What Is Home Business Marketing and Why Is It Important?

Some people say if you are not doing home business marketing, then you do not really have an online home business.

If you own or want to own an online business, you understand the importance of home business marketing.

When I started marketing online, it was so hard to know what to do or who to trust for information. I bought courses from several “gurus”. Sometimes, it seems like gurus are more interested in selling you “stuff”, than really showing you how to market online. I wanted to know exactly what I had to do–step by step, but it seemed like some information was being left out, making it difficult to get the full story.

I learned the hard way that online marketing is not easy, but it can be simple.

Do you want to increase your revenues by using effective, online marketing strategies?

Let’s start by clarifying…

What is Home Business Marketing?

For most people, marketing simply means putting up a website. However, in today’s ever-changing marketplace, it is not enough to have a website. A business must engage in effective marketing online to get new customers and attain online marketing success over the Internet.

Just as a successful offline business has a marketing plan, a successful home based business has online marketing strategies that give them a step-by-step plan to accomplish specific goals.

Online business marketing strategies give you the “how” in achieving online home based business success.

First, online home business marketing is not:

–Mindlessly placing banner ads all over the Internet.
–Randomly buying cheap leads.
–Solely relying on free classified ads.

Effective internet marketing means having a marketing plan that employs proven and effective marketing techniques to yield real results for your online business. It requires establishing a budget and mastering specific online marketing skills to achieve your goals.

An online marketing strategy offers customized, step-by-step marketing solutions to attract targeted customers both globally and locally. Strategic, online marketing is as unique as each business is distinctive.

Home business marketing is like a game in that every game involves a “mindset” and a “skill set”. It is crucial that you have both for success.

“In marketing, as in sports, it is the mindset that separates you from your competition.” ~ Unknown

One key to home business marketing success is maintaining a positive mindset.

What is mindset?

Mindset is defined as a complex mental state involving feelings, beliefs, and values that makes us react in certain ways.

Yes, maintaining a positive mindset is easier said than done. Here are 4 ways to help you sustain a positive mindset for home business marketing success:

1. Surround yourself with positive, successful people. Having people around you who believe in you, inspire you, and want you to succeed, helps you keep self doubts under control. Getting encouragement from supportive friends and family can eliminate the doubts that can come up daily.

2. When you find yourself having negative emotions or thinking negative thoughts, do something to improve your mood, like listening to a favorite song or taking a walk. In this way, you can catch those negative thoughts and neutralize them.

3. Set your goals and then have faith in yourself. Don’t ever become desperate for your goals to come true. Desperation typically has an undesired effect. Have faith in yourself and your ability to attract your goals.

4. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down all of the wonderful things and people in your life that you are grateful for. That way the challenges you face will seem significantly less important and easier to handle. Also, a grateful mind has little room for skepticism and negativity. Remember…

“Success begins with you from the inside out.”

On your way to becoming a hugely successful marketer, you will encounter numerous disappointments, distractions and delays. You will question your motives and decisions, doubt yourself and want to quit many times. Like any endeavor, to become good at home business marketing, you have to commit to your success. To do this, you need to work on your mindset perhaps harder than you work on your business.

Then, of course, skill set is crucial to your success. It is important to develop your skill set to market your business effectively on the Internet.

With the right mindset, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one.

With the right mindset and the right skill set, you can be extremely successful at home business marketing!

Your success is within your reach and with the right attitude and skills you can accomplish anything.

Do you want to maintain the right mindset and develop your skill set for home business marketing success?
How would you like to learn internet marketing from experts, enabling you to stay current on the dynamic world of home business marketing.

