Starting a Small Business/Marketing Question


QUESTION: Our volunteer phone line is fully staffed and I would like to know if you have any suggestions on how best to let callers know about our free service. To understand our program please go to



ANSWER: It is a wonderful idea with a unique concept. This is ideal for a press release and some media promotion. Get a novel press release written. and élance has some talented writers, but look at the people's portfolio first. Also contact your local radio stations, offer your services to come on and talk. An evening show when more lonely people are around is a great time to be available. Many interviews are done via Skype so you can contact stations in several places. If you feel brave then contact local TV stations, this topic is great for a morning TV slot. Just make sure that your lines are ready for an influx when you broadcast, as people will call during or just after the show. Concentrate on your USP, the aim of your call lines and maybe have a few real life examples of how this line has improved life.

As you get bigger you can start looking for sponsorship.

Good luck with your idea.

One last thought- you could set yourself up as a charity.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for the informative and speedy reply.  I think your advice is right.  It is just a question of execution.  I am not a real great speaker and will need to get a public relations directory who can effectively reach out to radio/tv stations and do the interviews.  Since the program does not generate any money we will need to get someone who believes enough in our work to volunteer to fill this role.

The volunteer sites that I use for phone volunteers have not been effective in recruiting this type of person, so wondering if you have any suggestions on where we can find a publicity manager.

Thanks Again and no worries if you have no answer on my follow-up, you have all ready been very helpful.


David Press Release first.

Go to they are very helpful with advice on how to write a press release. If you are still a little unsure élance or guru will provide one for about $30-50. Prepare yourself by thinking about what is unique about your service plus a few stories that will catch the eye.

Promotion next: go to and search through marketing to see what kind of services there are there. A lot of students will promote around universities and to Facebook and Twitter friends for $5.  There are some real deals there. You might even get a good press release.

Now for radios etc.: go to oe of the above sites and ask for a one page promotional letter explaining your service, USP and your willingness to talk about your service. Now search the Internet for lists of radios etc. send off your intro letter and see what happens.

If you get an invite to talk, prepare some bullet points that you can bring up. Be yourself, you are an ordinary guy not a broadcaster, that will appeal to people. Talk about how you came to start it, why you did, and how you have helped people.

In all correspondence include your contact details and web site. If you do not have a Skype account get one. I wish you luck.

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Lee Lister


If you are a serious entrepreneur and want to set up your own business or ensure that your existing business is more profitable then let me assist you. I answer questions on business start up, business strategy, business models, business planning, marketing plans, marketing strategy, branding, business tune ups and business improvement. I do not answer any legal, tax or accountancy questions - you should see your own professional adviser about these. If you cannot be bothered to read and rate my answers - I can't be bothered to answer yours! If you have a small internet based company, I would welcome your help in completing a survey and helping me with my Masters Dissertation. I am researching how a small company can build its brand and grow quickly using social media marketing. The survey takes 4 minutes and all information is confidential and will NEVER be used for marketing purposes. Thank you in advance. The link to the survey is below:


Over 20 year’s management, IT and business consultancy experience with businesses large and small as well as being a serial entrepreneur.

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BA (Hons) Economics MSc Marketing Management , studying for DBA. Numerous business qualifications.

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