Internet Marketing Tools Ideas and Tips for Home Business Owners 

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Home Business Internet Marketing Tools

You have to research how to best use the large variety of internet marketing tools that are available until you find the ones that work the best for your small business.  There are many choices today and the price ranges from free to quite costly depending on where you want to run your ads as well as how frequently you want them to run.  Many of the existing tools you already have at your disposal may not be currently utilized to their full capacity and that is a waste of your precious resources.  You have got to make the most of all of you have to succeed in running your home based business.  �Waste not, want not� is good advice for start ups and established businesses.

LETTING TECHNOLOGY WORK FOR YOU

If you are paying for a land line and a cell phone then you need to learn how to use them both to your advantage.  Did you know that calls can be forwarded from one line to another to prevent you from missing out on any leads?  Did you know that you can get a link for the two via a virtual assistant program that will notify you on all available numbers until you are located?

These technologies exist and you probably pay for some of them already without even taking advantage of them.  You can contact your phone providers and find out all of the details of your current plan to see if you are using all of the features wisely.  You can also ask them what they have to offer in terms of additional time management tools.  They are more than willing to describe new promotions and advances to get you to upgrade.  Frequently you can get a trial period at a reduced cost if you upgrade! 


Your computer and internet access are another resource that needs to be fully utilized.  There are many programs available to help you keep track of your schedule and your finances.  Many of these also offer free trials to help you determine which one will suit your business the best.  Time management is a critical key to the success of your small business.  It is as important as the passion you have for selling your product or offering your service to the world. 

As discussed earlier, there are a wide variety of free online calendars that you can take advantage of to help you make the most of your precious time.  Many of these sites offer printable versions for free as well as the online versions.  Many people who are starting their own small business have to keep their day job in the beginning.  For these people it is even more imperative that the few precious hours a week they can devote to the promotion of their new business be allocated and spent wisely.

Utilizing your telephone and computer to your best advantage is a top priority in the running of your own company.  Put these technologies to work for you and watch how your lead generations and sales soar.

There are a wide variety of traditional marketing plans that can be implemented and have been proven to work very well through out history for the launching of a small business.  These methodologies are slowly being swallowed up the by the new wave of virtual advertisement opportunities available on the internet.  Gathering local clients by running ads in the newspaper is now being replaced by classified ads on the internet.  The ads on the internet are more often than not totally free to list as the websites are ad supported.  While you can still make post cards and do mass mailings it is far more cost efficient to do a mass emailing instead.  The internet has changed the world or marketing, but it has also made it possible for the home based business to operate globally.

We now live in a global consciousness.  This shift in consciousness from a strictly profit driven society to a more sustainable human centered lifestyle on the planet has been the topic of a great many seminars and focus groups over the past year.  It is on the top of the corporate mind and on the tongues of all the movers and shakers that make the decisions for the corporations that shape our world.  The world is becoming more and more aware of the interconnected state of humanity and we are acting as a global community. 

Your local small business can be doing business with customers in Zimbabwe today thanks to the internet.  It is all about the advertising.  Who you choose to focus your marketing campaign on will determine if you generate any business in a given area.  If you are selling an item or service that is needed versus wanted you also increase the likelihood of your own success.  These are common sense approaches to your business.  The focus here is on using the internet marketing tools to increase revenue.

There are new marketing and management internet tools coming out everyday that makes all of the information you need available at your fingertips all the time.  There are hand held devices now that allow you to access the internet and store your schedule on your cell phone.  They are becoming more and more affordable and also more compact as each generation is released into the market.  Cell phones are now manufactured that have email and web browsing capability.  Technology allows an ever increasing amount of data to be stored in smaller packages.  This keeps changing the face of portable data storage as ever more intriguing packets are offered to the public.

INCREASING SALES THROUGH THE INTERNET

The internet has expanded marketing to a whole new level.  You can generate sales in such a wide variety of ways on the net that it is hard to keep up with them all.  There is a lot of buzz about the social networks lately.  As they have added a localized ad campaign to allow you not just to network and sell through emails and bulletins, but they are now also offering small businesses the chance to buy in to the ad supported revenue as well. 

This is revolutionary as it is localized or global based on your request.  Also you can target the people in your sales area even if they are not in your network.  This is because they are ad supported sites in the first place, so your customers will be pleased to note that the ads they are forced to look at are at least relative to items they are interested in or in their area. 

Some of these sites are super savvy at determining what the customer is looking for based on what they choose to use on their home pages.  From downloadable music to d�cor the things a user shows an interest in are the things that are then displayed in the ads. Taking advantage of the free opportunity to advertise via a social network is the most obvious reason for expanding ads to include small and local businesses. 

Many people advertise their small businesses via emails, bulletins, memos and updates on a daily basis to everyone who will accept them into their network.  There are people with literally thousands of people in their network.  Often all concentrated in or around their marketing area.  These sites can either be used for free if you are willing to put the time into them or they can be used for paid ads if you can afford them.  They are becoming more and more affordable as they become more and more common place.

