Business Advertising Strategies For Home Businesses

Getting the Word Out with Power and PersuasionA well defined business advertising strategy is the key to home business success. All home businesses need to communicate their advertising message either to generate new business opportunities or to reinforce their message to their customers. As a home business entrepreneur, you can advertise your home business either online or offline or use a combination strategy. All three pathways are known to be very effective.
For your home business, the avenues of business advertising may be either online or offline.Offline advertising includes:o Print media such as newspapers, magazines and brochures
o Electronic media such as radio, television and cable advertisingOnline media includes:o Internet-based advertising such as Pay Per Click, banner advertising, Pay Per Impression, e-mail marketing and a host of other virtual advertising avenuesUsing a Combination Strategy to Advertise your Home BusinessBy using a combination strategy to showcase your home-based company, you could get a big bang for the buck. So evaluate various options. You will most probably be creating the advertisement yourself so follow a few simple rules. Write using “you” and in active voice, keeping sentences short. Bear in mind the context of the reader. A classified advertisement would have to be short and to the point compared to something you are sending out by e-mail or posting on a mailing list, Internet forum or discussion group. Try and include a referral if you have the space. Just send out one message in the advertisement.Look at some of the options you have.Your very own WebsiteMany individuals go on to the Internet to research products and services even while buying from a brick and mortar shop. Maintaining your own website would be a good option but if you are unable to so at least advertise on sites. Make sure that you are on to free listings, many municipalities and business associations offer this service. So conduct research. Sell your product on eBay. That is one of the best ways to advertise your product.Business Advertising through e-mailThere is an increasing level of hostility to spam. So be very careful of this media. It can be used to communicate with people who have shown interest in your product or service and also with existing customers. E-mail doesn’t cost anything to send. However, send it only to your confirmed subscribers such as those who have signed up for your online newsletter on your website. If your company does not have a newsletter, please explore that possibility at the earliest.Traditional Business Advertising through Community and Neighborhood NewspapersNewspaper advertising is short lived. Advertisements in magazines have a slightly longer life. Again, look for special supplements that are published periodically. Also, look at newsletters published by community NGOs. For certain categories of products and services, newspaper classified columns work out very well and strangely enough better than large advertisements in the same paper.Consider cable television and radio if you can afford it. these have a very loyal audience and accurate local reach all at a low cost. Direct mail continues to be popular amongst some sellers. However, though it is costly but it may be very effective to relate to existing customers. Also, you can send promos. These offers are often not used but are kept by individuals to give away to others.Using Business Cards for Business AdvertisingYour business card should not just contain the usual company name and various addresses. It is your corporate signature. It should contain several additional details such as:o The products you sell or the service you provide
o The names of the various brands you carry
o A catchy slogan that your prospective customers can rememberUse a double leaf business card and spread your business message. This is one of the most under used tools of business advertising.Forums on the InternetDon’t think just in terms of forums which are related to your business. A charitable cause in which you could participate may yield contacts which later translate into business. You could keep a stall for hand tools in a school fair well knowing that none will sell but gives exposure to your home business.Yellow Pages AdvertisingDon’t forget the yellow pages. Sometimes a small descriptor of a business is free. So it is not necessary to stick in a large advertisement. Many buyers will call up twenty sellers before deciding, not just the one with a large advertisement. Don’t forget to include multiple classifications of your product or service, as that will increase your presence.Sending a promotional offer is one of the best forms of advertisement. It can be sent to existing customers or potential ones. Here are some words that you need to be very careful about using. They often go down badly with readers of advertisements:Guarantee: If you include a warranty, provide brief details. Don’t say ‘we guarantee the product’.Free: When you use the word free, everyone looks for a catch.Opportunity: Remember, a buyer wants a hair dryer to work well, she is not looking for a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to buy one.Remember your advertising messages need to be roughly the same year after year. For that you need to understand your business in relation to your clients. Having understood the business, you will have to choose the media. And most importantly, you have to find ways of testing which form of advertisement is working well. Good luck with your business advertising mission!

