6 ways to promote your home business

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About Heather

Heather Allard is a mother of three kids and the founder of The Mogul Mom, a community for mom entrepreneurs. She's on a mission to help moms run a business, raise a family and rock both. Follow her on Twitter at @heathALL.

In my last post, I gave you five great ideas for starting a home business. Maybe you took the plunge and grabbed one of those ideas for yourself. Or, maybe you already had a business in the making and are well on your way.

Now you’re ready to fling open your business doors (virtual or otherwise) and welcome customers. But wait… How do customers even know you and your business exist?

The truth is, no one will know about your business until you shout it from the rooftops. In other words, you’ve gotta promote. No, promote isn’t a four-letter word, trust me. It’s a manageable, learnable, affordable way for you to drum up the attention (and customers) you need to reach business success. And it’s not hard. Really!

Here are six easy ways to promote your home business.

1. Build a blog

Think of a blog as your own little spot in cyberspace where you can share your thoughts, ideas and pictures while promoting your business. Your blog becomes part of your business brand and allows past and potential customers to keep up with what’s new with your business. Getting started is simple:

  • Grab a blog host. My favorite is Bluehost because it’s affordable and easy to use. Choose a platform. WordPress and Blogger are two popular (and free) platforms for creating your own blog.
  • Read up on how to create a blog that builds your business. Get a headstart by purchasing Problogger’s Guide to Blogging for Your Business — it’ll guide you through the entire blogging process, from choosing a host to using your blog as a promotional tool, and everything in between.
  • Decide what kind of content you will offer on your blog, and be consistent. Whether you choose to write about strictly business or combine personal posts with business content, remember that consistency is key for building trust and for giving your readers a reason to keep coming back.

Tsh is also still planning a Blog Essentials e-course, for those of you interested in learning her in-depth blogging tips.

2. Be a social butterfly


Photo by Nietnagel

It’s true. Social media is everywhere, and there’s a reason why. Social sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are powerhouses for connecting with potential customers and spreading your message over the Interwebs. Best of all, social media is free! Whether your business is a huge corporation or a mom-and-pop shop, you can use social media to promote your goods and services.

  • Sign up for a Twitter account and start connecting. Twitter allows you to connect with your target market, and they with you. Again, being consistent with your brand and message is key.
  • Create a Facebook page. A Facebook business page gives you another way to connect with potential customers on a highly visible — and interactive — level.
  • Join LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers the perfect opportunity to find others who can help grow your business. Connect with wholesalers, retailers and even media professionals, all in one place. LinkedIn also makes it easy to find service providers like copywriters and web designers.

3. Buy an ad

The best way to promote your home business is to go where your customers are. And you can do this virtually or in real life.

What magazines are your customers reading? What blogs or websites are they visiting? What local or national events are they attending?

Once you’ve figured out where your customers are hanging out, go to them. Buy advertisements in online and print media, or by sponsoring events like conferences and trade shows where your clients might be. Don’t have a big budget? No worries. You can get some great deals by purchasing remnant space.

Some sites also offer shared ad space (Simple Mom is one of them!).

4. Get famous


Photo by Salina Canizales

Think publicity is just for rock stars and celebrities? Nope, it’s for everyone. Even you.

And with a little hard work and a lot of persistence, you can get some major free publicity. Media professionals always need people, products, stories and companies to feature in magazines, blogs, newspapers and TV… It may as well be you and yours.

So how do you grab the limelight?

Make a list of magazines, blogs and other media outlets that are a good fit for your business.

If you sell a product, what magazines might feature it? If you offer a service, what blogs would rave about you? Once you’ve figured out where to get famous, find out who to contact by purchasing a media list with the contact information of editors and producers, or by scanning the masthead of magazines and newspapers or the production credits at the end of TV shows.

Write up a brief pitch that’ll entice media folks.

Email it to them and then be sure to follow up (politely, of course). Many, many publicity opportunities are lost by not following up.

Create a press kit.

A press kit is a mega-marketing tool that you can make available on your website to make it mega-easy for media professionals to find and feature YOU. Standard press kits include a short biography, a professionally taken head shot or photo of your product, and a press release that offers more information about you, your product or your service.

5. List it

Showcase your service-based business on websites that offer a ready-made clientele. Sites like Hire My Mom, elance, and Mediabistro allow you to list your service business, resume, and portfolio samples.

Clients who are looking to hire service providers can browse businesses like yours and decide who they’ll hire. The key on these sites is to stand out from the crowd. Be sure to post your best portfolio clips and show (and tell) why clients should choose you over the other guy.

6. Go local


Photo by lumierefl

Promoting your business where you live may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a step many home business owners overlook. You want to be sure that people searching locally can find you, not just those searching the world wide web. Why? Because if someone searches for “wedding invitations Dallas, TX” and you’re a Dallas-based designer, bingo! You’re hired.

