Setting up a home-based business is an exciting prospect. It gives you the flexibility to work the hours that suit and, for many, it’s a way to earn a living through indulging a passion. However, your business is only going to thrive if you get enough customers and doing that means you’ll need to put marketing high on your agenda. Here, we’ll show you five of the most useful marketing techniques you can use. Using a combination of these will help you create a marketing strategy that is most suited to your company’s needs.
- Create a website
Whether you are a local business or selling further afield, a website is an absolute must for any business. The reason for this is simple: the internet is everyone’s first port of call when looking for a product or service. If we want something, we’ll Google it first.
If you don’t have a website, you’ll miss out on all that business simply because no one searching online will know your company exists. Here in the UK, which is the third largest e-commerce market in the world, the percentage of sales which take place online has grown from 4.4% in Nov 2007, to 19.9% in 2017. The average annual growth in the UK online market is 16% year on year. In 2016, the value of UK online sales was £488.4 billion. And this figure does not include those products or services which were sold after someone had found a company online and bought by other means.
Only with a website can you benefit from this market. Websites are not difficult to create and with free software like WordPress that doesn’t need any coding skills, and an affordable web hosting package, you can be attracting new customers in no time at all.
- Use social media
Staying online, another important element of your marketing is social media. Today, most businesses have social media accounts and use these not just to promote their products and services but also to develop their brand identity and to grow an audience of followers.
There is a multitude of different platforms you can promote yourself on, though at first, it is best to limit these to one or two of the most appropriate channels. If you sell to other businesses, for example, a LinkedIn account is a good place to start. Facebook is a great place to get lots of likes and shares – and it offers you the potential to sell directly from your page or on its many markets. If you have a business which sells photogenic products or services, then Instagram is ideal for posting your portfolio pictures.
For your social media strategy to work, you’ll need to post regularly and make sure that not every post is an advert for what you do. It can be time-consuming if you have lots of accounts, so this is another reason to limit the platforms you post to.
- Go out and network
Networking is essentially going out into the marketplace and making contact with people that can help your business grow. If you make things to sell, this can involve visiting retailers who might be interested in your products. For other businesses, there are Chamber of Commerce meet-ups and similar events held by other trade organisations.
Getting out and meeting potential clients is another way to network. There are many opportunities for this: trade shows, exhibitions, craft fairs, wedding fairs, etc. You can also network online by joining niche focused forums and networking groups.
- Do your PR
Public relations is a way of getting your business promoted by other companies in newspapers and magazines and on niche blogs, websites, podcasts, radio, TV and YouTube channels. The starting point for any PR exercise is writing a press release and sending it off to the relevant publishers. They can publish what you send or may come back asking to do something more exciting like an interview or an in-depth article. Your local paper or radio station is often a good way to start. Perhaps the most valuable PR, however, is getting your company promoted by a social media/YouTube influencer or getting mentioned in the national press or on national news.
- Advertise online
Businesses in the UK spent £10.7 billion on online advertising in 2017 – and with sales of £488.4 billion, you can see the benefit of doing so. Running an online advertising campaign can bring a lot of potential customers to your website and dramatically increase your sales. However, depending on your market, it can be expensive. You’ll need to work out your budget carefully to make sure that the amount you spend on advertising brings a return on investment.
The most used advertising channel is Google Ads. Formerly known as AdWords, this Google-owned and run platform lets you place adverts on Google search results and on websites that sell advertising space on their pages. Bing Ads is a similar platform, and though Bing itself has far fewer users than Google, it is less expensive to advertise. There are plenty of other online advertising companies you can use. A cheaper and alternative solution is to advertise on social media. Facebook ads are a particularly popular choice.
The most common method of advertising is what is called Pay Per Click (PPC). Here you will only pay when someone actually clicks on your advert. Most advertising platforms offer you a great deal of control about who you show your advert. You can set your ad to be shown only to certain socio-demographic groups, geographic locations (even local towns) and when people use specific keywords in their search. This way, you have a better chance of ensuring your advertising budget gets spent wisely.
Attracting new customers is one of the most important steps in getting your home-based business launched and in helping it to grow. It can seem daunting at first, however, hopefully, this post will have shown how you can achieve this using a website, social media, networking, PR and online advertising.
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