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Online Marketing Home Based Business

Online marketing for a home based business is the biggest issue many of us face when we are starting an online or internet based business.

Firstly, the Internet is a very different medium to traditional advertising. Whilst adverts in the local free paper will do very nicely for a traditional business, the Internet is so huge that it is much harder to target your “local” market. Indeed, the question for most of us becomes what is your local market? Where on earth do you start?

Begin by recognising that when advertising your business on the Internet, the story is very different.

In a nutshell, you need to identify who your target market is and try to decide what words they might type into a search engine such as google in order to find you. This is the idea behind the Pay-per-Click advertising that you will hear about and is the key to targeting your market.

In addition, the presence of a website is an advert in itself. If you have a website, the search engines will eventually find it and once they know of its existence, you will begin to get some “traffic” or “visitors” – or in layman’s terms - potential customers. For more specific information on owning a website see my Website and Domain name pages.

In order to really grow a business you have to have market it effectively, so understanding that we need to advertise in order to drive traffic to our site, where do you start?

Advertising on the Internet is a cut throat business and the small business budget very often doesn’t allow to compete in such a world – at least not in the early days. In my consultations, lack of a marketing budget is one of the key issues that I encounter. Most people recognise that they need to advertise but don’t have the marketing dollars (or pounds) to do so.

I have tried to encapsulate some of the advertising methods and some good places to make a start.

PLEASE NOTE, I initially wrote this piece as I get asked so often about where to start with advertising. I am not endorsing or recommending any of the methods or sites below as particular successes.

My aim is to share with you some of the methods that I have explored. Don’t distract yourself by looking at all of the methods. Choose one or two areas that you think you would like to start with.

Of course, I include some of my own links on this site as I wouldn’t be able to write this without having first explored the subject. If you like my site, then I would appreciate if you click on my links to enable me to continue developing it.

So what can you do to start marketing free or very cost effectively?

Free Advertising

I suggest starting with what you can afford and suggest trying some of the “free” options. To start with try a plain old Google search on “free classified ads” or something of that nature. There are hundreds of sites and forums that allow you to advertise free.

Take care to ensure that you set up a dedicated email address for registering with such sites or you may end up with hundreds of unwanted emails clogging up your inbox. I have a separate gmail address purely for this purpose! You can then check it once a week in case there is anything you find of real interest without it distracting you from your task.

Articles and Press Releases

Write Basic Articles and Press Releases about the product you want to promote and what you got out of it, and submit them to these free web sites.

A good mindset to be in while creating an article or press release is to think of it as a testimonial. Explain about the power of the product and use specific examples on how it has been a benefit to you. You can also throw in some details on how the business has benefited you and why you think your product is a must for everyone.

Another great way to find specific articles and press release submission services is to do a search for "free article submission" or "free press releases" on Google.

Once you have an article or press release created and ready to submit, find 3 to 5 submission services to submit it to. Submit the same article or press release to all of them. This will ensure that you'll get your information seen in a natural search.

Don't write an article that's more than a page and a half long, or more than about 800 words. Keep your lines short and your paragraphs to no more than four sentences long. No one reads on the Internet, they just skim, so keeping your lines and paragraphs short will keep them reading and not skimming.

DO NOT pay for these services! By submitting your article to multiple services you get almost the same results for free.

Social Networking Sites

There are many ways to make use of social networking sites such as Facebook but that is a whole other page!

However, in short, your profile is your digital business card. You can put your personal and/or business information on it as well as upload content such as pictures, videos, audio, blogs and more.

Most sites have categories and groups in the areas of networking or business and allow you to develop links with likeminded individuals. Make sure you use some targeted keywords as a good starting point for some of your content. Include links to your website(s) itself.

This is a good option for those of you who are already involved in this area especially if you have a large network of business friends already.

You can also place pay per click ads on some of the sites.

See the column on the left for my profiles and come and join me on Facebook and Twitter.

Online Communities and Forums

Another way to get some free advertising is to take advantage of online forums and online communities. The great thing about forums and online communities is that you can target a group that fits the target market that you are looking for. Get involved in discussions about your own niche area.

The aim is to position yourself as someone with knowledge and expertise about the subject, with that you can build a reputation and build trust. Make sure that you use a sign off in your postings that has links to your website as people will be more inclined to take a look if they see you as someone with something useful to say.

Dedicated Traffic Generation Sites

These are sites that promise to send endless traffic to your websites. Some of the promises made can be a little exaggerated but experiment and find some that work for you. In most cases you have to view other peoples' ads to get points to use to have your ads displayed so don’t forget to use your spam email address.

Many of these sites are free at a basic level and you will earn credits for referring people so you might want to advertise these also.

I have joined up with a few to check them out and have had some success. You can join and use the sites completely free. There are some restrictions and you can pay to get better tools if you want but I have had some success without upgrading to paid memberships.

List Generation Programmes

Claiming to be simple, yet powerful systems that builds your lead lists so that you will never ever have to pay someone else for advertising again. Again, treat with a pinch of salt but it is worth checking one or two out. There appear to be hundreds!

This particular scheme I decided to take a punt on. Although I haven’t long joined I can tell you that I did make my $12 back in a day and am gradually building a list. I think it was worth the investment of a few dollars. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Link or Traffic Exchange

Trading links with another site can be another good way of generating traffic. This works in two ways.

Firstly, you benefit from any traffic on the other site potentially following the link to your site.

Secondly, the way search engines work means that they give a greater importance to sites that have lots of incoming links. In their mind, the more links you have from other sites, the more important you must be. They give you credit for this and it improves your ranking in the search engines.

A word of caution though. If you are looking to exchange links, take care what links to other sites you place on your own pages. If you place links to poor sites you run the risk of being penalised for promoting sites that the search engines do not place a high importance on.

Try a search on "link exchange". There are numerous schemes allowing you to find link exchange partners.

If you are with SBI, you can register for Value Exchange and find quality sites that will be of a similar topic area.

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