In the article “Running Your Home Based Business – Marketing Your Business” we identified the four Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion and Place and explored these different elements. Here, we are going to look in some more detail at Promotion. Most people think of promotion as advertising. Promotion is much more than this – it is about running all aspects of your business in a way that promotes your products and services. This includes your business cards, customer receipts, advertising, special offers, competitions and even your car.

Promotion can raise the profile of your business, and increase public awareness and knowledge of the products and services that you offer. Make a checklist of the advertising you have already done. This can include newspapers, Yellow Pages, local radio, and posters. Even if you have not thought much about promotion, you have probably thought about – even done- some advertising.

All of these can promote your business but they need to be used appropriately. Your promotion efforts must repay you or there is no point in doing them. They must be targeted at people who are, or may be, interested in your product or service.

Whatever media you choose to use, you have to be sure that the readers or listeners will want your product, can afford your product and can get to you to buy your product. Don’t advertise your massage therapy service in The Washington Post – it will not be cost effective. Posters are good at attracting trade to a local business but must be placed where your potential customers pass by.

Advertisements should always look professional, particularly when they will be compared with the adverts of your competitors. They should always have your business name, contact details and what you do. Typefaces and logos should be consistent with those on your headed paper, business cards, product leaflets and invoices and receipts.

It is important to be aware of the legal implications of any legislation governing advertising and selling. A general guide is that you must accurately describe the products and services you are selling and that they must be of suitable quality and be fit for the purpose for which they are sold. You may want to check with the local regulatory bodies about any restrictions that may apply to your particular home based business.

How can you improve on promoting your business? As mentioned earlier, promotion is more than just advertising in newspapers. Take a look at your stationery; ensure that your phone number is printed on all your stationery including receipts. A customer is likely to keep that for their records and therefore has something to refer to in the future. Including a promotional offer on the receipt – 5% off the purchase of specific products or services – can be another incentive for them to return or to recommend a friend.

Sending press releases to the local newspapers when you introduce a new range of products or a new service or doing anything newsworthy can be a great way to get free locally targeted publicity for your business. You can combine press releases about a new product or service with announcements of talks or demonstrations. These are effective ways of spreading the word to potential customers either directly or by word of mouth. As you travel in your car, either on business or socially, you are driving free advertising space around the area where your customers live. Use it by getting car magnets, which have proved to be an effective method of advertising. Use smaller than usual sized car magnets that include the phrase, “Take Me Home” or something similar. Clothing is a great way to promote your business. Polo shirts printed with the business logo and phone number provide promotion and improve your professional presentation. Also, when you socialize, always carry some business cards with you as you may meet potential customers.

Always measure the effectiveness of promotions so that you know whether or not they are worth doing. Put a different reference code on each or your leaflets, adverts or posters for the customer to quote. If you change the text of any one of these, change the reference code. By doing this you are able to track which promotions work best.

Focus on low cost or free promotional opportunities. Any promotional activity, whether advertising, tee shirts or special offers must offer a product. All promotional activities should be cost effective and be tracked. Promoting your home based business will provide a great opportunity for you to be creative. So have fun with it.

John Coates lives in Barcelona and is the owner of Top Home Based Businesses and Top Home Based Businesses Article Directory.