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.
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.