1. Hot Marketing Ideas For Work At Home Moms

    A few new marketing strategies can re-energize your home biz. Here are some low- and no-cost suggestions for where to start.

    1. Update your image with a new business card. To save money, you can easily create these on the computer by purchasing the card stock at an office supply store and printing them on your printer.

    2. Send out your new business card to potential clients or customers. On the back, hand-write a note offering a free consultation or sample product to get them acquainted with your business.

    3. Hold a weekly drawing on your Website. When visitors opt in, they're assigned a virtual raffle ticket. You pick a ticket each week, and the winner gets a free magnet, mouse pad, Frisbee or other promotional product printed with your business name.

    4. Refresh your Website by adding a special area for first-time visitors. When they click on the button, offer these first-timers a discount on your service or product. Make sure to ask them to register so you can add their names to the database.

    5. Set up a birthday database for your clients. Don't know their birthdays? Then send an email or post card requesting the dates. On the designated day, send a personalized electronic or traditional birthday card or small gift.

    6. Reward return business. The first time a client or customer comes back with more business for you, offer a five percent discount; the second time, a 10 percent discount. Be sure to promote your discounting program up front.

    7. Join forces with other work-from-home moms, online with complementary businesses in the form of a Web ring that links your Websites or creates a "team Website." Offline, think about sharing a booth at a trade show or community fair, cohosting a community benefit, creating a joint mailing or catalog, or cosponsoring a home business workshop. Connect with other moms at our Mompreneurs® message boards

    8. Sponsor a sports team. Basketball and hockey seasons are here now, and Little League is just around the corner. Sponsoring a youth recreation team usually entails supplying the uniforms and having your business name emblazoned across the back -- giving you free publicity at minimal cost.

    9. Turn donations into profits. Next time you're tapped to donate your products or services to a community, church or PTA fundraiser, donate a thousand dollars worth of discount tickets instead. The person who purchases or wins these tickets can then turn them in to buy your products or services at a discount. You, in turn, can offer to donate 10 percent of your profits to the organization. When you present the donation check, publicize it! You can even go as far as to create a giant cardboard check and hand it over game-show style, alerting the local newspaper to the photo op!.

  2. Marketing Your Business On A Shoestring Budget

    You don't need to invest a lot of money in marketing. There are many ways to promote your business on the cheap, both offline and online. Take a look at some of the ideas that have worked for us and other Mompreneurs®.

    Start with a catchy name. If you haven't named your business yet, brainstorm ideas with family, friends and other work-from-homers. A memorable name will give you a "brand" to market, making even a one-woman show seem like a sizable business.

    Tip: Come up with a name that will set your business apart from similar enterprises, then work that name into a striking logo with the help of design software or a graphic artist. Create attractive marketing materials. Your letterhead, mailing labels, business cards, Website and other materials that come out of your office should all be tied together with your business name and logo.

    Tip: Pick an eye-catching color for your cards or stationery or a typeface that's a bit unusual. Those touches add little or no cost but go a long way in setting you apart from the crowd. Build a Website. A Website is as important as a business card for doing business today; it's your online billboard.

    Tip: Print your URL on all your marketing materials and develop an email signature that includes your business name, email address and URL. Be sure to register your Website with the big search engines, and check weekly to make sure it hasn't been bumped off. Position yourself as an expert. Offer to blog, host a chat, or write an article for a website in your field of expertise. Offline, you can offer your services as a speaker at conferences and events, teach an adult education class, be an occasional columnist for the local newspaper or community newsletter or even volunteer to be a contest judge. Building name recognition builds business. Tip: Become a member, regular poster or community leader at our Mompreneurs® Online message boards Your good advice could spawn a customer base, as well as networking opportunities for you.

    Gather testimonials. With their permission, post comments from satisfied clients and customers on your Website and print them on a flier or mailer. This information can be included in letters, thank-you notes, information kits and other communications you send out to current and potential clients and customers. Give out freebies. Sometimes you have to spend a little money to make money. Promotional products that advertise your business name, phone number and URL are a cost-effective way to get the word out. No need to get elaborate; better to work with items people use everyday. Tip: Print this information on bookmarks, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets and sticky notes instead of making up hats, mugs, T-shirts or flying discs. Those items are inexpensive to produce and mail while still providing plenty of good exposure.

    Become a sponsor. Think about sponsoring an online publication, newsgroup or discussion forum. It will boost your reputation on the Web and give you the chance to display your business name again and again. Or you may try a more traditional route and sponsor a community athletic team or an event such as a walk-a-thon or school fundraiser. Join forces with other work-at-home moms. Co-op marketing is practical and powerful, as many work-from-home moms have discovered. They've formed alliances to market their businesses in online malls and group Websites, take out ads in magazines, exhibit at trade shows, create mail-order catalogs and conduct mass mailings. It's a win-win situation. Marketing costs dwindle and name recognition soars for all involved. Want to head or join your own local Mompreneurs® Live local face-to-face networking group? Click here