Here are some fun, cost effective ways to build your solo-entrepreneur or home networking business. You can put any of these into action today!
Combine business with pleasure and giving back: I'm all about having fun! And, I'm definitely all about giving back! How incredible would it be to be able to make money while you are enjoying yourself as well ?! Do a joint wine & cheese party with other companies who compliment your business, watch your client lists crossover because they trust the person referring you. What about a themed event like a "mock" casino night where all of the proceeds go to a charity of your choice. Offer your time at a charity event. My girlfriend hosts a charity event in the name of her little girl who had leukemia and I give a few of my travel certificates for them to auction off. I feel good because trips make high ticket auction items earning thousands of dollars for the charity and I get great exposure!
Develop your list: I think it's safe to say that the quality of your list versus the quantity is the most important here. A list is not any good unless the people on it are in your target audience. If you do not have a list yet, you can begin to grow your list in so many ways, however the first way to get it going quickly is by using an email marketing company to send out a mass email for you to say, a Million people which should only cost you about $ 150 total! If you have written your copy correctly you should get a nice little list started. Make sure you are offering them something that is of "value" or "benefit" and have an area where you can "capture" their name, ie invite them to get your newsletter which offers free tips on marketing!
Use Snail Mail: There is no doubt about it, the internet is the way to get your name out there and fast. I think it's important not to forget about good old "snail mail". People still like to have something they can touch and hold in their hands. Personal letters are basically obsolese these days, so it's nice to get a card or letter in the mail. (Even if it's from a business!) Just make sure it has a personal touch or an offer that is special for your recipient. Always be marketing value. I had a mentor tell me once that every time he went on vacation he did send out his top clients postcards, how cool is that ?!
Make the customer feel special: Think of creative items that you can send your clients, not expensive, just creative. Some of the most wonderful gifts I've received are small gifts in great packaging. I sent out postcard cocoanuts to all my top clients once which cost me a whole $ 3.50 and it was a total hit!
Trade shows & Conferences: Small or large they are all good exposure. Get creative, there is a tradeshow out there for anything and everything.
Sponsor Locally: Sponsor the local high school football team or perhaps the little league team, soccer, you get the idea. Hang your banners, get your logo on t-shirts, baseball caps, host their pizza party, give out freebies - anything with your logo on it. Go the extra mile and get a little PR write up in the paper!
Business Cards / Trinkets: Make your business card something that the client will keep. Notepads that they'll use, magnets, calendars, pens, mouse pads, etc. Notepads usually hang around my desk for quite a while, put your business, phone number and your motto or tag line on them and they sure will not forget you anytime soon.
Bag it! Yes, bag it. Any little thing with your logo or name on it that you can give to any golfing events sponsored by corporations and / or fundraisers. They are always looking for something to put in the golf "goodie" bag.
Become an online expert: Give your time and expertise to answer questions in forums that have attendees that fit your demographics. You'll soon be attracting "just the right" customer to you.