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Advertising Your Home Business on a Budget
by: Stone Evans
When you are starting out in a new home business and no one
knows who you are, one of the greatest challenges you will face
is how to drum up new business.

If there were not people in your community or marketplace that
you knew who needed your products or services, you probably
would not have started your business to begin with. But, once
you have talked to those who you personally knew who needed your
what you offer, then your next task is to find others who will
help keep your doors open.

Many people know that they must turn to advertising at some
point in the future, but they hope that day will be long down
the road. For some, this utopian concept will come to fruition.
But for the rest of us in the real world, we must come up with
creative solutions for meeting our home business advertising
needs while working within our budget.

Most people have a misconception about having to spend lots of
money in order to advertise their home business. When you start
out, you honestly will not have much money available for
advertising, and if you do, you should still spend it wisely.

Before you jump headfirst into the world of advertising, let me
share some of the lessons I have learned concerning this most
important topic.

LESSON #1

It does not have to cost an arm and a leg to advertise your home
business, unless you fail to plan and fail to test.

As much as is possible, you should always test your advertising.
If you jump in and start dumping tons of money in to advertising
without first testing your advertising, you might find yourself
broke and without sales at the end of the road. Most people who
commit this error write off their failure on the home business
they chose or the economy or any of a hundred other excuses.
But, if they are unwilling to take responsibility for their
mistake, they will never learn from their mistake. Don't let
this be you.

LESSON #2

All testing should be done in blocks. If you begin to advertise
simultaneously in newspapers, radio and television, how will you
know which advertising is bringing people to your cash register?
You won't. All you will know that something might be working,
but you will not know what is actually doing the trick.

Even if you tell people in your advertising to tell you how they
found you, my experience shows that fewer than 10% of the people
ever will tell you anything --- and those people who do may not
even get the facts straight! You cannot rely on your customers
to tell you what advertising is working for your home business.
You must put in the extra effort to know for yourself.

LESSON #3

Only when you have a proven and solid advertising portfolio
should you venture to drop big bucks in an advertising campaign.
Even then, you should be careful to keep further measurements to
determine how much the maximum advantage of an ad would be.
Sometimes you might be able to reach ten times as many people,
but depending on the kind of media and other factors, the
additional exposure will only generate twice as many sales. Keep
your eye attuned to situations like this to get the most from
your advertising dollars.

LESSON #4

As Lesson #3 illustrates, sometimes your best advertising
investment may actually cost you less money. When you are first
starting out, whether you are running a home business or a
business outside of your home, you need to be able to get people
talking and thinking about your business.

If you are busy testing ads in media's such as the newspaper,
magazines, radio, and television, you need to learn ways of
promoting your business that do not require large cash
expenditures. A few examples are:

Word of Mouth
Business Cards
Press Releases
Non-Primetime Ads on Radio and Television

Here is more information about each type of low-cost advertising:

WORD OF MOUTH

This of course is the cheapest kind of advertising on the planet
--- it does not cost you anything. Ask your customers if they
know anyone who could also use your products or services. When
they are happy with your offerings and service, they will be
willing to tell you whom you can contact, and they will pass the
word for you.

BUSINESS CARDS

You can usually pick up 500 business cards for about $20. When
you do, hand them out. Do not give more than a couple of cards
to each person. If they need more cards from you, they will ask.

Some people are known to network with others on a regular basis.
Some of these people are also known to be always looking for an
extra few bucks. With these people, you can suggest to them that
if they write their name on the back of one of your business
cards and the card is presented to you, then you will pay a
referral fee to them. You do not have to offer much ---
sometimes one dollar is enough. Look at your home business and
your offerings and decide how much would be a good referral fee.

PRESS RELEASES

Press Releases are a good source for generating news about your
home business. The business editor at your local newspaper is
always on the lookout for a good business story to fill the
business news section of the newspaper.

Of course, the business editor understands the economics of
running a paper and is more inclined to run your story if you
buy advertising in his/her publication, but will still print
stories for special events and openings.

The important thing to remember about Press Releases is that it
must be constructed in the form of a news story. Even if you are
a sole proprietorship, quotes from you should be written in a
third person format: John Doe said, "Your quote here."

A Press Release should pack the most important information at
the beginning of the copy, and leave extra details towards the
end.

You should always provide the reporter who gets the task a
simple and easy way for him/her to contact you directly. Often
the reporter will want to contact you to get details that will
enhance their take on your story.

To learn more about creating Press Releases, you may check out
Rusty Cawley's site: http://www.PRrainmaker.com/

NON-PRIMETIME ADS ON RADIO AND TELEVISION

Believe it or not, some of the best rates for radio and
television are on the overnight and non-primetime venues. These
target times are not a total waste as they can easily keep the
infomercial people in business.

These off-hours are just less populated than the primetime hours.

Don't be afraid to check your local radio and television rates
for non-primetime hours to see what bargains may exist. With
television, primetime is 7pm to 10pm. With radio, primetime is
8am to 5pm. This sure leaves a whole lot of hours available to
advertise your home business at discount rates!

IN CONCLUSION

When it comes down to it, there is a lot to understand about
advertising, but when you have the basic knowledge down pat,
everything will fall into place and bring more dollars to your
bank account.

About the Author

About the author:
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Stone Evans owns the Home Business Resource Directory where
you can find everything you'll ever need to start, run and grow a
home based business at: http://www.Home-Business.com
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