Understanding the Essentials to Successful Marketing

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is traditional marketing. It uses radio, television, magazines, flyers, newspapers, and true random phone book style cold calling. The goal of outbound marketing is to blast your message to thousands of customers and hope that your message sticks. You currently see conversion rates with this type of marketing that are less than 1% and often are far lower. This type of marketing has become more and more difficult the more saturated the field gets. To be honest people simply have too many messages and are finding ways to block out most outbound marketing. When was the last time you bought something from a flyer on your door? How often do you stop your car to write down the 1-800 number? Your customers are the same. They to use the DVR to avoid watching commercials, tune out during commercials on the radio, and throw the flyers in the trash. People want value, and they don’t want to be shouted at.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is marketing that focuses on drawing customers to you. Inbound marketing uses marketing tools such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Email Marketing, Article Marketing, and Pay Per Click to draw in your customers. It is marketing that focuses on not shouting at everyone, but rather finding customers that are seeking your product or service and delivering value through content. The other extremely large advantage of inbound marketing is analytics. There are a host of services, many free, that will allow you to track almost any piece of data that you might want to know. You can see click through rates, conversion rates, how long your customers are looking at your material, even where on the page of your advertisements your customers look first.

Which one Should I Use?

Statistics have shown that this is the dawn of inbound marketing. Outbound marketing still has a very large market share but one that has been shrinking. Newspapers are going out of business, and traditional outbound marketing services are finding it more difficult to compete with good inbound marketing strategies.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that outbound marketing can’t work. I am simply saying that for most applications inbound marketing will allow for better tracking, better customization, and better performance if done properly. I have spoken with a lot of business owners. Usually the ones that are using outbound marketing are not tracking how many people that see the ad actually buy the product at all. Many don’t even know how many people are seeing the advertisement. How can you possibly be successful?

Where does Inbound Marketing Usually Fail?

Obviously there could be a whole host of reasons that marketing can fail. Usually when inbound marketing fails it is due to one of three reasons.

The first is an unrealistic budget. Many businesses have the expectation that you can spend $200 per month and within three months you will be raking in thousands per month. This is just plain unrealistic.

The second reason is time and commitment. Inbound marketing can take 2 or 3 months to get off the ground. It takes time because you are not using a shotgun approach. You are building awareness, good content, and a customer base. The tradeoff is that if done properly as you build this customer base you are building a longer lasting and repeat customer.

The third reason is poor marketing. Inbound marketing is a bit of an art form. An inbound marketer must have a good understanding of your business, competition, and customer. They must also put in a lot of time to be successful. As inbound marketing is still not understood by most businesses it is easy to be swayed by the snake oil salesman. These phone operators often don’t understand anything about real marketing but are happy to use their buzz words to promise first page results on Google, guaranteed sales, and a whole host of promises they likely won’t be able to keep, or will keep but won’t produce you any real return on investment.

The Ultimate Newbie Internet Marketing Checklist

New internet marketers will certainly find the many bumps in the road. There are ways however, to avoid the many mistakes and you can take a lesson from those of us that have already been in your shoes. We all started at the beginning and you can use the following checklist to be sure you don’t make the same mistakes we made.

Three Must-Haves You Can’t Avoid

1. The Domain Name

So many new internet marketers try to avoid spending the small amount of money it takes to get their own domain name. Even if your first domain name never makes you a dime or you sell it a few months after starting it, you have to start with your own domain name. If you don’t own the domain name you are working with, you simply don’t own your business.

Sure, you can start with a free blog or website, but what happens when it starts making money? You can’t just transfer everything to your own domain name because the traffic is not pointing there. The total cost for your own domain name ranges from $2 a year to around $20 a year (assuming you purchase a new domain with no age to it yet). This is a very small price to pay for the full ownership of your website or blog.

2. Real Hosting

Another thing new internet marketers skip over because it cost money, is real hosting. Again, you can start with free hosting, but you simply cannot take it to the next level when your site starts making you money. This is one of the biggest mistakes the new internet marketer will make and it is not a good way to start your online business.

Free hosting gives you only a limited amount of space, usually requires you to work from a sub-domain name of their main domains, and most free companies display annoying ads on your site. If you want to see the true potential of your website idea it is important to get at least shared hosting when you start online.

3. A Plan

The final of the must-haves is a plan. Those new to internet marketing often forget to plan their marketing, budget, time, tasks, and most importantly, their goals. Without a plan, you will most likely fail. Start by doing the necessary research and put together a plan for at least the next few months before you start your online journey.

Three Road Blocks New Internet Marketers Stumble With

1. Taking Action

If you are new to internet marketing, you have probably already heard that you have to take action to be successful. This is a common sense mistake and many new internet marketers make this mistake more than any other does. If you don’t take action, you will never develop the online income you desire.

