Time to revisit some basics. I think it’s good to do that on occasion, don’t you?
Frankly I think everyone should make a point to do it, at least every other month or so, myself included. It can be easy to get lost in the day to day of running your business, and find you’re glossing over the basics or missing them altogether, either because you think you already have them nailed, or you’ve just simply forgotten them.
Especially when it comes to the basics of marketing.
And sometimes maybe you just get downright tired of marketing period! I know as a freelancer, it can sometimes feel that marketing is a never ending process. And it is really, but don’t get discouraged. You just need to figure out ways to make the process as efficient and effective as possible.
It’s the same with my hubby’s biz as well. He’s a carpenter, and he has to constantly market himself in order to gain new clients and bring in more business… but luckily his business lends itself quite well to word of mouth growth, and he’s been blessed to gain quite a few new clients from that alone.
Marketing a small business run from a private home is really not much different than marketing one in downtown LA or a suburban strip mall. It’s still a business and needs targeted, intelligent marketing strategies. And of course, affordability is always a factor for small businesses.
Luckily, there are lots of low-cost or no-cost tools you can turn to for help, particularly online. These tools will help you announce and adjust your marketing messages as your customer base becomes more defined.
Establish Your Brand
Duh right? Told you we’re talking bare bones basics today! So first, decide on how you want to brand yourself or your business. And for a small or home-based business, don’t be afraid to incorporate your personality. I had to teach hubby this one too!
Shauna Wekherlien, an Arizona-based CPA, ignited her business by sharing her very real passion for accounting by quite successfully branding herself as The Tax Goddess.
“I stepped up in front of the microphone in front of a group of people,” she related at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Arizona Society of CPAs, “and said, ‘Hi, I’m Shauna, the Tax Goddess!'”
While not all accountants can hope to become immortal, Shauna’s enthusiasm comes through every video, email, and blogpost, duly branded as coming from The Tax Goddess.
Invest in the Cloud
Most home businesses require a lot of time and flexibility from the owner. Because you will not be at home 24/7, you should consider investing in cloud storage sites like LiveDrive.
They work with both home computers and business professionals by providing low-cost file storage and sharing, file syncing between devices and unlimited backup.
LiveDrive also has a 30 day money back guarantee, which is rare, according to Top 10 Cloud Storage. This way you can test out the different services and be able to work from anywhere on any device.
I of course also heart DropBox as well. But it can never hurt to have too many safety nets, right?
Create a Website
Again, DUH. Even if you are just a home-based business offering writing services like yours truly, you need a website. It’s worth the effort and costs less than you might expect.
And in hubby’s case, a website helps him get found by local clients looking for tile work or home renovations. So seriously… in this day and age, you need a website.
Companies like GoDaddy offer low-cost packages that include registering your domain (website) name, hosting the site and providing free, easy-to-use web-building software.
You then need to decide what type of content to provide on your website. Hire a freelancer (ahem) or new staff member if writing is not your strength. Be sure to provide consistent, relevant and timely content to your website.
And don’t forget to stay consistent with the brand you established, including all site content.
Support Your Content With Images
Images are a great way to underscore the content on your website. They also help break up the text to make it more readable. Again, be sure that your images match the text and are consistent with your branding.
When you use images, make sure to keep it legal.
Most images on the web, even those on Google Images, are copyrighted and belong to independent artists and photographers.
Use sites like Shutterstock to get proper access to photos, video and graphics. These sites offer reasonable pricing plans, and you can use the images on your site and in your social media outreach.
And always give attribution to the image you use. Always, always, always.
Use Social Media
All businesses need an online presence. At the very least, establish yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. All are free, offer great communities and groups you can join and are within the top five social media sites for adults, according to TechCrunch.
Although Twitter is a popular and effective site, TechCrunch notes that Pinterest is now more popular, sliding into the #3 spot. Get a good camera and start taking pictures of your products to post on Pinterest. You might be surprised at the results.
Considering whether or not this will be a good strategy for hubby as well… he takes tons of before and after photos of his work.
Some marketing experts like Entrepreneur’s Kathleen Davis also recommend Pinterest over Facebook. Davis cites research that shows 43 percent of Pinterest users interact with the businesses they visit on the site, compared to just 24 percent on Facebook.
Create Personal Interactions
Personal interactions are still valuable. Many people, including many of your customers and business professionals, prefer face-to-face conversations and interactions. My husbands biz literally depends on face to face interaction.
Whereas mine, not so much. Mine runs almost entirely by email interaction. But that’s not to say my business couldn’t benefit from more face to face time with folks in my local area.
Visit Meetup to find local business groups that share your interests. Groups usually meet monthly, and the personal networking can be as valuable as membership in your local chamber of commerce, minus the hefty dues.
The Meetup site also provides online networking to its registered groups.
Over to You
Have I missed anything? Is there anything else you consider bare bones basics when marketing your home based biz? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.