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Five Ideas for Unique (and Cheap) Marketing

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Home-based businesses generally lack the large marketing budgets of bigger companies, but a smaller budget doesn't have to stop you from engaging in clever and effective campaigns.

When marketing on a budget, you need to "think outside the box" and go beyond the obvious marketing approaches. Direct mail and banner ads, for example, are one way to go, but if your competition is using similar methods, you need to differentiate yourself.

Below you will find a few unique ways to boost the exposure of your home-based business and generate more sales without depleting your budget.

Idea #1 Offer Something for Nothing

One of the biggest ways to draw a crowd off- and on-line is by offering something for free. In particular, something that will be of interest to your target audience.

For example, if you sell arts and crafts, you might offer a free guide to craft shows in North America. If you sell collectibles, you might offer a free newsletter of tips and news relevant to collectors. If you sell marketing books, you might offer free articles about marketing.

When you provide these types of freebies, people will flock to your site. Some may only be interested in your free stuff, but others will take the next step and become full-fledged customers.

Remember that whatever you give away has a high perceived value, but costs little to produce.

Idea #2 Join On-line Discussion Groups

No matter what you are selling, chances are there's a discussion group on the Internet patronized by your target audience. The key is to find the right ones and become a member.

Once you find that group, start visiting the forums and message boards and responding to questions regarding your area of expertise. You should create a subtle signature file to post along with your responses. This file should direct people to your web site for further information.

Does this method work? One person who used it earned $6000 just from efforts involving discussion groups.

Idea #3 Consider the Charitable Angle

People enjoy making a contribution to worthy causes and doing business with companies that try to make a difference in the world. Consider setting aside a portion of all sales as donations to a specific charity. Make sure to select a charity with a wide appeal and a good reputation. Don't forget that these donations also make appropriate topics for press releases which could bring you even more attention and sales.

Idea #4 Repackage Products

After a product has been available for awhile, sales naturally decline. You could lower the price or even discontinue the product altogether as solutions, but a better way to boost slow sales is to repackage those old products and sell them in a whole new way.

Consider bundling multiple products together for one price or offer the older product as a free gift to new customers. You may also want to try it out on a totally new target audience. Simply taking the time to revamp an old product, perhaps with the addition of a new chapter or special feature, can allow it to be sold as an all-new version.

Repackaging can help you boost sales and extend the profitable life of your products.

Idea #5 Sell Yourself as an Expert

No matter what you sell, you are proclaiming yourself to be knowledgeable and experienced in that industry. People want to believe that you are an expert who they can trust with their hard-earned cash. You want to convince people that you are an expert who has products that deliver what you promise.

One of the best ways to do both of these things is to become a speaker on topics related to your industry and to home-based business in general. Speakers are needed at a variety of functions, including trade shows, chamber of commerce functions, high school/college career festivals, and more.

Another way to position yourself as an expert is to become a part-time teacher in a college or community center where you share your knowledge of business and your industry with others. Or consider becoming an author. You could write an e-book related to your business which could gain you considerable recognition as well as revenue.

Any of these methods will help you market yourself as an experienced professional worthy of potential customers' attention.

With these five ideas and a little creativity, you can take steps to set your business, your product, and your marketing apart from your competition.

Vishal P. Rao is the owner of: An online community of people who work at home.

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