A mistake sometimes make by home-based business owners is not having a marketing plan in place before they launch the business. Focusing on online promotion methods can be quite effective for many home-based businesses, and there are many you can take to help ensure your success. This article assumes you already have a website—and you do, don’t you?
1. Make your website “sticky.” Not only do you want to have a reason for visitors to stick around—and come back—but you want to have a way to capture their email address so you can stay in touch. Offer a free report in return for their email address; then stay in front of them with a regular ezine that provides valuable content and shares your expertise.
2. Start a blog—and update it regularly. I know, I know. Blogging takes time, which is at a premium for most people, and it’s tough to commit to two or three entries per week. But it gives you the opportunity to share your expertise with potential clients. Plus search engines love the fresh content, and it will help in your web rankings. You can also share the links on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media sites (more on that later).
Incidentally, make sure your blog is parked at your website and doesn’t have “WordPress” or “Blogspot” in the address. You’ll miss out on valuable search engine optimization if you don’t have your own unique URL.
3. Comment on other relevant, high-traffic blogs. Not only does this give you another opportunity to showcase your expertise, but it’s a great way to get to know people. When you leave good, informative comments in other blogs (not simply “Great post”), you can increase traffic to your own blog. People who read your comments may want to read more of what you have to say and find themselves clicking over to your own blog.
4. Write articles. Informational and how-to articles should be submitted to high-traffic article sites. They will attract visitors back to your website, where you can offer a signup for a free report or ezine to share more information.
5. Sign up for Facebook. With more than 300 million users—and growing daily—can you afford not to be there? Because your profile page is all about you—people don’t want to “friend” a business; they want to connect with a person—it’s a nice way to bond with people on a bit more of a personal level and build relationships. No hard selling here.
Join relevant Facebook groups. You can find like-minded people by searching for groups in particular subject areas. This is another great way for you to communicate with others, provide valuable information, and exhibit your expertise.
6. Create a Facebook fan page for your business. Because your profile page is all about you, you’ll want to create a Facebook fan page for your business. Here you can promote your business by adding useful tips and linking to your site. Put up your business’ logo and include other information, such as office hours and company overview.
7. Complete your LinkedIn profile page. If you are a professional, you probably are already on LinkedIn. (If you’re not there, it’s easy to sign up.) Make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. And make sure your profile is public because it allows search engines to find you.
Join relevant LinkedIn groups. These groups are similar to those on Facebook; they also have the added benefit of letting you communicate directly with other members, even if they are not part of your network.
8. Join Twitter. This is the fastest-growing social networking site. A microblog that limits “tweets” to 140 characters, this busy community allows you to connect directly with people better than Facebook or LinkedIn. It offers another opportunity for you to share valuable content and your expertise. When you post a new blog entry, for instance, you can tweet it here—driving traffic to your website or blog. You can “follow” industry experts to keep abreast of the latest news.
You are probably thinking this all sounds like a lot of work. Well, it is—but marketing is an essential part of running a successful business. These online techniques are simple, free (unless you hire a consultant), and effective.