The Home-based Business Phenomenon

Present-day American dreams

Present-day American families have the same dreams shared by families a few decades ago; buy a home, provide for the health and welfare of their children, and send those children to college. But the price tag for fulfilling these dreams climbs higher and higher every day, making it much more difficult to achieve the same standard of living that families enjoyed in past decades.

It used to be that a husband went off to work in the morning and the wife stayed home doing household chores and taking care of the kids; but the days of one-income households are long gone and both parents must now go out to work – when they can find it.

However, as the old familiar adage suggests, “necessity is the mother of invention” and accordingly, many enterprising single moms & dads, and even husband & wife teams are finding ways to stay home, and still earn a living via opportunities that are springing up all over the country as a result of the tremendous growth of an industry that makes work at home possible.

The Home-Based Business (HBB) industry has made it possible for anyone with some basic skills, a computer and Internet access to start a business at home. For example, an individual with a background in word processing can create his/her own in-home word processing business.

Getting started

Before you begin your Home-Based Business however, it is important to do your research. Find out what kind of software program will be most suitable for the type of business you intend on doing. You will also want your computer system to be compatible with your clients and customers.

Next, look at the make-up of your industrial area. An arts community, or a thriving business area? By checking out the demographics of your area, you can make a decision regarding the type of advertising you want to use.

In the beginning, you will want to try all sorts of advertising. Neighborhood newspapers are an inexpensive way to advertise, but they usually only published on a weekly basis and that may not be enough to keep the clients rolling in. You can put your name on the bulletin board at your local supermarket and pass out flyers door-to-door in large office buildings or other business complexes.

Although it may be more expensive than neighborhood newspapers, you may want to run an ad in your local daily newspaper (in the business services section). Church bulletins and university newspapers that sell advertising may also be a relatively inexpensive way to go. You should also get your business cards printed up right away; and don’t let a client walk out the door without one or two business cards. Repeat business and word-of-mouth may well be your best advertising tool.

Contact Your Independent Promoter Today!

Whatever methods you choose to employ in your advertising, do yourself a favor and track the responses. Put a check list next to your telephone and whenever a call comes in (whether you get hired or not) ask the prospective client where s/he found out about you. It won’t take long for you to discover where your most cost-effective advertising comes from and when you know that, you can punch it up and drop the ones that aren’t doing anything for you.

Do your homework!

One telephone call will be the only opportunity you have to sell your service. If you hesitate when asked a price for a particular project, you will probably lose the job so do your homework. Call the competition and ask what they are charging. If the competition is out of your immediate geographic area (and you are therefore not a threat to their livelihood), you may want to be straight with them and tell them you are starting a home-based business in their field and ask for their input. You may be surprised to find them willing to help out with important information.

Keep in mind that there are myriad of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to establish the fundamental operations of your new home-based business. Whether you expect to get clients from the Internet or not, it is necessary to set up your business in a manner that will accommodate local clients/customers. So business letter heads, envelopes, forms, business cards, invoices and other paraphernalia will be necessary.

It will also become necessary to establish your pricing policies and have them available upon inquiry. Depending on your business, you could set a basic rate which can be a flat rate or a percentage.

For example…

…Using the business of word processing for a pricing example, a prospective client may call asking what you charge for 4 single-spaced pages. Your answer might be $45.00 per page straight text and then when the client comes, you discover that what s/he has is 4 pages of extremely complicated tables – definitely NOT STRAIGHT TEXT.

By not making firm pricing commitments over the phone, you will have the flexibility to charge a more accurate price when a client brings you something other than what you were expecting.

Elaborating further on the word processing example, to some clients a resume may be a single spaced page, but it takes a lot longer to type than a business letter and you will want to charge more for resumes. You will want to establish an hourly rate for tables, transcription and other more time-consuming jobs.

Always keep in mind that your pricing will change as you become more familiar with what your clients demand, and you may find yourself doing a lot of list maintenance and merge letters, or you may be doing work primarily for doctors, or attorneys; so you need to have a good basis for your pricing… but be flexible.

There are several home-based business models you can choose from, each one giving you the same flexibility to create your own USP (Unique Selling Proposition), as well as your own operational balance sheet. After all, the income & expense aspect of any business is usually an excellent indicator of that business’ prospects for success or failure; and truth be told, no business – new or old – start out with failure as an aspirational milestone. Therefore, it is success to which they aspire and choosing the type of home-based business to launch could make all the difference.

Choice of business types

The two business types that came to mind – based on my own – experiences are: Promotion and Distribution. You can choose to be a promoter or a distributor in addition to all the other choices that are available; but I have provided a glimpse of each vocation with the help of two other publishers whose knowledge of the topics is unquestioned.

According to a What is Promotion? article published to the Slide Player website, “Promotion is any form of communication a business or organization uses to inform, persuade, or remind people about its products and improve its public image. Product Promotion: 1) Explains the major features and benefits of its products (especially in relation to competitors), 2) tells where the products are sold, 3) advertises sales on those products, 4) answers customer questions, and 5) introduces new products…”

…And Distribution is described in the following manner: After a product is fully developed and offered at a competitive price, it must be delivered to an identified target audience. The place element of the marketing mix is where product production and distribution channels are decided and planned. The decisions made in this step directly affect the types of communication that are used to tell the target audience about a product.” This description is provided in the article, What Is the Difference Between Place & Promotion in the Marketing Mix? Written by Tim Burris for the Chron website. And there are so many more!

