The temptation to turn towards free marketing resources can be an irresistable call, particularly to beginners on tight budgets. However, 'free' isn't a good bargain if it doesn't give you results!
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The Fallacy of Free Advertising

The temptation to turn towards free marketing resources can be an irresistable call, particularly to beginners on tight budgets. However, 'free' isn't a good bargain if it doesn't give you results! You still 'pay' for free advertising in terms of wasted time and effort.

There are many effective ways to promote your business free. However, let's start with a brief look at a few of the less-effective methods. Although the rare person might get results that justify their continued use, most people find them to be a waste of time. These include:

* Free classifieds in newsletters. Some editors offer a free ad to new subscribers in an effort to build their lists. Unfortunately, if they're getting a lot of new subscribers, they're probably also getting a lot of free ad requests -- which means your ad is likely going to get crammed alongside several others. As you can imagine, readers often ignore 'classified ad' sections such as these.

* Free classifieds on websites, or 'Free-For-All' (FFA) sites where you can post your link. Most people go to post ads, not read them. How often do YOU go to these sites to read ads? Enough said.

* Free banner or link exchanges. You know the type: you place a snippet of HTML on your website, and the links or banners are automatically rotated through everyone in the network. These are not usually targeted enough to give good results.

* Traffic-generating programs. You join a 'network' and 'share' traffic -- on your site, typically a popup or popunder window (advertising another member's site) is displayed as your visitor enters or leaves your site. Other members display your ad in a similar way. A popular example are the 'start page' or 'exit page' programs. Sure, this can give you traffic... but the most important thing is, does it give you results -- subscriptions to your newsletter, for example, or sales? The conversion rate is typically negligible or low for these types of programs.

Now onto the good stuff... here are several excellent free marketing methods that have the potential to yield great results:

- Targeted Link Exchanges.

Place a link to another related site on your own, and in return, ask them to reciprocate. Do it consistently and you will eventually have a wide-ranging network of targeted, relevant sites on which you are linked.

Your 'link popularity', as it's called, is used by many of the major search engines to help determine how well your site is positioned in the results. Plus the more links you have, the more places people can find you. You essentially 'share' another site's traffic.

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