This is a guest post from Vinil Ramdev, founder of StartUpGrowthExpert.com.
#1 Think Database
If you do not have a database of existing customers, then you are in big trouble. You are making the biggest marketing mistake of your life. Almost every great marketer focuses on database marketing. You are nothing without your customer list.
What is database marketing?
It is nothing but storing contact information of your customers in a database. If you are a home based business, you can make a start by storing information on an excel spreadsheet or even a word document should do the job.
If you want to use sophisticated software like salesforce.com or even Microsoft Outlook, you are welcome to do so. If you have never collected information about your customers then moving to salesforce.com or even Microsoft Outlook might be a big leap forward. So, I suggest you make a start with an excel spreadsheet with name, email and phone number of your customers.
The biggest mistake most small business owners make is to collect too much information and this can not only turn off your customers but it can also become overwhelming for the business owner to process the information.
#2 Try Co-Marketing
This is a strategy that most home based business owners very seldom use. Co-Marketing is finding other home based or small business owners who serve the same target market as you do and devise marketing programs that will benefit all of you.
The idea behind this is to share each other’s customers. If you are a Hair Salon for example, find neighboring stores like book stores, DVD stores, super markets and create a coupon book of some sort where customers from each other’s stores get a discount by shopping with their co-partners.
There are several other co-marketing strategies you can use like having a special promotion in each other’s business premises or mailing each other’s mailing lists. It’s called a list swap by many marketers.
If there’s just one thing you are going to do after reading this article is to take a walk in your neighborhood and meet other home based business owners, get to know them and set-up a lunch meeting where all of you can meet and brainstorm ideas to co-promote. Even if it is a group of 3, it can still be very powerful. Just imagine each of you having a list of 1000 customers each, all of a sudden together you have 3000 customers to promote to. Talk about the power of working together and collaborating.
This is a powerful strategy most home based business owners miss out on. They are constantly trying to do it all alone and this often leads to their downfall.
Vinil Ramdev is an entrepreneur, business coach and author of several ebooks. He is founder of StartUpGrowthExpert.com – An Online Magazine For Entrepreneurs who want to start and grow extraordinary businesses.