Even writing one article, building one backlinks, buying a domain name, or getting a hosting account is taking action. Start with the first small thing and work your way through all the small steps. Don’t believe those that say “don’t sweat the small stuff”. The small stuff is exactly what will help you achieve your larger goals.

2. Program Hopping

Many new internet marketers buy at least a couple different programs. These can range from guides meant to teach you a specific marketing method to what we all know as the get rich quick scheme. Some programs are very good for making money online, while others are simply garbage.

The roadblock however, is not choosing the wrong program or guide, but hopping from one to the next before you give even one a chance to worry for you. It is important to set up your plan with the right marketing methods and stick to it. If you don’t stick to your plan, you will never find out if it works or not.

3. Expecting too Much too Soon

Probably the one roadblock that is caused by other internet marketers for the new marketer more often than any other one is the fact that all new marketers have higher expectations than what is possible. Expecting to quit your job or make thousands, your first month is a roadblock that claims many new internet marketers every month.

Your expectations need be backed by patience. Most online marketers will not make much money at all until they have been at it for at least a few months. It takes time to build up traffic to a website or blog and you have to work with your plan for longer than just a week or two before you can expect to make money online.

Planning Properly for Patient Success

If you are trying to make money online with internet marketing, then you need to plan for success. The plan you put together has to be well researched and you have to take the “baby steps” to achieve success. There is an old question that has been asked by many, how do you eat an Elephant? The answer, one bite at a time.

This question is very powerful and shows us that if we take one small step at a time we can achieve our goals. If your goals include creating a full time income online, you must first build your website or blog, and then you have to create traffic to it. Only after you have a website and traffic can you possibly make money online.

Your first dollar is the hardest and having your first $100 day is not going to be easy either. However, the struggles you experience to learn the necessary lessons for internet marketing success will lead you to exactly what you are after, a full time online income.

All You Would Want To Know About Service Marketing

1.1 What is marketing?

According to the Chartered Institution of Marketing, “Marketing is the process that identifies, anticipates, and satisfies customer requirements profitably”. Broadly categorizing, a firm either markets goods or services. Services are intangible, perishable, variable, and inseparable. As the primary feature of a service is its intangibility, it should be marketed with proper planning. The growth of service sector industry has been increasing year by year. The government sector, hospitals, insurance and banking companies, law firms and the innumerable consultancies are all examples of service sector industry.

1.2 Classification of Offerings

A firm may offer any one or more of the following offerings in the market:

Pure Tangible Good – These are the core tangible products like books, furniture, soap, or toothpaste. No services are provided along with it.

Tangible Good along with services – These consists of tangible good and one or more services attached to it. There are many examples to this kind, like gadgets, laptops, cars, which also offer their intangible services like customer care, delivery, and repairs.

Hybrid – This kind of offering are characterized by equal proportion of goods and services. One such example are the restaurants where the food is the product and the hospitality and customer service forms the service and both are equally proportionate and important and are bundled together to form the overall product.

Service accompanying minor goods and services – The major portion of this kind of offering is the service and it is combined with small portions of the tangible product. A classic example of this is when a person buys the air ticket. The transportation is the service for which he paid the amount, but the flight transportation also includes food and other services which make the customer experience more enjoyable.

Pure Service – This entails only the service part and no goods are attached along with it. Such kind of offering is the spa or massage which is a pure service and no tangible offering is attached to it.

Having to market a product is an extremely different concept when compared to services marketing. The marketing strategies that are involved in marketing goods and services also vary to a considerable extent. Becoming a part of the market and having to popularize a business involves several different marketing strategies. These strategies should be carefully planned, effectively implemented, monitored, and then revisited to ensure that it fetches the desired outcome. Thereafter it can be decided whether the same strategies should be continued or does it need any amendment. A calculated risk is always better than an unorganized plan, which is why ‘planning’ is a vital step to marketing success.

2. Defining the Offering

There should be clear and distinct picture of what is being offered to the customers. It is thus important that the following questions needs to be atomically answered before beginning to roll the dice.

