By Liz Folger
If you're in business for yourself, you have probably noticed that you don't have the same marketing budget as Coca Cola or Proctor & Gamble. However, you still need to get the word out about your business. You just have to do it with a few less million dollars.
Usually the first thing that pops into the mind of a newly self-employed person is, "I have to place an ad." However this can cost money. Place just a few ads and soon your marketing budget is dry as a bone. Also, keep in mind that a person has to see your ad six times in the same publications before they even think of using your business. Now if that is a monthly publication, I'm telling you it will take you six months until a person actually thinks about picking up the phone to call you. That isn't good news, especially if you would like to get customers a bit sooner than that. So what's a home business mom to do?
Many of the self-employed moms I talk to say most of their business comes from one simple source -- word of mouth. It comes from that one happy customer who liked what they did for them and started to spread the word. What would make you want to shop somewhere? A friend telling you about a great service or product, or an ad in the paper telling you the same thing?
Here are a few suggestions on getting the word out about your business in the quickest and cheapest way possible.
- Send out a press release, and not just when you open your business. You need to tell the world if you've added some new service or product or if you're business is involved in a charity event. Be sure you give the release a human slant. Don't just talk about how wonderful your business is -- talk about what your business can do for your future customers.
- Join organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, women in business organizations, and any type of organization your target market belongs to.
- Put your service or product for sale in a charity auction.
- As soon as you start your business, send every single person you know a postcard announcing your new business venture. Although they may not need your business, they just may tell someone else who does.
- Ask for referrals from other happy customers. Cold calling will never be the same again if you use this approach.
- Write articles for web sites. You don't need to push your product in the article. But write about your area of expertise. Then include a nice byline at the end of the article.
- Go to chats and visit message boards on the Internet. Make friends in cyberspace. Once again, don't push your product or service on people -- that will only turn them off. Instead, go out of your way to help people and answer their questions. Before you know it, you'll be asked what type of work you do.
- Use those sig files at the end of your e-mails and posts to message boards. Keep them short though (4-6 lines).
- Use all those Internet sites that offer FREE Classified ads.
- Host chats on the Internet and give talks at your local Rotary Clubs. Once again, talk about your area of expertise
Liz Folger is Work-at-Home Mom Expert and author of, "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To making Money". Her book is available at your favorite bookstore or by calling, 800-632-8676. Liz has also created a resource site for work-at-home moms at: http://www.bizymoms.com. When you visit don't forget to sign-up for the free e-newsletter just for moms who work from home. If you have a question that you'd like covered in a column, e-mail her at: [email protected].
Copyright 1999 Liz Folger