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Ideal Marketing Methods for Home-Based Businesses

By Vishal P. Rao

What is the difference between a small business that makes it and one that does not? Most likely, the one that was successful engaged in some effective marketing. Wise marketing is critical for owners of home-based businesses for a number of reasons:

1. Marketing keeps you ahead of the competition
2. Marketing brings you a steady stream of revenue
3. Marketing provides leads for future sales
4. Marketing helps increase awareness about your business

Marketing is not something you just jump into, however. It requires careful examination and evaluation. Not every method, after all, will lead to the benefits mentioned above.

When it comes to selecting the methods you use with your business, remember to keep in mind your target audience and your budget, then start narrowing the list of possibilities. You may also want to try a few of these marketing methods which have been proven effective for other home-based businesses:

Affiliate Programs

Almost all home-based businesses can work with an affiliate program. With this type of program, you recruit other people to sell your products/services and reward them with a percentage of the revenue (usually 3 to 10%).

The mechanics of these programs works like a restaurant franchise. Because your recruits are now associated with your company's name, you want to be sure that they are maintaining your standards of quality and professionalism, so many affiliate programs include ready-made web sites, sales materials, and more.

These recruits then attempt to make sales on your behalf. The benefit is that all of their marketing efforts (beyond what you provide) are not part of your business's expenses, and they have the potential to reach new segments of potential clients and customers.

Giveaways

This type of marketing is one of the most popular with all businesses and can be handled in at least two ways: free gifts with a purchase and/or contests.

You have probably come across ads or web sites that sell e-books or other products and offer a number of free gifts with the purchase of the product. The lure of freebies helps people make the decision to purchase. You can do the same thing with your product or service. Keep in mind that whatever you offer as a free gift should be inexpensive to produce so that you don't lose money on the deal.

Contests can also be quite effective if done creatively. For example, if your business was selling e-books, you could hold a contest with the grand prize being a free copy of one of your top-selling e-books.

But what about second place? Many people don't realize that there's no rule or law against giving a prize to every person who enters your contest so why not reward all of the other people who entered with a significant discount on the price of that same e-book? Many of those second place winners will take the discount and make a purchase.

Search Engine Optimization

If you do any business online, an important part of your marketing efforts should be search engine optimization or SEO. SEO essentially means that you tweak your site so that it appears near the top of search engine results for certain keywords.

Generally this involves repeating those keywords frequently and placing keywords in headlines, meta tags, and introductory paragraphs. While it may sound easy, most businesses turn their SEO efforts over to professionals. If bringing an expert in fits your marketing budget, you may want to enlist their assistance.

Referral Reward Programs

Another type of program aimed at bringing people to your site is a type of referral reward program. During the Internet boom, many sites had these type of programs which paid a few cents for each person who visited a site from a link listed at your site or through some other means.

Now, however, they simply are not as popular, but they can still be beneficial. Instead of offering a cash reward, allow your customers to earn your products/services by referring new business to you.

For example, you may want to offer a free e-book to customers who refer five new customers to your site. These new customers may have to make a purchase, join the referral reward program, become a member, or sign up for the newsletter. People will do a great deal if the reward is right.

Whether you elect to use one of these marketing methods or choose one of your own, the key is to test its effectiveness. Try it out for awhile and see if the results are satisfactory. If not, return to the drawing board. If so, then implement it on a larger scale. With careful planning and testing, your business will experience the benefits of marketing firsthand.

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Vishal P. Rao is the owner of Home Based Business Opportunities - One of Internet's leading website dedicated to starting, managing and marketing a home based business

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