Getting the Word Out with Power and Persuasion
A well defined business advertising strategy is the key to home business success. All home businesses need to communicate their advertising message either to generate new business opportunities or to reinforce their message to their customers. As a home business entrepreneur, you can advertise your home business either online or offline or use a combination strategy. All three pathways are known to be very effective.
For your home business, the avenues of business advertising may be either online or offline.
Offline advertising includes:
Print media such as newspapers, magazines and brochures
Electronic media such as radio, television and cable advertising
Online media includes:
Internet-based advertising such as Pay Per Click, banner advertising, Pay Per Impression, e-mail marketing and a host of other virtual advertising avenues
Using a Combination Strategy to Advertise your Home Business
By using a combination strategy to showcase your home-based company, you could get a big bang for the buck. So evaluate various options.
You will most probably be creating the advertisement yourself so follow a few simple rules. Write using “you” and in active voice, keeping sentences short. Bear in mind the context of the reader. A classified advertisement would have to be short and to the point compared to something you are sending out by e-mail or posting on a mailing list, Internet forum or discussion group. Try and include a referral if you have the space. Just send out one message in the advertisement.
Look at some of the options you have.
Your very own Website
Many individuals go on to the Internet to research products and services even while buying from a brick and mortar shop. Maintaining your own website would be a good option but if you are unable to so at least advertise on sites. Make sure that you are on to free listings, many municipalities and business associations offer this service. So conduct research. Sell your product on eBay. That is one of the best ways to advertise your product.
Business Advertising through e-mail
There is an increasing level of hostility to spam. So be very careful of this media. It can be used to communicate with people who have shown interest in your product or service and also with existing customers. E-mail doesn’t cost anything to send. However, send it only to your confirmed subscribers such as those who have signed up for your online newsletter on your website. If your company does not have a newsletter, please explore that possibility at the earliest.
Traditional Business Advertising through Community and Neighborhood Newspapers
Newspaper advertising is short lived. Advertisements in magazines have a slightly longer life. Again, look for special supplements that are published periodically. Also, look at newsletters published by community NGOs. For certain categories of products and services, newspaper classified columns work out very well and strangely enough better than large advertisements in the same paper.
Consider cable television and radio if you can afford it. these have a very loyal audience and accurate local reach all at a low cost.
Direct mail continues to be popular amongst some sellers. However, though it is costly but it may be very effective to relate to existing customers. Also, you can send promos. These offers are often not used but are kept by individuals to give away to others.
Using Business Cards for Business Advertising
Your business card should not just contain the usual company name and various addresses. It is your corporate signature. It should contain several additional details such as:
The products you sell or the service you provide
The names of the various brands you carry
A catchy slogan that your prospective customers can remember
Use a double leaf business card and spread your business message. This is one of the most under used tools of business advertising.
Forums on the Internet
don’t think just in terms of forums which are related to your business. A charitable cause in which you could participate may yield contacts which later translate into business. You could keep a stall for hand tools in a school fair well knowing that none will sell but gives exposure to your home business.
Yellow Pages Advertising
Don’t forget the yellow pages. Sometimes a small descriptor of a business is free. So it is not necessary to stick in a large advertisement. Many buyers will call up twenty sellers before deciding, not just the one with a large advertisement. Don’t forget to include multiple classifications of your product or service, as that will increase your presence.
Sending a promotional offer is one of the best forms of advertisement. It can be sent to existing customers or potential ones.
Here are some words that you need to be very careful about using. They often go down badly with readers of advertisements:
Guarantee: If you include a warranty, provide brief details. Don’t say ‘we guarantee the product’.
Free: When you use the word free, everyone looks for a catch.
Opportunity: Remember, a buyer wants a hair dryer to work well, she is not looking for a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to buy one.
Remember your advertising messages need to be roughly the same year after year. For that you need to understand your business in relation to your clients. Having understood the business, you will have to choose the media. And most importantly, you have to find ways of testing which form of advertisement is working well. Good luck with your business advertising mission!