product name out there—one potential
customer at a time—in addition to the
free promotion that you will receive as
the contest is advertised.)
• Free sample items (Purposely develop,
download, or print products that you
can afford to give away and which
reflect your main product. It’s a great
way to introduce yourself to a larger
audience and further market your
• Endorsements and testimonials
• Drop-ship arrangements with established retailers such as The Old
• Affiliate programs in which customers
can receive commissions for referring
your products to others
• Press releases
Mari points out that these efforts “can
affect your paid advertising in a big way. If
blogging, online forum networking, or
making arrangements for product reviews
is not a time-effective choice for you, or if
the idea of doing any of that footwork is
overwhelming or unappealing, keep in
mind that there are companies who can
help you do this. For example, The Old
Schoolhouse just rolled out a new ‘viral
marketing’ initiative to help companies get
their products in the hands of a large
number of bloggers.”
Free promotional opportunities may be
offered as part of your paid advertising
package. Be sure to ask, “What other
promotions or freebies do you offer when I
pay for ads with your publication?”
What Is “Branding”?
Michelle Eichhorn, Marketing Manager for
TOS and also a small business owner
(Treasure Box Press, www.treasurebox
press.com), offers this advice: “It’s important
to distinguish your business, your product,
and your customer service. Branding your
business is the most effective way to communicate your uniqueness to consumers. It’s how
you build trust and loyalty.”
How can you brand your business? First
of all, clearly identify what makes your
product or service unique. Highlight your
product’s unique qualities in your promotional investments. Help the consumer
recognize the benefits of purchasing your
product rather than the competitor’s
product, and earn your customers’ loyalty
through excellent customer service that is
sincere, thorough, prompt, and generous.
82 Homeschool Entrepreneur
Several components are involved with
the branding process. They include ( 1) a
logo, ( 2) a tagline, ( 3) packaging, ( 4) top-notch customer service, and ( 5) effective
public relations. Before you begin
designing any of these branding elements,
carefully answer the following questions:
• What is my target market?
• What makes my product or service
unique in the marketplace?
• What message do I most want to
As a successful entrepreneur, Michelle
can offer excellent advice about designing
the components of your branding package:
“A logo is the symbol of your business. It’s
a graphic that identifies your business.
One of the oldest symbols is Prudential
Financial’s rock of Gibraltar, which has
been in use since 1896. Combined with the
company name, the Rock Prudential logo
brings immediate recognition of the
company and what it stands for. That is, the
logo effectively conveys the company’s
strength and stability, as well as its innovation and expertise.
Keep these guidelines in mind as you
create your logo:
• Make it simple yet unique.
• Use a minimum number
• Keep fonts simple.
• Use graphics that clearly
convey your message to
A tagline is a phrase that identifies your
business and its unique offering to the
marketplace. A tagline stays with your
company name forever. You often will see
taglines on websites, just beneath the business name.
Slogans are different from taglines in
that slogans are used for specific promotions and can change throughout the life of
your business. A tagline never changes.
As you develop a tagline for your business or product, consider the following
questions. They will sound familiar,
because the same areas you should consider
as you develop your company’s branding
also should be considered as you narrow
the focus to the creation of a tagline.
• What is the most important message
you want to convey?
• What makes your product or service
• How can you convey your message in
the shortest possible way?
• When customers consider your product
or service, what do they look for most?
For example, if you are selling an
elementary-level math program, what
are customers most looking for—
simplicity? a comprehensive package?
extensive customer support?
• Are you using the best possible choice
of words? Every word in any written
piece of marketing material is important. Examine every word in your
tagline, and then brainstorm to
discover other words that can be used
in its place. This is where a thesaurus
becomes a marketing partner.
• Does your tagline read easily? Do the
words flow together? A “smooth”
tagline is more likely to stay in the
mind of the consumer.
•Is your tagline already in use by
another company? Keep copyright
laws in mind. Brainstorm until your
tagline is as unique as you can make it.
• Make a list of two or three taglines and
poll family and friends. Have them
repeat their favorite out loud several
times to you. Put it together with your
logo to see how the total package looks.
Does it convey your overall message?
. lesolu. tions
INSTRUCT PROTECT SUCCEED
Workable Solutions is a company that trains
employees of other companies how to avoid phys-
ical injury on the job through preventive physical
therapy and exercise. Their tagline succinctly
summarizes their goals: “Instruct. Protect. Succeed.”
“Use both your logo and tagline on all of
your marketing materials. Put them on your
website. If your business takes you to conferences or conventions, invest in a professional
sign or banner that can be placed in a prominent location. Whether you are promoting
your product on the Internet or in a convention hall, you are competing with other businesses for the consumer’s set number of
spendable dollars,” Michelle points out.