Advertising & Marketing For Your Pet Store

Advertising & marketing is the single most important aspect of the pet boutique business. Even with the most unique, well merchandised store, if no one walks in, you’ll be out of business fast!Location, Location, Location:
An often overlooked aspect of marketing begins even before you open your doors. The most important element in real estate also pertains to the pet boutique retail business; location, location; location. Even with the most extensive marketing and advertising schedule, if the location is poor it will be difficult to succeed. Before choosing a location or relocation, establish your target market. Once you have established what type of clientele your store will cater to, choose a location that compliments the store. For example, if you are selling mostly food, choose a strip mall location next to a major grocery store with plenty of foot traffic. If you are a high end pet boutique, choose a city location with a large population or a high end tourist destination. Also make sure you are highly visible – in other words not around corner or up a lot of stairs. Trust us – we have made the mistake of having a few stairs leading to our store (in our old location; Tails by the Bay in Sausalito, CA) and lost about ½ of the foot traffic due to stairs. These small obstacles can seem minuscule but can greatly affect your traffic flow so consider every little aspect of the location.Advertising Mediums:
The various advertising mediums include newspaper, magazine, television, radio internet and phone book. Each avenue has advantages and disadvantages and what works for your store will depend on various issues but the best method to take is to try and see what works for your particular store. That being said, there are different aspects and important points for each medium you should consider. Newspaper advertising can be expensive but look into smaller local papers that have lower prices. These papers are generally read by most of the town and can be very effective with advertising sales, new items or just the store location and general product selection. For higher end boutiques, magazines are a great way to advertise a high end image with a classy high gloss ad. Radio can also be an effective medium as it has more of a personality then a print ad. The radio ad can tell a story about your store and include more information then a print ad. Radio is also very effective to advertise sales and events. Another extremely important advertising tactic is television. Don’t shy away from television due to high cost – in most instances, it’s less expensive then print. Local television commercials can be low as $1-2 an ad on stations such as Animal Planet, Comedy Central and MSN. Also, similar to radio, it’s more effective at showing the uniqueness of the store and will most likely intrigue the customer more then print. Finally, the internet can be an effective advertising tool – make sure you are in all the local “where to shop” listings including Yahoo Yellow Pages and look into websites such as http://www.shoplocal.com and [http://www.yokel.com]. Also, the internet can be an effective tool to advertise your store events; look into your local event websites in your area. Typically the event listings are free, especially if they are benefiting a local charity. Of course, if you also have an internet website as well as a retail location, internet advertising is the best avenue to advertise your website because the customer is already online shopping for pet items. Which advertising avenue works for you will depend on your specific store so don’t be afraid to try different mediums to see what works best for your unique retail shop. However, don’t switch haphazardly; make sure to give your chosen advertising a chance to work for you. Celia Sack & Paula Harris from Noe Valley Pet Co in San Francisco, CA recommend, “We like the regularity of advertising in the same places over the years, because we believe seeing an ad over time will stick in consumers’ minds. Businesses often make the mistake of offering coupons to see if their ads are working, and when they get no coupons back, they switch to a different medium for advertising. You rarely get coupons back, but that doesn’t mean your ad isn’t being seen.”Budget:
An important consideration is your advertising & marketing budget. The standard rule for advertising expenditure nationally is 5-7% of sales but this doesn’t take into account your markup or your rent or type of store. A better rule of thumb for smaller retail stores such as ours is not to spend less then 3% of sales on advertising and marketing. Also, as mentioned previously expensive rent for a high-visibility location is often the best advertising as you will need to advertise significantly less then a similar business with an average location. Also, look into co-op advertising with vendors to keep advertising costs down. Or team up with local rescue organizations to host events at your store. Often the free press for helping a rescue group combined with the rescue groups advertising and client base will help with a significant amount of the advertising and marketing cost.Events:
As just mentioned events can be a hugely successful way to advertise and market your store for little expense. The event itself may not yield huge sales, but the exposure and good will can benefit your store significantly. Try adoption days, holiday events such as Santa paws photos or a Halloween costume contest. Or create a truly unique event that will draw patrons from near and far. To counter act the cost of the event, you can co-op with vendors, event sponsors, rescue groups or other retail stores in the vicinity. Sponsoring local events in your community is another great way for exposure for little expenditure. Celia & Paula from Noe Valley Pet Co recommend, “The best advertising we do is sponsoring and donating to events, festivals, etc. Businesses often don’t see this as advertising, but it is the best kind, because you’re also doing something charitable, and consumers appreciate that you’re giving back to the community.”