Advertising Your Home Business on a Budget
Copyright © Stone Evans, The Home Biz Guy
If there were not people in your community or marketplace that you
knew who needed your products or services, you probably would not
have started your business to begin with. But, once you have talked
to those who you personally knew who needed your what you offer,
then your next task is to find others who will help keep your doors
Many people know that they must turn to advertising at some point in
the future, but they hope that day will be long down the road. For
some, this utopian concept will come to fruition. But for the rest
of us in the real world, we must come up with creative solutions for
meeting our home business advertising needs while working within our
Most people have a misconception about having to spend lots of money
in order to advertise their home business. When you start out, you
honestly will not have much money available for advertising, and if
you do, you should still spend it wisely.
Before you jump headfirst into the world of advertising, let me
share some of the lessons I have learned concerning this most
It does not have to cost an arm and a leg to advertise your home
business, unless you fail to plan and fail to test.
As much as is possible, you should always test your advertising. If
you jump in and start dumping tons of money in to advertising
without first testing your advertising, you might find yourself
broke and without sales at the end of the road. Most people who
commit this error write off their failure on the home business they
chose or the economy or any of a hundred other excuses. But, if they
are unwilling to take responsibility for their mistake, they will
never learn from their mistake. Don’t let this be you.
All testing should be done in blocks. If you begin to advertise
simultaneously in newspapers, radio and television, how will you
know which advertising is bringing people to your cash register? You
won’t. All you will know that something might be working, but you
will not know what is actually doing the trick.
Even if you tell people in your advertising to tell you how they
found you, my experience shows that fewer than 10% of the people
ever will tell you anything — and those people who do may not even
get the facts straight! You cannot rely on your customers to tell
you what advertising is working for your home business. You must put
in the extra effort to know for yourself.
Only when you have a proven and solid advertising portfolio should
you venture to drop big bucks in an advertising campaign. Even then,
you should be careful to keep further measurements to determine how
much the maximum advantage of an ad would be. Sometimes you might be
able to reach ten times as many people, but depending on the kind of
media and other factors, the additional exposure will only generate
twice as many sales. Keep your eye attuned to situations like this
to get the most from your advertising dollars.
As Lesson #3 illustrates, sometimes your best advertising investment
may actually cost you less money. When you are first starting out,
whether you are running a home business or a business outside of
your home, you need to be able to get people talking and thinking
about your business.
If you are busy testing ads in media’s such as the newspaper,
magazines, radio, and television, you need to learn ways of
promoting your business that do not require large cash expenditures.
A few examples are:
· Word of Mouth
· Business Cards
· Press Releases
· Non-Primetime Ads on Radio and Television
Here is more information about each type of low-cost advertising:
WORD OF MOUTH
This of course is the cheapest kind of advertising on the planet —
it does not cost you anything. Ask your customers if they know
anyone who could also use your products or services. When they are
happy with your offerings and service, they will be willing to tell
you whom you can contact, and they will pass the word for you.
You can usually pick up 500 business cards for about $20. When you
do, hand them out. Do not give more than a couple of cards to each
person. If they need more cards from you, they will ask.
Some people are known to network with others on a regular basis.
Some of these people are also known to be always looking for an
extra few bucks. With these people, you can suggest to them that if
they write their name on the back of one of your business cards and
the card is presented to you, then you will pay a referral fee to
them. You do not have to offer much — sometimes one dollar is
enough. Look at your home business and your offerings and decide how
much would be a good referral fee.
Press Releases are a good source for generating news about your home
business. The business editor at your local newspaper is always on
the lookout for a good business story to fill the business news
section of the newspaper.
Of course, the business editor understands the economics of running
a paper and is more inclined to run your story if you buy
advertising in his/her publication, but will still print stories for
special events and openings.
The important thing to remember about Press Releases is that it must
be constructed in the form of a news story. Even if you are a sole
proprietorship, quotes from you should be written in a third person
format: John Doe said, “Your quote here.”
A Press Release should pack the most important information at the
beginning of the copy, and leave extra details towards the end.
You should always provide the reporter who gets the task a simple
and easy way for him/her to contact you directly. Often the reporter
will want to contact you to get details that will enhance their take
on your story.
To learn more about creating Press Releases, you may check out Rusty
Cawley’s site: http://www.PRrainmaker.com/
NON-PRIMETIME ADS ON RADIO AND TELEVISION
Believe it or not, some of the best rates for radio and television
are on the overnight and non-primetime venues. These target times
are not a total waste as they can easily keep the infomercial people
These off-hours are just less populated than the primetime hours.
Don’t be afraid to check your local radio and television rates for
non-primetime hours to see what bargains may exist. With television,
primetime is 7pm to 10pm. With radio, primetime is 8am to 5pm. This
sure leaves a whole lot of hours available to advertise your home
business at discount rates!
When it comes down to it, there is a lot to understand about
advertising, but when you have the basic knowledge down pat,
everything will fall into place and bring more dollars to your bank