In previous posts, I’ve discussed types of business models, reasons for going into business, side hustles, and even entrepreneurial qualities. Deciding to go down this road is a big deal and if you’ve already started, you should know that the real work has only just begun. You’ll face a number of hurdles in the coming months (and hopefully years), most of which involve growing your business to ensure its stability and longevity.
With this in mind, one of the most important components of your business should be your marketing strategy. You might think marketing is dull, but without it, no one would know who you are or what your business has to offer. Marketing is what will drive your sales, so you can expect to spend lots of time working on it. With that said, let’s take a quick look at some of the best ways to promote your home based business.
Regardless of what type of business you’re in, you could probably benefit from maintaining a blog. A blog can become an essential part of your brand, allowing customers to learn more about your business, your products, and your industry. Think of it as a valuable cyber-tool with which you can connect to the rest of the world and keep your finger on its pulse.
It’s not hard to set up a blog. You’ll need a platform to operate from and having a website of your own is probably the best approach. You can learn a lot about this through Wealthy Affiliate, which is a platform that teaches you how to set up a website and create regular content for it (like your blog). It even provides affordable hosting and useful tools to make the process easier.
As a blogger, you’ll have to decide what type of content to offer and how to approach it. In any case, it will allow you to engage with potential clients and share your expertise, which will help establish you as an authority in your field, adding credibility to your business and your brand. The most important thing to remember about blogging is that consistency is necessary, in order to build trust between yourself and your readers, since you’re ultimately trying to convert them into customers.
2. Social Media
Don’t neglect to incorporate social media in your marketing strategy. People all around the world use it to remain connected and learn about whatever topics interest them. You can use it to publicize promotions or special information you’d like to share, as well as informing your readers about changes in your industry that may affect them. If you’re already blogging, you can even use it to promote your blog and expand your reach to those who might otherwise not know you exist.
The most popular social media sites include Facebook and Twitter, but they’re far from being the only ones. Creating a profile on LinkedIn will make it possible for you to connect directly with other professionals, some of which will be in related fields. There are even specific marketing strategies you can apply to the different social media sites, including Instagram and Pinterest. If you’re already using social media for personal reasons, it makes no sense to avoid using it to promote your business.
3. Paid Advertisements
If you can determine where your customers are and what they’re reading or looking at, you have an opportunity to divert their attention to one of your ads. Do they read specific magazines or visit certain websites? You can run reasonably priced ads in whatever spaces you determine they’re likely to stumble upon them.
Keep in mind you may have to experiment with different versions of these ads, until you figure out which ones generate the best response or lead to the most conversions. The same principle applies in the “real world,” too. If you know they’re attending specific events or frequenting certain locations, find some way to put an ad there, where they can see it.
To increase your reach even further, create similar ads for both print and online media. At some point, you might even consider sponsoring conferences or other types of events that your target market would be interested in. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you look into purchasing remnant space or shared ad space from other websites.
You can also list your business on websites that match service-based businesses with the type of clientele that are looking for them. Depending on what you have to offer, it might be a good idea to list yourself on sites like Elance, Freelancer.com, or Hire My Mom. These sites allow you to create listings with resumes and samples from your portfolio.
Interested parties browse listings for businesses in relevant categories and decide which ones best fit their needs. Some will base their decision to hire on price, while others will be more interested in the quality of services offered. The best way to stand out from the rest is to include your best samples and thoroughly explain what makes you better than your competition.
Don’t forget to list yourself locally, as well. Yelp and Google Places are great sites for creating local listings that still allow you to be seen from everywhere.
5. Press Releases
Press releases are another avenue you might want to consider. A press release is not an ad. It’s actually more of a news piece you can put out when you’ve reached some type of milestone, won a prestigious award, or managed to address some type of pressing problem.
Think of a press release as an opportunity to do an interview for a website that already has an established following and simply needs expert guests like yourself to talk about what you do and why it’s important. The idea is to take advantage of free publicity to build your credibility and increase your customer response on top of what your ads can accomplish.
6. Joint Ventures
If you know others in your industry well enough, it might be a good idea to attempt some type of joint venture. This allows for cross promotion, so you can help each other out for mutual benefit.
One way to do this is to have your partner promote your business for a percentage of whatever sales come from their promotions. Another approach is to simply pay them a previously agreed-to amount for any and all promotions they are responsible for. The point of this is to promote your business to a completely different audience that might not otherwise know about you.
If you’ve never considered it before, it might be a good idea to start a YouTube channel. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on camera equipment, at least not in the beginning. It’s not terribly important to have theme music, a high-tech introduction or multiple camera angles in the beginning. There are plenty of channels that have gained a ton of traffic, despite creating their videos on their phones.
The important thing is to create content that helps solve the problems others are having. You can help by having your viewers read your content or watch your videos, while promoting your business in such as way that people understand what you can do to help, whether it’s through products, services, or some type of consultation. With that said, it’s still a good idea to improve your videos over time in whatever way you can, so your viewers will see that you’re trying to make your content look more professional.
Remember that you’re there to help and that’s the impression your videos should put forth, while also being entertaining. Don’t forget that if you also have a blog, you should promote it in your videos, as well as promoting your channel on your blog. This will help improve traffic to both of them, which will improve your search engine rankings all around.
Discussion forums are also helpful, despite the fact that they can take up a lot of time. That’s why it’s important to create the most impact possible in these groups, so you can learn everything you can about your market and your customers, while improving your offerings.
Sharing your expertise adds to your credibility and helps you build rapport with people who can eventually become your customers. They’ll feel better about doing business with someone they know more about. The best way to look at this is that discussion groups and forums should be used to focus on providing actual value, rather than directly promoting your business.
Remember that running a home-based business will be an uphill climb for the first few years. At some point, you will have established your brand and won over enough customers to sustain your operation for years. But you have to keep promoting your business, because you never know what the future might bring. If you get your name out there now, become known and share your knowledge, your customers will eventually come to you and bring others with them.