- Business and Employment
The Best and Most Effective Way to Promote your Business...FREE Advertising!
Does Advertising Work??
We've all grown up with advertising. TV, radio, billboards, pop ups, banners...it's everywhere, and you can't escape it. Now stop and think for a second...how many times have you clicked on an advertisement online, or heard a commercial on the radio that has made you run out and buy something? Chances are you haven't, or you haven't that often. Is this a cost-effective way for businesses to promote themselves? Free advertising can be a better way to promote your business. It's more effective, costs much less, and won't ruin your reputation like high cost ads can. Here, you'll learn some of the techniques people are using to utilize free advertising to their advantage.
Does Paid Advertising Work? - Advertisement Myths
When consumers make purchases, they most often are influenced by something someone said to them much more than any advertisement. Many people ask around about a product before they purchase to see if their friends or family have purchased the item, and to get their recommendations on who to buy it from. Why don't people listen to advertising?
Because they don't trust advertising.
Why not? Advertisements are everywhere. They're constant. They say promise one thing, and deliver another. We've all become so numb to advertising, people for the most part ignore it! The advertising world is changing, and new advertising methods are becoming more effective, cost-efficient, and sometimes, free.
Billions of dollars are spent on advertising by large corporations, small businesses, not for profits and sole proprietors.
How influenced are you by advertising?
So what ways are there??
The real ways to advertise your business online
As you can see from the poll results above, not too many people trust advertising! From the biggest of corporations to the smallest of mom and pop shops, word of mouth has the biggest affect on a business. Businesses are relying on different advertising methods that are much more economical and fresh. What are some of the new, effective ways businesses advertise?
- Social Bookmarking
- Article Marketing
- Online Directories
- Email Marketing
- Email Signatures
- Classified Online Ads
We'll go through all of these marketing strategies in this lens. You can also read more about effective ways to promote your website here.
eBay: It Generates Serious Traffic! - Find your niche on eBay and pull traffic!
You might be thinking that this is a mistake, that eBay is only good for selling off your old tennis raquet. Tens of thousand of people register a new account with eBay daily. Over a billion page views were documented for eBay in 2007! eBay is one of the most visited sites on the internet. With traffic this huge, it's a huge resource for businesses! How can you advertise on eBay? There are several ways...
Online Auctions. Sell your products on eBay and drive customers to your personal website by including links to your About ME page. The About ME page is the one place on eBay that you are allowed to place external links, provided the site is the seller's own personal site, not part of a larger site. For the exact rules, click here.
About ME. This page is the ticket to driving traffic from eBay to your own site. Place a well-placed link on your About ME page, and tell your visitors why they should visit. Please, make sure it complies with all eBay policies! Your account can be suspended for not abiding by eBay's rules. Use your best copy-writing skills to draw in traffic to your About ME page, then to your site. Also, be sure to have a link on your personal site that allows users to sign up for a newsletter. This way, if they aren't going to purchase, you can keep in touch. Learn more about creating an about us page for your eBay store, website or blog here.
Reviews & Guides. Sell DVDs? Have an area of expertise that you could share with the eBay community? This section of eBay is indexed very highly by the search engines. They often place near the top of search results. Take advantage of this and write some guides featuring products you sell, or write about topics relevant to your website. Include links to your About ME page, and you've got a little extra traffic to your site! You'll also be building trust in your brand by offering information on your products. Your customers will appreciate it, and you'll become a go-to expert in your area of expertise.
My World Page. This page is also highly indexed by Google and the rest of the search engines. A quick example: Google your own eBay user ID. The My World page often is listed first! Use this page to advertise your items, talk about your business, and customize the best way to persuade viewers to visit your About ME page.
Have you heard about Social Bookmarking? Sites like de.lic.ious, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are popular for sharing your favorite sites or favorite news articles and spreading the good word on sites that are worth a look.
The thing about social bookmarking is this: it's not really a "drop a link" solution that will help you. You might be better suited to invest your time into article marketing instead.
However, these sites can generate some traffic and create a backlink to your site.
del.icio.us: Discover, share and manage your social bookmarks. This site is not quite as active as it used to be, but can be a good way to organize your own websites that you read.
StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon brings the sites you like right to you based on your interests. Stumble your favorite sites and network. This site can potentially bring hundreds or thousands of visitors, but your content has to be exceptional. Use the Chrome Extension for Google Chrome users.
Highly recommended blog about StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon Guide
Digg: Discover and share your favorite web content anywhere, from videos to blogs to news articles.
Reddit: User-generated news links. Votes promote stories to the front page, like Digg!
Books on Free Advertising & Guerrilla Marketing Tactics - Dive further into the world of free promotion
These books give excellent ideas on how you can start slashing your advertising budget now, and investing your time in these cost free ideas and strategies to get your business noticed. It's a new age, and you need a new advertising campaign!
Increase exposure and establish yourself as an expert in your field
Article Marketing is an excellent, free way to get publicity to your website or business. Readers generally regard authors in a high regard, and knowledgeable in the subjects they write about. Write a good article about your business, products, or anything that relates to what you do, and drive a little traffic through the link at the bottom of most online articles.
Things to keep in mind when using article marketing:
- Don't write your articles too long or too short. Also, don't waste your time with writing articles that aren't useful. They won't click the link to your website if the article itself doesn't draw them in.
- Don't make the content of the article even better than what's on your website. Making a short (but not too short) resource with a captivating blurb about where they can find more info and what you have to offer is a pretty good plan.
- Focus on keywords in your link in the resource box, but sometimes diversify the anchor link in your articles. That is, use different words to link to your website. You should use targeted keywords, but don't overuse them -- change it up sometimes, or you can get penalized by Google.
- Keep in mind any one article is not going to change things. Dozens of articles are usually most effective.
What you are looking at right now is a lens on Squidoo. What is it? It's an easily customized piece of the web that receives plenty of Google traffic. Write about anything, just make sure it's interesting. Make it fun, entertaining, informative, helpful or controversial, and you'll be rewarded in the form of immense traffic! Use Squidoo to promote your business, write about items that you sell, or write about anything that you are knowledgeable and passionate about!
Squidoo is nice enough to share AdSense clicks with every lensmaster. Each individual lens is tracked to see how much affiliate income it generates, and you split the profits 50/50 with Squidoo. You also get a certain amount of the adsense revenue, depending on your lensrank. Increase your revenue by adding the Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or CafePress modules! Work these items into your lenses by including items that are relevant to your topic, and you could get a sale! Also, you can add affiliate banners and products of your own from other sites like Allposters.com, Commission Junction, LinkShare.com and more. Remember, Squidoo can be a powerful tool in generating traffic to your site as well.
Blogging....it's taking over the world! Everyone from high school students to the gas station owner have their own blog expressing their individual thoughts, offering advice, and educating the masses. How can this help you?
Blogging can also be a very effective marketing tool. It's also free, and you can earn money from your blog by including AdSense ads on your site. Provide fresh, relevant, informative content on your blog, and be sure to link it to your personal site. Search engines value blogs that are updated with content often. So, blog about your business often! Just make sure it doesn't lull your audience to an early bedtime.
Kids aren't the only ones that love MySpace! Adults are now using MySpace and Facebook more than ever. MySpace is part of the new wave of advertising. That means that you have to provide good content on your page, or it will be ignored. Readers want to be entertained! Provide reading material, relevant songs, polls, graphics, videos, links, games...whatever your target demographic would be interested in.
Social networking is just what it sounds like...networking with other people, only this term usually refers to online networking. The primary goal of your business page should be to add as many targeted friends as possible. Try browsing amongst the users on MySpace and Facebook, or read the forums, blogs and groups to find potential buyers. There are many ways to add friends, and they all involve browsing through the categories. Just remember, don't spam! This is the new wave of advertising, and spam is part of the old school way of advertising. Few will fall for it, and it will RUIN your reputation.
Here's one of the best tutorials for networking on Facebook you can find anywhere. Well worth the read!
MySpace Marketing Books - Guides to getting noticed on MySpace and building an audience
MySpace is still one of the top social networking sites out there, and a great general audience type of crowd. A general rule of thumb is to create an interesting page,and they will come, however, besides entertaining them, you'll have to learn to interact and where the most important places to do so are. These book will lead the way, and will help you build traffic to your website.
Capture a list of interested potential clients
Email Marketing is the best proven way to retain customers that have already purchased from you. If they are purchasing from you, they will most likely want to keep in touch. This is where most email marketing campaigns fail.
