You don’t have a team of MBA-level marketing gurus; you don’t even have an office to seat a single marketing professional. It’s just you — in your home office — struggling to tell your target audience about your brand-new business.
Marketing is a bit easier with a big budget, but small, home-based business owners can use effective marketing strategies with small cash and smaller time. Eventually, you might garner a team of educated marketing experts, but for now, you can become a home-grown marketing expert with the following tips.
Professionalize Your Website
Regardless of your industry — regardless of the width and breadth of your budding business — you must have a website to attract and manage your clients. Fortunately, you have control over literally every aspect of your company’s website, which means you have the power to transform your site into your most potent digital marketing tool.
Not all websites are effective at marketing, but when your marketing resources are few, you must take advantage of every easy marketing outlet. A website that functions as a marketing tool:
- Has a memorable address. Ideally, the domain name is the same as your business name, but if it isn’t, it should at least be related and catchy.
- Is optimized for search engines. Keyword placement has become exceedingly complicated in recent years, but ranking high in online search results is an attainable and powerful home-grown marketing goal.
- Offers updated content. Content is an excellent place to hide keywords and add value to your site. Customers might stumble upon your content and remember your services when they need them.
- Provides discounts and sales. One of the oldest marketing tricks, discounts draw in all sorts of paying customers.
While you are developing your website — and before you dive head-first into the vast world of digital marketing — you should be considering your business’s public relations tactics. Good PR strategies will help keep your brand and messages cohesive while your business expands, so it pays to know about PR while you are generating a marketing plan.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Your website shouldn’t be the only place your business lives online, especially when there are dozens of digital locations where it is fast and easy to set up shop. For example, social media sites encourage businesses to make pages, through which you can engage with your target audience and cultivate a community of devoted followers. Social media marketing does take some time investment to master, but with the right tools — like Buffer and Edgar — you should be able to automate most of your social media activity and focus on other aspects of your business. You might also consider paying for advertisements on social media sites or around the web, using pay-per-click services to target specific web browsers. You don’t need to be everywhere your customers are online, but you should definitely be in more places than one.
Expand Your Network
A company of one doesn’t have as many opportunities to spread its message as a medium-sized, office-based business. You and you alone are interested in and available to tell others about your business’s products and services. Thus, you should take every opportunity to do so. Even offline, whenever you are in a social situation, you should find ways to introduce your business and market your products — to neighbors on airplanes, to distant relatives at family gatherings, to strangers in the grocery store. You should join related communities, such as your area’s Chamber of Commerce as well as trade shows and professional conferences, to get your business’s name into people’s minds.
Ideally, all that talking will benefit you in two ways: You will gain greater visibility for your business, thereby bringing in new customers, and you will acquire business partners interested in investment, employment, or cooperation with your budding enterprise.
Never Talk About Business Size
Despite a recent public swing in favor of small, local businesses, most folk don’t feel comfortable making orders from one guy in a house. Even if your website is exceedingly professional, you have oodles of positive reviews, and your products are the best in the industry, you should avoid telling customers that your business is run from home. You should avoid mentioning your businesses size or location whenever possible, and when you can’t get around it, you might say you’re supported by an office — just don’t tell them your office is inside your home.