Your small business isn’t going to get very far down the road until you start selling your products and generating the money that you’ll need to give it life (and to pay yourself for all your hard work).
As you gain clients and customers — and start doing paid work — you can reduce the amount of time and money that you devote to marketing, but it should never be forgotten.
When you own a business and rely on it for your livelihood, it’s important to keep a steady flow of new business in the pipeline, ready to pick up the slack as you complete your work for current clients. For most home-based business owners, plan on making an ongoing commitment of at least 20 percent of your time to marketing activities.
Why bother? Won’t your products sell themselves? Well, few — if any — products truly sell themselves (and if someone trying to sell you on a business opportunity tells you otherwise, your internal lie detector should be on red alert).
Selling your products and services requires constant marketing — you can’t simply create something and hope it will sell.
The good news is that you can promote your business in a variety of ways. If you decide to tackle even just a few of them, you can easily create a successful marketing campaign for your home-based business that can propel your home-based business to the front of the pack.
In the following sections, we show you some of the most popular and effective ways to do just that.
Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth advertising means getting people to talk about you, your company, and its products and services in a positive light.
Of course, the more people talk, the better your company looks as a result, and the better it is for your business. That’s exactly why any good promotional campaign starts off with a heavy emphasis on generating positive word-of-mouth excitement.
There’s nothing like a little bit of buzz to get your sales to take off.
Here are some of the best ways to get people talking about your business:
Everyone has a circle of friends and acquaintances — both in their work lives and in nonworking lives. Or, you might belong to a community-service or fraternal organization such as Optimists, Junior League, Rotary, BPO Elks, Lions International, or others.
Your networks of friends and acquaintances are probably the first and best places to start a word of mouth campaign for promoting your business.
They know you, they like you (at least, we hope so), and they will be willing to tell their friends and acquaintances about you (who will then tell others, and on and on).
Why not give something back to your community by volunteering your time?
Whether helping out at a local school, crisis center, animal shelter, or other community-based organization, you can be sure to meet a variety of people who may one day become your future clients and customers.
Chances are members of the board of directors and some volunteers are influential people who, if they like you and what you do, can give you business or refer business to you.
Sponsoring a kids’ baseball team, local charity, parade, or other special event can be another good way to generate word-of-mouth advertising and promotional opportunities.
Be careful, though, that you’re not just one sponsor lost in a flood of others — your message will be ineffective.
It’s far better to choose your opportunities so that your business is featured and particularly noticeable to your target audience.
- Business cards and letterhead:
These are the mainstays of most small businesses’ promotional efforts.
Your letterhead and business cards can convey a lot of information to your prospective clients and customers, and get people talking about your business.
Invest a few dollars in a professional logo design, and you’ll make a great first impression on your prospects while conveying the right kind of message to your current customers and clients.
Word of mouth campaigns costs your small business little, but the payoff can be great. Look for opportunities to generate a buzz about your business wherever and whenever you can.
If people aren’t talking about your business, you can be sure they won’t be buying from it, either!