Guest Post by Terra Bohlmann, PMP, from TheWorkingHouse.com
I don’t know about you, but when I started my business I thought it would be easy to find clients. Once I made the decision to official launch my business, shouldn’t everyone be knocking on my Hoffice (Home-Office) door dying to hire me? After the humbling experience of hearing crickets for a few weeks, I learned what really needed to be done to get clients. Here are the top 9 things you can do to market your products or services:
1. Get a Website
You can have a website even if you have a very small budget. The point is to have an online “home base.” WordPress is a great tool for creating your own website. Or if you are “technically challenged”, hire someone to do it for you. Start simple with your website with the following pages: Home, About, Products and/or Services, Contact, and if want to have a Blog…even better. Over time, expand your website to include additional information.
2. Write for Your Own Blog and Other Blogs
Write blog posts for your target audience which are the people who you want to purchase your products or services. Besides writing for your own blog on a regular basis, remember to share the love. Write for other blogs which is also known as “guest posting”. Share your best advice in your blog posts. This positions your expertise in your field.
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3. Be Active on Social Media
Determine which social media platforms your potential clients are using. Is it Friendly-Facebook? Fast-paced Twitter? Video-watching YouTube? Creative-Addictive Pinterest? Remember, this isn’t what you prefer, but rather what potential clients are using. Start with one platform and dive in!
4. Brag about Your Products & Services
There is no shame in sharing what others say about your product or services. Get testimonials from customers using email or social media. Add those testimonials to your website and marketing materials. Using testimonials gives potential customers “social proof” to encourage them to purchase your products or services.
5. Give It Away for Free to Respected Business Leaders
Free? I know you are in business to make money, but sometimes you have to give a sample to hook a customer. This is especially true when you are first starting out. If you offer services, make sure you keep to a specific time period for your free (or discounted) trial so no one takes advantage of your generosity. This should be clear up front before you start work. Once you do a good job, your client will get more comfortable with you (oh, and tell their colleagues about you, too). If you sell a product, make sure you get a testimonial or referral in exchange for providing someone with a free product. This is a win-win situation.
6. Get Business Cards
Nothing says “I’m in business” like having business cards. If you don’t have any, get business cards printed with your company name and contact information. There are affordable websites like www.VistaPrint.com that are easy to use. The point is to have a business card to give to potential clients when you meet them. If you already have business cards, think about what you can do to make your business cards more interesting. Hire a graphic designer to help you come up with a creative twist on a plain business card. You’d be surprised how people react to an interesting business card. It shows you are creative and interesting. Wouldn’t you want to do business with someone who is creative and interesting?
7. Network with Others in Your Space
It’s time to “get out there” and make relationships with people who do what you do. Don’t think of others as “competition”, but rather, think of how you can help each other to grow both of your businesses. Running a business is a lot more fun when you connect with others in your space. You can connect in person, through email, or social media. You can promote and support each other to a common audience. Working for yourself is hard enough and can get lonely at times. Why not make friends and colleagues along the way?
8. Network with People Who Need Your Products or Services
Networking goes beyond social media. Social media is a great way to network, but don’t overlook the good old-fashioned way of networking either. Join a few local business chapters and attend the networking events. Establishing genuine relationships is your ultimate goal of these networking events. You can find out about events by searching online, asking around, or checking out www.MeetUp.com. Once you get involved in a few different groups, you will continue to find out about more and more groups. The more people you meet and talk about what you do, the more your business will grow. Just remember to be yourself and be genuine…people want to do business with real people.
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9. Believe in Yourself
Bottom line…you have to believe in yourself and know that what you are offering is the best it can be. Once you truly believe this, selling yourself, your products, and yours services doesn’t feel like “selling” at all. Your confidence will shine through…and potential clients will see it. Know your value and continue to serve others with the best of what you have to offer. That’s the key to success in marketing.
Terra Bohlmann, PMP, is the founder of TheWorkingHouse.com and author of “The Boss in Bunny Slippers” and “Think Outside of the Coffee Shop: 47 Interesting Places to Host Meetings When You Work from Home”. She serves the work at home community and provides online training and coaching to small business owners. She believes in empowering entrepreneurs to give them the budget-friendly tools and techniques used by big corporations.