Another way to increase sales through the internet is to make use of banner ads and reciprocal links.  These are now available on the net from some sites for free.  Of course you can always upgrade to a paid version if you are not satisfied with the free banners available.  These banners are often exchanged via links to complimentary sites or affiliate sites that will lead to either your site, an informational site with links to your site or to your affiliate site.  It works like this: If you post a link to my site on your site, I will post a link to your site on my site. 

Blogs have become common place in all areas of commerce.  Write an interesting blog and generate an avid following of readers and you can be a giant in affiliate marketing.  Post a lot of links to things you support that also support you and write about something that people want to read. 

Hot topics will rise to the top of a search engine based on key word selection.  This can be done either by purchasing flat fee internet advertising or by purchasing into the pay per click systems that are available.  Adding a streaming video to your blog will allow customers to gain more insight about the products or services that are unique to your company.  This method has become more and more popular as several popular internet sites have made this available for free as well.

You can also take advantage of the opportunity to advertise via an e-newsletter.  If you can actually charge a fee to enroll in the newsletter then you both generate income off the e-newsletter and can provide your most interested target audience with your recent information and product updates.  Joining online forums that have topics that are related to your services and products are also a great way to solicit people for your e-newsletter group.  Exercise caution in going too far off topic as you will be accused of trolling on some sites and banned from using them for discussion.  Some bans are temporary and some bans can be permanent.  So be wise and just don�t risk it. 

Interactive chats offer another great forum to provide 24 hour customer service online.  There are many larger companies that outsource these jobs.  A growing trend in the US is to outsource to work-at-home agents which means some home businesses are operating customer service operations for other companies   But the wonderful advantage of internet tools such as interactive chats is that even a one-person home based business can utilize the technology with the right software. You can manage your time and your customer service right from your computer.

Putting the technology of today to work for you in generating more sales through the internet is the best choice a home based company has in the global market.  Thanks to technology, you can take advantage of the opportunity to be on the ground floor of the revolutionary ways of doing business that is happening around the world today.  Jump into the technological advances and learn how to use all the new fangled gadgets as they are the way the new generations of clients get their information and fill their needs.  Don�t be left behind based on an unwillingness to learn how to use these tools or because you are operating a small business from home.

COMMUNICATING WITH OLD AND NEW CUSTOMERS

Now that you know how to generate business on the internet using the incredible new technology available today, you have to be sure that you follow through on all of your business emails and phone calls and not waste the leads that you worked so hard to gather together.  You can take advantage of auto-responders in your email system to let your clients know you got their order, shipped a product or when you will be available for customer service. 

The automated response emails can be generically programmed to just read that you are away or updated on a day to day basis to reflect what is happening in real time.  This makes your clients feel like they are �in the loop� so to speak and that they matter to you enough for you to inform them of your location and plans.   If you are careless with your leads your clients will feel like they are unimportant and may classify you as unprofessional based on that poor handling.

Keeping in contact with your clients is a very effective way to keep your reputation in the on and offline community rock solid. Returning calls and return emails promptly illustrates to your clients that they are important to you and that you want them to know it.  It is very helpful to maintain a current and complete list of your clients emails and phone numbers so that you can notify them of any changes that relate to them.  This also allows you to be able to keep in contact with them between business dealings so they keep your company in mind.  Then when they have a need that is in your area of expertise or want a product or service you sell, you automatically pop into their minds. 

Gathering this information from your clients is fairly simple. Just ask them for it.  One technique for continued branding that has been used successfully is to obtain the date of birth of your client.  You can then use software that will automatically send an email that says Happy Birthday.  This is not something that is done by every company, but it has grown in popularity as it is established as a fact that this action does indeed keep your business name fresh in your customers mind.  The benefit to this of course is not just being able to retain your client. They will also speak of you to others if they hear someone searching for what you offer.   They will think of you in more friendly terms when you take more friendly action.  That is merely human nature.  If you are the company that goes the extra mile to make its customers happy, you will be the company that has customers to make happy.

All of the myriad of ways available to advertise on the internet do not teach you customer retention.  In the past this has been an issue of trial and error.  In reality it is quite simple.  Treat your customers with kindness, courtesy and respect while dealing fairly with them in all negotiations and they will be returning customers who are pleased to refer you to their friends.  Utilizing the technology available to you in order to make your customers feel appreciated is using good business sense.  Sending out a �Thank You� card by mail still works but it is more cost efficient to send that �Thank You� via email instead and the thought is still appreciated the same. 

Larger companies have recorded thank you messages on an auto dial system that will routinely call an existing customer and thank them for their business.  Be careful with this as it has gotten some companies in trouble for unsolicited phone calls.  In particular several years ago a very large entertainment company was shut down by the FCC as these phone calls were literally bombarding the clients who filed a lawsuit.  The trend for these types of phone calls has been on a downward spiral since.  The difference of course is abuse of the system.  A simple courteous thank you call is a far cry from harassment.   Use a combination of common sense and technology and you will be able to successfully gain and maintain a solid customer base.


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