Marketing for the home business
If you are starting your small business, as a home business, it is important to understand that essentially, home business marketing is just like marketing for big businesses. In order for your business to be successful, you need to make money, and for your business to make money, you need sales. The bottom line is that in order to make or increase sales, you need to market your product or service effectively.
There are several terms that the home business owner should understand when it comes to marketing. Knowing and understanding these terms can help you keep track of what is going on and why it may or may not be important.
Home business marketing activities can include:public relations, market research, collateral publication and distribution, along with strategy and analysis. In addition, positioning, branding, distribution and advertising are also a big part of marketing activities for most businesses, and home business are no exception. Here are some basic definitions to get you started:
- Market Research-This is one of the first activities that are undertaken by a business, to determine the nature of its customers and competitors, as well as the demand for its products or services, along with the features that customers prefer in similar products or services. These activities can include:customer surveys, business intelligence and test marketing for the reaction to a product or service that is being offered.
- Marketing collateral-This is known as a collection of marketing communications materials that are used as part of an organization's marketing strategy. Marketing collateral can include:brochures, data sheets that provide an overview of the features of a product or service (often a technical overview), and white papers, which are articles or reports that are written to showcase an organization's products or services, the effectiveness of the technology behind them, and/or a comparison of the organization's products, services or method of operating compared to its competitors.
- Positioning-This is the techniques that are used in marketing that are intended to identify the place or position, of an business' product or service, within its target market, compared to its competition. These techniques are used to influence and/or reinforce certain perceptions, that customers and prospects, have of the product or service. Once a business is able to identify how it wants its customers, to perceive its product or service, the marketing activities can be focused on achieving the desired results. This involves clearly understanding your competitive advantage.
- Distribution-This is the mixture of methods that will be used to get your product or service, to its customers. For example, you may need to decide if you will sell your products through a catalog, on the Internet, in a physical location, or a combination of these. It is crucial to understand the best methods or channels, for how your product or service is distributed. This is extremely important for maximizing your sales. Your decisions in this area will greatly impact your other marketing activities.
- Branding-This is the organization's representation of what it stands for, which is often based on impressions and positive reinforcement. A business brand should be able to be identified readily, and is used for increased awareness of the business. It is important to understand that branding is used throughout the company, such as in its logo, stationery, business cards, on its web site and in its tagline. Effective brands from some Fortune 500 companies are recognized around the world.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the terms that are used in home business marketing, you can put them to use. Remember that knowledge alone won't bring customers to your door. You will need to know your competitive advantage, keep it in focus, and then center your marketing efforts on it. Do not allow yourself not to take the time to market your home business. Without marketing the chances of your home business, succeeding and growing are very small. Marketing experts recommend setting aside a specific time of the day, and/or day of the week, as one way to stay on top of your marketing efforts.