Google Places and Yelp are two perfect spots to list your business locally, while still allowing you to be found all over the web. Enter your information and presto, you’re findable, both locally and online.

A fun deal: Get famous a little faster with Get Famous, the guide that gives you the power of a publicist on a DIY budget, and also the awesome Media Lists. Enter “simplemom” at checkout for an exclusive 25% discount just for Simple Mom readers.

When you have a home business, the promotion never ends. But it’s a fun and exciting way to ensure your success and longevity. And when the customers come knocking, you’ll be glad you put yourself out there.

How are you going to promote your home business?

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Comments

  1. I attest to these points. I am doing them all and loving life.

  2. I had to bookmark this, so much valuable info! I just started blogging last month, and can also attest that Twitter is an invaluable way to reach your target audience. It was scary at first (well, it sorta still is) but so glad I jumped into the birdbath. Now on to steps #3, 4 and 5. Thank you again for such timely and worthy advice.

    xoxo michele

  3. Very impressive, this is what you call a highly informative post! What I like most in these home business promotional strategies are that they are cost effective and at the same time they can reach a huge target market, which serves as a big help for your business to be recognized by potential customers.

  4. Thank you for this informative post. I recently started a home-based organizing business and have been looking for ways to advertise. Thanks for the guidance!

  5. Thanks for the great advice!

  6. I don’t run a home-based business, but I’m passing this on to friends and family members that have fledgling ones. These seem like terrific tips.

  7. In the beginning, I used Twitter. Just Twitter (seriously!) and filled my business with a good helping of hot clients within 6 months. These days most of my clients come from word of mouth, but I’m trying a new strategy in the last part of this year too: guest posting! So far, it’s working out quite well for my traffic – it spikes every time a new post goes up.

  8. Great, great tips Heather! Thank you so much for sharing! Checking out many of the resources you shared now.
    Bernice

  9. Good Morning,
    I am so frustrated with twitter because I don’t know how to use it, Facebook I am a wiz I know there is money out there on it but I just can’t figure it out…help

    • Hey Liz,

      It can definitely be frustrating to get the hang of Twitter. Hopefully these tips will help you out:

      1. You’re a local company so you need to find some local folks. Do a search on people in your area that you can begin following. You may want to look for local businesses that you can network with as well as possible clients.

      2. Put your Twitter (and Facebook for that matter) on your website. Right now, people have no idea that you’re even there if they land on your page. Think like this: Sally comes to your site and is a huge Twitter user. She sees you have a Twitter account and decides to follow you because that’s where SHE hangs out all the time. You fill her up with your ooey gooey Twitter goodness.

      3. Set up alerts that will tell you when people are talking about your keywords – so something like “Houston and cakes” will hopefully hook you up with anyone who’s talking about needing a cake in the Houston area.

      Good luck!

    • Hi Liz,

      If you click the link in the Twitter section of this post, you’ll find the ultimate guide to using Twitter from a site called Social Triggers. :) I think that’ll really help.

      Hang in there!
      Heather

  10. Awesome tips! Wow!

    May I ask your opinion on choosing a twitter name for business? Do you think it is best to use the name of the business, or go with your real name instead? Or a combination of the two?

    • The question of all questions! It really depends on where you see yourself going. Are you your business … or is your business an extension of you? If “Delightful Home” is going to be your core brand, you need to shine the light on that in any way you can. A really good example of someone who has a “core brand” would be Shoemoney – everything he does really comes back to this brand. But an author or speaker would likely be better off “branding” their name.

      Real life example: right now, everything I do is branded as my company name, but as I expand my business and it grows into something different that involves more writing and speaking appearances, it makes more sense for me to migrate my “brand” into my personal name.

      Hope that gives you some inspiration and nuggets to chew on!

    • Ack, I had a long answer primed but the internet ate it. Here’s my basic run down.

      It really depends on the branding. Are you your business, or is the business a part of you. Someone like Jeremy Schoemaker has done a fab-u-lous job of branding his empire under the SHOEMONEY brand – so you expect to see everything as his brand rather than his name.

      An author or a speaker for example is much more likely to want to brand their name as the core brand. You’d be hard pressed to find a Twitter name with the author’s book, but you would find the author’s name. Another example of someone who would want to brand their name would be someone who may be creating numerous businesses in a certain niche, but wants their name to be known as the expert behind it all.

      So it’s time to sit down and look at the big picture that is your business. Where do you see yourself in a year or two?

      Hopefully that gives you some inspiration and a few nuggets to chew on!

    • Hi Stacy,

      I have two Twitter accounts – one under my name (@heathALL) and one for @TheMogulMom. I use my personal account more for networking, getting to know people and plain ol’ fun and the TMM account for building traffic to TheMogulMom.com.

