Home businesses, like all other businesses (online or brick-and-mortar), aren't successful just because they exist. If you want to work at home, you have to learn how to market your home based business.
How you market and promote your business largely depends on the type of business you have. Marketing on the internet works for most kinds of home business. Even if you plan for the bulk of your business (customers/clients/patrons) to come from your local area, a website adds professionalism and makes you visible even to the person just next door searching for local solutions to X on their phone or laptop. When sending emails, make sure you include information about your business in your signature file. Also, yes, I am going to say it, it is becoming nearly impossible to get away with not having a social media presence anymore. If social media seems a tad scary (I'm with you!), get someone to help you or do it for you; but you are going to eventually need some kind of social media presence in this modern age to really reach out online.
If you own a website or other business on the internet, you need customers. With all the competing websites and other forms of web presences, how do they find you?
You need to have some good strategies for marketing an online business. One of the oldest - and still heavily used - strategies for marketing a home business online is learning how to get a high search engine ranking. If you don't rank highly (i.e. show up near the top of the first page of search results) you may have difficulty being found (i.e. you show up on page 30 of search results - and, as we all know, no one goes there).
There are some key methods for high ranking. Start by keeping everything on your site relevant to the subject. This makes good sense anyway because once the customer has found you, you want him or her to stick around. Choose a domain name and website title that fit well with your business keywords (and connect this to your presence on social media site(s) which are also branded appropriately. Your title should be easy to remember. Although search engine algorithms can and do change, links to your website make a difference in search engine rankings. Contact sites that offer information complementing yours and ask for reciprocal links (another old-but-good tried-and-true method).
Another strategy for marketing an online business is to use pay-per-click advertising. This can be a fast way to get listed high in the search engines. There are several providers of pay-per-click advertising. It pays to check out a variety to see which suit your needs the best and which ones are legitimate or not. Using the wrong service could ruin you - or at least be more of a setback than a step forward.
Blogs, like you are reading now, are also a great way to help boost your web presence. They tend to rank well, and consumers like them. Use your blog to talk about your industry and provide links to your website. Although they are slowly (quickly?) dying as a main primary form of online marketing and promotion (as social media takes over), blogs can definitely still add a lot to your marketing program and can be fun to write.
An often overlooked tool for marketing a home based business is staying in touch with former clients - it's not all just about making new connections; you want to keep the old as well! You can do this by phone, email, your blog, or, if all three of those options already seem like ancient history to you, your favorite social media platform :). However you choose to stay in touch, when contacting former clients, let them know you enjoyed working with them and want them to remember you for future projects.
An ever more overlooked marketing avenue - especially now as we chug to the end of the 2000 teens - is the goldmine of offline marketing; but we'll save that as a topic for another day.
Look for ways to meet potential customers. Go to trade meetings or conventions. For example, if you are selling pet products, attend dog shows and county fairs.
The major ways to for marketing an online business are similar to other businesses. Find customers you can serve and find ways to let them know you exist. After they become clients, serve them well and ask for future business. This is how you keep your business running.
Marketing a home business is essential for success. Use all the marketing strategies at your disposal and watch your traffic grow.
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International K-12 Educator,
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