Some work from home businesses swear by Google Adwords, not me, I generally swear at it.

Google Adwords can be great, if you know exactly how to use it and have the budget for it, but if you don’t know the exact words to use and you don’t have a marketing budget of at least several hundred dollars, it is risky. I spent several hundred dollars on it when I was first starting and did not get a single customer. For this reason I prefer using forum marketing for more targeted and cheaper advertising.

For people new to working from home and on a limited budget this will likely get the best results.

Proper forum marketing is the essence of soft sell. You join a public forum and talk to people about topics related to your business.

If you go in and start saying, “HEY I HAVE A BUSINESS! COME CHECK ME OUT!!!!” you won’t only NOT get any customers, but will will make your potential clients angry with you as a spammer and troll. This is not good.

If done properly, you will show people you are an expert in your field, get them talking to you, and checking out your signature or profile which has a link to your website.

So how do you sell yourself?

First off find the right forum. This has to be related to your home business, be fairly active and not spammy.

For finding the right forum, you have to know your niche and focus in on it. Remember it’s pointless to talk about your homemade jewellery on a car forum, no matter how much you like cars. It’s also useless to talk to one or two people on a dead forum, or a forum that has 20 spam threads to every actual discussion.

Recently when I joined one forum for work at home mothers (fathers were allowed as well), and left several comments, started a few threads, etc. I had one person reply to me, and maybe 30 people, including me, looked at the discussions I started. Despite being in the right niche, and no spam, I’m not going back there, its a waste of my time.

Second, keep your marketing simple. Create a great profile for interested people to look at, and make a nice, simple signature with a link to your site. You want to intrigue people to visit your website and hire you, not be in their face.

Third, be useful. When you’re posting, make sure that everything you say is useful. If you do a simple, “I agree with everything you said,” you’re not really marketing yourself. You can do this simple post once in a while, but 99% of the time, provide examples, information, ideas, smart questions and solutions. You want to look like an expert.

This is why even if I have the chance to comment on a thread, I may not. If I’m just going to say “Me to,” I don’t think it’s an effective way to show off my expertise.

Finally, avoid personal issues and trolls. Even if you vehemently, disagree with someone and think they’re the stupidest person in the world, don’t say it. Ignore potential flame wars and if you feel yourself being dragged into something messy, back out immediately. You’re trying to be professional, so be professional.

So when you’re trying to market on a budget, try using the forums, they’re a direct link to your customers and with a few posts you can look like an expert.

Author's Bio: 

Dan Clarke specializes in helping people achieve their dreams of working from home, whether it's full time or simply to help raise some extra money. Currently raising a family, and having broken away from the 9 to 5 routine through his own work, he uses his own experience to advise people on how to achieve a success both in their business and with their family.