This is our fourth and final installment of our four weeks to start your own business. You should now have a great foundation for your business and have started your marketing efforts. If you missed the first three weeks, which are about planning and laying a strong business foundation, and marketing, you can read them here:
- Start A Home Based Business in Four Weeks – Week 1
- Start A Home Based Business in Four Weeks – Week 2
- Start A Home Based Business in Four Weeks – Week 3
This final week we will be making sure you have a marketing engine that that is efficient, cost effective. gets you results & allows you to scale your marketing.
Week 4 day 1: Visiting forums
People often overlook forums as a place to market, but in fact they are idea. You are going to the places where people are looking for solutions to their problems and you happen to have the solution. Not only can you tell people about your product or services on forums you can answer questions that help establish you as an expert. Search for your topic and you will find groups and forums that are interested. Remember to be a bit creative in your search topics and don’t just search for your product, but instead look for the kind of problems your product solves. Make sure that you don’t just sell but add value to the conversation and establish yourself as a resource for solutions.
Week 4 day 2: Take a look at paid advertising opportunities
Throughout this series we have talked about a lot of ways to generate a buzz and get marketing for no cost. In week three you developed a list of media that your customers access. Now it is time to take a look at what advertising you are willing to pay for. This can be Facebook ads, website banners, magazine ads or ads on the radio. Of course if you already have as much business as you can handle you can put this step off, but if you are still building momentum, paid ads might be just the ticket to get the ball rolling. Make sure that both the clients you are targeting and the media you are using fall into your first tier for both categories. Make sure your offer speaks directly to your potential customers and don’t be afraid to tailor your advertising for the platforms you are using.
Week 4 day 3: Rewards and referral programs
Money cannot buy a referral, which is why it is both the most reliable and the most lucrative advertising out there. To make sure that your customers stay loyal and tell all of their friends about you and your business develop a program to reward your customers, both for when they refer business to you and for when they provide repeat business to you. Consider developing a program that provides exclusive perks and deals just for your clients. Offer free products or discounts when your clients refer a new customer. Make sure that the discounts and perks you offer have a value to your customers, because the market place is savvy and they can tell when they are being offered an empty rewards program.
Week 4 day 4: Make customer service a top priority
It is easy to take care of your customers when everything goes right, but eventually something will go wrong. Instead of reacting when this happens, make sure you have a customer service policy in place. Your customer service policy should include your return policy and product or service guarantees. Once you develop your return policy and guarantee, add it to your website so your customers know your policies up front. Develop policies for when a product is late or isn’t delivered as promised. Make sure that your policy incentivizes the customer to keep working with you, but also doesn’t give away the store so to speak.
Week 4 day 5: Deliver the quality products and services you promise
This is more of a day to reflect and review. Look at your product and service offerings and make sure they meet the highest standards of quality both for you and your clients. Take a critical look and see if there is any way you can improve upon your products and services. Don’t just look at the products themselves, but the presentation, when your customers open your product does it look special? Sometimes you have the best product, but now you want to also make sure that every detail including packaging and shipping materials add value and make your products stand out.
Week 4 day 6: Schedule your marketing
At this point you have implemented multiple marketing strategies and you are starting to get a little traction, but you need to set a schedule and follow it for all of your marketing tasks. The easiest way to do this is by creating a calendar with your marketing activities. To be the most effective make sure you schedule an activity for every day. This can include setting up advertising campaigns with paid media, guest spots on blogs and vlogs, interviews on podcasts and even tweets and engagement on social media. If you don’t have a specific activity for a day use that day to go on forums or to look for and generate additional marketing opportunities.
Week 4 day 7: The art of the follow up
Believe it or not many people have the sale right in their hands then blow it by not following up. Take this day to follow up with customers, with advertisers, with your press releases and with all of the marketing activities you have worked on up to this point. You will also want to follow up with clients that have already purchased. Make sure they know about your loyalty and referral program and check in. You will find that by following up you will generate business even when you don’t expect it.
You have now completed the first four weeks to start your business. Unless you started your business in February, you still have a couple days in the month left, so here are a couple extra activities to round out the month and really get your business going.
Bonus day 1: Dig in deep
It took a lot to get through the first month and the ride isn’t over. You have to stay energized and excited. Today you will want to find great motivational reading and listening to keep your focus and keep up with the tenacity and endurance it will take to fully realize the potential your business has. Find a seminar that will keep you inspired, talk to others doing businesses like yours and share successes and struggles. This is also a day where you might reward yourself with a couple extra hours of sleep, a massage or something else that will help you rejuvenate for the next month of business.
Bonus day 2: Make it better
From time to time you will want to take a step back and evaluate your business. Are you happy with how it is running, is your website what you want it to be, is your accounting and business process running smoothly? This is the day to look at the whole machine from taking the order, to shipping and everything before, after and in-between. If something isn’t working right or working as well as you want it to, write it down and come up with a plan to fix it. You may find you are wasting time and energy somewhere along the way in your process, this is where you take a critical eye and fix any of the pain points in your business.
Now that you have completed your first month, you need to keep going. Use your marketing plan and schedule along with your business plan to achieve both your short term and long term goals.
Start a Home Business in 4 Weeks Series:
- Week One: Do Your Research, Make Decisions & Plan
- Week Two: Build A Strong Foundation For Your Home Business
- Week Three: Create Your Marketing Plan & Strategy
- Week Four: Market, Assess, Succeed