Email marketing is not just an email with some simple links or pitch like "come buy my stuff!" People want to be entertained. Provide good content to your email, some interaction, some graphics, even a giveaway, along with a punchy, effective headline, and you'll see traffic flowing from your sent emails. Set up an opt-in subscriber email list. Some sites have them built in, like eBay and CafePress. If you have your own site, try using Constant Contact. They provide a good email service that's easy to customize and appears very professional. The first 100 emails are free.
Some things to add to your emails:
- Seasonal recipes
- Coupons for your items
- Live event if applicable
- Giveaways or contests, announcing the previous winner in each email (to build trust!)
- Graphics that relate to your products
- Seasonal graphics, slogans and sayings
- An interactive poll
- Feedback from readers and buyers
- News of any special that you may be running
- Related articles, links or stories included in your email
- Suggestions, product reviews, monthly tips, anything that your readers may find useful, entertaining and relevant
Open emails = happy customers = passing the email along to other potential customers = more sales!
Marketing Without Advertising - One of the best books on advertising I've found
I can't recommend this book enough to anyone that owns a business, or if you're thinking of owning one. Online marketers should listen to this advice as well. This book points out the faults of traditional advertising, but more importantly, gives specific real life examples to jumpstart your word of mouth advertising (the most important kind of advertising!).
YouTube Marketing - Get hundreds or thousands of interested people on YouTube
2 Billion...that's how many views have been counted at YouTube! And counting...
- Ten Ways You Can Use YouTube To Promote Your Online Content
YouTube is nothing less than an online video phenomenon and if you aren't already using it as a tool to promote yourself or your online content, you should really give it some thought.
- YouTube as Marketing Tool
How YouTube can play an integral part in a small company's viral marketing campaign.
- Guide to Video Marketing on YouTube
Youtube is the largest video sharing site to date, with the most traffic and the highest amount of users.
YouTube Books - One of the most effective ways to promote your business!
In the internet age, more people are getting used to watching videos rather than reading. While many of us aren't used to this method of receiving information, it's becoming increasingly more popular. Creating an effective YouTube video might be just the thing you need to reach a whole new audience and get yourself noticed among the right crowd.
Lure in Traffic with Forums
You may be underestimating how much traffic you can get from forums. Participating in forums requires some time and involvement. A random spam-by in a forum thread won't bring any traffic (or very little), especially in comparison to how much you can gain by genuinely contributing. Before posting, if the forum allows, create an avatar (a small picture that will appear next to your forum posts) along with a small, unobtrusive signature line featuring a link to your site. Again, make sure the forum rules allow signature links.
Start by entering the forum and ansering posts about something that you might know something about. Adding something worthwhile to the conversation will be much more appreciated than a "thanks for the info" post. After becoming a regular in the forums, users new and old alike may start to follow your link out of natural curiosity...so make your tag line tempting for them to click!
Some Old Commercials you Might Remember...
How well did these commercials work? These are some of the more memorable TV commercials. Did it make you run out and buy it?
Advertising isn't going anywhere soon. At one point or another, every large business relies on some sort of advertising for their business. The difference between large and small business advertising is that the big ones have a huge department to analyze precisely what will be the most effective campaign for the product. However, you can still learn a thing or two from reading about what campaigns have worked really well....
You can REALLY Make Money with Craiglist? - And Advertise!
Do you use these Tactics? - Take the poll below and tell us what has worked for you!
The marketing strategies in this lens work excellent for a lot of people...
Which of these techniques has brought you the most success?
Other Business and Web Marketing Resources:
- Targeted Web Traffic
If your web traffic isn't targeted, you could be wasting your time.
- Submit your URL to Search Engines
How can you start your whole SEO campaign? Start by submitting your site to search engines and reading these basic SEO tips.
- Lists of Free Advertising Forums
Here is a lists of Free Advertising Forums. Other forums that offers free signature advertising like most webmasters and moneymaking forums are not included in this lists.
- eBay Deals
Learn the art of snatching the best deals on eBay.
- Ways to Earn Extra Money
48 of them, actually.
- Advertising Photo
Introduction photo of Times Square, New York, woman looking away from an out of focus, blurry background of ads. Kind of symbolic of how most people treat advertising around them! Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 by vonSchnauzer on flickr.
© 2008 Kiwisoutback