Home-based business is an awesome way for entrepreneurs to start and develop their businesses without utilizing a “brick and mortar” structure. If you operate a business that can use your home as a base, you will save a lot of money on operating costs. In order for a home-based business to thrive, one needs to promote and advertise the products or services one provides. There are several ways to market a home based business, – by developing a website, expanding your network, establishing yourself as a professional authority in your field and promoting what you do for the customers you hope to serve. Something very important to keep in mind, is who will be your target customers, what solutions will you be providing for them, and how will they know that you possess these solutions. That needs to be very clear as you select the media. The selection should match the audience/customers.
Besides providing quality goods and services, marketing is one of the most important daily undertakings in any business. Without marketing, you will not have customers; and as a consequence, you will not have a business. The real challenge is in finding your market and enticing them to check out your business.
Where Do We Start?
Below I will discuss several methods you can use to market your home based business, but before get into that, we should first answer some important questions such as:
1. Who is our target market?
Many would say, “Everyone.” However, even if your product or service has a wide market demand, to be effective, you should narrow your choices down. You can do this by defining what problem your product or service solves, and then figure who needs that solution. Or you may first research who has problems, what they are and then create a solution for them.
2. Where is your market?
The most successful home based business owners connect directly to their market by going to where the market hangs out. This comprises websites, blogs, social media and even offline options such as service clubs, seminars and other related events.
3. How can you get your market to check out your products?
The best way to do this is to create offers that solve the problems your market has.
Once you have answered the aforementioned questions, you can now utilize the suggested list provided below to discover the options that best fit with your product and market.
Method 1 – Marketing Online
Develop a professional website, it should describe your business, as well as the services and products it provides. Be careful to include information about how to contact you, and if you sell products, make sure customers can buy them from your website.
Use social networking – in addition to a website, your business should have a Facebook page, Instagram and a Twitter feed. Consider your consumers and target customers when determining where to establish a social networking presence. For example, if your audience is tech-savvy about their social news, make sure they can find you on the popular social media platforms. If your business is creative, consider a board on Pinterest; and if video is an important part of it, then get on YouTube.
Writing a blog is also an excellent idea. Having a blog on your website or social networking sites will allow you to disseminate information about your business, and offer insight into the field or industry you are aligned with. Update your blog frequently; that actually give people a reason to revisit your sites, and fresh content will do that.
Send out e-newsletters – collect contact information for current and prospective clients, and deliver a weekly or monthly newsletter to their inboxes. Provide information about new products, services and other updates significant to your company and your clients.
Advertise your business online. Pay-per-click online advertising is popular with many home-based businesses because it can drive business to you based on what people are searching for online. Check out websites such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter to get going. When you use this, you are only paying the publisher, or the website your ad is posted on, for the number of times that viewers click on the ad.
Another way to benefit from these pay-per-click ads is to make your business searchable; that way if someone is searching the Internet for “ABC interior design” they might be driven to your ”Master design business”. It is also a good idea to make sure your business is listed in online directories. Yahoo Local and Google Maps are good ways to help local customers find you when they search for an online service.
Method 2 – Marketing in Person
Conduct a demonstration or a mini seminar, use them as a way of sharing your knowledge. This will help the community understand more about the business, as well as promote your company and help you reach potential customers. Find free or inexpensive space to hold your seminars, such as a library or community center.
Use family and close friends to assist by asking them if they will help you demonstrate your services. If you are a caterer for example, you could ask them to host a cooking class in their home.
Develop a diverse selection of printed marketing materials. Your business can truly benefit from business cards, flyers, brochures, postcards and other materials that can be handed out or mailed.
Grow your professional network, by joining your local chamber of commerce, and other business and community groups. Visit home based and network marketing seminars and other related events. That way you can garner the knowledge and education you need to become an expert in your new profession. Introduce yourself at those gatherings and talk about what kinds of services and products your business provides.
Talk to people when the opportunity presents itself. Whether you are flying, in line at a store or sitting at a park, everyone around you “can potentially be a customer”, (within reason). Practice communicating with everyone you come into contact with. However, you have to know how to approach persons. Learn the art of forming relationships and build them into trustworthy connections before you try to promote your business with strangers/new people.
Tips & Warnings
Remember to ask for referrals when you have done good work for a customer or you have a happy client. You may also offer incentives, such as discounts every time one customer refers you to another. Ask clients to put their satisfaction in writing so you can post testimonials and reviews on your website and social media sites.
Refrain from mentioning that your business is home based to start. Like I said, build relationships first, then those can be great customers in the future. After both sides of the relationship develop the trust that is required, and move into a “business-to-client” relationship, then it may be ok at that point. Unfortunately, some people might hesitate to take you seriously if they know your business operations happen in the same place that you eat and sleep. You do not need to advertise the fact that your business is run out of your home; the location is really not that important, except in the case of credibility verification.
There are millions of home based business owners making billions of dollars annually. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this profession. If anything it provides a lot of opportunity for you and your family. Not only financial, but a better quality of life for families who want to spend more time together with loved ones. The ability to retire when you want to and a host of other tangible and intangible benefits. The few things it needs for success are: “your idea, backed by faith and definiteness of purpose”, (Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich).