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Buzz on a Budget: Advertising Your Home-Based Business without Breaking the Bank

Apr 25, 2008
Home-based businesses often start out at a disadvantage. There you are, in your spiffy, well-appointed home office (or with your laptop on the couch), all full of vigor and enthusiasm for the adventure you are about to embark on. You've already spent your first million in your head. You know you have a product the world simply cannot live without.

But there's one problem: no one knows you exist. No problem, right? You'll just take out an ad in all the big papers, get a prime spot on the radio and litter the city with billboards shouting your virtues. At least that was your plan until you realized that the only thing in your wallet is a picture of your mom.

There's no question that when you are starting out in a home-based business, getting yourself noticed is the biggest challenge, especially when funds are limited. But there are cheap, effective ways to get the word out there.

Hopefully, the reason you decided to start your business is because you believe that people in your community have a need for your product. Once you've pitched to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, veterinarian and mail carrier, it's time to broaden your efforts to reach the community at-large. The way to do that is through cost-effective advertising efforts.

You don't need to spend lots of money to get your potential customers to take notice. That's likely good news, since you probably aren't rolling in cash. If you were, you wouldn't be starting a home-based business. But before you start recklessly allotting your advertising budget, stop for a moment and keep the following things in mind.

* Test the waters first. Don't jump into too many advertising outlets at once, or you'll never know which one is the most effective. If you try one thing at a time, you'll be able to gauge the success, or failure, of each. Even if you ask your customers how they heard about you, that information is never 100 percent reliable. People may have heard about your business through more than one outlet, but only remember one! Don't spend big bucks until you know what works.

* More money doesn't necessarily mean more exposure. When you are just getting started at running any business, particularly a home-based one, you need to learn ways of promoting your business in ways that don't require a lot of cash output. Some examples:

1. Word of mouth. This can be invaluable to a small business. If you do good work for one person and he tells 10 more, and each of them tells five, it won't take long for your client base to grow.

2. Business cards. You can print out professional-looking business cards on your home computer, using sheets of business cards available at any office supply store. Hand one to anyone who is willing to take one.

3. Press releases. These are easy to create and can be distributed by e-mail once you have a client base. They are easily forwarded and can serve as a kind of cyber word-of-mouth service. It's also a good idea to send releases to your local newspapers. You never know when they'll decide to feature your business. Don't forget to include a way for your customers to get in touch with you.

4. Radio and television ads. You may think that radio and television ads are way out of your modest advertising budget, but that's not necessarily true. If you buy non-primetime ads, you will get exposure without having to fork out lots of dough. Prime time for TV is between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and for radio it's 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact your local stations and see if you can buy some non-prime time. Remember: if people didn't watch TV in the middle of the night, infomercials wouldn't exist!

What all this boils down to is there are lots of ways you can blow your own horn without spending bundles of cash. Take advantage of every way you can advertise and soon you'll see your business, and your advertising budget, grow.
About the Author
Dominic Boykin of Work from Home Based Business is an internet marketer working with top leaders in the home business and internet marketing industry. To learn more about starting your own work from home based business earning 6 streams of income visit: Home-Based Business
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