      Hope that helps!

      Heather

    • Oh, and I forgot to mention that I *love* http://hootsuite.com for managing multiple Twitter (and Facebook) accounts. :)

      Heather

  11. Ack, I had (now two!) long answers primed but the internet ate them. Tsh, if the net sees fit to throw them out somewhere, accept my most humble apologies!!

    Here’s my basic thoughts on Twitter names.

    It really depends on the branding. Are you your business, or is the business a part of you. Someone like Jeremy Schoemaker has done a fab-u-lous job of branding his empire under the SHOEMONEY brand – so you expect to see everything as his brand rather than his name.

    An author or a speaker for example is much more likely to want to brand their name as the core brand. You’d be hard pressed to find a Twitter name with the author’s book, but you would find the author’s name. Another example of someone who would want to brand their name would be someone who may be creating numerous businesses in a certain niche, but wants their name to be known as the expert behind it all.

    So it’s time to sit down and look at the big picture that is your business. Where do you see yourself in a year or two?

    Hopefully that gives you some inspiration and a few nuggets to chew on!

  12. Great tips and strategies. So far I’m blogging, have a website and have even gotten some free publicity. Would love to hear you talk more about advertising–seems such an overwhelming step to decided where/when to advertise!

    BTW, that free publicity I’ve gotten has been through HARO (http://helpareporter.com/) In fact, right now I’m being interviewed for a nationwide magazine feature that will come out in December!!!

    My best tip for HARO (or other publicity opportunities)–think OUTSIDE the box. I’ve replied to anything/everything that I might be an expert about or might have a personal story regarding. My only requirement being, of course, that my blog/site be mentioned.

    And all the credit goes to you Heather–I first heard about HARO from a blog post of your’s awhile back :-) Thanks SO much for sharing your expertise with us!

    ~Elise Adams

  13. I was thankful to see you put to get a Facebook page. I have numerous “friends” who use their personal Facebook profile to promote their ventures ad nauseum. They are family so I can’t defriend them but I’ve hid them.

  14. Thanks for the tips Stacy. It’s actually common sense, but not many people realize just yet. So, yes, it’s a very good job from you!

  15. avatar
    Chloe Dempsey says:

    I learned about creating a blog for your business from a colleague a couple of years ago. She makes accessories like necklaces, earrings and hair clips. Whenever she has new creations, she immediately post pictures on her blog. That’s what got me to start my own blog too.

  16. So much great information that I never would have found on my own. Thanks!

  17. avatar
    Princess Larrah says:

    Fabulous! this post its a big help for my work i get many idea of this blog, so very thankful that i found blog like this….

  18. Be official. Start a LLC. Get business cards. Look legit.

  19. Great info for anyone looking to get found and get noticed. It can be hard when you’re just starting out to thinking about spending money on marketing and advertising but there are so many other things you can do to help market that only really cost your time (like Twitter, Facebook, etc). However, a well placed, paid ad can also be a big help especially if you can find a place for an ad that balances out reaching your market and not breaking the bank.

  20. avatar
    Stephanie Br. says:

    This post was great! I am currently a Musician in the Navy but will be done with my contract in one to two years. I am figuring out what is next, and starting a business is in my future. This was great stuff to take in and think about!

  21. Fab tips, thanks!

    Social media can get overwhelming. I like HootSuite–it’s so great for keeping organized!

  22. Thanks for sharing! Was a little intimidated by Twitter, but ready to give it a shot.

  23. Wanting to give my online biz a leg up, I’ve been considering lately my offline options. One thing I will try is to find local appropriate-niche local small bizes who will let me leave biz cards.

    And I plan to leave a pile at a bunch of different places.

  24. Thanks for sharing! What I like most in these home business promotional strategies are that they are cost effective and at the same time they can reach a huge target market, which serves as a big help for your business to be recognized by potential customers. Social Media Marketing has been widely accepted as the magic key that opens the doors to prospects and customer interaction beyond the reach of traditional media and marketing techniques.

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  26. Thanks for sharing this unique post while i googled this phrase ” how to promote home businesses” ….
    This was what i was looking for :)

  27. thanks for an awesome article! its very daunting starting out…

  28. Hi,
    I think your website is very clean cut and easy to navigate.
    I have just started my blog page and used some of your ideas already, with a view to create a money making business online.
    I am beginning to think I may have overcrowded my site a bit , after seeing how neat and tidy your site is!
    Can you please check my site and give me some feedback?
    Regards
    Graham

  29. Great ways to promote your business. According to me banner creating and publishing is also a great thing to promote your business. Banners are very attractive because of their huge size.

  30. Oo11iq Wow, great article post.Thanks Again. Cool.

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