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Market Your Business from Home

We’re all figuring out new ways to get our work done, including our business marketing. This is no time to stop getting your brand message out there. Here are some tips for how to pivot and achieve your marketing goals without ever leaving your home!

First, stay on top of the latest guidance and news.

Your efforts need to be in sync with current events. Asking people to “stop by” when there is a stay at home order or marketing group events would fall flat and make you seem out of touch.

Make sure your messaging reflects an understanding of the current circumstances of your target audience. That varies widely now, from people heavily impacted by loss of income to people who need products and services delivered in different ways. No group photo will seem in touch right about now.

As always, you need to know your target audience and what matters to them. Your marketing needs to address their needs as well as factor in the latest information related to the pandemic.

Create creative space and time.

I have worked from home for many years. I have found that it is easier for some people than others. Here are tips I can offer for creating the time and space to market your business from home, as well as your other work.

  • Define work time and space. You can’t focus unless you do.
  • If there are other people in your house, let them in on the plan. Your kids and spouse want you to be happy, so just tell them how they can support you.
  • Set aside time for active work as well as research and planning. Getting tasks done is usually top priority, but you also need time to learn new things. Build that into your work plan.
  • Connect with resources. Use online meeting tools or pick up the phone. Working from home does not need to mean working alone.

Kerry Thomas recently offered more work from home advice here. NPR also offers more tips on how to work from home effectively.

Use new ways to meet your business marketing goals.

Getting people into your store isn’t going to work right now. Neither will visiting their offices in most cases. What can you offer curbside? Do Virtually? Now is the time to think of new ways to offer your products and services.

You need to market in new ways too. The good news is that there are many online tools, many are even free. Find the “right” tools to use based on your target audience. Your established email list may be the ideal or tapping into a community like a focused Facebook group or Quora topic. Figure out where you can reach your target and be there!

Online posts and email may feel instantaneous, but you still need to build in lead time. For example, you can’t announce your takeout sandwich special at 11 and expect orders to pour in. You probably want to announce it the day before to give everyone time to see your message.

This can be a great time to try new ways to market your business. Who knows, your new methods learned as you market your business from home may prove effective even without a pandemic!

 

Pikwizard Offers New Free Stock Photo Options

Most of my clients don’t have a large marketing budget. One of the ways I maximize is by using quality free stock images. I have written in the past about some great stock photo options and want to share a new one – Pikwizard.

According to Pikwizard, the site offers more than 100,000 completely free images and more than 20,000 of those are exclusive. They are adding new images to the library daily and the ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images. Images not marked as “premium” are free to use without attribution.

The fact that they have many images that are not on other sites is worthy of mention, and here’s another: there are many pictures of people, which tend to be rare in free stock photo sites. Check out the site search for “office” or “meeting” and you’ll see plenty of people.

The Internet – the Mightiest Brand of All?

Marketers and communicators want to position their brand and area of expertise as top of mind with their audiences. Few can dream of becoming as pervasive as the internet, a tool that was virtually non-existent before the 1990s and is now part of daily life for most people.

I was doing print publications for a large school district in the 1990s, when I decided to put that content online. The result was one of the first school districts to have a website.

Back then, we had a lot of ideas and dreams for what the internet could do for marketing and communication and had to apply a lot of creativity to present even the most basic information. The technology needed time to develop. An equal challenge was creating online literacy among the people we wanted to reach.

First Impressions Are Created Online

Today, I have a digital marketing agency. The conversation with clients and potential clients is all about what can be achieved. Now. Today. Our audiences are online, every day, and are eager for us to deliver the online experiences they expect.

The digital world is now the place where most people get their first impression of a brand. Neatly presented storefronts and carefully crafted print materials are replaced by an online world where we expect every brand to have a compelling presence. We look to their websites, social media and online directories and form an opinion.

In addition, we are generally most influenced by what others have to say. We look to reviews and comments to decide if a product is worthy, where to go to eat, what services to sign up for, and much more. The virtual world is a key influencer of our daily reality.

The internet has created a marketing and communication tool that no brand can ignore. Successful businesses and organizations build strong, two-way relationships and nurture them on an ongoing basis online.

Strong Online Brands Connect with Customers

A successful online presence is built in a way that establishes credibility and connects with the target client. Brands need a consistent and compelling online presence that informs and engages. Design, words, images and more need to create a consistent experience for people who will likely connect across several platforms.

Brands Must Manage Many Online Storefronts

The internet provides multiple access points. There are websites, discussion boards, social media platforms, directories and more. Your audience can first connect with you in a variety of ways. Brands must embrace these multiple virtual storefronts and ensure each makes a worthy first impression.

  • Website: The business website is the online location where a brand has complete control over look and feel, messaging, and engagement. It is the place to drive anyone who is interested in your business, products and services. For this reason, the brand website—viewed from desktop computers as well as mobile devices–is the most critical component of your online presence.
  • Email Marketing: Email still gets the most attention and engagement among all online marketing options. To remain relevant to the target audience, a brand must develop a way to regularly share information by email.
  • Facebook: With the largest (by far) number of active daily users in the United States and beyond, Facebook is the social media channel that no business can afford to ignore. Users span all age groups and demographics. Consumers are on Facebook, likely every day.
  • Social Media: There are literally hundreds of social media channels. It is important to identify the ones that are used regularly by the target client and have a credible, active presence on each.
  • Community networks: Consumers look for third-party confirmations before they make purchasing decisions. Businesses must tap into community networks to understand the conversations and share information when relevant.

Across all these virtual storefronts, businesses must provide content that meets the needs and interests of the target audience. It is not enough to sell online. Customers expect brands to help them with their interests and needs. They expect businesses of all kinds to engage with them, inviting their ideas and comments and reacting when they take the time to do that.