2.1 What to Offer

Before even trying to decide what service to offer to the customer it is imperative that the firm understands the customer needs and their behavior and for this, a market research definitely helps. The market research should be conducted not only in the prospective customer base but also in the competitor base.

Conducting research in the prospective customer base gives the firm an idea about the following:

• Customer needs and expectation – Questions which fall under this section is: What are the customer needs and what are his expectations? Are his needs being met? If there is a gap between the customer needs and his expectation, it has to be taken into consideration and the service that the firm will offer should fill that gap. If there is no gap still the service should be designed in way that it exceeds the customer expectations.

• Way to bundle the service – It helps in forming a complete service offering, helps in understanding how to project that service in the market and how to sell it.

After the market research has been conducted, the firm then decides what ‘ingredients’ should it put in the offering basket so that it only has a competitive edge over other similar offerings in the market but it also lures the prospects and engages the customers.

2.2 Whom to Offer

Markets are not homogenous and a firm cannot connect with all the customer segments at once. It is important to divide the population into discreet groups so as to acquire results. This also ensures that the required message reaches those that require the service. Hence it becomes vital to decide those segments in the market which can be served effectively by the firm. Deciding on the exact target segments solves many implications which are later raised due to improper plan. Depending on the segments thus decided, marketing, sales, and promotional plans are laid out. If the firm goes wrong in this phase, then all the efforts and resources which are thus involved in marketing and sales are wasted. There are certain questions which need to be answered at this stage:

• Who are the firm’s latent customers?

• How should the customer be divided?

• How many sub-groups do you divide them into?

• What makes these sub-groups differ?

To obtain information so as to differentiate the different sub-groups can be acquired in a number of different ways namely:

• Questionnaires

• Media advertising (Blog, Discussion forums etc)

• Sales analysis

• Face to face marketing

• Counter research

3. Promotional strategies for marketing services

3.1 Push and Pull Strategies

The strategies broadly fall under either push or pull category. Push marketing strategy is the process of taking the product to the customers, where as pull marketing strategy is the process of bringing the customers to the product.

Push Strategy: In this strategy, the firm which is offering the service requires to put the effort, so as to get customers. It can involve handing out pamphlet, brochures. Also, face to face introductions prove to be far more effective than any other form of marketing. In this form of marketing, most of the techniques are directed towards reaching out to the prospects and customers. After we apply the push strategy, the generation of profit is most definitely expected, provided sufficient effort has been pooled in.

Pull Strategy: This strategy basically involves the customers or clients actively seeking for the services. It can be made possible in a number of ways such as advertising. With the help of advertising, more people are likely to come across what the firm has to offer. Apart from that word of mouth also proves to be quite effective. Once people are aware of the services provided by the firm, the word tends to get out and further more people begin to talk about it. Providing discounts to the customer also encourages them to purchase the services that you are offering.

PUSH MARKETING

I. Increase the number of trade shows so as to encourage the customer demand.

II. Door-to-door consulting as well as face to face interactions to promote service.

III. Negotiations with other firms for tie ups

IV. Circulating the sales collaterals to prospects.

PULL MARKETING

I. Advertisements and other media support

II. Word of mouth publicity

III. Promoting customer relations

IV. Promotions of sales and discounts

Some of the promotional strategies which a service oriented firm can use are:

3.2 Customer Relationship: This is a very crucial element for firms in both the service and the good industry but it counts most importantly in the service firms. This has gained importance in the recent years. When we talk about providing service, the customer relation and experience plays a major role. Having a detailed customer acquisition and retention plan helps a lot to acquire new customers and to retain the existing. Customer loyalty programs are one such element under this domain which helps in the repeat business or retaining a loyal base of customers.

3.3 Branding: This is another most important element when it comes to services marketing. The first question that we must ask ourselves is what is our USP? (Unique selling preposition) In general, every business is one of a kind, but tends to differ in the many ways. It is worth examining everything that the firm has to offer and conclude what it is that is unique and different about the firm that other firms do not provide. The USP factor of any firm is their largest weapon and the more unique as well as productive it is the better will it market. It can play a major role in making your business a success, and it proves to be the central portion of your business as well.

