One overlooked or misused form of advertising is free advertising. However, this can be a very important means of growing your business.
There are innumerable free classified advertising sites on the internet
One immediately visible advantage of free advertising is the adjective, “free”. Many people starting internet businesses simply do not have the funds to buy advertising.
By the same token, a disadvantage to free advertising is that since it is free, everybody floods it with all kinds of ads, and it is easy for your message to get lost in the flood of advertisements.
Another disadvantage is that unlike people who look through newspaper classifieds or advertising papers such as are found at the local convenience store, few people on the Internet actually visit online classified sites in hopes of finding a car or piece of stereo equipment. Even if they do, they are not likely to see your ad if you are trying to interest someone in an internet income opportunity.
So, how can you turn free advertising to your advantage?
First, as mentioned, some sites will have the potential for improving your business in one way or another, and some will be totally worthless. Since the advertisement itself may or may not be effective, or may or may not be effective at a certain website, testing is necessary. Different ads must be tried, and they must be tried on different sites.
A difficulty in determining the value of a given free advertising site is the fact that with the advent of automatic advertising submitters, many sites are hardly ever visited by humans any more. Only the automatic programs drop by and leave off their ads and move on to the next site. Therefore, one of the first criteria to look for might be whether or not ads must be manually posted. At least in that case, humans will visit and may actually see your ad.
By the way, even a site which can be posted to automatically may be of value in the area of linking and search engine optimization. Most of these links will be fleeting or of little value to a search engine spider, but you may be able to build a little stable of sites which will help search engines find your site. I know of several sites where I regularly post ads exactly for this purpose. (which requires manual submission) for example is regularly visited by search engine spiders, and if I place an ad there, the page I have linked to will soon show up in search engine listings.
Second, free advertising is most effective if it is not used to sell anything. In fact, it will operate best when you use the free advertising to give something of value away in order to establish a condition of trust between yourself and a prospective customer. In the heyday of mail order advertising, this was often referred to as the “two step” method.
It worked, and still works, like this. The seller offers a free report, such as “How to Make Money from Your Kitchen Table”. The ad simply makes the offer, and often would request the reader to send a “free, self-addressed, stamped envelope” for the free report. In this way, the seller was able to get his materials in the hands of several interested parties for only the cost of the report and the ad. The seller was saved the postage by the reader who provided the envelope and postage. Enclosed with the report were materials offering other items, often more reports, which were sold by the seller.
If the seller had provided a report of value on the first mailing, it was possible that the reader would purchase one of the items. If not, the name and address was still on the seller’s records (mailing list) and the reader would receive more mailings and/or a collection of such names and addresses would be sold to others who had not built their own lists as yet.
The same thing is done on the internet, and many successful advertisements offer free advertising, software, reports, or services in order to entice the online reader to respond, thus placing his or her contact information at the disposal of the advertiser.
This sort of advertising on the internet has spawned two distinct “advertising” methods which, while free, are not actually advertisements. These two methods are the writing of articles and the creation of lead capture pages.