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Home Business Marketing 101

Basics for Marketing Your Home Business

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Essentially, home business marketing is just like marketing for big businesses. In order for your business to be successful, you need to make money. For your business to make money, you need sales. To make or increase sales, you need to market your product or service effectively.

It's important to understand some basic marketing terms so you'll know how to go about finding customers and prospects and how to secure their business. Whether you personally perform all of your home business marketing tasks or have someone else perform them for you, at least you'll understand what's going on and why it may or may not be important.

Marketing Terms for Home Business

Home business marketing activities may include public relations, market research, collateral publication and distribution, along with strategy and analysis. 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:
  • Public relations – may consist of a variety of activities engaged in by organizations or celebrities that are intended to promote a positive relationship or image with their customers and prospective customers (members of the public). Public relations activities may include maintaining relationships with the media and establishing a visible presence at trade shows and other public or private events. It may also include the preparation and distribution of press releases, which are newsworthy articles intended to be published in the media for the purpose of showcasing the company's activities to the public.
  • Press releases - newsworthy articles intended to be published in the media for the purpose of showcasing the company's activities to the public. Often considered an effective form of "free" advertising, although it may cost some money to hire someone to write the article and/or pay to distribute it over the news wires.
  • Market Research – the activities undertaken by an organization 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 may include customer surveys, business intelligence and test marketing the reaction to a product or service being offered.
  • Marketing collateral - a collection of marketing communications materials used as part of an organization's marketing strategy. Marketing collateral might 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 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 – techniques used in marketing intended to identify the place or position of an organization's 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 an organization is able to identify how it wants its customers to perceive its product or service, marketing activities can be focused on achieving the desired results. Understand your competitive advantage.
  • Branding - is the organization's representation of what it stands for, often based on cumulative impressions and positive reinforcement. Like a cattle brand, a business brand can be identified readily and is used for increased awareness of the business. Branding is used throughout the company, such as in its logo, stationery, business cards, on its web site and in its tagline. A great example of effective branding is the Nike "swoosh" logo because it's instantly recognizable around the world.
  • Distribution - is the mixture of methods 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 brick and mortar store, or a combination of these. Understanding the best methods or channels for how your product or service is distributed is important for maximizing your sales. Your decisions in this area will greatly impact your other marketing activities.
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