There are many ways to market a home-based business. But one of the simplest ways is to use an every day business tool - email. By using these five easy tips you'll see how easily your business can grow without much effort on your part.
1. Use a Professional Signature - This is an important tip to use on every email that you send. Even your friends may not always remember your website address or business phone number and will quickly look to an old e-mail to look it up.
When preparing an email signature it's important to include Your Name, Company Name, and your Physical Address or Website Address. You may also include your phone number. Below is a sample Email signature:
Christian Work at Home Moms
The signature is simple, easy to read and includes a link directly to my website. It is very important to include the http:// before the website address because many email programs will not link the text to your website without this (it will appear as text - not a link).
Also, make sure that you double check that you have your website correct. Often times I've found that people have their website wrong by inverting a letter or two and aren't aware of it. It cannot only lead to a loss of a sale, but it shows less professionalism on your part.
You can also use a virtual business card as your signature. You can design and purchase your own virtual business card at http://www.vistaprint.com. There is a very small cost - less than $2.00 for this professional looking virtual signature file.
2. Find a "Signature Buddy" - This is an easy and cost-free way to spread the word about your business. Ask a colleague or friend if they will "swap" a line in their signature with you. You will add a line at the bottom of your signature with a link to their business and they will do the same.
Christian Work at Home Moms
Publishing and book marketing - http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com/
The signature "swap" can be as simple as a line (as above) or as much as a 2 - 3 line testimony of why you're recommending this link. You can find a permanent signature "buddy" or change it weekly or monthly.
3. Send Email Coupons - This is a great way to network using email. Send a special coupon by email that is available only for those that receive your emails. You can also extend this to a newsletter if you have one. Offer a special coupon for anyone who signs up for your newsletter!
You can send other specials by email as well - special offers, free gifts, ebooks, etc. There are many ways that you can utilize your email to bless your customers and colleagues.
4. Create a Custom Background for your Email - This is easier to do than it sounds. If you are using Microsoft Outlook or a similar program, you can find directions on creating your own custom signature online at places like http://www.mailmsg.com/outlookstationary.htm.
Custom email stationary can take a plain email and make it look professional. I include my logo and my website name in my custom background. Be sure to make the picture "light," so that it does not compete with the text of the emails you'll be sending.
5. Send Thank You Emails - In this day and age it is very acceptable to send a Thank You card via email. This is an easy way to thank customers, advertisers, and even newsletter subscribers.
You can create you own Thank You or use a program like Yahoo! Greetings. Many of these programs have free e-cards that you can send as well as a paid version with additional designs. Another great place is Hallmark.com where you can get customized greeting e-cards for any occasion, free. It's a great way to remember your client's birthdays or perhaps a special day in their business.
You can even set up an auto-responder to send the Thank You automatically. There are many auto-responder programs for you to choose from and many website hosting companies will provide you with one, you'll just need to go in and set it up.
One great thing about an auto-responder is that you can set up when the email will be sent, what will "trigger" the auto-responder and what the email will say. This way, any time you receive an order, the customer receives an email immediately, even if you're not available.
One downfall to auto-responders is that they can seem impersonal. However, you can overcome this by taking the time to write a personal note to your customers and use this as the auto-responder email.
Can you see how beneficial e-mails can be for your business? When you use a professional looking signature, find a "buddy" to swap lines in your signature, personalize your email background, use auto-responders and any other items that you are able to customize, you'll never look at email the same way again. Marketing can be inexpensive and effective when you know the right ways to do it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com. This site is dedicated to providing work at home moms with opportunities to promote their businesses while at the same time providing them spiritual encouragement and articles. Visit http://www.CWAHM.com for additional information.
Read more articles by Jill Hart or search for articles on the same topic or others.