Many small businesses are run from people’s home computers and fall under the radar of business statistics. Whether you are working for a multi-level marketing company or selling painted bird houses the difficulty of advertising your products without a budget is overwhelming. Let us face the fact that $20 a month spent on classified advertisement isn’t going to bring in a flood of visitors. A home-based business cannot compete with their larger counterparts. That is why in many cases owners are expected to tap into their personal relationships to make sales.
Like many of you I run a small home based business and have learned through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. Despite putting some “notches in my belt” I have never stopped learning. In the beginning, many years ago, I wasted money paying for different types of advertisements. None of them worked well. Now my budget is nearly $0 and I receive thousands of visitors a year. How did I do this?
Strategy #1 Email: Instead of paying for lists and possibly getting in trouble for spamming I send businesses a very personalized email message. How do I find these businesses? I find them by looking on the web, going to their homepage, reading a little about them, and then sending them a personalized email about my product. The key is personalization. Write a basic sales letter which highlights your product, offers contact information and how it can impact a particular type of business. Since I run a magazine which survives off of advertising revenue I have developed sample letters for the clothing industry, auto industry, legal industry, etc. I then place their information within the letter so that when they read it they say, “Wow! This guy knows what is important to me!”
Strategy #2 Information: Search engines and customers love informative articles. We have all heard the saying, “knowledge is power”. Customers want to learn about their business as much as possible. Posting informative articles on your web page will help visitors keep returning for additional information and hold them there longer. Information also increases your credibility as a business to the potential customer. If they agree with what you are saying they are more likely to purchase from you. Search engines, like customers, are constantly searching with their spiders for content related information. If your articles are about the product you are selling chances are that search engines will rank your site higher.
Strategy #3 Business Cards: Off-line marketing has never gone out of style. It may even be more necessary today than it was in yesteryear. There are plenty of printers out there that offer free business cards in exchange for a placement of their contact information on the back of the cards. In most cases the printer’s information is small and unnoticeable making the free deal a good deal! Therefore I get my cards for only the cost of shipping and handling.
What you do with these cards is almost as important as how much you spend on them. People are interested in the self and love to talk about themselves as much as possible. Generally, I pass out the cards under the auspices that I would like to further a particular conversation or I would like to keep in touch with them. It is a great way to get their card in your hand and make a good friend. Now they have a personal relationship with me, are much more likely to look at my site and I can catalogue their information for networking purposes.
Strategy #4 Ezine Articles: Like I said in strategy #2 people love free information. Those same articles I placed on my website for my current customers can also be used to lure new customers. By making sure that you articles are informative, professional and worthy you can submit those to article databases for free content. Then websites pick up the article to post on their own site. The trick is to have your personal contact information either embedded into the article or as a tag line on the end. Personally I use my web address and my name. The better your article the more times it is posted around the web and the more customers you will get.
The four strategies work together to enhance the popularity of a website and reduce the amount of time you waste everyday. Writing informative articles about your product and submitting them to ezine directories helps to improve your sites search engine rankings, retain your customers and increase overall exposure. Passing out business cards and networking with other owners works well together and kills two birds with one stone. Sending out personalize emails and reading about your customers site helps to increase your understanding of your customers needs while advertising to them. The overall strategy of business is to make more money and spend less time and resources doing it.