You’ve finally decided to step off the gerbil wheel of employee life and start your own business. Congratulations! Every study about personal wealth has proven that the best way to secure financial freedom is to become an entrepreneur. Of course that doesn’t mean it is easy. The vast majority of small businesses fail, and with the economy in a deep recession it’s tougher than ever to make an impact. If you run your business out of your home, you’ve got an even steeper mountain to climb. Many successful businesses come out of humble beginnings, and there’s no shame at all in keeping your startup costs low and launching with a company of one. But you won’t have the easy business that comes to storefront locations, when potential customers wandering by might decide to step in and take a look around. You’ll have to generate all of your revenue in other ways, and effective marketing is going to be the key to your business surviving its infancy. It’s not brain surgery, but you will need to put the work in. Here are a few marketing tips to help you launch and build your home based business.

First and foremost, design a quality website for your business. Your website is taking the place of your brick and mortar storefront, and it will be the first impression most people get of your company. That means you must pay to make that the best impression possible. If you spend on one thing for your new business, spend it here. Make sure the information you most need to get across is provided in a clear and enticing manner, and that the website works intuitively, without clutter. You don’t have to hire the most expensive web designer to end up with an effective site, but if you’re planning on using this project to teach yourself web design, think again.

You also need to make sure that potential customers in your area can find you, especially if the majority of your business isn’t based online. Even for products and services that are purchased in person, most people will do their initial research on the internet. So make sure your business is easy to find on local sites and Google’s map feature. This is marketing that doesn’t cost anything, which makes it your best friend.

The other major marketing push that will be absolutely free also features the largest potential customer base online, and that’s social media. Whether your business is better suited to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest, you need to be where the people are. Set up dedicated pages for your business on each one, and maintain a schedule of upkeep. All it costs is time, but you’ll be able to analyze how effective each site is for your needs and adjust your schedule accordingly as time passes.

Now that you have a quality website and profiles on all the major social media portals, you’ll notice you’re beginning to gather a nice group of fans. Hopefully you’ve collected their contact information. And once you have a decent list of emails it’s time to start a newsletter outreach campaign. You can send those newsletters weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, whichever works best for your particular business. But people who give you their email addresses have opted-in as potential customers, and after they choose to keep receiving your newsletter, they’ve opted in again. These are your best leads, as well as the folks that are most likely to share your business with others. It doesn’t take a MBA in marketing to know you must take care of these people and get to know what they are looking for. As you develop your business, the data they give you will help you define your core audience, and refine future marketing efforts to better fit those who will most likely make your business a success.