Marketing 101 – 5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Home Business
The idea of having to market your home business may sound daunting to you, particularly if you’re a new entrepreneur. And granted, marketing can be a complex field with many levels of engagement and venues. But the truth is, marketing can be simple too.
Marketing just means “promoting and selling products or services.” It’s up to you to find ways to do that. At its simplest, marketing is about spreading the word about your awesome home business — letting people know about the products and services you’re selling.
Marketing: a necessary “evil”
If you’re marketing-shy because you don’t want to pull away from running your business or don’t have money in the budget, think again. Every business, large or small, has to do some sort of marketing to be successful. (No company has the guarantee of forever customers.)
And while there are marketing measures that carry costs, such as a website hosting service or email list management, there are ways you can market your business that are affordable – even free – and effective.
Take the first step and acknowledge the necessity — make a commitment to start marketing in some way. Later, you can tailor or expand your efforts when you see what works best and as your company grows.
#1 – Use Your Website
A website serves as a public window into your company — it’s a great opportunity to showcase who you are and what you have to offer. Many home businesses don’t think they need a website if they’re not selling online. Not true, everybody needs one.
Your website provides a place to steer potential customers to find out more about your services and products, and an easy way to contact you. But it’s also your launching pad for other marketing efforts such as customer reviews, special offers (discounts, coupons, referral incentives) and search-driven content, i.e., blogs.
Treat your website as important as it is — make sure it reflects your company accurately and professionally and that it functions properly.
#2 – Engage on Social Media
From Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn and Twitter, social media remains a marketing playground, a land of opportunity, due to its popularity and sheer volume of followers.
More specifically, it’s a place for you to find and engage with potential customers who may not otherwise know you exist. Set up accounts specifically for your business and seek out the channels where any of your would-be customers are engaged.
Also, look at market leaders or competitors in your field for best practice ideas on how to promote your company and products on social media.
#3 – Network Face-to-Face
This might be the hardest to work in on a regular basis, especially if your type of business is one that doesn’t require you leave home at all. But the fact is, marketing – like getting customers – is still relationship-based. And meeting people face-to-face can be the best marketing of all.
So make a point to get out and interact with people – find a networking opportunity in your town or nearby, such as a Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club event. It may seem old-school but it’s a great opportunity to get your name out among new prospects.
#4 – Ask for Referrals
Don’t underestimate the marketing power of referrals. Salespeople of all types will tell you – it’s all about referrals. Think about your local real estate agent, insurance agent – or hair stylist. They’re always asking for referrals. And they get them.
The easiest way to get referrals is to ask for them. Let your customers know that a referral would be appreciated, that referrals are the lifeblood of your business. Get the specifics of the referral so you can follow up – name, phone number and an email address, if possible.
Then don’t dilly dally. Follow up right away, within a few days. With each new referral, you’ll see your business grow.
#5 – Spend Where it Counts
If and when you spend money on marketing, make sure it counts. Spend where your customers are or in ways you know will reach them. Brochures can be affordable. Signage on your vehicle, if appropriate, can be powerful but a little more pricey. Ads in school or church newsletters can work well. Digital marketing sounds great, but make it work for you – maybe a display ad on your Chamber’s website, linking the ad to your website. If you’re a Chamber member, it might be a free perk.
Closely related: How to Turn Your Home into an Efficient Work Space