You've just launched your new home-based business, and now it's time to start promoting it to attract new customers. As a first-time business owner and entrepreneur, I know how difficult it can be to market your business on a shoe-string budget, but there is hope.
Here are seven inexpensive marketing strategies to increase your business's visibility and reach.
1. Social Networking
From Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram it seems everyone, everywhere is involved in some type of social networking. The great news for business owners is that you can create a profile on any of these mentioned social networks and promote your business for free.
You can write about your area of interest and include links to your website, or feel free to create or join a group that revolves around your particular niche. Facebook alone has over 1 billion active users, and Twitter sends out tweets from powerhouse celebrities and business owners like Oprah, Jessica Alba, and Katy Perry. With this large of an audience imagine what social networking can do for your business?!
2. Business Cards
Face-to-face networking is not dead by any means, and having a memorable business card to hand out is very important. One it conveys an image of professionalism, and secondly, it reminds people of your business. Your business card should look professional and include your logo if you have one. A great way for your business card to retain some of its life is to add some additional value to it; such as displaying a calendar, tip chart, or appointment reminder of the back. Another option is to create promotional items like magnets, small notepads, or coffee mugs with your business information on them.
Cost: $20 for 500 business cards.
If you have a website, a newsletter is a great way to bring customers back to your site and remind them of your product or service. Make sure to include interesting content in your newsletter that is related to your topic; some good approaches are to write product reviews, tips, or even invite your subscribers to send in questions and answer them in the newsletter. There are lots of email marketing services available; if you're working on a shoe-string budget try a service like SendInBlue, they offer 9,000 free emails per month — which include access to their email template library, unlimited contacts, and mobile-friendly designs. If you're looking for a more robust platform where you can create email sequences and segment your list, try ConvertKit (this is what I currently use) they offer plans for as little as $29 a month.
Make sure to check out the Five Best FREE Email Marketing Services.
Cost: Free for smaller lists
A blog is a fantastic way to keep customers coming back to your site. For a blog to be a successful marketing tool it will need to be updated on a regular basis, usually 2 – 5 times per week. You will also need to have interesting and thoughtful content about your subject. But once customers know that you provide regular articles of interest they will stop by more frequently to see what the latest news and happenings are. There are many free blogging platforms available, but I highly suggest paying a little extra for your own domain name, hosting company, and a premium template or custom design. It is especially important to include your company's logo for branding purposes, which I will discuss further next week.
If you need tips on how to start a blog — this blog post will walk you through the process, step-by-step.
Cost: Free to a few hundred dollars.
5. Participate in Charity Events
Do some good for the community and promote your business at the same time. Find your favorite charity and volunteer for one of their events or offer to plan/host one for them. Gather your family and friends and get them to join in on the action. Many organizations will include your company's logo on brochures, tee-shirts, and their website. This is an excellent way to get exposure for your business and build new relationships.
Cost: Just your time.
6. Press Release
A press release is a written statement that is sent out to the media for additional exposure. A press release can be an ideal way for a local company to promote itself within the community, or to create an online presence. Writing a press release is relatively easy, and free templates and instructions on how to write one can be found all over the internet.
Cost: Depending on your advertising budget you can have one written for as little as $45 or as much as $2,000. If you do a little research and take your time — you can create one yourself and submit it for free to Free Press Release.
7. Market Your Business on Craigslist
No money for advertising? No problem. Sites like Craigslist allow you to post an ad; you can even include your business logo and link to your website and social networks. The best thing about Craigslist is that it actually receives a lot of traffic, so your business will get exposure.
What marketing strategies are you using to promote your home-based business?
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