10 ways to market your work at home business for free (or low cost)

10marketingtipsbannerMost people don’t believe it when I tell them that I started up my local business, Mumatopia, with no budget.

We had just come out of a lean year. We’d lost thousands in the 2008 global financial collapse and we were deep in debt. So, what did I do? I started a new business!

Inspired by entrepreneur Justin Herald, after hearing an interview with him on a local radio station, I decided to start by dipping into the grocery budget to pay for my business name registration.

Once I had a client under my belt, I then used some of that money to order business cards and as my business grew I was able to invest more in my business.

Here are ten tips for marketing your work at home business for free:

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  1. Start a blog. Love writing or taking photographs? Starting a blog has never been easier. My 12 year old has three blogs! You can earn passive income using Google Adsense or you can attract individual advertisers. On the Support a work at home blog I have opted to only take individual advertisers from our community as, that way, I can ensure the ads come from legitimate businesses that are a good fit for our community. You can set up a blog for free on WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr or you can set up one on your own domain for a minimal cost (I recommend the latter option for branding purposes).
  2. Attend local networking events. Local networking events are fantastic as you can find support (vital when you’re home based), connect with other businesses. There are many networking events that you can attend for just $10 or $20.
  3. Set up a Facebook page. At the moment, Facebook pages are free to set up for businesses. If you can do your own graphics you can set up your profile picture and photo strip for free. If you don’t, you may want to consider making a small investment in hiring a skilled graphic designer to help you. Read my article here about why you should set up a Facebook Page and how you can use it to market your business.
  4. Set up a Linkedin Profile. If you are planning to provide business to business services, you can set up a profile on linked in and start linking with other business people you are getting to know through your networks.
  5. Join relevant networking groups on Facebook and Linkedin. There are many free networking groups for businesses where you can ask questions and offer your help to other businesses.
  6. Collaborate. Find other “like-minded” businesses you can collaborate with to offer promotions, prizes and to promote each others’ product launches. You’d be surprised how using a collaborative approach can enhance your business.
  7. Set up a mailing list on Mailchimp. Mailchimp offers free mailing lists for businesses with under 5000 subscribers. You can add a subscription form to your website or blog and your Facebook fanpage.
  8. Use F-Commerce. If you sell products, open a free online store on Payvment, which sits right on your Facebook Page. You only pay the Paypal transaction fees upon a sale. If you’re a WAHM, you can also list your items on somewhere like wahmbay.com.au for very low cost. There are also online shops such as etsy.com and madeit.com.au.
  9. Generate Publicity. If you can write, this is a great way to get the word out about your business for free. Getting in the mainstream news is easier than you might think. Milestones, events, achievements and public service information all make great stories. More information on publicity is in my ebook–Diving in: Practical tips for starting and growing your home based business.
  10. Use Vistaprint (or something similar). If you’re in need of business cards or flyers for an event or market, Vistaprint offers affordable printing and they have eco-friendly options as well. If you sign up to Vistaprint, they often have free offers too.

Marketing your start up business has never been easier but, make sure you don’t overstretch yourself. One of the reasons I was able to start up without a budget was because I already had graphic design skills, had working in marketing and public relations and understood how to promote my business without spending much. If you don’t have these skills, you can acquire them over time but it might be more cost effective to get professional help when you need it.

What are your free and low cost marketing tips?