Starting a work at home business means that you need to wear many different hats. Marketing expert is one of them! I'm sure I don't need to tell you that marketing is a huge subject and you can spend a fortune on advertising with no guaranteed results. Knowing how to market your new business effectively therefore, is going to be essential for your start-up.
Today, many people ignore offline marketing opportunitues and throw all their eggs into the social media basket. But before you begin any kind of marketing campaign whether online or offline, you need to ask yourself some questions:-
Who are my target demographics?
How will I monitor the success of my campaign?
What is my budget?
What is the best advertising medium for me at this particular time?
What will make my customer come back to me?
What are the benefits to my customer in using my business?
What's the magic sauce that will encourage people to buy our products or the service that we're offering? What will ensure brand loyalty?
In general people buy solutions that will solve a problem; they are therefore looking for you to provide the right outcome for their problem. For example:
You can provide a unique product;
You can provide a product your customer couldn’t or wouldn’t usually make at home;
You can provide value for money;
You can provide quality and exceptional taste;
You can provide a gift solution;
You can provide a ‘spoil me’ treat;
You can provide ethically produced products
You can provide products from sustainable sources
You can provide an experience they haven’t had before;
The answers to these questions should form the basis of your short-term and long-term
Marketing Plan, you do have a marketing plan, right?
It is said that it costs 5 times as much to reach a new client as it does to maintain an existing one, creating a basic Marketing Plan will help steer you in the right direction and keep you focussed on your end goal i.e. finding and then keeping your customers loyal to you.
Even though most of your day to day marketing will probably be done online, there are many opportunities to promote your business through physical events aimed at retailing or promoting your product direct to your customer. It may be that you only have your book to sell but you can still use offline events to:-
promote your product or service
meet people and chat about your business
strike up cross promotional opportunities
giveaway freebies in return for their email address
Examples of the types of physical events you could attend are:
Talks and Demonstrations
Ladies Pamper Evenings
But whatever you do, don’t forget your promotional material and take every opportunity to engage with people and persuade them to sign-up to your newsletter.
A great way to get people engaged at your stand is to run a raffle or prize draw; the gift doesn't have to be hugely expensive, but it does have to be attractive enough for someone to stop at your table. Then, while they are filling in your form, you take the opportunity to chat and make them realise what a lovely professional, person you are! Ideally your form should try and capture their email details. Keep it simple, just name and email plus a tick box that confirms they are happy to receive emails from you, it's not nice to be accused of spamming even if it was accidental.
When a customer does buy from you, give them a discount leaflet with, for example 10% off their next purchase, put an expiry on the offer of no more than one month, you want people to remember you and come back quickly before they forget you. Then when they do, include another offer, perhaps a buy one get one half price or/& use it as an opportunity to give them details of other products or services you offer, perhaps a Loyalty Card if appropriate. It’s better to drip feed your offers rather than drench them in multiple offers all at once which can be overwhelming.
Loyalty Cards are a great way to keep your customers coming back to you but make sure you add terms; for example must be used within 6 months. It's no use to you if a customer builds up their Loyalty Card points and then comes back two years later to redeem their free offer! Get a smart looking card so people want to keep it in their purse or wallet. There are many places that offer printing and design services ready-made for you, Creative Market (Ad) is one. On the other hand if you're creative and like to do your own design, try Canva.com.
This is just the tip of the marketing iceberg and I haven't even touched on social media marketing. Another animal altogether. You may also be interested in this post: '6 Steps to Creating the Perfect Pin'; which outlines why Pinterest should be your number one 'go to' in the bid to drive customers to your website or blog. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about marketing for your new home based business, here's a free sample of a book I have written on this subject.