejournal, etc.)
* Directory advertising
* Profile links
* Niche resource links
* Periodic updates and reports delivery
3) PAY PER CLICK MANANGEMENT
* Google Adwords campaign management (including graphical banner ads)
* Microsoft AdCenter (Bing) campaign management
* Yahoo! Sponsored Search campaign management
* Optional: Ask Sponsored Listings campaign management
* Optional: 7Search, SearchFeed, Miva, etc. campaign management
* Periodic updates and reports delivery
4) PRESS RELEASES
* Press release writing
* Press release distribution
* Press release tracking
* Ongoing: Wash, rinse, & repeat
* Periodic updates and reports delivery
5) SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
* Social profile creation (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.)
* Social account management
* Social participation
* Create daily/weekly social posts
* Add targeted friends to profile
* Join target social groups
* Blog commenting
* Niche forum participation
* Periodic updates and reports delivery
6) BLOG / ON SITE CONENT MANAGEMENT
* Website blog design integration
* Website blog account management
* Website blog analytics installation / blog tracking
* Website blog analytics monitoring
* Website blog feed directory syndication
* Website blog directory submissions
* Website blog link building campaign
* Website blog marketing
* Daily/weekly website blog posts creation
7) OPTIONAL SERVICES
* URL Rewriting
* Website redesign
* Website development
* Email marketing
* Conversion analysis
* Lead capturing
* Reputation management
* Graphical banner ad creation
As you can see there is a wealth of benefit an SEO can provide, but you must be sure you channel their strengths. If you need optional services at high quality then it might be best to outsource to someone who specialize specifically in those markets, but if you are looking for someone to drive traffic to your website while increasing search engine rankings and value then a skilled SEO is what you need. However, never put all your eggs in one basket and rely solely on the efforts of SEO, you should always employ other marketing strategies and mediums, such as traditional marketing, email marketing, conference participation, etc. A well balanced marketing strategy will always prove to be successful in the long run.
I would expect you to know everything involved with SEO nor should you concern yourself with every nook and cranny, but I would make the recommendation that you stay on top of your SEO and results. Don't get crazy about, but just design your own metric of growth --- such as looking at the number of visitors, pageviews, bounce rate, or some other metric --- keep record of this metric and look for growth patterns and trends over the course of the weeks/months. If you notice decreases or unsatisfactory results becoming a trend then its time to talk with your SEO or cancel the campaign (if applicable). Just my suggested advice for non-SEO website owners who use SEO outsourcing.
I hope this helps in some way, always feel free to contact me directly (919) 816-2764 --- http://www.antonaf.com/contact/
Ant Onaf Search Marketing & SEO
AnthonyOnaf wrote "Just to chime in on the SEO side of things. All things are possible with SEO, but it's not up to your SEO company to convert traffic --- instead they drive traffic. This does not mean you should be hands-off with your business, when the traffic arrives at your website you will need to convert that traffic by engaging your audience."
AnthonyOnaf We disagree a little here. It is my job as an SEO to help my clients convert sales. You suggest that PPC management is one of the services that an SEO provides. How can you manage a ppc campaign and not be the one that is tracking and improving conversion rates? I won't manage anyone's PPC camapign if I am not also the one that can build and edit the landing pages as well as the content on any page I send traffic to. A successful PPC campaign has to be managed at both ends and preferrably by the same person.
With most of my clients, I am part of their marketing team. I attend meeting with corporate marketing personnel to discuss progress and strategy. They do not consider me "separate from their own marketing strategy". I'm part of it.
Most of what you said I agree with, but all SEOs like to tell people that the methods they use are the best methods and what "good" seo companies do. If there is a service they do not provide, it isn't part of what a "good" seo company will do. If it is a service they do provide, it is something that all "good" seo companies do.
I know you don't do that on purpose. But you can go out and read 100 blog posts by SEOs with titles like, "how to choose a good seo company" or "what you should expect from a legitimate seo company" and in every single one, the practices they use are the recommended ones and the things they do not do are the bad things.
There are some standard practices, but different SEOs use different approaches and different doesn't mean bad.
Now you can probably think of other low-cost, budget-friendly advertising approaches in addition to above motioned tips. Its good to get sales and marketing help but it is still important to have a good grasp of what is going on. Advertising can often be the single biggest expense you have. You need to know where the money is going. Social media is the ultimate word-of-mouth forum - you can make use of it. If you have a great product or service, and your customer knows about it, you will be rewarded with more buzz. Setup a tell-a-friend form that makes it easy for your visitors to recommend your site(or product) to their friends.
What a great and detailed post by Anthony. That's the kind of forum posts that drive traffic and business.
One thing that wasn't mentioned - and there weren't many - is viral marketing techniques.
How do you create viral marketing? One post, video, Tweet, blog entry, email, that is picked up and sent on to many friends.
You have to be creative and also have a sense of fun.
Contests are a great way to do this, especially if they have a unique and fun twist.
The way you write your post, Tweet, blog entry, email, etc. also has a big effect on whether it goes viral.
Fun and provacative are key elements here. Find a totally new way to look at the old.
In the drone of similar messages, find a way to stand out from the crowd.
This has always been the way of good traditional advertising.
When messages go viral, the results can be spectacular. So it's worth investing the time and effort into it.
I recently created a Twitter contest that took off far beyond what I had imagined. I had to put the whole thing on hold to re-group and fully take advantage of all the traffic I was getting. When Social Media goes viral, look out.
Now I'm creating similar contests for some of my clients.