Benefits of Branding:

• The USP adds value to your firm

• It persuades customers to opt for your firm rather than others

• Customer relation is improved and they are engaged to the firm

• It builds trust in the market and encourages other firm or vendors to collaborate

• The perception of quality is induced in other minds

3.3 Advertising: There are various forms of advertising and it is important that can be applied. The different forms of advertising are:

• Television

• Radio

• Newspapers

• Bulletin boards

• Business directory

• Magazines

3.4 Public Relations: Targeting a certain audience and sending out a message to the audience to influence them positively regarding the firm is what we call public relations. The audience with primarily consist of the potential customers of the firm as well as the shareholders. Also, it may involve communicating the message to masses ranging from government employees to consultancy agencies. This method of promotional marketing proves to be very effective if the method is applied in the right manner.

3.5 Direct Marketing: From the term ‘direct’ it is very clear that it involves direct contact with customer. The techniques that are involved may range from emailing, messaging to online ads. This form of promotional marketing is practices by business at various stages of success. Some of the different tools by which direct marketing is carried out are as follows.

Utilizing Smart Phones For Business Marketing

Ever experienced going back home just because you left your mobile phone?

Life has never been easier since the advent of mobile phones. This is not only true for handling personal matters but also for business transactions. Executives can receive calls even though they are not at their office; marketing professionals can contact prospects; and procurement can conveniently communicate with suppliers. These were just some of the convenience brought by mobile phones.

As time goes by, technology advances. This just means more and more features that can be utilized to boost marketing efforts for your UK business.

As of Q1 2011, 48% of mobile phones in the UK are smartphones and sales are increasing too at an insane pace. It is not long before the smartphones will not only dominate traditional mobile phones but even make them obsolete.

What does this trend mean to businesses in UK?

It is very clear that marketing directed towards smartphones would definitely reach and penetrate our target market. The next question would be, “How can this be done?”

Here are some of current features of mobile phones and corresponding advantages for business marketing.

Traditional Call and Text

Since almost everyone if not all brings their mobile phones wherever they go, then the best way to reach someone is through his / her mobile phone. Telemarketing and SMS marketing would definitely be useful to reach mobile phones.

You can pro-actively market your business by either cold calling prospects or calling sales leads from marketing companies specializing in lead generation. If you opt for cold calling, you would need a marketing list or marketing database for your target market. There are marketing companies which also offer these databases at low prices.

On the other hand, you might prefer calling leads that are already pre-qualified, interested to know more about your product or service, or interested to avail your products right away. Lead generation companies can help you with sales leads that would suit your ideal target market.

SMS marketing is one cost effective option that can be utilized even by small businesses. At a very minimal cost you can let your market know about the existence of your business, promotional offers that you have, and have continued trade from existing customers. You can either do this in-house or have it outsourced to a marketing company. Doing this in-house would still require you to have marketing lists, SMS marketing system, and a set of personnels that would pull everything together. Another option is to have it outsourced and just sit back while the hot leads roll in from the SMS marketing campaign.

Internet Connectivity

This is one significant revolution in mobile phones. Your target market can now access your site anywhere they are. Features that used to be confined on computers are now literally available at the fingertip. It’s just a click away from any smartphone. This just means that investing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Email blast would now yield higher return of investment for the business.

In the a generation where almost everything could be found through search engines like Google, it is very important to have your business listed online and see to it that your website appears on top of your competitors’. This is where SEO comes in. With SEO, you could increase traffic to your website and therefore, making your presence known to those who are looking for your products or services.

On the other hand, why just wait for customers to look for you if you can initiate customer relation by regularly sending something through their email? With features nowadays which integrate email to smartphones, your emails would reach your target market faster and more effectively.

Generally speaking, one of the marketing strategies mentioned above can make a lot of difference for the growth and prosperity of your business but implementing them side-by-side would yield better results because their results reinforce each other.

There’s also two (2) ways on how you can implement them. You may choose to gather all necessary resources and implement them on your own or have them done by businesses specializing in marketing. There is no clear answer to which would be a better choice. This would depend on the expertise of your personnel (both on marketing and management), financial limitations, and available resources.