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5 Ways NOT to Market Your Home Business

Aug 17, 2007
As you get started with a home business, one of the toughest skills to learn is good marketing. There are many different ways you can market your business, but some of them will do you little or no good while costing you money.

Today I'm going to explain which tactics are best avoided. These tactics can cause you to waste time and/or money or may damage your fledgling business's reputation.

1. Buying visitors/guaranteed visitors

This one has a lot of problems, yet it sounds so wonderful. Spend oh, $50 give or take and get thousands of visitors to your website. Give yourself a mere 1% rate of sales and you're doing great, right?

Probably not. There are a few issues with this idea.

The first is quite simply that it is very likely you won't get all the visitors you pay for, at least in terms of people seeing your site. There are a variety of tricks used on this one, from showing your page in so small a frame that no one sees it to giving only computer generated visits. Think also about how many of these companies promise to put your page in a pop up or pop under and how common pop up blockers are.

I've seen many people try these and post their results on forums. It's not uncommon for them to have none of these "visitors" never go beyond the landing page. Don't waste your money. It won't help your reputation with those who really do see your pop up (they'll probably be annoyed and quickly close it) and it won't make the search engines think better of you.

This goes double if you have AdSense or similar on your site. It can be against the terms of service.

Similarly, don't bother with surfing other websites to get points to have your site shown to others. A very few people have success with this, mostly by building large downlines so they themselves have little need to surf, and targeting the ads they show to things that would interest other marketers. But reaching that point is tough and finding something that will do well is not easy.

Don't mix these up with pay per click advertising. That's an entirely different story.

2. Sloppy article marketing

If you've read much about marketing online, you've probably heard about article marketing. Write an article on your topic, link to your site in the resource box, send it to the article directories and wait for results.

It's really not that easy. Many marketers think just any old article will do, and hack a quick one out that is keyword-heavy, maybe with links throughout the article to their site and no attention to accuracy or even readability.

If you can't be bothered to write quality, useful articles this tactic won't work for you. Worse, if you're sloppy about your article marketing the people who do see your articles out and about won't think well of your site and certainly won't care to click on over.

Take the extra time and write good articles. Proofread them. Make sure they're relevant to your site and have the links in your resource box link to relevant sections of your site. There are still no guarantees, but you'll probably do better.

3. Failing to test

For many, this is actually the #1 mistake. It's very common.

No matter how well you think you've written an ad, you need to test it thoroughly. Tiny changes can make huge differences. Even singular versus plural.

4. Focusing on features rather than benefits

This is one of those universal marketing problems. Don't think just about what the product or service you're selling does, think of what it does for your customers.

5. Lack of a call to action

Have you ever worked in sales in the real world rather than online? Ever watched a successful salesperson? There's one thing that is very important in sales, and that's asking for the sale, otherwise known as the call to action.

People are easily distracted, especially online. And if you don't make it clear what you want them to do, they aren't likely to do it. "Order Now!" may sound cliche, but it gets the idea across.

Of course, there are many more mistakes you can make. Some of them you just about need to make in order to learn to run your business better. But others can be avoided just by recognizing them first.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about working at home. She also shares advice about running a home business on her website.
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