Great post, Anthony. Nice work.
My first question is how big is the town that you open the store in? Advertising in a rural area can be completely different than advertising in a metro area. As for the web site are you just trying to drive foot traffic to your retail location or are you trying to do nationwide e-commerce? Your local Chamber of Commerce will have a lot of people trying to sell you their goods and services but if you stick with them long enough you will find THE person in that group that can help your business.
What you should be looking for at the Chamber is a private marketing manager that can take a look at your business and then advise you on the best advertising methods to succeed in your location. As an example you may not even need a web site (a good local web business directory can get you on the first page of google with your address and phone number).
If I was opening a free standing retail store in a metro area I would start with a 12 month billboard contract and lots of networking to get you involved in the community.
Good Luck in your new business!
There are many ways for you to advertise , online or offline. Even in your own shop you can make good publicity. I know a way to advertise, it is to make a DVD advertisement from powerpoint youself. Here is the details: http://www.acoolsoft.com/blog/make-a-thanksgiving-dvd-advertisement-from-powerpoint.html
Hope it can help you.
it takes time to make your web rank high. You can use other ways & depends on the real situation
If you can share the url of your website, I would be happy to evaluate and make some suggestions.
Also, provide a list of the things you have done so far and I will probably have some to add to it. Happy to assist if I can see it and understand how you are marketing.
Advertising, promotion, marketing, getting-word-out is almost as difficult a proposition as running your business. All the responses thus far to your question are awesome! You need to figure out how much time and effort you want to spend on this. Or, how much you want to pay someone else to do it for you.
Anyway, I was surprised to see that no one mentioned the obvious online advertising (Google AdWords - adwords.google.com, or Yahoo Search Marketing - marketingsolutions.yahoo.com)... may be I missed it. You could spend a few minutes every day managing online advertising campaigns. You may also want to think about Mobile Advertising - companies like AdMob (www.admob.com) or AdLocal (http://www.adlocal.biz) who, like Google and Yahoo, also offer self-serve portals to manage your own mobile ad campaigns. Such advertising is usually inexpensive, and you have the option to limit your daily/monthly spending to whatever amount you are comfortable with.
If you are mostly interested in reaching out to a "local" audience - foot traffic in your shopping area, or residents in the same ZIP code, or the entire town, you should do a location-targeted campaign on mobile. AdLocal (http://www.adlocal.biz) offers you to do very precise location targeting. You can even target an area around your competitor/competitors and attract customers by offering specials or matching discounts offered by them!
Anyway, I wish you good luck and much success with your business.
Well I am very familiar with advertising and marketing in your area. Most of the people you caitor to is women. We have our grocery program. you can offer $100, $150, or $300 when a certain amount of linen is purchased. The cost is cheap I won't lie. But you will get great results out of it. Another way to get people is a reverse craigslist ad. Advertise in the forums in your area that you are clearing out of old stock and 30%-50% price cuts. This will get a stir created for traffic. Put a postrer in your window as well that you are having a two for tuesday sale. People love that.
I hope this greeting finds you in the best of health and spirts! A Linens store is certainly a good product especially in a recession market. I have a lot of experience with luxury PR, one of our business streams of income is running a luxury PR firm.
While I don’t have a lot of details to go on about your business. I would strongly suggest that you certainly not overlook your local newspaper. In fact, you should consider your local newspaper as a starting point for free publicity, brand awareness, exposure and more! Often much cost effective over advertising which can be more expensive.
I would suggest that you release a press announcement about your Linens store. One important factor to remember is to make sure that your press release is newsworthy!!!! The holidays are the perfect time to announce charity contributions, discount promotions, specialty product lines, etc.
The business section of your local newspaper is a goldmine of free publicity opportunity for your Linens store. Send out your press release announcement to media outlets such as your local newspapers, magazines, television shows, radio stations, etc. Make sure to contact media outlets and divisions that would be a match to cover a feature article or storyline about Linens! You could even be asked to make guest appearances for live interviews.
Example: Press Announcement
Five Cost Saving Fashionable Linen Ideas for the Holidays
Make sure to include who, what, when, where, why, and how. Also encourage a call to action but not as a sales pitch. Smart tactics would be to use important SEO keywords in your press releases. This will certainly improve your rank in the major search engines.
This is a method that we use for our companies, clients, and projects.
http://www.TopAtlantaLuxury.com is a blog that we own and operate. It is ranked in the top 5% on Google and Bing for key search words “Atlanta Luxury”.
Please visit http://www.CRandKyle.Info to join our FREE email club for tips on Home and Small Business PR, Ideas, and Social Media.
A lot of small businesses in your position think that television advertising is too costly, when in fact it is not.
Many SEO companies can hurt you instead of helping, because Google doesn't like SEO companies, and when they find out that you have a ton of links on "landing pages", they can penalize you and that can seriously hurt you for a very long time.
I have customers that spend as little as $2,500 a month for 50 spots on cable television in a given local area. Local advertising is the most affordable way to advertise your business and you'll actually end up with much better results on cheaper advertising methods (like newspaper, radio, etc...)
If you are interested on how my company, Tonangi Media, can help please go to http://tonangi.com/portfolio.html
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We opened a Linens store about three months ago. We do have a web site but it doesn't rank high. We have had two SEO for it, that talked a good game , with no results and cost alot of money. We have advertised our store in two local magazine without any results. We joined the Chamber and this hasn't really helped. Only lot's of people trying to sell us on there product. The local newspaper doesn't mean much here. I do Twitter. Any Suggestions??????????