When opening a home business or a small business outside the home there are several choices to make regarding marketing. You can use different methods such as Mail Order Marketing, Conventional Marketing, Direct Marketing and MultiLevel Marketing. Each one has its pros and cons and can get you and your business on its way to making money and being successful. The type you choose depends on such factors as your product type, your business type and your overall goals as a small/home business owner.

Take a look at each of these marketing plans and see which one you think would work best for your situation and goals.

1. Mail Order Marketing – At some point pretty much all of us have open the mailbox to find a catalog from a company such as Victoria Secrets or REI or one of a thousand other companies that use mail order marketing. Smaller companies might send out something smaller such as a flyer or brochure, but the intent is the same. They are hoping you will be excited about the products they are offering and that the catalog or flyer will entice you to buy something.

This type of marketing can be successful if you happen to get the right person at the right time. The best way to do that is to send it to pretty much everyone or at least find a “list” that groups people according to their interests so you only send your information to people who might use it. The success rate usually is less than 5% so you will need to send out a lot of information in order to be successful.

This is a very hard way for the average person to start a business. Especially if you consider this is just the marketing part of the business, you still have to worry about getting a product, making the catalog, taking orders and finally shipping. A lot of work and a lot of initial expense.

2. Conventional Marketing – Everywhere you go you are bombard with advertisements trying to show you how wonderful some product is and how you can’t live without it. This is the primary marketing plan of many traditional businesses. Coke, Pepsi, Nike and many others spend millions of dollars to get you to purchase their brand.

As a small business you would also be trying to get people to use your product and service. Local radio and TV stations, billboards and newspaper ads are all good ways to get your name out to the public. As with any business and advertising, eventually a word or mouth campaign can also help with your business promotion.

Again this is a money intensive way to get the word out. You still have all the other problems of having a store front or place people can go to get your product or service. You quite often will have employees and all the work and expense that go along with them. Once again, this type of business takes a lot of money to get started.

3. Direct Marketing – Remember the door to door salesman? It was something done in the past much more than today but most of us can remember the Kirby vacuum salesman or maybe the Fuller brush man. Today, there are still those direct sales companies but they do less of the door to door sales and have converted over to things like “home parties” and other venues like home and trade shows. Examples of this type of business are Mary Kay, Tupperware and even Avon.

The advantage of this marketing system to a small business or home business person is there is no need to have a storefront and the expense that goes with it. There is also no product to produce; the parent company has already taken care of that. It also does a lot of the work as far as brand recognition and warehousing and shipping of your product. You might be required to keep a certain amount of inventory on hand but it can quite often be kept in a closet or spare room within your house.

With less initial startup cost, very little advertising cost (you and word of mouth are your advertising), and no employee or storefront expense this is a much better option for the average person looking to start a home based business.

4. MultiLevel Marketing – MLM and direct marketing are similar in many respects. An MLM company uses its money to motivate its distributors and not towards the national public through advertising campaigns. When looking into MLM, you may have heard of companies such as Shaklee or Scent-sations. The biggest difference between Direct Marketing and MLM is that Multilevel Marketing is concerned with selling product but adds the team building aspect.

You, as a network marketer, would help others create their own home based business and give them training on how to build it stronger and in turn help even more people. This is called your downline. You get paid not only on what product you sell but the product they sell as well. Therefore it is in your best interest to help your downline become successful, just as it is important for your upline to help you be successful.

The parent company uses the money it saves from advertising to pay you. They also spend it on improving the product, creating more products for you to promote, creating new tools for you to be successful, giving education classes, and offering other bonuses such as money, trips, cars and other incentives.

They take care of all the production costs, the warehousing, the handling of payments and the shipping. Most of the good MLM companies don’t require you to keep inventory on hand but they do require that you purchase and use their product. Each company has a different requirement on how much you are required to purchase each month in order to be a distributor.

Like direct marketing this plan is a great starting place for a majority of people looking to start a home business. It has very little startup cost and very little risk. You can work this business while keeping your “real job”. It can be used as a way to make just a little extra each month or if it is your goal, you can use it to replace your current income.

Whatever you choose make sure it fits your goals and aspirations. It is good to go through and create a vision map of what you are trying to accomplish and where you see you and your business in the future.

Find a mentor, friend or coach who has been there and discuss the options of whatever plan you decide on. Starting a home business or small business is a big decision and one that you should research before just jumping in with both feet.

Think about it!