Marketing is marketing, right? Actually, no. Corporate marketing, the kind you learn in business school, is cash-intensive, math-based, and media-dependent. It is rooted in advertising, and lots of it – expensive network television spots, full-page ads in large newspapers and magazines, radio, skywriting, sponsorships, you-name-it. Home businesses don’t normally play in this arena because it is too expensive and not effective for small businesses. The purpose of most corporate marketing is to establish recognition of brands and products.
Small and medium-sized businesses have their own marketing tools – local newspapers and radio stations, flyers, little-league teams, school calendars, and so on. Although these seem closer to the home business model, businesses with physical locations market differently because their primary goal is to drive people to their locations. In some instances, local businesses market to cause someone to call them.
Home businesses, on the other hand, tend to have unique objectives when they market. In most cases, someone running a home business is NOT attempting to develop physical traffic to their home. That would be inconvenient and possibly dangerous. Telephone traffic is more desirable, as is electronic traffic via email, web sites, blogs, podcasts, instant messages, and so on. In most cases, home businesses need to market directly to their clients, without sales forces, stores, or distribution networks.
Operating a home business is most efficient when marketing time can be separated from operating time (doing whatever you do). You can’t get much work done when you are answering the telephone all day. Likewise, you can’t expand your business without a certain amount of effective marketing.
The ideal is to generate interest passively while you are working, then follow up on that interest using the telephone, or other electronic means, during a time period that is set aside strictly for marketing. This is a key difference between marketing for home businesses and marketing for businesses located in commercial locations. Of course, the internet, with its vast capabilities, fits the home-based business model like a glove.
At this site, I plan to discuss marketing as it applies to HOME businesses. The emphasis will be on free or inexpensive tactics for developing new business. Some will apply to your business, while others won’t. I hope you will use the tactics that work best for you, while wisely bypassing those that do not apply to your business.