Most business owners fully understand that not advertising is the surest way to kill your business.
However they are also bombarded by so much information and so many choices they quickly lose track of what options are available to them.
There are a number of cheap and easy online advertising options available to you.
1. Ezine Advertising
Ezine advertising is one of the best ways to reach your future customers because it is often inexpensive and flexible as well as offering you the option to match the ezine audience with your product and ad. It also often offers a double benefit–your initial ad plus longevity in the ezine archives.
2. Text Links
This simple tool is often overlooked by many. It is simply one of the least expensive and yet most powerful advertising option available. You can often buy text links for under $10 and the link will not only promote the specific site or page you choose but also connect it with the specific key words that will benefit you the most.
Text links also provide a double bonus. You can attract immediate traffic from the host site as well as achieve better search engine ranking which will further increase traffic.
3. Pay per click advertising
Just like it sounds pay per click advertising is simply paying for specifically targeted traffic. You can monitor and control these advertising programs very closely and tweak your ad copy and the key words that you are sponsoring. This can be a very expensive option but doesn’t have to be if you plan carefully and watch closely.
4. Email marketing
Despite ever-increasing vigilant attempts to stop spam, we all know that email marketing is still alive and well. While it is foolish in the extreme to risk your business, web host, or internet connection, by sending out spam you can still use email marketing as a way to reach out and touch your customers and your future customers.
You just need to make sure that no one receives mail except the people who ask for it. People are still willing to sign up for mailing lists–especially if you have something to offer them in return for sharing their email address. Sponsor a contest; give away an article, ebook, or tutorial; or offer a discount and you will have people sign up willingly.
Then if you don’t abuse the mailing list you will have the opportunity to reach them again and again!
5. Banner Ads
Banner ads have a bad reputation. In part because of the proliferation of banner farms that killed all the banner swap programs (or at least made them completely ineffectual). Also we all have memories of those hideous banners flashing across the top of so many web sites.
Banners have come along way since then and a cleverly designed banner can be a real asset to any advertising campaign. Also don’t forget that you don’t have to use one of those big giant banners that span the width of the screen. You can use smaller simple ads that can fit easily into the sidebar or special box on a web site so they can suit the design and work more effectively.
It is also important that you pay close attention to what sites you will choose for displaying your banner. IE. A site about web development for your web hosting service ad or a site about parenting for your ad promoting your potty training book.
Many text link and pay per click advertising vendors also offer the option of banner ads. Similarly many ezine and newsletter publishers sell space on their sites.
~~ Sell Your Knowledge ~~
These next five advertising methods are all free or relatively inexpensive because you are trading something of value — your knowledge and expertise — in return for advertising.
6. Publish a Newsletter
Creating your own regular newsletter or ezine offers you all the advantages of ezine advertising and email marketing offered above.
7. Publish a Blog and RSS Feed
While publishing a newsletter or ezine isn’t that difficult it is much easier to create a blog and make its content available via RSS feed. This can offer you the benefits of regularly updated material for your web site which will be attractive to visitors and search engines alike. It will also help establish you as an expert in your field.
I personally like using WordPress on your own site but many web hosts now offer blogging services and there are many free blogging sites around where you can create a blog on their site.
8. Write Articles
Take some of the material you have generated for your newsletter and/or blog and share it with others. Make it available in one of the many free content directories available on the web. This not only helps to establish your credibility but the contact info you provide in your resource box (which will run every time someone else publishes your material) will bring in both direct traffic as well as search engine attention.
9. Create an Ebook
Once you have enough material generated from your newsletter and blog then you can package it into a convenient Ebook and give it away. Make sure to collect names and email addresses and offer a coupon or discount to bring people back to your site!
10. Post in Forums
If you have the time you should start your own forum but even if you only have a few minutes a week to spare for this effort then it can be well worth the effort. Don’t offer blatant spam posts but find a forum where you have something to offer. Make sure that you include an appropriate url and description for your forum signature and you will attract the double benefit of traffic and search engine attention!
No successful advertising campaign embraces one single method of advertising and no single method of advertising works for everyone. Advertising cannot be treated as a one-size-fits all proposition. However you know what your business needs and can offer–mix and match methods and make sure to track your results–to optimize your choices.