'How and Where to Advertise Your Small Business on the Internet.'
This takes a lot of the mystery out of where you should be advertising
online. I've tried dozens of methods and hundreds of resources and
my results are in this tutorial.
Actually, I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to marketing.
But I also realize that in order to succeed in business, you must
spend SOME money advertising. So I've been advertising my site,
www.make-a-living-online.com all over the web lately and today I'd
like to share my results with you so you'll know exactly how and
where you should get started advertising online.
For starters, keep your wallet securely in your pocket. There are
three things you must do BEFORE spending ad bucks online. And here
1. Get a handle on how well your site does its selling. Figuring
out how good a job your site does selling is simple. Just look at
your stats and do a little math. You are after just one number...
how much a website visitor is worth to you. Or more simply, how
much you should PAY for a visitor.
To figure this out you need to first find out how many visitors
it takes you to get a sale. If you get 1000 visitors a week and
10 sales in that same week, then your visitor to sales ratio is
100-1. If you average 20 sales from those 1000 visitors, you are
closing one sale for every 50 visitors. Once you know your own number,
you will be able to determine approximately how much a visitor is
worth to you. You simply take it one step further...
Let's say you close 1 sale in every 50 visitors and your average
profit is $50. Simple math tells you that you could pay up to a
dollar per visitor and break even. So a good goal would be to pay
LESS THAN a buck per visitor. Any ad buy that averages out to less
than a dollar per visitor should be profitable, provided the traffic
is targeted. If you aim to spend fifty cents per visitor you can
double your investment every time.
Of course there are lots of variables. Things like opt-in email
members you may receive from an ad buy and the repeat visitors that
your list generates. But you get the idea. Until you know the above
numbers for your site, you cannot spend money wisely on advertising.
Once you have a handle on how much a visitor is worth to you, the
next step you must take before your first ad buy is...
2. Set up your email address capture strategy. If your site is closing
one sale for every 50 visitors, you may be satisfied. But if you
are not offering a way for the other 49 visitors to 'stay in the
loop' you are making a huge mistake.
And it is simple to keep them from getting away. Just offer them
something of value in exchange for their contact information. An
example of one way to do this is offering a free gift at your site
and getting their name and email address when they request it. Your
gift can be a free ebook, an email course or anything else your
visitors would want. You can get as many as 20% of your visitors
to leave their contact info if you do it right. That's a lot of
email addresses when you start advertising and getting lots of traffic.
But what do you do with the addresses?
You treat them like gold.
Regularly publish an email newsletter to your growing list of addresses.
Contact them and offer your expertise. Give them more free, valuable
information related to what they requested originally. Make them
feel special and grow a community. This is how long-term profits
are made online. Once you have tackled the two items above, there
is one last step before you actually spend money on advertising...
3. Make sure you have a way to measure your results once your advertising
I do this simply by copying my main entry page and using the new
URL in the ad. For example, I have started advertising at many pay
per click search engines, like overture.com and FindWhat.com. Every
link that is clicked through those sites is tracked automatically
so I know where every visitor comes from. When I check the stats
my web host emails me I can easily see how many visitors came from
each ad I placed. Here are a few ad tracking tools you can try...
Adminder: http://www.bizweb2000.com/adminder The RoiBot Ad Tracker:
http://www.bizweb2000.com/roibotOK, once you have tackled the three
items above, you're all set up to do some ad buys.
(If you're not ready to spend ad dollars yet, save this issue so
you can refer to it when you are ready. You'll save lots of time
and money by starting with this list.) I have tried many strategies
online and here's the straight scoop on what works and what doesn't.
I've ranked nine online advertising strategies as follows...
Poor: Don't waste your time.
Fair: Worth a try at least once or twice.
Good: A solid way to spend ad dollars.
Excellent: Should be a regular staple in any online marketing budget.
OK, here they are...
1. FFA submissions (Free for all links pages)
You know, those interfaces that say 'submit to 50,000 websites for
a few bucks. Well, save your few bucks. FFA's had their time in
the sun. They worked great when they were first introduced. Now
they are not worth a dime. Heck, even if you can do a free submission
it's probably not worth your time. The last three tests I ran submitted
my URL to nearly a half a million sites. I got four visitors. 'Nuf
2. Bulk email
Most of you know my take on this. Sure, you CAN get website traffic
using bulk email. You can do it yourself or hire a company to
hide behind. But the fact is, you risk your business reputation
and you'll anger a ton of folks. Your domain will end up blocked
by many ISPs and could even get sued. Unsolicited bulk email is
not worth the trouble.
