Image courtsey Viddler/Mgillogly
To find free classified advertising that works to drive traffic to your site, you have to know a few key things about the sites where you place your free ads. First and foremost you have to make sure that the audience you are trying to reach is present in large enough numbers on the site. Another factor that can affect the performance of the ad is the amount of information that you are able to present.
If you think of theses free ad website as a boat, that takes you closer to the fish, then it's easy to see that you need a sturdy reliable boat. More importantly you need to launch your boat where there are fish. Your ad is the bait and you have to go where there are plenty of fish, potential customers, in order to catch them.
Benefits Of Free Advertising
A lot of small and Christian businesses use having little or no money as a reason for not using advertising. So, if you're one of these businesses free advertising can be a Godsend to help you get the word out about your products and or services.
Cash is often a scarce commodity, to Christian |home-based businesses. As a business owner, you can trade your time for money. If you're willing to do some basic research and fact checking to make sure that your free ad is placed on a site where your product can get viewed.
It's always good to know that there are some fish under the boat before you spend all day trying to catch one. If there are only one or two fish in a big pond, you'll have a hard time trying to catch them. Your chances improve when there are lots of fish around.
Guidelines For Free Advertising On The Internet
These tips on finding good free classified advertising sites are a bare bones guideline for everyone who does business on the web and are seeking frugal ways to get a leg up on the competition.
Even if the site turns out to be a place that attracts tire kickers instead of customers, you haven't wasted any money.
If you do get a steady stream of customers from an online classified service, you'll know that purchasing a bigger ad will be money well spent. You can check out the ratings on a few of the sites in "Where To Find Free Advertising For Christian| Small businesses."
5 Features Of Good Classified Ad Site
When you looking for ads on the cheap you still have to be concerned with the quality of the website for your free online ad. You should apply similar metrics, on click through rates and conversions, as you would on any site. Even though you only invested your time, you want to receive fair value for the time you spent setting up the account and placing the advertisement.
You wouldn't go fishing without checking your boat for leaks and free ads need a checklist too. Here's mine. These are some of the things that help me identify quality free advertising sites:
• Multiple Currency Options
• Profiles For Business or Personal
• Newest Ads Displayed on Front Page
• Upgradeable Features
• Site Statistics
In my opinion good sites should provide most if not all of these features.
All Free Classified Ads Are Not Created Equal
Some free classified advertising have restrictions against placing ads containing affiliate links. A few of them won't let you use photos or place a link to your website. Instead you'll have to use a phone number or email address in order for people to contact you.
Sites that only allow you to post ads for short runs under 14 days aren't as desirable as places that offer 30 days or more.
Being resourceful is always a necessity for start-ups and home-based businesses to accomplish their marketing objectives. Using free online advertising can give you access to another source for getting customers or sales.
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.
A Christian business should be a source of strength in the community it serves. More awareness needs to be focused on the important roles that they play in the community and marketplace. Christian businessmen, standing at the junction of faith and business need to achieve more than just interjecting faith into the workplace, we can show Christian love and servant leadership by taking the lead to resolve social problems.
Many faith-based businesses get lumped together with social entrepreneurs, businesses that channel some or all of their profits into programs to help the homeless, relief organizations in third world countries and other philanthropic causes.
The idea of being a socially responsible business is on the upswing, but learning to live right and helping those in need, is a concept that Christian-owned businesses have followed for a long time. A recent report in Business Week estimated the revenues of purpose driven companies has skyrocketed to about $40 billion.
Nutriset, a private company in France was founded by former African aid worker Michel Lescanne, his company has been selling food products to combat hunger and malnutrition since 1986.
Kirsten Tobey, and Kristin Richmond of Revolution Foods, talked to teachers, principals, parents, and students in public schools across the Bay Area, and discovered that they were concerned with better quality meals in schools. So the pair devised a concept to deliver nutritious and healthy lunches.
Christian Businesses That Are Making A Profit And A Difference
Chocolate manufacturer Milton S. Hershey and his wife, Catherine, staunch Christians started the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and donated his fortune for the ''maintenance, support and education'' of poor orphan boys.
Christian businessman Julius Walls Jr. is a minister and CEO of Greystone bakery a $5-million-a year-business that makes gourmet cakes which are served at the some of the finest restaurants in New York city.
Greystone bakery has become a role model for companies that want to mix social action into their business model. The bakery plows its profits into the Greyston Foundation, a non-profit arm that runs programs for needy families in it's surrounding neighborhood, whether or not they work for the bakery.
The foundation is funded through the bakery, grants, other business ventures, and private donations. It provides jobs, offers a computer class for school-age kids, and a clinic for people who are HIV positive.
Your Christian Business Can Make A Difference In Your Community
"The followers of Jesus will begin to demonstrate a new set of horizons for human life to their neighbors and even to their enemies—the horizons of shalom, the horizons of true humanity living in dependence on God. " Andy Crouch-Culture Making
If you want your Christian business to make a difference in your community, follow the lead of these successful businessmen that are changing lives and the way businesses use their profits.
Mohammd Yanus Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Garmeen Bank. The bank that pioneered micro-loans.
Bill Strickland's, Manchester Bidwell Corporation has changed the lives of thousands of disadvantaged urban teens and welfare mothers with his world-class arts centers and career training centers.
Jordan Kassalow, the founder of VisionSpring. A foundation that helps women create businesses to sell eye glasses to those who can rarely afford them, but need them the most.
In the 21st Century Christian businesses are poised to grow in size, influence and the ability to make positive impact in local communities. They can't shrink away from the true mission of every Christian, to do good, (Isaiah), and make this world a better place.