Ten marketing tools for home-based businesses

If you have a home-based business, you may think marketing is an unnecessary expense. But, in fact, since your business has no storefront to attract attention, you actually need more marketing efforts than traditional businesses do.

Try these ten tips for marketing your home-based business on a budget.

A business website

Your website is the first impression of your company for many of your customers. Make it a good one - provide information about your product or service in a clear, attractive, and intuitive format, and keep the site uncluttered and well organised. Make your content informative, and don't forget to provide contact information so prospects can get in touch.

Local search

These days, many people prefer to do their research online before making a purchase. Make sure your business is listed on local search sites like Yahoo Local and Google Maps so that when customers in your area search for what you sell, your business comes up near the top of search results.

Social media

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide free ways for any home-based business to have a big presence and connect with customers and prospects. Try out these and other social media tools, and analyse which ones work best for your business.

Case studies

Case studies aren't just for scientific applications. Studies of your products in action can help potential customers understand how your company can benefit them. This will allow them to make educated decisions before they buy.

E-newsletters

Create a monthly email newsletter, and send it out to customers who have signed up to receive information from you. There are many companies and tools that make it simple to develop, manage, and send an e-newsletter.

Blogging

Blogging is a good tool for small service-based businesses to attract customers, by showing industry expertise. Create your own blog using simple software like WordPress or Web-based publishing tools like Blogger. You can also ask popular bloggers in your industry if you can contribute blog posts to their sites.

Publicity

Getting mentioned in the media is often more effective than paid advertising as it convinces customers to patronise your business. Research how to draft an effective press release, then target your releases to the appropriate media, whether that is newspapers, radio and television outlets, or blogs.

Affiliate programs

Online affiliate programs are a cost-effective way to market your products to a wide range of potential customers. You get the benefits of a commission-based sales force without the hassle of managing employees.

Referrals

Referrals are a great, no-cost way to attract new customers. Providing incredible customer service will ensure that you end up with satisfied customers. Encourage your clients to refer you to their friends and colleagues, perhaps for a discount.

Public speaking

If you can speak knowledgeably about topics related to your product or service, you can reach a wide audience. Offer to speak to audiences at local organisations, trade association events, or other places where your target customers gather.

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