3. Safe lists
This is a twist on opt-in email marketing where you pay for the
privilege of being able to send email to a list of other marketers
who have done the same. While I have not tried this personally
I can comment on it simply because lots of my subscribers have
tried it. And I have not heard one good thing about it other than
from people reselling it. The folks that have used it have found
that while safe list 'members' have agreed to be on the safe lists,
most never actually read messages or buy anything.
4. Banner Advertising
This is an 'old school' advertising strategy that I have been
testing again now that prices are lower. And early indications
are that there is a solid reason for the still-declining prices
of banner advertising. My own click-through rates been less that
1% so far, with a few exceptions. But I do have some decent size
banner ad runs planned for the coming months at some busy, targeted
sites. Time will tell if I'll continue with this strategy.
If you DO want to try banner advertising, ask the site you plan
to advertise at what the average click-through rates are and what
banners perform best. That may get you up to two or three percent.
If that will take you into profit, give it a whirl. But most small
and home businesses may be better served using one of the five
advertising methods remaining.
5. Opt-in list rental
There are plenty of companies that will rent you email addresses
that have opted in to receive commercial email. And if the recipients
are not being paid to read the messages, that is they are genuinely
interested in the offers they signed up to receive, this strategy
can be profitable. The problem is you'll pay from ten to twenty
cents per address and mailing to a list large enough to get results
from can be quite expensive. But if your budget can handle it,
you can generate some great targeted traffic.
6. Paid Search Engines Submissions
While I highly suggest submitting to all the major search engines
that are still free (AltaVista, Lycos, Google, HotBot, DMOZ and
Direct Hit) today's tip is about paying for advertising. And there
are two paid search engine services I have had very good luck
Inktomi's Search/Submit at $30 a year, which gets your URL into
AOL, iWon, MSN and the Looksmart directory within 48 hours. <http://ink.ineedhits.com/>
Yahoo! Business Express and sponsored site listings. The business
express service <http://help.yahoo.com/help/bizex/> costs
$299 for non-adult sites, and gets you Yahoo! consideration.
I got my www.make-a-living-online.com
site in within a week by simply following the detailed directions
at my companion site. While $299 is a little pricey for some small
business owners, a good listing at Yahoo! brings quite a bit of
extra traffic. Once you are listed, consider taking advantage
of the 'sponsored site' offering for an additional monthly fee.
I am sampling this currently and it paid for itself within the
first few weeks. My results may decline as more sites are added
into the sponsored sites area but I'll keep an eye on things.
7. Pay per click search engines
This advertising model offers a way for you to bid on search terms
and pay only when someone clicks through to your site. I've been
advertising with www.overture.com and findwhat.com using this
method and have had decent results. It's easy to control costs
and your visitors are targeted precisely.
If you are not in a super-competitive keyword arena you can do
well with pay per click engines. For example, if you sell web
hosting, good luck getting traffic for less than a few bucks a
click. But if you have a smaller niche, this strategy represents
a great opportunity and is worth trying. And if you DO find that
this model works well for you, more than 75 additional 'Pay per
Click' search engines can be found at Alan Gardyne's super-duper
8. Ezine Advertising
Still the one. Some people think I recommend ezine advertising
because I have an ezine and I'm trying to sell my own ad space.
On the contrary, I've been trying NOT to sell my ad space for
the last few years. That's why my own rates are so high! I can
run my own offers or affiliate offers and make much more than
I can selling the ad space. Many other ezine editors are finding
the same thing. While this has resulted in rising ezine ad costs
over the last few years, one fact remains... ezine advertising
is still one of the most effective ways to get targeted traffic
-- cheap. Just visit an ezine directory and search for ezines
in your niche market. Subscribe to a bunch and start reading them.
Look for larger circulation ezines that have a good following.
If you like the content then the thousands of other readers probably
do too. Place an ad and you'll make a profit, nearly every time.
Top sponsorships work best if you can swing it.
Interested in more?
I have done lots of ad buys lately and have many more planned.
I'll be uploading the exact results soon. Where is all this fresh
info going? Into my companion site for my 'Make a Living Online'
members. And this stuff is about 1% of what's there.
Members go to:
Non-members can join at: