Are you a mother with young children? Dream of having a home business but wonder, “How will I get customers when I can’t even leave the house?” The good news is that you can use low cost and creative ways called “guerrilla marketing strategies” to reach your customers. The great news is that you don’t even need to step out of your home!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. TELL THE WORLD
If your home faces a busy street or walkway, a signboard is a good start to advertise your business.
Keep it short and simple – write the name of your business, your product offering and your contact details to a maximum of 15 words.
Like a “Baby on Board” sticker, attach an A5-sized sign to your car’s rear windscreen for an ad on the road. Ensure that you still have a clear, unobstructed view of traffic behind!
Another adspace is your shopping basket – a sign there alerts shoppers and will have them knocking at your door when they need home-baked cakes, alteration services or a traditional massage.
2. CAN I HAVE YOUR CARD, PLEASE?
A professional-looking calling card effectively advertises your business and helps spread the word.
With quality cards costing as low as RM80 to print 250 pieces, they are the perfect item to hand around when someone asks, “Can I have your telephone number in case I need a copywriter?”
Simplicity is the best policy – stick to one colour and a plain background. Again, include only essential details like your business name, your contact details, your website (if you have a presentable one) and a brief description of your services.
3. GRAB A PARTNER
Look for a brick-and-mortar business whose customers may need your services. Traditional businesses love to be seen as convenient, one-stop centres and will gladly display your business cards if you present the idea as a win-win situation. If you are a tailor, approach the textile shops. If you are a baker, approach a baking supplies shop.
Shopping for baking supplies once, I was elated when the owner recommended a home-based baker who could whip up the healthful birthday cake I wanted. Needless to say, my son had a happy birthday and I’ve recommended that baking supplies shop to anyone who asks!
4. POWER NETWORKING
Maximise waiting time at your children at their doctor’s or kindergarten by chatting with other parents. It’s the best way to introduce your business after the question, “What do you do?”
Remember that there is a time and place for everything. While your birthday cakes are the top-of-the-line, be sensitive that a mother with a seriously ill child may not be in the mood to hear about them!
5. VOLUNTEERS, PLEASE!
Is your sister’s or neighbour’s kindergarten-aged child having a year-end concert? Offer your sewing skills to make the costumes needed by showing the principal samples of your handiwork.
Once the principal sees a creative and quality portfolio, you may just land yourself a yearly contract for the costumes.
With her book-keeping experience, Tan L.C., volunteered to help her former employer manage the company accounts when she stayed home after becoming a mother. A year later, her former employer became her first client and recommends her services to other companies looking for accounts clerks.
6. GIVE A GIFT
Everyone loves a present, especially a home-made one. Azrina Mohd Azmi first gave her cloth diapers to family and friends. Soon, she received offers to buy them and now, she is the proud business owner of FreshBots® cloth diapers that retails at baby shops and her online store.
7. LET’S PARTY!
Multi-level marketing companies like Amway, Avon and Tupperware built their successes from the house party. Bring customers to your home by hosting a party featuring your products or services.
A party is a great way for you to make friends and share your passion. As a host with the mostest, your guests will remember you better if they left having a good time, a goody bag or a useful lesson.
8. GO ONLINE
The Internet is the best way to connect to customers beyond your home. Free adspace is available at online forums, eBay has the cheapest online store and blogs let you share your product or service portfolio for free.
Carol C., enjoys a steady stream of clients for her babysitting services with just one ad placed in eHomemakers
Bloggers like Deana, a part-time baker, gets new orders from her blog while Audrey Koh, owner of TheBabyLoft, shares tips for the cloth diapers and slings she sells.
The sky is really the limit for marketing your home business even if you hardly have the chance to go out and see it.