With social media platforms being a current hotbed for marketing activity, it is easy to overlook hundreds of opportunities placed in front of you each day to promote your business. If you are ignoring them, there is a good chance your competitors are as well. Here are a few unique marketing ideas for small home businesses that will allow you to stand out from the crowd.
Pick Up Business Cards and connect with their owners. You thought you should just litter your own cards around? No. People leaving their cards around town are looking for more business. They may be open to joint venture opportunities. Introduce yourself and express interest in co-hosting a local event, trading advertising space in your websites or newsletters, etc. Your direct competitors may not be interested, but the owner of a complementary business may. I love picking up business cards from Moo and Erin Condren.
Start a Referral Program. You do not need some fancy e-commerce shopping cart or software to start your own affiliate program. Offer your customers a discount or free product for referring sales. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing and you are only paying out when it works.
Guest Blog. Maybe you are not interested in starting your own blog. That does not mean you won’t benefit from sharing your expertise on other sites. That link in your author byline will still direct people to your website, even if it is simply an online catalog. Stick to those sites that speak to your target market for best results.
Make T-Shirts with Your Website on the Back. Forget the front. No one, especially a potential lead, wants to be put in that awkward position of being caught staring at your chest trying to figure out your URL. Put it on the back. People behind you in the checkout line, at your kid’s basketball game, at the park will have ample time to read it and make a mental note. Pick up shirts for your kids too! This is a small investment of only a few bucks if you go through a site like Vistaprint or CafePress.
Partner with Small Local Businesses. Identify your micro-niche market and connect with them through other business’ existing relationships. For example, let’s say your target market is busy moms. Suggest a joint venture to your local mom-and-pop pizza shop. They put your stickers on their delivery boxes; you hand out a coupon to your customers as door prizes or with your monthly invoices. Maybe new moms are your ideal customer, see if your local hospital gives out gift baskets to new mothers and ask how to get your product or a gift certificate for your services included.
Use HARO (Help a Reporter Out). You are not going to be looking for source opportunities – unless you want to – you are looking for the Friday emails that include gift bag requests. If your home business deals with tangible products this could be a great opportunity to get your goods in event gift bags or blog giveaways at no charge.
Respond to an email. If you are a busy entrepreneur, there are likely a few unanswered emails in your inbox as we speak. Even if said email is personal in nature it may still help generate business through your signature. You can create a custom signature in most email applications. You can take it a step further and use a service like WiseStamp.
Send a thank-you note. Even if your business operates online, there is a benefit to offline communication. It sets you apart from your competition, and it gets people talking. Personal referrals are your best source of new business. Take a moment to send a thank you or special occasion card to a client.
Read and comment on one industry-related blog post. A popular way to spend a few spare minutes is to read the latest blog posts that relate to your business. Prior to leaving, leave a comment. This is still a great activity for generating a long-term trickle of traffic to your site.
Update your social networking status. If you rarely update your social profiles with anything other than links to your own content, use your free moment to connect with your followers on a personal level. Ask a question. Share something of interest that isn’t yours. Let them know there is a person behind the profile and not simply an auto-feed app.
Follow up on a recent proposal. Many home business owners are losing out on clients daily because they wait and pray after submitting a bid. Take control. You may find your proposal was never received, they had further questions or maybe your potential client just has not had the time to respond. One quick email can eliminate your anxiety.
Claim your local listings. There are more than 100 search engines and directories that can list your business in their results. Don’t miss those sales. A service like Yahoo! Small Business can help you quickly identify these opportunities and easily submit your business for inclusion.