A hot forum topic in cyberbia these days is where to find free advertising for small|Christian businesses and home-based businesses. I'd like to offer a few solutions to this important question here, instead of in a forum, so that more people can benefit, and know how to connect with advertising exchanges, trade and bartering promotions and other in expensive forms of marketing to rev-up sales.
The information I'll cover can be used by small and Christian businesses, profit and non-profit businesses for services and products. I'll tell you about my experiences with these services and give you an idea of how these free ad services work and whether it's effective to use them.
Classified Ad Sites That Don't Charge
I know with the recent changes on the webs best known free advertising site, Craig's List, it's getting more challenging to use their free classified ads to sell products. Let me start by saying just because the first contact doesn't immediately lead to a sale, you can still mine the traffic from this site for your newsletter and E-zine list with the hopes of getting a sale down the road.
Some free ad sites allow you to post a picture of your items and others don't. What I found frustrating about some of them were character limits smaller than (under than 140 characters) Twitter, and no links to your website.
If you're going to advertise under those constraints you might as well go over to Twitter where you have a more potential customers.
Who Visits Free Ad Sites
I wanted to get products on about 50 sites so I targeted half that many, at first , to get a feel for the market. A few of the places that I used are E-Page classified, Walmart classified, Free adlist. What I quickly discovered is that for the most part many of the site weren't getting very much traffic or page views and their demographics didn't really fit the bill for my ideal customer.
I did a simple chart containing some of the key stats from a couple of the free ad sites, using data supplied on Alexa.
|Page Views per user||16||3.6||3.4||1||7.3|
|Avg Time on site||12||3.6||4.6||no data||3.5|
|Demog||25-34 males||35-54 FEMALES||NO DATA||NO DATA||25-44 MALES|
I crafted a well designed ad with a huge promise and in the title and as much benefit laden text as the site would allow. Thus far Google analytic hasn't shown a single visitor from these sites, other than Craig's List.
I tried only one ad exchange listing,Superclix, they let me design my own plain single column black and white ad. They placed 3 single column ads on my site that look terrible and I'm planning to take it down soon. The main reason I've stuck with this advertising exchange site was to generate a backlink to my site from the product until I write an article, on the product, then I'll promptly discontinue my affiliation with the site.
Trade and Barter Techniques
My search for barter advertising was limited to a few SERP's, then I realized that I hadn't seen any barter ads on any of the dozens of sites I visit each week. I was able to find one site U-exchange, that looked promising, because they don't charge an upfront fee to use their bartering network. Some of the other sites I visited wanted several hundred dollars to become a member. I thought that was a little steep considering that the quality of the goods and services that I might receive may not suit my individual taste and I'll be stuck with something I don't care to use.
Ideas That Generate Real Profits
The cost of getting new customers is 6x more than selling to your existing pool of clients. Smart entrepreneurs are better off spending their time to organizing a system with to follow-up with their customers after each sale.
The father of Guerrilla marketing Jay Conrad Levinson put it this way, follow up or fall flat on your face. Every guerrilla knows that you have to maintain a constant contact with your clients, because it takes about 30 exposures to your message before you can make a sale to most people.
Mash that with the fact that the average person gets exposed to nearly 76 offline advertisements a day, and it's easy to understand why every marketer should contact people after the sale through regular follow ups at 30, 60 and 90-day intervals.
Give It Forward Marketing
Asking for referrals is another undervalued strategy that every small, home-based and Christian businesses can use to reach more customers. Giving your clients exceptional service and follow-up support motivates your best customers to tell others about your business. When you give willingly to your customers, they will return the favor. Many times when you contact a referral they have been pre-sold on doing business with you or at least are aware of your company.
One last tip, take that stack of business cards that's been collecting dust over the years and start calling some of those people up and renewing those relationship, by asking them how you can help their business. Give them an update on your email address and/or a cell phone number so they can reciprocate and you can begin regular follow ups with them.
Using Classified Ad Services That Don't Charge
If you place ads for your business on ad sites that don't charge, choose a site that matches the market intel of your ideal customers. There is always a chance that someone might view your ad.
There are techniques that work a lot better than cold calling and beat the return on investment of manually placing free advertising for small|Christian businesses all over cyberspace, make sure you're using them too.