Monday, December 15, 2008

Marketing on the Cheap for the Mompreneur

Since so many of you landing here to enter the HP Magic Giveaway are also Mompreneurs, I asked my Twitter friend, Wendy Piersall, aka eMom to share some ideas on marketing on a budget. Although this article is written with Moms in mind, these tips are invaluable to all entrepreneurs looking to keep costs low while building their dream.

Thanks Wendy!


Ways Mompreneurs Can Market on the Cheap

Most moms who start businesses do so with a budget of next to nothing. While there's nothing wrong with this (it's actually how I started Sparkplugging), I've learned that it isn't always the best foundation for a big, booming business. If you have visions of being acquired by some big company someday, I'd make the recommendation that you find a way to give yourself a healthy budget so that you can give your company what it needs to grow. But honestly, most moms aren't even interested in that route - they just want a business that fits in with their busy child-centered lifestyle. If that's you, then everything you do is all about spending as little as possible and making as much as possible as a work at home mom.

Free Marketing and Advertising Opportunities

If your business is local, run, don't walk (or, erm, 'type') and get to Google Local and Both of them offer free business listings for small businesses. Craigslist, the clearinghouse of the internet, is actually a good place for freelancers and consultants to get the word out about their services. You can post both a classified ad and your resume. If you have a website, check out AdGridwork, an advertising platform that automates the exchange of links between web businesses.

Cheap Online Advertising & Office Supplies

Cheap ads are great - and there's plenty to be found for mom businesses. Be sure to do a little research to make sure that your ad will be seen by people likely to become your customers or clients. A few places that offer good advertising for reasonable rates are DiaperSwappers, MomPack, and AdvertisingMoms. The last one also has good advice on advertising in general for mom businesses. Also, before you buy anything for your home office, do a hunt for coupons first. A Full Cup has a whole section of their forum dedicated to coupons and deals from office supply stores.

Think Creatively & Be Passionate to be Successful

If I had to distill my best business advice into two thoughts it would be these:
  1. After nearly a decade of being a mompreneur, I've found that one of the most important things you can do for the health of your income is to diversify how you earn your money. There might be a learning curve as you branch out, but too many times I've had all of my eggs in one basket and ended up getting burned. If you are a crafter, sell your leftover craft supplies on eBay. If you are a freelancer, write an eBook. If you are a blogger, learn affiliate marketing. Whatever you do, don't rely on one source of income.
  2. Take care of yourself. Life balance can get a little whacky when there is no separation between work and home. The true key to being successful as a Mompreneur is to be focused and do what you love. You can't do either if you aren't taking care of #1. :)
Wendy Piersall is a well known work at home mom and entrepreneur, founding the Sparkplugging Blog Network in 2006. Today she's also heading up marketing for Escalate Media and their new site TotallyHer, The Magazine and Community for Smart & Savvy Women.




GNO Gals, Jyl and Carissa said...

This is an awesome post full of great references and ideas. I appreciate you including this, Sugar. I found it very useful and am now clicking over to many of the links she supplied.


Laurie/Mobile Mommy said...

Definitely thanks for this article Sugar and Wendy! I follow you both on Twitter and appreciate the resources, especially as a struggling wahm!

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

That was really helpful. I toy with starting a business all the time, so that was great 411. Now I just have to pick a business!

Linda S said...

thanks Sugar and Wendy! this is a great article and great info...going back to read a second time!

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

This is really great info. I appreciate this post.

Rowena said...

Thanks Sugar. I'm book marking this so that I can look at it while my brain is awake.

GNO Gals, Jyl and Carissa said...

"Life balance can get a little whacky when there is no separation between work and home. "

Nuff said. Just ask my kids when they whine about another frozen meal lately!

I love the office supply coupons..!


Dee Dee said...

ooh, thanks for this! Sugar, you are the greatest (it lets me know you are actually reading all the posts, and that you want to help us all.) I can't wait until I have a quiet time so I can read over all the suggestions and go to the links. Joining the contest has been secondary to me as I have found so much great info and others that I have 'connected with.' Hannah even got her first online order indirectly from us registering and bloghopping. I thought that was really cool. I am excited about learning all I can to help her launch her business in the cyberworld. Doing it on a budget is the only way for a 13yo just getting started. :)

Wendy Piersall said...

Thanks for all the nice comments everyone! Wish I'd caught them earlier but I think I let the holidays get the best of me. :)

We're going to do a big community service project on January 20th at and I will be there with a bunch of others answering any questions if you need help with your business in 2009!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Marketing, Business & Technology News said...

Great article. There are so many ways to market for free, or to find free advertising opportunities. Social media and social bookmarking sites are a great resource for promoting!

Dinah Dougharity said...

I learned a lot from reading this article. Hopefully, I can apply all the things that I learn in my online business.