The Top 5 Myths About Free Advertising

So in today’s tough economic environment it’s becoming increasingly popular for businesses to find ways to exploit free advertising and therefore increase customer enquiries into subsequent sales.Naturally some business owners are skeptical of any service or online process whereby they can advertise for free – this is simply human nature and sayings like, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ reinforces this belief.However, with the advent of the Internet and new ways that advertising companies can monetise their service, means that it’s not always the advertiser that has to pay for marketing. This is because businesses have something valuable to these advertising services – they have unique content about their products and services that when published generates unique visits.So the Internet has given SME businesses new and unique ways to advertise their products and services for free (or at very little cost), compared to traditional marketing activities.In this article I’m going to dispel the top myths of free advertising that will hopefully open your mind to the possibilities and opportunities for your business.If you have any of your own advice or learning that you want to share then please leave a comment and let’s have a chat about it.MYTH #1 – FREE ADVERTISING IS A WASTE OF TIME.FALSE – however it does depend on the type of advertising exploited.There is one golden word you must always keep in the front of your head (especially with the recent release of Google Panda) – ‘quality’. Yes always think quality advertising and only associate your business with marketing services that are trusted and respected on the Internet. So for example, never sign up to sites that promise you 1000s of backlinks in 24hrs, or pay for links from obvious spammy websites.Instead, I recommend you do a bit of research to find the most reputable sites, for example, if you decide to list your company on online business directories then Google ‘business directories’ and check out what’s on page 1 and 2 then choose the best ones that offer a quality service. Why not choose these as a start and make sure you post as much unique and quality content on each one.MYTH #2 – LIKE EVERYTHING IN LIFE YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.FALSE – if you think about it you can pay 1000s / $1000s on marketing and in most cases without any guarantee of a return (ROI – Return on Investment). TV marketing campaigns generally cost the most money, however, you can create and publish a video about your business for free on YouTube and also attach it to your profile on directories sites. Over time this can yield excellent results, especially when you create regular videos and attract subscribers / followers.Using social sites like Twitter and Facebook can have a massive boost to your campaign and create brand trust / loyalty.MYTH #3 – FREE ADVERTISING IS EXPENSIVE!FALSE – most people think that online advertising services give very little content away for free, and you then have to upgrade to get the most from the service, e.g. to add more content about your business or pictures of your products.Actually this is no longer the case as many of the top Internet sites now give a higher level of content away for free than ever before. This is because competition is so intense between online business directories.MYTH #4 – BUSINESS DIRECTORIES ARE THE ONLY FORM OF FREE ADVERTISING.FALSE – however, it’s true that advertising on top directories are a recommended form of online business marketing.There are many other creative ways that you can advertise your business on the Internet. For example, why not get really creative and produce a spoof video based on your business sector and seed it on YouTube – then send links to it to all your business contacts. This is a great way to get your business and brand noticed for free, with the obvious potential of it going ‘viral’, for example, imagine it being featured on a TV programme like Rude Tube – amazing free advertising that would produce awesome results.MYTH #5 – MY COMPETITORS HAVE BIGGER BUDGETS THAN ME.FALSE (in most cases) – your competitors are also looking for new and innovative cost effective solutions for their advertising campaign. They may already be utilising Internet opportunities like blogging, producing viral videos, helping others on forums, and advertising on business directories.I suggest you put some time aside to really investigate your competitors strategy and try and find out what works well for them. For example, register on SEOmoz and you can then see the backlinks to their site. This will show you where people are clicking to their site from, e.g. forums and directory sites.So knowledge is power and by understanding your competitors and seeing what works for them will influence your advertising campaign. However, a word of caution, this is only part of your strategy, i.e. you still need to put the effort in to find new and quality areas of the Internet to promote your business on.IN SUMMARY – Top 10 Rules for Advertising Your Business on the Internet.
Only advertise on quality and trusted directories
Look for new and innovative ways to promote your business online, e.g. Twitter / Facebook
Produce your own business video and post on the Internet
Make sure your website reflects the quality of your brand and is regularly updated
Wherever you publish content about your business then keep access details so you can update it as your business changes
Make use of voucher sites and promote seasonal offers
Keep an eye on your competitors and emulate what works for them
Only target getting quality links back to your website from other sites within your sector or trusted business directories
Brag! Tell people all about your products and services on your own blog site and keep posting informative and well written articles
Lastly… think quality… quality… quality… !