According to a report published by Gallup, the trend of home business owners has been at an all-time high since last year. Research suggests that most millennials prefer owning a home-based startup over the “conventional 9-to-5 jobs”. With an ever-increasing surge in home-grown businesses, the competition is getting fiercer day by day.

As lucrative and promising it may sound, running a business from home is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires a dedicated skill set and knack for business. From management to leadership skills, and discipline to marketing acumen – you need it all to run a successful home-based enterprise. However, for those willing to adopt advancing technology and unconventional methods to reach out new target areas, things can take a happy turn steadily.

Here is a list of 5 online platforms and how to use them effectively to help your home business grow and thrive.

Effective use of social media

A recent survey shows that only 53 % of small businesses use social media effectively for marketing and sales. People generally complain that they do not have the right resources, bandwidth or time to use social media. Well, handling the day to day of a home-grown business can take a toll on founders but here’s the thing about social media – if you know the right hacks, you do not need to spend resources or a lot of time using it as an effective marketing tool.

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First of all, one of the biggest myth about social media marketing is that you need a lot of followers to make an impact. No, you don’t. A following of 500 relevant and organic users is much better than thousands of bots or uninterested users. If you have the right people following you, you will make conversions and eventually, the numbers will grow.

Facebook and Instagram have a number of effective tools that help in putting your story out there and engaging customers. Here’s how:

  • Using Instagram and Facebook stories to connect with the right people, making announcements and giving shoutouts to loyal customers can be quite helpful.
  • Another common feature of both Instagram and Facebook is the “Going Live” tool. This feature allows you to interact real time with your customers. You can go live to talk about your product/services, answer questions and even telecast an event being organised by your company.
  • Using the right hashtags and recognising google trends relevant to your business boost your reach.
  • Not to forget the “DM” feature where you can interact with users via Direct Messages.

Blog about your business and industry

Having a business or corporate blog is yet another effective way to give your work online visibility. It not only helps in reaching out to more and more people but also generates new leads. Hyperlinks redirecting readers to a product/service sales page help them make an informed decision then and there.

Some basic advantages of business blogging are:

  • Drives traffic to your website: With every blog post, which is basically another indexed page on your website, your chances of showing up in search engines increase. This drives organic traffic to your website. Additionally, blogs are shareable on social media and hence your chances of getting discovered via platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram increase simultaneously. 
  • Converts traffic into leads: To convert traffic into leads, you just have to add a call-to-action (CTA) in your blog. Not every visitor turns into a lead but depending on how persuasive your blog is and how tactful is the CTA, you do generate a considerable percentage of leads from business blogs.
  • Develops long-term results: A blog once published, stays for as long as you let it. A well-written and original blog shows up in search engines for days, months and even years, thus generating traffic and hence leads for longer periods of time.

Use email as a marketing channel

Email marketing is a no-brainer for homegrown businesses.  A recent study published by Marketing Sherpa reports that 72% of consumers prefer email to receive promotional messages.

Research suggests that people prefer emails for promotional content as it is convenient to revisit when they want, it has a certain touch of personal correspondence and it is instant.

Home-grown businesses can use email marketing to announce the launch of a new product/service, to seek feedback/testimonials and to share periodic releases. To garner popularity among email subscribers, startups can come up with innovative ideas like Coupons and Sales Promotions, Loyalty or Rewards Programs, Free Content like E-Books and Exclusive Peeks at New Products.

Be part of the online discussion

Digital forums can be yet another useful medium to learn about the market and eventually expedite growth in business. Digital forums empower small businesses to start conversations, be a part of an existing dialogue and even gives them an insight into a particular topic – its current market status and history. Digital forums like Quora and Reddit are great avenues to explore growth marketing and reach the target audience.

Google forms are free and useful

Google forms can be used by small businesses for a lot of different purposes. From conducting polls to creating survey forms and seeking information to asking people to register – google forms have an array of features that enable users to create a variety of business-related documents. These forms help in a systematic manner of data collection as well as data dissemination.

Once you develop a regular timeline for when to use which online platform to engage customers and generate leads, it all becomes quite systematic and easy to follow up every day. These hacks are trade secrets that will definitely help you grow your home business and reach new heights.