Free Tools For Starting a Home Business
By Robert Sprague
Finding the Money for Your Business
Many business fail because they are under capiltalized. Taking advantage of free tools and internet resources will help you save some money and can help you find the money that you need for your new business. These resources can help you make the move from taking orders to being your own boss.
As part of your business plan you will need to make sure that you have enough money on-hand to run your business while it is getting off the ground. When planning your money requirements you will also need to plan for personal money needs as well.
A home business ownership is the best way to start a business. After you have gained experience then you can consider the move to a larger facility and perhaps financing you growth. At the beginning the home startup is your lowest cost option.
Regardless of your background, age or present situation, you can start a home business. Even if you lack credit, a business background, education, and experience drive and determination can help become a business success.,
Jay Reiss, mail order consultant, said "I started my home business 20 years ago, because I had no money to spend on office rent. Now, my ads are responsible for millions of dollars in sales. It's certainly possible if you try, even Apple Computer started as a home business."
Using Website Traffic to Build Your Home Business
One of the most underutilized webtools is email. Emails allows you to communicate with new visitors as well as repeat customers, at no cost. Nothing for postage, envelopes, paper or printing, a perfect price for a home business.
Email Marketing Statistics
- Today, eMarketer estimates there are 97 million active email users in the US over the age of 14. This number is expected to grow to 140 million by 2003.
- According to the American Management Association, email has overtaken the telephone as the preferred method of communication among North Americans.
- eMarketer reports that in 2000, twice as many emails were sent than traditional pieces of mail.
- In 1999 email marketing was a $900 million industry with 400 billion emails sent. By 2003, eMarketer estimates this will climb to $4.6 billion totaling 1.6 trillion emails.
- Jupiter Communications estimates that while paper-based campaigns receive only 1 percent to 2 percent response rate on average; email campaigns can receive a response rate of 5 percent to 15 percent.
- Forrester Research predicts that marketers in the US will have tripled their email marketing budgets by 2004.
- Forrester Research found that campaigns sent using customer house lists achieve a 10 percent click-through rate - 2 percent of these click-throughs result in a purchase.
- A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that more people go online for email than to do research. Seventy-five percent of executives say that email will be their primary source of business information by 2005.
Purchasing lists is a great way to jumpstart your business. As you develop customers and website visitors you will need to gather email addresses of visitors when they come to your website. You will need to offer them something in exchange for giving you their email address. Go to your home business competitor's websites and see what they offer new visitors.
Another important feature of email is using the signature tag line at the bottom of your outgoing emails to communicate your slogan or something unique about your home business. Think of this as another free marketing opportunity to tell potential customers about what your business offers.
Free Tools for Your Home Business
Free or low cost Domain Name Registration
Many companies will give you your domain name when you have them host or develop your website. At Art Sprague Consulting your domain is FREE when we develop your website. If you also choose a website marketing package.
Within the Internet industry GoDaddy is the best known domain name registrar. In addition to domain registrations they have an array of website products including development packages, website hosting, marketing packages, and site building software.
If you are considering an email only account GoDaddy also has email only accounts which will give you more storage and email options than a standard web hosting package. Check out their website for additional information about their services.
A second webhosting company which we recommend is BLUEHOST. Art Sprague Consulting has used them and been very satisfied.
Inexpensive Internet Based Business Fax Number
Not having a fax number is like telling the world that you are a small business. An inexpensive internet based fax with a local phone number will tell new customers that your business is large enough to have multiple phone lines.
Mareting is such a vital part of your business I wanted to devote some extra time to it. Here are several principles that you need to consider when planning your marketing strategy.
"Marketing and innovation are the two chief functions of business. You get paid for creating a customer, which is marketing. And you get paid for creating a new dimension of performance, which is innovation. Everything else is a cost center." Peter Drucker
E. Jerome McCarthy originally wrote his classic book Basic Marketing which defined the 4 Ps of Marketing or as I call them the 4 Principles of Marketing. The 4 Principles of Marketing are a good starting point for developing your marketing plan.
The following is an interpretation of E. Jermone McCarthy's 4 Ps ( 4 Principles of Marketing )
#1 Product - Individual goods, product lines, or services.
Strategy: This is the most important part of any business strategy. For a product or service to succeed, it must offer value to the buyer. Supply and demand are the judge and jury.
Sales Tactics: Includes features, accessories, installation, instructions, service, warranty, packaging, and brand recognition.
#2 Distribution - Getting the product or service to the customer.
Strategy: Location, location, location holds true for all products. If consumers don’t know you exists - how can they buy it?
Sales Tactics: Channels, distribution systems, middlemen, warehousing, transportation, fulfillment, and shipping.
# 3 Price
Strategy: Price meets it own demand. Price points are a function of the degree of innovation found in the product. The more innovation and thus value added, the more latitude you have in setting a price.
Sales Tactics: Setting a price that serves the customer well and maximizes profits to the company will mean the difference between success and failure..
Price flexibility, level pricing, introductory pricing, discounts, allowances, geographic terms.
Communication with the customer
Strategy: Communication is defined as: Message sent. Message received. Message acted upon. If the product has been designed with customer desires and needs in mind, the communication necessary for getting a customer to pay for the product is already known and replicated in the media used to reach them.
Sales Tactics: Web sales, direct sales, mass selling, sales promotion, media selection
This eBook has borrowed several ideas from successful online marketing advertisters.
know how to
Art Sprague Consulting - Web design and business promotion at affordable rates.
Handling Your Email Lists
As you build up your email marketing list, you will want to stay in touch via email with visitors and customers alike, to promote your home business in their mind, and for add-on sales. Maintain separate lists of email addresses so that you know who are customers and prospects.
You should also track your customers buying habits so that you know how long it has been since a purchase and what was purchased. Your marking efforts will need to vary based upon this information.
This is one of the most powerful tools in your business arsenal. It is also a very inexpensive tool to use. Gather the information and use it.
Get testimonials from customers frequent buyers explaining what they love about your home business. Display it on your website and in emails. Thank them for the testimonial and send them a small gift of appreciation. You will be surprised how a free gift excites, and gets them to tell their friends and co-workers about your home business.
Free or Low Cost Website Content
There are many factors that that will make your website a valuable part of your business success. It can also be one of the hardest most time consuming taks. There are many free article directories available on the internet. Visit http://www.ezinearticles.com to see how they work.
Free content does has its drawbacks. Many search engines will note that content is not unique and will not rank the pages as high as they would be if they are unique. (Read the article titles Content Filters on Art Sprague Consulting website.)
Credit Card Acceptance
If you are selling your product online you will want to be able to finish the transaction online. PayPal.com has some free ecommerce solutions.
Free Classified Advertising
Customers Referrals and Incentives
Another element of free marketing a business is referral incentives. Ask your customers to spread the word about your business. If you have taken care of them they will often help you spread the word. Adding some incentives to the request will give them some extra motivation.
Search Engine Marketing Newsletter
Press Release Distribution
Press releases are an excellent way to drop your name in front of potential customers. Check out http://www.free-press-release.com as a way to help keep your name out.
Debbie Fields made a great chocolate chip cookie. Debbie says, "I had no money after buying ingredients, so starting my home business in the kitchen was the only solution. And I gave away free samples to get known. Anything is possible, you too can hit the big time, don't delay, start your home business today."