To many, a plan for a home business may not sound like an ideal and profitable venture and most probably fear failure in developing and growing a home business. Also, having a home-based business likely means that most people are not aware of the existence of such a business. Marketing your brand, product or service has never been more than ever important in the survival of your home business.
A marketing plan for home business on a typical start-up budget can be difficult and at times downright demanding and exhausting, physically and mentally. But fear not, there are a few inexpensive ways to increasing your business visibility and customer base.
Before we discuss marketing tips, let us deal with your target market first. Ask yourself the following questions:
Focus defines the direction of your every action. If you don’t have focus, you may as well be shooting in all directions for an adversary that is probably hiding behind walls.
Marketing is much like that. You need to aim at something to able to hit that something. Not anything. Knowing who to target helps you focus your marketing efforts to that particular market.
Narrowing it down also helps bring the costs down and help you drive and fine-tune your strategies in accordance to the vulnerabilities of that target.
You cannot be anywhere or everywhere. Know where customers for your business are.
What places do they frequent? Which sites do they hang out? This is an online and offline battle. Covering all fronts gives you more chances of visibility and gaining interest. You need to connect with your potential customers in order to understand their needs and where they are coming from. This further helps you develop a niche market for your product or service.
Be the heat. Be the solution to a market’s need. Provide that spark to identify you from the rest of the competition.
Once you are identified as providing a solution to their needs, they will all line up like obedient sheep waiting to be herded.
Having identified your target market and possessing the product to answer that need, all you lack now are strategies to market your solution to the sheep—er, customers.
The following tips should be quite useful in promoting your home business:
Nothing screams of professionalism and brand confidence more than a well-made and highly-developed, content-rich website. Optimizing it more for mobile usage is taking it even further. All customers use their phones in doing simple searches and having a platform that is not only mobile friendly but also looks good on smartphones helps market your brand image and boost visibility at the same time.
For every dinner table, there is always the main dish, the star, and center of the whole dining experience. Have a flagship product. Much like smartphones are doing these days. They have this premium all-in-there thingie that gives you the best experience that resonates with what their brand is all about. From your main product, you can then branch out to cater for other products. The important thing here is to focus all your marketing efforts into that product and the rest will just follow.
From your main offering, you can then further or widen your coverage with other products that complement your main product. There are customers who like browsing through or going through stores that offer a multitude of things as opposed to a store having only one product to offer (department stores, anyone?). This gives your customers multiple options and should generally be like a beverage to go along with your main dish—now that is a complete offering.
Repeat orders or regular orders can become bread and butter for your business. Find ways to attract existing customers to regularly buy or purchase from you. Offer discounts for volume orders or special offerings like two for the price of one or like a freebie for every n number of items they buy.
If a business is picking up, contemplate on the idea of hiring additional help. This would also free up some of your time to focus on more marketing strategies or other back-office work. It’s always a general rule of having two heads better than one. Just make sure to assess first if additional help is really needed.
Having optimized your website, make sure that you are visible on local search sites like Google and Yahoo Local. Be sure to register your business on these popular search engines as most people use them all the time in searching for anything and everything under the sun.
Relying only on your friends and relatives limits the range of reach for your business. Registering on different social media platforms greatly help in promoting your presence and your products. Writing about your products on these social media sites additionally, provide opportunities and putting in links to your website further increases chances of sales. Be creative with your posts. Creating noise in social media with must-have social media marketing tools definitely, puts you on the map or help you become the talk of the town.
Consider becoming partners with other companies that are related to your market. This helps you gain additional marketing coverage and potentially lower your marketing costs. This, in turn, gives you that additional customer base potential that company already has.
For example, some beer brands partner with local bars in promoting their products. The beer brand already has recognition which the local bar gets and the local bar already has loyal patrons which the beer brand wants. It’s win-win.
Having a weekly or monthly newsletter helps get customers link back to your site and remind them of your products. Interesting and catchy content help generate interest in your product. This is also a great way of generating reviews and comments to further understand your client base. Also, some emails may be surveys in where you get more ideas about the behaviors of your customers in order for you to develop more ways of targeting their needs.
By writing articles related to your product or service, you are able to get customers back to your website. Creating helpful and interesting content further gets your customers attention and helps keep them coming to your website for updates or news not even necessarily about your product. It is marketing’s first and foremost goal—get the interest of the customer. Just getting the customer to get to your website is enough to increase the chances of a sale.
Conduct demos at different places where your potential customers may gather. This is another way of educating your customers about your products or services. You can also join seminars and fairs related to your market to expand your network. Doing demos in these events also provide on the spot clients and potentials.
Provide coupons and discounts when giving out best brochures or business cards. It is a great way of enticing new customers to try and see for themselves if your product is offering a solution to their current needs.
Ask for testimonials from your trusted clients. Having someone testify for your products also helps in building trust in your brand and company. Make sure to get credible individuals for testimonies. These testimonies can also be posted on your website and other social media platforms to further boost your reputation.
Do not be afraid to ask clients for referrals. Some companies like to deal with businesses that other businesses have recommended. Having someone you know attest for another is better than having a complete stranger to do business with. Almost all businesses are built on trust and confidence.
Once business is really doing well, you may want to think about expanding or opening another location. This greatly increases the number of potential customers that you would have and also increases your visibility and presence at the same time. You can do your own market research and study before creating plans for opening another store or location.
Another option you may want to try out is offering your business for the franchise. This way, it is less risky and more profitable for you. Also, you can try licensing your product to another company with good manufacturing capability and workforce to handle increasing volume orders. This is also a very profitable option that you can take and would also cost way lesser to achieve.
When all is said and done, the ball is still in your hands. Whatever option you decide on, getting your business to better heights can be done through marketing, either the traditional way or the digital way. There are pros and cons for both and you just have to find that right marketing mix for your business to grow.