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Marketing a small business run from a private home...

It is not much different than marketing one in downtown LA or a suburban strip mall. It's still a business and needs targeted, intelligent marketing strategies. And of course, affordability is a factor for small businesses. Luckily, there are lots of low-cost or no-cost tools you can turn to for help, particularly online. These tools will help you announce and adjust your marketing messages as your customer base becomes more defined.



Establish Your Brand

First decide on how you want to brand yourself or your business. For a small or home-based business, don't be afraid to incorporate your personality. Shauna Wekherlien, an Arizona-based CPA, ignited her business by sharing her very real passion for accounting by quite successfully branding herself as The Tax Goddess. "I stepped up in front of the microphone in front of a group of people," she related at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Arizona Society of CPAs, "and said, 'Hi, I'm Shauna, the Tax Goddess!'"

While not all accountants can hope to become immortal, Shauna's enthusiasm comes through every video, email and blog post, duly branded as coming from The Tax Goddess.

Create a Website

Even if you are just a home-based business, you need a website. It's worth the effort and costs less than you might expect. Companies like GoDaddy offer low-cost packages that include registering your domain (website) name, hosting the site and providing free, easy-to-use web-building software.

You then need to decide what type of content to provide on your website. Hire a freelancer or new staff member if writing is not your strength. Be sure to provide consistent, relevant and timely content to your website. Don't forget to stay consistent with the brand you established!

Support Your Content With Images

Images are a great way to underscore the content on your website. They also help break up the text to make it more readable. Again, be sure that your images match the text and are consistent with your branding.

When you use images, make sure to keep it legal. Most images on the web, even those on Google Images, are copyrighted and belong to independent artists and photographers. Use sites like iStock or Thinkstock to get proper access to photos, video and graphics. These sites offer reasonable pricing plans, and you can use the images on your site and in your social media outreach.

Use Social Media

All businesses need an online presence. At the very least, establish yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Both are free, offer great communities and groups you can join and are within the top five social media sites for adults, according to TechCrunch.

Although Twitter is a popular and effective site, TechCrunch notes that Pinterest is now more popular, sliding into the #3 spot. Get a good camera and start taking pictures of your products to post on Pinterest. Some marketing experts like Entrepreneur's Kathleen Davis also recommend Pinterest over Facebook. Davis cites research that shows 43 percent of Pinterest users interact with the businesses they visit on the site, compared to just 24 percent on Facebook.

Create Personal Interactions

Personal interactions are still valuable. Many people, including many of your customers and business professionals, prefer face-to-face conversations and interactions. Visit Meetup to find local business groups that share your interests. Groups usually meet monthly, and the personal networking can be as valuable as membership in your local chamber of commerce, minus the hefty dues. The Meetup site also provides online networking to its registered groups.  

Get more career and business advice from Sylvia via her blog sylviabrowder.com as well as nawomenrise.com!

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