Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004
Free is good. Free is great because it doesn't cost anything. That's probably why so many marketers have a tendency to gravitate towards free methods of promoting their site. It makes perfect sense.
However, what many Internet marketers forget is that nothing is free -- absolutely nothing. It's a simple, fundamental concept of economics: "There are no free lunches." If you spend time implementing a free marketing method, you've still incurred a cost: your time.
And many people forget that time is your most precious resource; you only get so much of it no matter what you do. So, consider that, depending on what your time is worth to you in dollars, it may be more "expensive" for you to use free marketing yourself than to pay someone else (or another company) to market for you.
Furthermore, remember that you can make your time more valuable by using it only for your most important business activities and therefore making your business more profitable -- yet another reason to pay for marketing and let someone else take care of it for you.
That said, let me recommend a few popular "paid" marketing services. You might be surprised at how much money you "save."
Goto.com - It's a pay-for-rank search engine. Basically, you set up an account and you place a bid on certain keywords. When someone searches for one of those keywords, your site shows up in the listings ranked based on how much you bid in relation to the other people who bid for keywords. You pay only when someone clicks on the link to your site, not when it the listing is shown. Visit GoTo.com
Yahoo.com - In case you don't know, a listing in Yahoo's directory can bring you hundreds of visitors per day. It used to be free to request inclusion in Yahoo's directory, but now they've moved to a fee-based system for businesses. The cost to submit your site to Yahoo for review is $195, no small sum for a small business, but it's dirt cheap when you consider how much traffic a listing can bring you. Visit Yahoo and how to suggest a site to Yahoo.
RealNames.com - This is the company that sends you to real website when you simply type in a keyword in the address bar of your browser. Well, you can buy keywords that are relevant to your site from RealNames. The only limitation is that the keywords can't be generic -- they have to be related to your business name. So, I couldn't register "Internet Marketing" but I could register "Sybren Internet Marketing." Visit RealNames.com
Affiliate Programs - Every wish you had a dedicated sales team working for you 24/7? Well, that's pretty much what an affiliate program. Basically, you pay your affiliates in some way or another (a commission on every sale they send to you, a few cents for every visitor they send, etc.), and they send you sales. A fairly popular company that seems to do a good job is Commission Junction. Check them out at (/www.cj.com). Also, do some more research -- just do a search on affiliate programs in your favorite engine.
E-Zine Advertising - You can buy ads in newsletters who's readers would be interested in your product or service. The best way to go about this is by searching for "x newsletter" where "x" is something related to your field or service. For example, if I wanted to advertise in Internet marketing newsletters, I'd search for "Internet marketing newsletters." Then, once I found a few good ones with decent amounts of subscribers, I'd simply ask the editor how to go about purchasing ad space in their publication.
Remember, your time is valuable. It may seem cheaper to advertise for "free," but if you examine the total costs, you may decide that paid advertising is much more cost effective. Try some of these methods above out and figure out what's best for you and your business.
About the Author
Need a killer website for your business? Micah Cranman designs attractive, compelling, and results-driven websites for small businesses and organizations. For more information on how he can help you develop a powerful web presence, visit his site at (www.sybren.net).