Have a Home Based Internet Business?
Tips for Do-It-Yourself Home Business Marketing
Businesses big and small rely on marketing and advertising to attract customers. Once you've started your home based internet business, you need to get the word out. With everything else you need to do, this may seem a little overwhelming. However, there are some easy steps you can take to promote your business and boost sales, particularly online:
* Have your friends and family help spread the world about your business. They can personally vouch for you. Ask them to carry extra business cards and hand them out to other friends and co-workers. Many people would rather use a local service through someone they know then hire a complete stranger to get the work done. Having others vouch for you is as powerful online as it is in real life. Many, many folks are on Facebook. You can get folks to recommend your services to their friends on Facebook, either on your business page or on their own walls.
* One of the best ways to drum up some sales is to show off! Make a video about your product or service and upload it to YouTube. For example, if you build furniture, show some of your finished pieces. Record a few clips describing how you build a piece, and explain the process and what materials you use. Think of it as educational instead of a commercial. If you offer a service such as baby-sitting, this is an opportunity for parents to see firsthand the friendly and competent person who will be caring for their children. This is an opportunity to inform your viewers about the quality they'll get when they choose you. If you don't have a video camera, ask a friend who has one to record you.
* Once you have those videos, post them on websites like YouTube or Facebook. These accounts are free and can be linked to each other easily. You can also link yourself to other friends and local businesses on these websites to help spread the word, too. Twitter is another popular site and provides an easy way to update your customers about sales or special offers.
* You can also embed your videos on your own website. A variety of tools and resources are available on the web to help you build a website, with no need to know HTML. Keep your website clear and professional. You want it to be easy for customers to navigate. Your website should be a resource customers can use to contact you and learn more about your business. And of course, make sure your Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites link to it.
* Don't overlook your e-mail! Add a signature at the end of the correspondence. To change or create a signature, look under the settings menu. Once saved it will appear at the end of every e-mail you send. You should include your name, the name of your business, and contact information. You can use an alternate font and colors if you like, but keep it easy to read. Simplicity is best.
* Consider joining your local chamber of commerce. You can make more connections and spread theCredit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499 word about your business. It will also be a "seal of approval" that can assure customers about your business. It can help make you more active in the community as well. To apply, you'll need to contact the city to find out more. Consider attending a meeting and preparing a portfolio about your business and how it benefits the community. Your local chamber of commerce may also have a website where your membership might entitle you to list your business. When your chamber of commerce links to your website it's like an implied stamp of approval for your business.
* Let your current customers help spread the word! Make a referral program and offer a discounted service, free item or other reward each time a customer refers a new customer to you. With couponing becoming more popular, hand out a coupon or two to returning customers, or offer them to potential new customers. You can offer a coupon on your website as a way to get surfers there to read about your services, watch your videos, etc.
* Make a donation! Whether you donate money, items, or your service for free to a charity, take the opportunity to promote with it. Take pictures to post on your website, or submit them to the local newspaper to help spread the word. Pick a local charity, such as an animal shelter or food bank. This can show your possible customers that you care about the community you serve and that donation is usually tax-deductable for your business as well.
* With the internet and cell phones, you'd think the phone book is the last place people are going for information. If you live in a small or rural area, it might not have a huge online presence, so being listed in the phone book is still a good way to get the word out. Many businesses not only have their name, address and phone number listed in the phone book but they can also include their email address and website's URL as well in a small ad.
Marketing and advertising, online and off, is the only way to turn your home based internet business into a profitable venture. And even once you do have customers, you should never stop getting the word out. Refer to these common sense ideas to keep your customers coming back.