You have researched and chosen your home business idea. You have obtained all necessary permits and licenses. Now you need customers. Many new business owners are disappointed to discover how long it can take to generate regular clientele. Nevertheless there are many low cost, effective ways to get the word out about your business. Below is a list of some of those methods:
Make a plan: Promotion, publicity, marketing, advertising…whatever you want to call it, it works best if you have a plan. Haphazard marketing will only get you haphazard responses. The following ideas should be put together with any other marketing ideas you have into a marketing plan that also includes a budget and method for evaluating how each marketing method is working.
Know your market and want it wants: Marketing works best if it speaks directly to what your clients/customers want or need. You can deliver that if you don’t know and understand your market, or how your product or service will benefit it.
Business Cards: Every business book recommends business cards. But it takes more than just having them, they need to be distributed. Hand them out to anyone and everyone that will take it (give them several so they can share them too). Include business cards in your bill payments and other correspondence. Post them on community bulletin boards. Leave them on the table at cafes or restaurants.
Send Announcements: Send everyone in your target market an announcement regarding your service. You may even want to include a grand opening special.
Press Releases: The great thing about a press release is that it looks like news written by someone else thereby giving your business credibility. In Do It Yourself Publicity David Ramacitti suggests having a press release campaign in which press releases are sent monthly. Press releases should not be advertisements, but instead give some sort of information or news. Some ideas for press releases include a grand opening, a business anniversary, a major milestone is reached such as the 1000th customer, personnel changes, winning an award, and to introduce a new product or service. In Ramacitti’s book he gives 50 excuses for writing a press release, how to write it and how to make the best use of it. Its a great book…if you can find it. Other books on press releases and publicity will also help you.
Network Join the chamber of commerce and other organizations in which other business people can exchange information and referrals. Don’t forget about networking online. Let your online buddies know about your business. Join groups in your target market to develop relationships (not just to post your ads) and let them know how you can help.
Community Service People always feel better about working with people who give something to the community. Not only will they choose your service over
a competitors, but they will refer you to others. Plus, your volunteer or community activities can make a great press release.
Write an article: Just like a press release gives you credibility, so does a published article. Many home business successes have taken this idea further and written successful books. It can take a long time to get published in traditional magazines; however, many website and ezine owners will happily publish your article. You won’t get paid, but you get free publicity. Many successful online marketers including myself have used this technique.
Seminars Offering a course related to your business can help you look like an expert in your field. Give participants enough information to get something of value, but not so much that they don’t need your service. Contact your local adult education, community education, or community college resources about teaching a course. Teleseminars can be done from the comfort of your home. Free services such as Free Conference Call offer the phone line. You and your guests simply pay for long distance.
Go On-line More and more home based business owners are tapping into this great advertising source. Websites, blogs, social media, e-mail, and discussion groups are a great way to get information about your products and services out beyond your community to the world! Further, the costs to promote your business online can be very inexpensive. Or visit the Internet Marketing Center to get one of the best resources for learning Internet marketing.
Great customer service Be sure to meet, better yet exceed your clients’ expectations. You want to offer great service, but don’t offer more than you can deliver. Use feedback surveys to help keep informed on how your customers feel about your service and to get ideas on how your service can be improved.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she’s been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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