Free Advertising Ideas For Online Business

In today's economy it is important for every small business to utilize as many free advertising services as they can get their hands on. These ideas should make the advertising process a little easier.

Host a Contest or Event

This will open up new avenues for free advertising. There are many websites out there dedicated to informing people about contests and events that its members might be interested in. Charge a small entry fee to cover the cost of the prizes and you will get traffic from a group of people who might not otherwise find you.

Local Free Advertising

Call up a local newspaper to do a human interest story or business story for your company. Also, submit your own articles to local papers and magazines for consideration. This method of free advertising works best for non-metropolitan areas but it never hurts to try. The worst thing a person can tell you is no!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Learning SEO techniques is one of the best free advertising techniques. A few tips include using only a couple keyword terms per page, maintaining a .5% -5% keyword density rate, utilizing your meta tags and image tags, creating and submitting XML sitemaps, as well as using keywords in your URL.

Personal Touches

Adding personal touches to your business is a great way to get repeat clientele or a good way to close a sale. Send personalized emails, newsletters about not only your services but also your family or friends, insert gifts with every purchase or even jot a quick thank you note and mail it to tell your customer that they really matter to you.

Free Article Submission

Submitting SEO rich articles to article submission sites can be a great way to advertise your website or services. Do not, however, submit the same articles that are on your website. Search engines penalize duplicate content. Instead you should rewrite a few of your articles first.

Link Building

The more inbound, one-way links your website has the higher it will rank in search engines. These inbound links work best if the websites linking to you are relevant to your main focus. These links are the only ones that search giant Google recognizes. To build links you can post blogs or guest blog for someone, submit articles and press releases for syndication, email webmasters, post in forums and comment on blogs. Remember that these links are not only for the search engines, they can also drive legitimate traffic.

Free Classified Advertising

Submitting a well worded link into a free classified can return decent traffic. Describe your website in an intriguing way and curious people will click your link.

Social Networking

Websites like MySpace and Facebook can be great sites to advertise through. You can build a website just for your business and advertise directly to your "friends". My personal technique for acquiring friends involves seeking out groups with an interest in my topic and requesting friend adds from those members. If you only request 20 -40 friends a day you will not likely be marked as spam. The key to getting friends is to type up a seemingly personal message without any links;

"Hi, I noticed you are a chef. My website is running a recipe contest. You should check it out!"

I've found that notes like this in a friend request results in about 1 of every 3 people I approach adding me as a friend. Once your friend list is established you can blog, email or post announcements about your business.

Social Bookmarking

A new trend in online advertising involves social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. See www.AddThis.com for your own social bookmarking button. It is now (practically) mandatory for all websites to allow for social bookmarking. If you have viral content on your website it can really pay off.

Viral Videos

Diet coke and mentos, exploding bathtubs, and bikes playing Guitar hero videos made for close to nothing. If you have a video camera it is worth a shot to try to post a viral video on YouTube. Of course this is no easy task. It is impossible to tell what will become viral. Other video options involve posting information relevant to your site. You can make a simple slideshow with music and text with Microsoft MovieMaker. Place a link to your site on your videos and in your profile. Over time you should reap results.

Free Alternate Directory Submissions

There are many online directories aimed at specific interests. These directories look to help consumers find the best websites and information available. To find these directories simply search a relevant term and "directory".

What Does Reverse Osmosis Do – What is It?

What does reverse osmosis do? This is a question that we've been hearing a lot laTely. A better question would be, what is reverse osmosis good for. The answer to the second question is, not much. We'll explain why as we move along.

What does reverse osmosis do for you to provide you with clean drinking water? It is basically a de-mineralization system used by the water treatment facilities to filter out larger or see contaminants in the drinking water system. It works by using a porous or a ceramic filter to trap contaminants which have a greater molecular weight than the water itself. It will not however block anything of equal or less weight than the water.

So, what is reverse osmosis doing about all of the chemicals, microbes, and spores in our dinking water? How is it protecting us from them? The truth is that it's not designed in such a way as to do anything about them, and without the use of further filtering it's doing absolutely nothing to protect you.

When answering the question what does reverse osmosis do, we can not be completely negative. The system actually has many positive uses when it comes to industrial purposes. De-mineralization is a necessity in many field such as car washing and photo developing. Here it does an efficient and wonderful job.

What is reverse osmosis doing for your health and well being though? Not much at all we're afraid. As you may or may not be aware there are over 50,000 chemicals in use today, any of which can be found in your drinking water at any time. Chlorine, another toxin, is used to disenfect the water, but there are limits to it's effectiveness. Many forms of microscopic bacteria are imperfect to chlorine, and can cause serious gastric distress if ingested.

What does reverse osmosis do to prevent these microbes from reaching your tap? If you answered not a thing, then your catching on. The funny thing is that the very chemical used to disenfect the water does itself leave behind a microbial byproduct. As the chlorine passes, tiny spores are formed which also escape the filters grass.

Some of you may have seen advertising in recent months for rverse osmosis for your home. The ads go on about how their system is the ideal way to protect and purify your familys' drinking water. Do not believe the hype. As we've already shown you, it is an ill effective means of protection. I t really really kind of a silly concept anyway. If the water treatment plant can not decontaminate your water using the system, then what is reverse osmosis for your home going to do?

What you need to do is shop around for a high quality home system featuring an activated carbon filter. There are many different models available, and you can purchase them as individual tap units, or as whole house models.

Now, if anyone should ever ask for you, what does reverse osmosis do? You'll know to tell them, not much.

Construction Logo – Are Low Costing Logos Too Good To Be True?

There are quite a few design firms on the internet which are claiming that they can design a professional looking construction logo for $ 200 or less. For many people, this would sound like a scam. Most are used to paying at least 5 times that amount to have a logo custom designed for them by a professional.

Is this claim for real or is this just a scam by designers who provide substandard designs to unsuspecting customers for a quick buck?

The Real Deal

The truth is there are professional designers who provide excellent designs for very low prices. However, there are those who unfortunately provide substandard designs for the same price. So the trick is to find those who are the real deal. We will touch on that later in the article.

How Can They Provide Design At Such Low Prices?

As the old saying goes 'Time Is Money'. What these designers have done is simply make the whole process – from start to end – much shorter. What they have done is save time on research and information gathering. There are no one hour phone calls to the clients to find out in-depth information about the company. And unlike design packages which cost $ 5000, those which cost $ 200 or less do not come with a logo manual once the project is completed.

Why Did They Do This?

It is a fundamental matter of demand and supply. Because of the growth of ecommerce, the market for quality logos minus a branding campaign grows along with it. Merchants of online stores wanted well designed and unique logos for their store at an affordable price.

Will The Design Quality Suffer?

The designs that these designers provide are of good quality. The designers may not have research the company in extreme detail before progressing with the design but any information provided is used to good effect. Designs are clean, in some cases very detail and look professional.

What Are The Signs Of Good Design Firms?

The more reputable design firms, more often than not, offer unlimited revisions. This is to ensure customers get what they want. However, in the event that they do not, many firms offer no-strings-attached money back guarantees. Money back guarantees are like a safety net so ensure that you pick a design firm which clearly states this in their design package.

What You Should Expect?

Do not be surprised to view your first concepts in less than 3 business days. Most these designers have been in the business for at least a decade and understand different industry design requirement. and can therefore conjure a viable design within that time mentioned. Expect to view at least 2 original concepts. When the project is completed, ensure you also get your logo in a vector format which will enable you to use your logo for printing purposes as well.

A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006