|A home business is a paradise for those who have spent years working 50-hours a week in a cubicle, dealing with terrible bosses and pesky co-workers, and yes, you guessed it- a daily dose of ulcers trying to make it to work on time! It is no wonder more and more people are turning into home business entrepreneurs, making it the most rapidly growing segment in the economy. |
For the home business owner who has just put most of his eggs in this basket, you'd think it would be twice as tough to market his products and services. Well, think again! It does not have to cost an arm and a leg to put your business on the high road; all you need is some basic rules, some sound thinking and a lot of imagination.
Give these low cost strategies and marketing tools a try and you will be amazed at the results:
1. Network: a cardinal rule of marketing is to Network, Network, Network! You never know from where a good business lead will come your way. The question is, with whom do you network? That's easy…Use your contacts! Even before you started your business you knew at least a couple of hundred people. They in turn would know a couple of hundreds themselves and so on and so forth. That's a good database to begin with. Spend time developing relationships with the people you already know. Ask them to refer business your way and educate them about the products and services you sell.
2. Use the Internet: One of the most cost- effective and easily accessible marketing tools available to the home business owner is the Internet. Marketing through the Internet cuts across geographical boundaries and creates a high impact in a much lesser time. So, it would do you a world of good to employ email as a key marketing tool. Spend some time in crafting out a business letter that clearly spells out the Why, Where, How, What and When of your business. Flesh out a mailing list of your current and prospective buyers and start hitting the send button.
3. Publicity: Use the power of the written word to your advantage. Advertising costs a lot of money & time, PR is more cost effective, gets you recognition and lends instant credibility to you business. Focus on local dailies, relevant magazines and trade magazines. It would not be a bad idea to also target web- based publications and ezines. You don't need to hire an expensive PR firm to do this job for you. You could write the article yourself or enlist the help of a friend or family member who has some experience at newspaper writing. Two keys to a good press release are a succinct headline and making sure it doesn't read like ad copy.
4. Jump "Out- of -the- box": Get creative. The best ideas are the ones that catch the customer by surprise. A small Non-profit organization, which raised funds through its events, created a painting contest for kids and called it "Colors of Concern". The paintings sent for competition could only be in shades of blue; which was the organization's corporate colors. A challenge like that got them entries in thousands and caught the attention of the local papers and news channels as well. A winning idea does not necessarily have to get you praying for a fortune; just some creative, lateral thinking would work wonders.
5. Follow up: Follow up on sales calls made earlier, on emails sent out and with your contacts to see if they have any new references for you. Go all out keeping in touch with your contacts. It not only allows you to keep a sales lead hot, but also gives you the opportunity to talk about the new developments at your company, fill in any communication gaps and well, just stay in touch!
6. Talk to your existing clients: More often than not, one of the biggest mistakes business owners make is to get complacent about existing customers. A rule of thumb to go by here is: "80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers". It is anybody's guess that the 20% of the big business generating customers are the ones that you've already been selling to for some time. Don't ignore them. It is easier to retain old customers than to make new ones. Build a system to get regular feedback from existing customers on products, services, new requirements, post-sales support and new requirements that they may have. Remember, that in the end it is more about how much your customers value your services than about how satisfied they are.
Success is not a function of size. Success is all about being an effective marketer and a creative one at that. So get out of the box and get smart about your marketing with these simple, time tested rules, and watch your business break into a faster pace.
Also see: http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol109/cashcow.htm
Daegan Smith is the Ex-NCAA Wrestler Turned Webmaster of Perfect Home Based Business Opportunities - The Net’s Top Growing Source for Home Business Information.
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