Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Find Clients When Working From Home

Working from home can in itself be both daunting and isolating. If you are running a business that requires clients, then getting in contact with them from your home will be a top priority for you. Without having a shop front or office location you may be feeling a little bit stumped, but remembering the amazingly interconnected world we now live in provides us with some excellent options, 4 of which are outlined below.

1) Build a Website

In business today it is often assumed that every business has a website that showcases the products or services being offered, and people with work from home jobs are likely to find that having a website will increase the potential of their business. Websites have more or less replaced the sales brochure in many cases, with more and more potential clients feeling less pressured when browsing a website than in a formal sales appointment. Potential customers are often aware of the tactics that a salesperson will use to 'close' a deal and it can be a confrontation best avoided. Interested customers will often contact a company in their own time based upon the way that the product or service was presented on the company website.

One of the best ways to find clients working from home is to let them find you. A website can be used as a call to action and can lead to many enquiries. Be sure to include useful content that those potential customers likely to buy a specific product or service would find helpful. When a website provides neutral information and advice on a product or service it can increase the number of potential clients that will make contact for further information if this is made easy to do. Research how to incorporate simple web forms into a web page for people to quickly send an enquiry.

Web sites can be created by anyone on a low budget basis, however if you feel you have neither the time nor technical ability then turn to freelance websites and recruit the help of a techie. This is likely to be cheaper than you expect, some sites will often require techies to bid for your job, which can help drive prices down.

2) Free or Paid Online Directories

Once a company website has been built then it is fairly easy to enter the company details into various free or paid online business directories so that clients can find them. Most of these free directories will have the option to enter a website address although some will reserve this as an enhanced feature included in paid directory listings. Try to search for a reputable online business directory that is used by businesses in the field in which your company operates. Only pay for directory listings in established business directories. Try to avoid any directory or service that promises thousands of unique visitors as these will probably be worthless and forced. Forced visits trick viewers into viewing a website using various methods such as pop-ups or ‘pop-unders’ and can be a very bad thing for any website with regards to how the search engines rank them in the search results.  Examples of directories would be Yahoo and DMOZ.

3) Trade Membership Websites and Message Boards

There are some high quality trade membership websites that connect buyers and sellers with each other and these tend to work very well in the import/export business. For high value or bulky products trade membership sites can be helpful in contacting buyers looking for the very product that is being marketed. Many of these sites charge a yearly membership fee for access to the contact details of companies that buy relevant products or services. Clients are able to find sellers immediately and contact them by email or telephone. There are industry specific message boards that one can participate in either as an expert or a contributor and many opportunities for referrals can come from this type of interaction. Giving free advice on a topic will often be done with one’s website address attached to the bottom of each post that is written. If people like the advice then they have the option of clinking through to the website to see exactly what your site offers.
                                                                                                                   
4) Direct Sales or Cold Calling

By far the most successful way of gaining clients is the direct sales approach although one must try not to become a nuisance. Create a unique angle or offer to use as a selling point and try to contact them by email as well. If a website is built giving visitors the chance to register, then it is possible to set up an opt-in mailing list where it is explained that part of the registration process includes receiving promotional emails. Combine all of the approaches covered in this article along with other methods that may be discovered during research and allot a specific amount of time each day to every one. Be systematic and do not expect immediate results as success is directly proportional to effort and time.

This is a guest post and I would like to thank Matthew for writing it for us.  For more information check out his website: WorkFromHomeJobs
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