For many people with home based businesses the biggest challenge is how to build a name for themselves. There are decisions to be made, even mistakes to be made, and a lot to learn about marketing. There are a number of home based business resources that will make your business a success. Here are some proven ways to market your business without spending a lot of money.
Target market

Before you spend a nickel on advertising, or even buy business cards, you must find your niche. Who are your potential customers? Which segment of the population is looking for the product or service that you have? Chances are, if you sell roller skates, your target market will not be the elderly population. Conversely, if magazine subscriptions are your forte, Gen X people will likely be your best customers.

Marketing outlets

There are a lot of different ways to market your business. Try more than one channel, and keep track of your different efforts so you can measure which channel or method is most effective. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Word of Mouth: Don’t be shy about talking about your business – let your circle of influence know what you are doing! Word of mouth advertising is some of the most effective promotion that a home business can get. Facebook and Twitter can magnify the effect of this word of mouth marketing, allowing your friends to tell their friends, but don’t neglect face to face conversations – you are your business’ best marketing! Always remember to be professional, and under promise and over deliver.

Business cards: Not all marketing is online these days! Make sure to have professionally printed business cards with you at all times ao you can pass them out whenever the conversation turns to your business. Be sure to include an attractive logo, your name and the business’ name, good contact information, and products or services your company provides.

Other printed marketing pieces, like letterhead and envelopes, brochures, and direct mail pieces should have the same professional look and logo as your business card.

Website: In today’s world, having a business website is not an option if you want to be seen as a “real” business person. It does not need to be fancy or flashy, but it should be a good reflection of your business. A great but inexpensive web designer can be one of your best home based business resources. Use consistent branding – that is, use the same logo and colors that you used on your business cards or other flyers – it can make a big difference! Include a list of your products or services, and perhaps samples or photos, pricing, reviews or testimonials from customers, a page that tells about you and makes you real to the customer, as well as user-friendly contact information will go a long way towards promoting your business.

Media: Contact your local newspaper about your new business; often they are interested in doing a piece on local businesses. Local radio and TV stations may also consider doing a feature story or interview. These are great outlets to show your expertise in your field. Newspaper, magazine, and coupon booklet ads can be good home based business resources for new customers.
Networking: You can display at shows that are relevant to your niche. You might also consider advertising with a complementary business, which can be beneficial to both of you. (You sell bakery goods-why not sell cookies at the local coffee shop, and post flyers with all the other baked goods you make?) You can join the Chamber of Commerce and other professional networking organizations to meet new people and make your business visible.

Online Outlets: Take advantage of all the free online advertising you can. Great sites like Craigslist and Oodle allow you to advertise free. Having a business listing with Google or Google Places can help your business come up on top when someone does a search. You might also consider writing some articles or blog posts about your business and your niche. This helps to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and you can link back to your website from where ever the pieces are published. There are limitless home based business resources.

Keep track of all the promotional work you do, and do not be afraid to ask your customers how they found you. Going forward, use the marketing that works, and forget about what doesn’t.

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