Many people look down on free advertising of any kind. They feel that if it is free, it cannot be any good. However, free internet advertising can be an extremely important method for promoting your business website to thousands potential customers and website visitors. The effective use of free classified ads can increase your online exposure exponentially.
In addition to the ability to post free classified ads, many sites also have search engine optimization tools, forums, mini-courses, website hosting, and other tools important to the internet marketer. Some also offer the opportunity to submit your ad to multiple sites and/or your website to search engines and directories. Add to this the fact that the site and its services are available 24 hours a day from any place that you can hook up your computer, free classified ad sites begin to look a little more attractive. Additionally, at major sites, many of these tools are free, or at least free for basics with the possibility of upgrade.
Using Free Advertising Sites Effectively – The Two Step Method
One of the most effective ways of using free classifieds goes back to BC – Before Computers!
It is called the two-step method, and rose to its highest art form in ads used by such direct mail marketers as the legendary Melvin Powers. The method rests on the premise that most people will not be willing to spend even a small amount of money on an offer in a small classified ad – especially if they do not know the offer or the product. It is assumed as well that the potential customer is asking himself or herself, “If this offer is so great, why is it being offered in a free classified ad site? Can’t the seller afford a better place to post the ad?”
Another assumption is that many people reading free classified ads, while hoping to find something of value to them, might not have a great deal of money to spend and, while they may be willing to spend it on something of value, are not just going to give it away to the first person who asks for it! Also, the higher the item being sold is priced, the less people are willing to give their money to a stranger no matter how much they want the product.
Therefore, one of the first issues is to create a trust between yourself and the potential customer. This is the first step of the two-step method, which, despite its name, may involve several steps. Here’s a small example of how this can work.
Let’s say I sell some sort of advertising service. It is reasonably priced and effective, but the buyer has never heard of it, and it is in competition with a kazillion other similar services.
To get the ball rolling, I place an ad offering a free report on the two-step method of advertising. All the interested party has to do is send me an email…in the old days, a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE).
Okay, it’s free and you’re new to internet marketing so you think this might be of value to you. You send me an email requesting the report.
If I am smart, I have set the report up on an autoresponder and within minutes, you have the report right in front of you. It might not be a work of great literary merit, but it DOES contain information of value, and you begin to have a feeling of respect for me. I haven’t asked you for any money but I HAVE delivered on my promise, and given you information you can use…or, if you already know all of it, you still respect me for keeping my word and not sending you junk.
Now, you will sometimes hear of two different ways of following up on this initial contact.
In the days of mail-order, there would probably be a list of additional, but inexpensive, information available on the same or similar subjects. An email could possibly contain the same type of opportunity. If the customer buys one or two of the cheap reports, the reports will arrive with information on better, probably more expensive, items. Remember, by the way, that the products do not have to be just informational. For example, if I offer a report on automobile maintenance, I might follow up later with an ad for some auto related product which I sell.
If I am using an autoresponder, I may have set up a series of emails timed to arrive at reasonable intervals with more valuable information. Each of these emails establishes me as someone who can be trusted to keep his word, and, if I have made sure that the information really is of value, as someone who is at least a bit of an expert on the subject. If I include the occasional advertisement, my customer, who I got for free and qualified as being interested in the subject, becomes more and more likely to make a purchase…perhaps many purchases over time.
In the old mail-order days as well as in the modern email era, these free ads help me create a mailing list made up of people who have some trust in me and who have an interest in the products or services I represent. I can drop them a special offer from time to time in addition to whatever planned mailings I may already be making.
The key to success with using the two step advertising method with free classified advertising is to always treat your customers with courtesy and respect, provide good customer service, and offer products of genuine value.