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7 Ways to Effectively Market Your Small Business

I’ve been working from home for 20 years (not counting the Kool-Aid stands I set up, and the business I had selling rocks door-to- door when I was 8). When I started my first home-based business, technology wasn’t where it is now. I thought I was so cool when my dad gave me his old computer with a hard drive the size of a two-drawer file cabinet. Not so much.

A lot has changed since then (thank you, Internet) and running a home-based business is easier. Whether you’ve worked from home for years or you’re just starting out, at some point you may need to fine-tune your marketing strategies to keep your business moving forward.

These tips will help you breathe new life into your business and give you reasons to jump out of bed each morning to go to work, even if your commute is only a few seconds long.

1. List what you want to change about your business.

Before you can make any changes to your business, you need to know which areas of your business need help.

Do you want to make more money? Are your marketing efforts falling flat? Do you stink at social media? It’s not easy to admit that you’re doing something wrong or that your stubborn ways are making it easy to ignore everyone’s advice when they suggest you make a few changes.

Get started on the road to change by making a list of everything that’s bothering you about your business. After you finish your list, think of as many ideas (crazy or not) that you can use to solve those problems. Then weed through the list and take out the ideas that are too out-there to be possible, and come up with a solid list of ways to change your business.

2. Create a website

If you’re serious about growing your small business, you have to have a website. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page, a business listing in the Yellow Pages and online ads…you have to have a Web presence too. For a small cost — actually think of it as an investment — you can have a site that provides valuable information and, of course, a reason for others to contact you for your services or to buy your products.

If you have the skills to create a site and you’re creative, then you’ll save money. If, like me, you have limited Web design skills, you’ll need to rely on a Web designer. Pay someone to do what they do well and then you can spend time on the tasks you do well that will help you make money.

Before you create a site, register a simple domain that will bring visitors to you. If you refer to your business often, use your business name. If clients will search for you by your own name, use that. If you offer an interesting product or service, use that name.

3. Update your website often

Take a close look at your website and ask yourself what impression it makes. Keep in mind that your site is your link to the outside world. It says, “Here we are…here’s what we offer…and here’s why you should work with/buy from us.”

You should publish new blog posts at least 2-3 times a week. If it’s October and your last blog post was in January, visitors will quit stopping by because there’s no new information. If you made a big deal about holding a winter sale and the banner is still up in April, your clients and prospects will scratch their heads trying to figure that one out.

4. Create a Twitter, Facebook  and LinkedIn account

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but I credit my daily status updates for a majority of traffic to my site. If you haven’t set up a Facebook page for your business, do it immediately. The same goes for a Twitter and LinkedIn account. Post links on these different sites to articles that would be of interest to your clients and potential website visitors. I scan about 150 articles a day to find the right ones to share with my followers. If my followers like my updates or my tweets, they’ll share or retweet them, which brings more visitors to my site.

5. Write an e-book

If you can write a blog post, you can write an e-book. In fact, an easy way to create an e-book is to compile your best blog posts and combine them with new material. You can either charge for the book or give it away as an incentive for visitors to sign up for your mailing list.

There’s an e-book on almost every subject. Research your area of expertise to find out if there are other similar e-books and if so, figure out how to make yours different. Take the time to promote the e-book and use it as a vehicle to help you get more business, while you share your expertise with others.

6. Create Webinars

A good way to reach prospects and serve your clients is to offer webinars. You can provide live webinars or pre-tape them to make it easy for people to buy it and watch it when they have time.

Turn a series of blog posts into a webinar, record it (either audio or video) and make it available on your site.

7. Partner with other business owners

Two heads are better than one, so why not join forces with another small business owner?

Several of my business friends sponsor conferences in different cities. They bring in speakers that each person knows and by combining their e-mail lists and doing major e-mail blasts, they have no problem filling their seminars.

Another way to work with other business owners is to sponsor a contest. By pooling your resources, you can create a strong list of prizes. When the contest ends, everyone who organized the contest gets a long list of names and e-mail addresses.

You can accomplish several things on your own, but when you pool your efforts, there’s no telling what you can do.

Growing your business takes time, but the right marketing strategies can help you take your business to the next level.

What marketing strategies have worked for you?

About the Author: Lisa Kanarek

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of WorkingNaked.com and the author of five books about working from home, including her new book Organize Your Home Office for Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and [...]