If you’re a member of the pajama set, dutifully plugging away at your job while wearing your raggedy bunny slippers, you’re not alone. The number of home-based businesses is growing, partly due to advances in technology, and partly due to a slow-down in the economy. (If no one will hire you, you hire yourself.)
The advantages of a home-based business are obvious: no commute time, you can set your own hours, increased job satisfaction. One disadvantage is that it’s hard to achieve visibility in your market. (You don’t have a storefront or a marketing department; it’s just you and your slippers.)
10 Ways to Publicize Your Home-Based Business
Following are 10 ways to publicize and get the visibility you want for your home-based business:
1. Press releases
When you launch your business, gain a new client, offer a new service, you’re involved in newsworthy events. Write a press release, and send it to your target publications (those publications that your potential market reads).
2. Board of advisers
Choose professionals in various disciplines to act as your informal board of advisors. Compensate in some way (either with monthly or quarterly lunches, free services or products, etc.) In addition to being your sounding board, these people can be great advocates for your business.
3. Web site
Your web site is an excellent place to announce new products or services. If you don’t have a web site, several sites offer free or low-cost hosting of single web pages.
RELATED: How Local Businesses Can Use the Web to Get More Business
Consider creating an e-mail based or off-line newsletter and mailing it to potential customers and current customers. Make certain it contains worthwhile information for your readers, not just marketing hype or you’ll do more harm than good.
5. Special Event
Consider hosting a special event, either web based or onsite. A virtual “Open House” that introduces your customers and potential to your business site can generate interest
Several free and low-cost classified advertising avenues are available on the Web. Make certain that any advertising you do is targeted (the readers are your target market).
RELATED: How to Advertise: 13 Elements of Effective Advertising
7. Social Media
People’s need to connect has spurred the massive growth of social media in the last few years. Social media offers a huge opportunity for businesses to find their target market and engage with them. The medium allows businesses to connect with their markets, to listen to what they want as well as to develop greater awareness. Determine the social media that works best for your business and start building followers or fans.
Make your web content easy to share. Make certain that your e-mail messages contain a signature file that announces your business, its contact information, a tag line associated with your business (e.g., “Makers of all-natural gourmet muffins”), and a list of your social media accounts inviting email recipients to connect with you.
A giveaway is a novelty item you give to customers and potential customers. To be effective, a giveaway must contain your company logo or name and contact information, and it should relate in some way to your business. If you’re a desktop publisher, you might opt for an attractively designed mouse pad with your company logo, for instance.
Join associations affiliated with your industry. Meet potential customers, partners and suppliers. Make certain you give your business card to everyone you meet. Take advantage of speaking opportunities.
Consider teaming up with another home-based business who offers complementary services or products. You’ll each double your contact list and can provide a more well-rounded package to your clients. Don’t forget to announce your alliance in a press release!
In short, getting the word out about your home-based business just requires a little ingenuity and effort. The rewards will come in increased customers and greater business growth.
Recommended Books on How to Publicize Your Home-Based Business
- Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition
- Guerilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
- The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
- Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!
Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy www.learnpr.com and is co-founder of Real-World PR www.realworldpr.com , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.