The Internet's full of hyped-up promises of 'ultimate' marketing secret that will singlehandedly skyrocket your business to instant success.
Naturally, this is ALL it is: hype. There's no single 'secret' that will magically transform a fledgling business into a powerful money-maker. Instead, every business owner is responsible for testing and refining various techniques until he or she has developed a solid, effective base that produces desired results.
What works for one business may not work for another! Likewise, another business may have poor results with one method, while others experience great success. Here's a quick checklist of some of more popular -- and completely free -- marketing techniques to help you build your online business (note: this is a 3-part series).
PART 1: FREE ONLINE MARKETING TECHNIQUES
1. Build and use your own opt-in list of targeted and interested prospects. Offer a free newsletter that provides fresh, interesting, and relevant content. You'll receive feedback from your readers about what's important to them, and over time they'll come to know and trust you. Your products, services, and even recommendations will then be taken much more seriously because you've developed credibility with your readers.
2. Contribute to newsgroups or discussion boards. Establish yourself as a helpful member of a community. Other members of community who come to know and respect you will often refer you to others.
3. Niche directories or search engines. Find all highly-targeted directories and SEs for your market, and then work to get listed. You'll be surprised at how many niche sites there are! Good places to start looking are http://yahoo.com/ and http://www.dmoz.com/ .
4. Build your link popularity. For example, you can trade links with other businesses in your market so that you can 'share' each other's traffic. Most of major search engines take link popularity into consideration when ranking your site.
5. Endorsed mailings to other lists. Find editor of a great newsletter, and offer your product or service to him for free in return for a review or an endorsed ad to his list. Endorsements from editor can far outperform regular 'ads', since they come from someone they know and trust (the editor).
6. Testimonials. It's fine for you to say that your product or service is wonderful... but there's far more 'punch' when someone else says it! Testimonials show prospects that you have happy customers and helps them to make decision to buy.
7. Use autoresponders to follow-up with your prospects. It has been proven time and time again that autoresponders can dramatically increase your profits! They're also great time-savers, saving you from following up with each prospect manually.
8. Ad swaps. You can get extra exposure for 'free' (no out-of-pocket expenses) by swapping ad space with another editor that caters to your audience. Plus it's a great way to put 'remnant' ad space to good use.