Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Marketing Online

Over and over again I see both women and men asking how they can advertise for little or no cost. Advertising does not always mean “an ad”. I advertise constantly but almost never use an ad.

Here are several forms of free advertising:

1. A signature line in outgoing emails. I send and receive emails every single day. While some emails are from my kids or from mom and dad, many emails are from those who might benefit from visiting my website. I never email out an advertisement, but I always put my first and last name and my URL. I do know some folks use a one line advertisement in their signature. I choose not to, but one line is great.

2. When you join an online community, use the profile and introduction board to tell folks who you are. Do not use this space for an advertisement. Use this space to let folks get to know you. I always let folks know I live in Santa Barbara. I can not tell you how many times I’ve gotten emails from others who have told me they have visited Santa Barbara and just loved it. By simply letting others know where I live, I have formed relationships and made sales. I also use this space to list my hobbies. How can someone make a connection with you if they don’t anything about you? I happen to have two dogs. I almost always let folks know I have dogs. This too has started conversations with strangers. We tend to buy from those we know and if we find something in common with someone, we feel like we know them.

3. Start a blog. A blog allows you talk about any topic you want to talk about. I know many people who have both a personal blog and a business blog. I have very often searched the web for something specific and been taken to someone’s blog entry.

4. Post comments on other peoples blogs. Not all blogs allow you to put your URL. I choose to post comments on blogs that allow me to put my URL. One of my favorite blogs to comment on is whatcanimakewithit.com This blog lists one food ingredient and asks you what can you make with that particular ingredient.

5. Article writing. This is one of my favorite forms of marketing. Every person who reads this particular article will see a link to my website. Some will click, some won’t. Of those who click, some will make a purchase, some won’t. If a publisher sees my article and likes it, he/she will use in their ezine, or on their site. This gives my link even more exposure. I wrote an article almost 10 years ago about passwording children. I still occasionally get emails from moms who tell me that my article has helped them. I wrote this article over 10 years ago. That’s an awful lot of free advertising for my sixty minutes of time to write the article. The more you write the less time an article will take. This article you are reading will take about 30 minutes to write. If you invest 30-60 minutes per day and write one article per day, you’ll have 365 articles online in a year’s time.

6. Offer a contest. Whenever I offer a no purchase required contest, I see hundreds of additional hits to my website. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that not all traffic received in this manner is targeted traffic; however for the price of one product as my prize, I do indeed find some new customers. I usually give away a Tupperware product as my prize. The cost to me is about $25. If I can get just 5 new customers from this contest I’m a very happy camper.

7. Write an ebook and give it away. If you write an ebook not only can you give it away to those who visit your site, but if the book is of value, meaning it contains great information you will get others who also want to give away your ebook.

8. Participate on message boards. I visit and participate in about 8 communities daily. I then have another dozen or so communities that I visit on a weekly basis. Most communities offer an assortment of message boards. One of my favorite boards is a current events board. I was so active on that board, I soon became a moderator. If a participant in this community wants what I sell, who do you think they will buy from?

9. Interview someone in your field. If you interview someone in your field, you’ll have the opportunity to advertise using their name and they in return will be sending folks to your site to read the interview. Very recently, I read two interviews that Chris Knight from ezinearticles.com wrote about. These interviews allowed Chris to promote the sites of the folks that interviewed him and it also allowed the two interviewers to promote Chris’s site. I personally visited two sites I would not have visited if Chris had not promoted them.

10. Create a newsletter. I subscribe to a few really wonderful newsletters. The folks who publish these newsletters have their own sites, and are selling something. Every week, or every month, by offering quality content, these newsletter owners generate traffic to their website. The folks who subscribe are interested in what is being sold, or they would not have opted in to receive this newsletter. Provide them with great content and they’ll stay subscribed. How wonderful to have several hundred or several thousand people asking to read your newsletter and every one of them has an interest in what you sell.

Try some of these forms of free advertising and watch both your web hits and your sales go up.

Audrey :)

1 comment:

Gaida said...

Hi Audrey,
Thank you for your 10 great ideas on advertising.

A signature file is a great idea on all your emails.

You can also give out free business cards from Vistaprint(you do pay for shipping. If you post a bill or letter or sell items on eBay include one with it.

Another powerful form of 'free' advertising is 'Word of Mouth'. There is nothing like a personal recommendation.

I love creating free ebooks. Using OpenOffice (free)this even creates your pdf. You'll find some of mine & others at my site

Off to check out the link to whatyoucanmake of it. Thanks for the link you emailed me!