Article Writing – Affordable Web Marketing Task!

From Overture, a keyword suggestion tool, you will see the millions of searches done for a certain keyword. When these keywords are typed in search boxes of search engines, indexed websites containing articles with those keywords will be displayed. And this is what leads traffic to websites with keyword-rich articles. Yes, the magic word is articles.

Content is king. You can say that again. That is why writing articles is one of the most utilized in Web marketing activity today. Web surfers just can’t get enough of information on various fields. Providing information through these articles is a surefire way to drive hot traffic to your web site.

Why is this so?

Following are few benefits that can enhance your Web business from writing articles:

1) It’s absolutely free

Too good to be true? Not really, although you do have to pay your Internet Service Provider; but that’s it. All you need is your thoughts, your computer, and your hands. If you have those, nothing will stop you from typing words that will make you complete that article for your website. So for which aspect of that process did you really shell out a red cent? Not immediately, but perhaps later when your electric bill come.

2) Your website will be noticed in a shorter period of time.

Submit that article of yours to article directories that get the most web traffic and in no time your web site will be crawled. That is if you don’t forget including your resource box or byline.

3) Obtain back links automatically.

>When you submit your articles to directories, surely, other websites will make use of your article too. With the copyright terms of your articles, the URL of your website will still be in tact and will subsequently direct more traffic to your website.

4) Improve your reputation.

As an Internet marketer, if you plainly display your products on your website, you will not gain much conversion rate. Conversion is when your traffic converts to sales. You have to show that you are knowledgeable on your field. And what better way to show that than by writing articles that will allow you some bragging rights, right?

Just make your creative juices flow and jot down or key in those ideas quickly to jumpstart your article writing momentum. With those benefits listed above, a writer’s block is the last problem you will ever be able to surmount.

Keep in mind that your writing need not be restricted to articles, because there are other modes of writing that are just as attractive to search engines. Those include: ebooks, blog posts, newsletters and public announcements, among others. So write! And write some more…just make your writing interesting and compelling for both humans and the search engine bots.

Email Marketing Evaluation: A Must!

A promotional method

Email marketing can be a very effective promotional method to reach target audiences around the world, despite the fact that in many cases, the marketing efforts of a business owner or promoter may not reach full potential unless s/he invests the necessary time, energy and money into evaluating the email marketing strategy which s/he has put into action.

It is during such an evaluation that a business owner can determine whether or not email marketing is a method that can enable him/her to reach stated marketing objectives. The same evaluation can be used to determine if email marketing as a strategy is having an adverse affect the business productivity.

Useful information

That having been said, there are a few ideas pertaining to the importance of evaluating email marketing that we’d like to discuss in this article, and will also offer what we consider useful information on how to initiate and complete the email marketing evaluation process. To say such a process, done on a regular basis, is important would be an obvious understatement since frequent evaluation of any email marketing strategy is not only important, it is crucial to the success of the business or individual that puts it into effect.

So it follows that one’s failure to evaluate his/her email marketing strategies can have adverse effects on finances and overall business objectives, including failure to produce results and loss of customers to his/her competitors.

Avoid shortcuts

Consider for a moment that an existing email marketing campaign is not effective because it does not reach members of the particular target audience. An evaluation will certainly reveal the reasons for this failure, one of which may very well be that the distribution list to which this campaign is being sent consists of recipients who have little or no interest in the products or services being offered via the emails.

Business owners who take shortcuts by purchasing large email lists, often find their shortcut did not pay off because the recipients of their marketing emails are simply not interested in any product(s) or service(s) they offer. In this scenario the email marketing is likely to generate very few sales or website visits. However, reevaluating the email distribution list to include recipients who are interested in the products or services being offered will likely result in significantly more sales and website visits.

Remove ALL semblances of spam!

Now consider a situation in which your email marketing is being construed as spam by recipients. If you have taken precautions to ensure your emails are reaching members of your target audience, but your emails seem like over the top sales pitches, the members of your email distribution list may view your emails as spam and not take your advertisements seriously. When this happens members of your email distribution list may be more likely to seek out a competitor when they are in need of products or services rather than making a purchase from you.

In fact, one of the subtle ways you could use to remind yourself that any likeness to spam must be avoided at all costs, is getting in the habit of refer to your list as an “opt-in subscriber” list and not a distribution list. Think of this excercise in these terms:

You can buy distribution lists. But you must create, build, and nurture subscriber listscreate, build, and nurture subscriber lists by offering interesting (compelling?), useful (valuable?) and free content on your website to attract and encourage visitors who become repeat readers and, ultimately valued subscribers. get the difference?

Evaluating your email marketing efforts may be formal or informal in nature. If you have specific business goals in mind you might want to consider the path to meet this goal as an indication of whether or not the email marketing is working. If you’re interested in reading more about email marketing take a look at this recently published post – Alternatively, you can evaluate your email marketing efforts by soliciting customer feedback.

The Easy Cash Phenomenon

Ask for customer feedback

Asking customers for their opinions about your email marketing campaign and whether or not they were compelled to make a purchase because of the content, the advertising or some other element is a simple and straightforward way of getting direct and unvarnished answers from your target audience.

Based on this information you should have a good indication of whether or not the email marketing strategy is effective. If it is not effective you should consider making changes to create more interest in your products or services. The changes you make should reflect any feedback you receive, and ensure you are not making changes that will cause even less interest from the members of your subscriber list.

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