Copyright © 2002, Sandra K. Shirah
As an owner of a home based secretarial business, finding time to market my business while actually running my business was difficult - so early on, I implemented a few marketing strategies that takes less than 10 minutes each to assemble - thus freeing more time for paid projects - while still getting the word out about my services! Below are a few suggestions - some I still use, two employees and three corporate contracts later...
Fliers. Create fliers on heavy bond paper toannounce your business. Use brightcolors that immediately grab the attention but doesn’t blind (avoid neoncolors). Distribute them to doctors’offices, hospitals, law firms, court reporters, post on bulletin boards,etc. Cover a wider area by hiring highschool or college students to help with the distribution.
Fliers can also be FAXED to prospective customerswith just one touch of a button (assuming the numbers are already programmedinto your machine).
Business Cards. Invest in a set of goodquality business cards that are in an eye catching, vibrant color and/or design(avoid cutesy graphics). If you designyour own, I recommend using Avery Rolodex Business Card Paper. Distributing cards that can be easily addedto their existing Rolodex will decrease the likelihood of your business cardbeing “forgotten” in a desk drawer.
Press Release. Issue a press releaseannouncing your newly opened business. Some smaller newspapers and official city websites will publish yourrelease free of charge! You’d besurprised at the number of government organizations and media that supporthometown businesses, especially those owned by women! For tips and a template, download my free ebook, PR PRO: Writing A Winning Press Release .
Newspaper Ads. Take out a 1/8 of a page adin your local newspaper – not in the classified section where it may get “lost”among others – have it separated, bolded and bordered. If your town has more than one newspaperpublisher, consider starting with the smaller circulated paper to “test thewaters.” Major newspapers usuallycharge considerably more than the smaller ones. If you’re short of funds for this form of advertising, consider‘partnering’ with a NONCOMPETING home-based business owner – share the ad space and the expense!
Barter. I realize this sounds odd when you’re inbusiness to make money, but sometimes bartering can be an excellent marketingtool. For instance, I volunteered todesign and print fliers advertising a local church’s fundraising activity. In return, they gave me a 1/4 of a page adin the “Sponsors” area of their monthly newsletter – announcing my services toa whole new audience.
Postcards. Create a set of bright colored, yetprofessional, postcards (Avery Postcard Paper is recommended). These make great reminders to past customersthat your services are still available and to announce any “specials” that mayinterest them – and draw them back!
Specials (or Sales). Create yourown “specials” or use the ones I’ve listed below. Be sure to keep accurate records and invoice at the “special”rate.
Sweetheart Sale, 14%off all projects!
Referral Roundup, 20%off your next project for each new customer referral!
Halloween Hauntings,10% off all transcription projects!
Christmas Cheer, 20%off all transcription projects!
Every other project FREE for non-profit (501c3) organizations.
Business Website. If you’re serious about marketing your services on a global scale, a business website is a must. It’s not necessary to hire a web designer – you can do this yourself in no time with the numerous“professionally designed” templates and free text editors that are outthere! Among my favorite is 1stPage 2000 by Eversoft (www.eversoft.com). It’s extremely easy to use and featuresthree different levels: basic,intermediate and advanced – this freeware really grows with you. For free templates, visit...
- WebAlley - http://www.weballey.net/templates/
- Steve’s Templates: http://www.steves-templates.com/
- Web Design Helper: http://www.webdesignhelper.co.uk/
- Free Layouts: http://www.freelayouts.com/
- Professional designs : http://www.designerlk.com
OnlineResume. The online resume is simply a webpage listing, in detail, your qualifications (education and experience) as a transcriptionist. Don’t confuse this with your businesswebsite! This is strictly a page sharingyour qualifications with the world – sell your services with yourbusiness website.
Copyright © 2002, Sandra K. Shirah.
Sandra is a freelance writer for several on and off-line publications. She's also the author of "How to Start A Home-Based Transcription Business...and Succeed!" Available in early 2003 at major bookstores everywhere, or directly through the author.