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The Art of Word of Mouth: Advertising for Home Businesses

written by: Lori Soard•edited by: John Garger•updated: 2/18/2010

Not sure where to start to get the word out about your fabulous home business? There are many unique and creative ways to get the buzz going about your business and bring in new clients while working for current clients. This article explores a few of those ideas.

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    Get the Word Out Everywhere

    Word of mouth is a funny animal. It is slow to wake up, often seems to run on its own and you never know when it will show up. Still, there are some things you can do to enhance your word of mouth marketing. Since word of mouth is advertising that keeps on giving back at no additional charge to you, the business owner, the more word of mouth you can get going, the better.

    The very best thing you can do to enhance word of mouth about your business is to treat your current customers right. Offer excellent customer service and your clients will tell others about the great work you're doing or the wonderful product you offer.

    Give out business cards everywhere you go and make sure you website and contact information is on that card. Eating in a restaurant? Leave a great tip and a business card with a nice note on the back. You never know who the waitress might know.

    Carry a backpack, bag or purse with your company logo and website featured. Do the same with T-shirts, jackets, signs on your car and anywhere else you can think to put your information. Someone will see this advertising and may look up your website. Each person that sees your log and website is a potential customer. Just make sure that your website domain or telephone number is easy to remember.

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    Get Current Clients Buzzing

    The best word of mouth comes from current clients. These are people that have used your services and are pleased with your work. Their testimony to family, friends and colleagues means more than any amount of money you can spend on advertising, because they have had first hand experience with your work and the person they are telling typically trusts their judgment.

    There are many ways to encourage your current clients to tell others about what you do. First, just ask for them to tell others. While the client might not think to do this, if you mention that you would like to grow your business and would appreciate any referral, the client will likely keep this in mind and be more likely to mention your company.

    Another thing you can do is to offer an incentive for referrals. This can be a free service you give to the client when someone he has recommended signs on with you for a set number of months or a monetary credit toward services.

    Print out extra brochures and business cards and ask your clients to give them to others they know in the industry.

    Make sure you attend any parties or events your clients invite you to. This can help you meet new customers and get the word out about what you do.

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    Final Tips

    As a small business owner, you should always be on the lookout for any free opportunity to get the word out about your product or service. This is where word of mouth advertising can become an art. Here are a few ideas to get even more exposure and keep the buzz going:

    • Take advantage of local free weekly newspapers in your town by having a friend or colleague write an article about you and your business and giving it to the paper to run for free.
    • Offer a free item. This can be anything from a short book that is related to the work your clients do or a trinket such as a key chain or coffee mug. You may want to indicate that the free item is while supplies last and is only for potential clients, so you aren't overwhelmed with requests.
    • Put business cards into any piece of mail you send out of your house, including envelopes for bills you pay. You have to put a stamp on it anyway, so you might as well get the promotion out of it.