I have a page at my website that contains a list of home business ideas (and links to detailed articles about some of them). On that page, I invite visitors who have an idea that isn't listed on that page to submit it to me for inclusion. Nine times out of ten, "ideas" that are submitted are nothing more than ads for various online business opportunities and not true business "ideas" at all.
This evening I received one such email. No greeting, no thank you, just a terse one liner "to be added to your ideas page" and an URL. I responded that this was not an "idea" (which, had person bothered to spend any time at all at page in question, she would have realized) but an ad for her business opportunity, and that if she wanted her ad on my site, she could damn well pay for it like anyone else (I was a little more diplomatic than that but you get gist).
Hot on heels of this type of approach is owner of an affiliate program for a product which would be of marginal interest (if that) to a tiny number of my ezine subscribers, offering me a fabulous "joint venture" opportunity whereby all I have to do is send a solo mailing to my list (worth $260) in exchange for making maybe $12 on each of three sales. Whoopee. Invariably, these people know demographic of my database intimately since, according to them, all my readers have been searching high and low for just such a solution to all their problems and *I* can be one to give it to them!
Please. Contrary to what these people obviously think, I did NOT just fall off back of a turnip truck so, to whom it may concern, go grow your own list or pay to advertise to mine. Those are your choices. This is a business, not a charity for bone idle.
These are by no means isolated examples.
Those of you running an online business probably have a list of examples like these as long as your arm. Why do people not understand that you get what you pay for in this world? I'll tell you why. The proliferation of "secret" sites that promise to reveal to you, for only a "$60 lifetime membership!" all "tips and tricks" you need to know to market your online business on 'net "without spending a dime!" and all "insider secrets" marketing courses promising same thing.
If you're laboring under impression that it's possible to market your business without spending money, here's some not-so-secret tips:
1. There ARE places to advertise your business for free, sort of. They don't come with no strings attached though. For example, although you can submit your site for free to classifieds sites and FFA pages that are absolutely everywhere, be prepared for a deluge of email in response. And I'm not talking about requests for more information! Typically, people visit these sites to get your email address so they can send THEIR business opportunity to YOU.
2. Some of search engines are still free. Many have moved to a paid submission model though and, even if they do still offer a free submission service, those listings are not a priority and tend to be added to index when engines get around to it. Better to spend a few bucks for a submission and get listed before next summer Olympics.
3. You can write articles and submit them to newsletter publishers and relevant websites. That's actually a good way to get your message across so long as article has real meat to it and doesn't mention your opportunity or product (leave that for resource box). Although it needn't cost you money, it does cost you time and effort and you may well get a better return by simply paying $65 for an ezine ad.
4. You can start your own newsletter and develop your own opt-in subscriber list. Unless you're prepared to pay for subscribers (around 15 cents per subscriber is about average) it's going to take a LONG time to grow your list to a decent size. Contrary to what some people will tell you, you will not grow a 'sticky' subscriber base of 5,000 within a month. Oh, you can grow a list of that size alright using some of various approaches being offered but it won't be a targeted list and it won't be a sticky list (i.e., subscribers won't stick around). With these programs you'll also find that a lot of subscribers are in it to generate their own subscribers and really aren't interested in subscribing to your newsletter. They do so only because it's a condition of being in program. Often these people will use free email addresses that they never check, let alone actually read contents of.