Advertising a Home Business
Effectiveness of Advertising Your Home Business Determines Profits
Advertising is essential for any business to be successful. That goes double when it comes to advertising a home business, or home-based business.
The one disadvantage a home business has is location. This is especially true if your product or service relies on the amount of pedestrian or vehicle traffic that passes by a business each day. Home based businesses must bring together several different methods of advertising in order to attract more business and become successful.
While there are many types and approaches a home-based business can use to build a successful business, it may be best to concentrate on just a few that are most effective. First, you must realize that you have to get the most out of your advertising budget. You don't want to spend a bunch on ads that don't create business and bring dollars in your door.
So, here's what you do. Create one message, decide which advertising medium is best for your business and get that message in front of the people most likely to need your product or service.
In other words, if you have a home-based pool cleaning service, you don't need an expensive TV or radio commercial. Find out where your potential clients spend time - maybe at local pool stores - and get your message in front of them in the most cost-effective way.
Create a Singular Message for Your Home Business Advertising
I have been in the advertising and marketing field for more than 40 years and the single biggest mistake I have seen clients make over the years is the lack of a singular, focused message.
Even the big corporations know that they have to get out that one, single message. Take a look at the ad campaigns of some of the biggest, most well-known products on the planet.
You will see that these corporate giants use a single message in all of their advertising and marketing efforts.
Some of the Best Singular Messages in Advertising
"I'm Lovin' it" - McDonald's.
"There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard."
"What's in your wallet?" - Capital One
"Can you hear me now?" - Verizon
"Just do it." - Nike
"Got Milk?" - California Milk Processor Board
"Like a Rock." - Chevy Trucks
"Be all you can be." - U.S. Army
"Don't leave home without it." - American Express
"The few. The proud. The Marines." - U.S. Marine Corps
"A diamond is forever." - DeBeers
"Intel inside." - Intel
While your typical home-based business cannot afford to enlist the creative powers of Madison Avenue's best, you can create your advertising to be effective, consistent and include a single theme. For example, a home-based piano teacher might use a slogan like, "Helping people make better piano music" or something to that effect.
That one phrase tells potential customers what you do and how it will benefit them. A potential customer might think something like this: "I need a piano teacher - she teaches piano (need) and I can make better music (benefit)."
Putting the Creative Process at Work for Advertising Your Home Business
Your home business is just like those mega-corporations in that you need a singular message. In advertising this is called a positioning statement and it tells your customers everything they need to know about your business in a few words.
The challenge is coming up with a positioning statement that works for your home business. It's really a lot easier than you might think.
Get out a note pad and start thinking about what your business offers, what is the one thing I want people to think of when they think of my home business.
Write down everything - phrases, single words, experiences - everything. Nothing is restricted, let your mind roam wherever it wants. Now go back over this list and start to identify common items and themes.
Boil everything down to just a few words on the paper. This is the same process used in those big Madison Avenue ad agencies - it's called a brain-storming session.
This is the process we used to come up with those singular messages and ad slogans. You can do the same thing for your home business advertising.
The Next Step in the Creative Process
Once you have your singular message nailed down, you'll want to start thinking of some ways to get that message out to all the people who may benefit from your product or service.
Let's use our home based piano teacher as an example. She has decided to use "Helping people make better piano music."
Getting Your Message Out There
Our piano teacher first thinks about how regular everyday people might come to the decision to take piano lessons.
She could print up thousands of flyers and leave them on the doorstep of every house within a 3 mile radius of her home. While this may bring in a few students, it's not a good use of time and resources. After all, it could take days to cover that much territory and cost quite a bit of money to design and print all those flyers.
Getting More Bang for Your Advertising Dollar
She thinks it over and decides that people who frequent music stores might be interested in her services.
She will only need three or four flyers, one for each music store in her area. With this example, the piano teacher sounds less on flyers and gets her "message" out to people who are more likely to be interested in piano lessons - people who are already into music and inside a music store.
Decide for yourself which approach makes more sense.
Essential Advertising Methods You May Want to Consider for Your Home Business
Business cards are essential to any business advertising, but even more so for home-based business advertising. They are relatively inexpensive to produce and you can leave them just about anywhere. It should have your business name, basic contact information and that "single message" you created for your business. Think of it as a little advertisement for your business. Give them to everyone and leave them everywhere you go.
Websites are essential in todays business world - even more so than the Yellow Pages. It's easy to find a provider online to set up a website for you. If you know a bit about computers, there are all sorts of providers that make setting up a business website VERY easy. Take a look at MoonFruit.com, Weebly.com and Qapacity.com. Here is an informative article detailing the specifics of these websites here. Don't forget to set up a Facebook account for your business as well.
Promotional items like shirts, coffee cups and pens emblazoned with your home business logo and message can also be an effective way of getting exposure for your business. While you may have to invest a bit of money to get these items, they provide an effective means to let people know about you and your business.
The Best Advertising for a Home Business
Of course, there are many methods used for advertising a home business, but word-of-mouth is the best method for any business regardless of size.
Before you start any business - home based or otherwise - you must realize that your reputation and perception that others have of your business are the most critically important advertising methods at your disposal. Create and nurture a solid, well-respected image by providing a quality product/service at a price that is competitive.
When people know you provide a solid product or service, they will tell everybody. Build and protect that reputation and perception at all costs.