If you have a home-based business, you may think marketing is an unnecessary expense. In fact, since your business has no storefront to attract attention, you actually need more marketing efforts than traditional businesses, not less. Try these tips for marketing your home-based business on a budget.
- A business website: Your website is the first impression of your company for many of your customers. Make it a good one. Provide information about your product or service in a clear, attractive, and intuitive format. (See our article on Building a Website for Your Home-Based Business and our Website Quick-Start Guide.)
- Local search: These days, many people prefer to do their research online before making a purchase. Make sure your business is listed on local search sites like Local.com and Google Places so that when customers in your area search for what you sell, your business comes up near the top of search results.
- Social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide free ways for any home-based business to have a big presence and connect with customers and prospects. Try out these and other social media tools, and decide which ones work best for your business.
- Case studies: Case studies aren’t just for scientific applications. Studies of your products in action can help your potential customers learn more and make an educated decision before they buy.
- E-newsletters: Create a monthly email newsletter and send it out to customers who have signed up to receive information from you. There are many companies and tools that make it simple to develop, manage, and send an e-newsletter.
- Blogging: Blogging is a great tool for service-based businesses where showing your industry expertise attracts customers. Create your own blog using simple software like WordPress, or ask popular bloggers in your industry if you can contribute blog posts to their sites.
- Publicity: Getting mentioned in the media is often more effective than paid advertising in convincing customers to patronize your business. Read our guide on
How to Write an Effective Press Release to learn the basics; then target your releases to the appropriate media, whether that’s newspapers, radio and television outlets, or blogs.
- Affiliate programs: Online affiliate programs are a cost-effective way to market your products to a wide range of potential customers. You get the benefits of a commission-based salesforce without the hassle of managing employees.
- Referrals: Referrals are a great, no-cost way to attract new customers. Providing incredible customer service will ensure that you end up with satisfied customers. Encourage your clients to refer you to their friends and colleagues.
- Public speaking: If you can speak knowledgeably about topics related to your product or service, you can reach a wide audience. Offer to speak to audiences at local organizations, trade association events, or other places where your target customers gather.