By Erin Steiner
Like most women who work at home, you undoubtedly have a solid web presence. The trick to attracting customers is to mine that web presence for all it is worth.
Here is how you do that.
1. It All Comes Back to Customer Service
This is why customer service is being mentioned first. Be good to the customers you have and that base will grow. One customer has a good experience and tells two friends about it. Those two friends tell two friends, etc.
The numbers grow even more now that most people are likely to post about good experiences on social media. One customer has a good experience and tells 396 of their friends about it… you get the idea. Always exceed expectations. The rewards will be insane (in a good way).
A few good customer service rules for the stay-at-home entrepreneur:
- Always respond to customer and client messages within 24 hours during the week and Monday afternoon if the message comes in over the weekend.
- Respond to social media messages within an hour. Social media (Twitter particularly) moves incredibly fast.
- Follow up with a call or email after someone buys something to see how it is working for them.
2. The Wholly Attractive Freebie
People love to get things for free. Even if they have to buy four other things to get that freebie and even if that freebie isn't anything important. Offer people something for spending at least $X on your products, signing up for your email list, or leaving a comment on a social media profile. That freebie can be a virtual something (like an eBook) or something small that isn't expensive to mail.
3. Offer Discounts
Offering discount codes for whatever you're selling is a great way to get people to sample your product. You can use discount codes to beef up the sales of a new product or one that isn't doing so well. You can also use discount codes to help clear out inventory if you keep it on hand – every work-at-home entrepreneur understands space is a precious commodity.
The great thing about discount codes is that they make your customers happy while also helping your sales. The fact that it is free to send them out via email doesn’t hurt either!
But you know about these things already. You've probably used them to help build the customer base you have now. What about the lesser known, “advanced” techniques?
4. Go Offline
Seriously. Get out of the house and into your community. You can still run your business out of your home, but taking part in your local community is always a good idea. The country is in the midst of a huge push to “buy local.” You are a local business!
Helping at or even sponsoring a local charity event is a fantastic way to build goodwill within your community (if you blog about it, you'll also get goodwill from people far away). People are more likely to support someone who supports others. Even if you don't have the resources to run an event on your own, you can become a sponsor, with other local business owners, for something bigger.
If you sell physical inventory, set up booths at local arts, crafts, and business fairs and conventions. Even if you don't sell much at these fairs, you'll probably give out a bunch of business cards that people can use to order from you online.
If one of the reasons your business is home-based is because you have a hard time finding reliable child care, take your kids with you! Getting your kids involved in community service at an early age will only help them later.
Many people believe that running a business out of the home means they have to funnel all of their customer interactions via the web. If you really want to make a splash, getting offline and joining your community is the best thing you can do to attract and keep customers.