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Internet Marketing for Free: The Guide How to Market Your Business on The Internet Using FREE, and Only FREE, Techniques and Tools by Jinger Jarrett 1 Copyright, 2007 by Jinger Jarrett. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the author, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. If you received this as an ebook, you may give it away. If you would like to purchase the book, as well as get all of the bonuses included, you can visit my site at http://www.jingerjarrett.com/. You'll find the information you need on the Special Offers page. Disclaimer – Every care has gone into making sure the information provided in this book is true and correct. Any incorrect information is solely the responsibility of the author. 2 This Ebook is Brought to You By: Thea Westra at Forward Steps http://www.forwardsteps.com.au/ http://www.ask-thea-about.com/ Download free personal growth resources and subscribe to both of her content-filled personal development mailings at Thea’s Forward Steps life coaching site. 3 4 Table of Contents Introduction - 7 Free Methods to Market Your Business Online 1. Search Engine Optimization and Marketing - 9 General Directories Link Exchanges Ebook Directories Ezine Directories Affiliate Program Directories 2. Blogging - 21 3. Article Writing and Promotion - 29 4. Press Releases - 37 5. Forums - 43 Communities 6. Affiliate Programs - 51 7. Joint Ventures - 59 8. Free Classifieds, Pay Per Clicks, and Other Traffic - 65 Branding - 75 The 5 A Day Plan for Marketing Your Business – 79 Bonus Marketing Tips - 87 Interviews - 93 Free Software and Bonuses - 151 About The Author - 153 Send Me Your Testimonial - 155 Special Offers - 157 5 6 Introduction Learning how to market your business on the internet is easy. You only need to understand a few basic principles. Although internet marketing techniques change, there are are certain marketing techniques that work, and not only do they work, but they will work whether you are marketing your own products and services, or affiliate programs and MLM. Apply these marketing techniques consistently to your business, and you will succeed. You don't have to be an internet marketing expert either. Learn one technique at a time, test it to see it works, and then learn a new technique. Your goal should be to market consistently. You achieve success in marketing by doing it consistently. When first starting off, it may be time consuming to do your marketing tasks. If you don't have the money you need to market, you will need to spend your time working on your marketing efforts. As you achieve success, buy the tools you need to market your business online. These tools include a good autoresponder system and web hosting, as well as some submission tools, like Article Marketer. Don't be afraid to try new ways of marketing your business if what you are doing doesn't work. Just stay focused on what your business is. You'll achieve greater success if you aren't constantly changing what your business is about. 7 What I want you to understand more than anything else is that internet marketing is a process. You are building a business, and anything you build will take a little time. Do your homework. Learn how to build a website. Learn how to write. You can always outsource these things later if you hate doing them, but learn how to do them. Then, when you need to purchase services, you'll know how much they cost, and what's involved in getting the work done. Stay away from false trends. Too many internet marketing “gurus” invent false trends for the sake of selling products. Follow what works. Find what works for you and keep doing it. Your goal is to take action; action that will build your business into something valuable for you and your customers. As Zig Ziglar once said, “Help enough people get what they want, and you will get what you want.” 8 Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Search engine optimization should be the first step you take before you even build your website. If you've already built your website, you can make changes to your website. Make sure you're targeting the right keywords for your business. It's a waste of time to optimize your website for keywords no one is searching for. Many two word keyword phrases are extremely competitive. If you want to get to the the first three search pages for them, you'll have to work very hard to get there. Your best bet is to aim for targeting several highly searched, low competition keyword phrases. These phrases, usually three to four words long, will bring you more targeted traffic in the long run. Since you optimize pages, and not your entire website for a keyword phrase, you can use a different keyword phrase for each page. Then it is easier for you to optimize your page. The main keyword phrase you pick for your home page, which is your most important page, should be highly searched for with low competition. Several other things you should consider: 9 Domain name – Although search engine wisdom says to pick a domain name with your main keywords in it, it's getting harder and harder to do that. If you use Alexa to help you find the top 500 sites online though, you'll find that the top sites are mainly names: Yahoo, MSN, Google, Ebay, My Space, Amazon, and there are others. It's OK to use your name. My main site includes my name. As a writer, this is the most important domain I can own because people will look for me by name. Domain names don't have a big impact on your search engine optimization as you may think. Most of the top sites in my area of expertise, internet marketing, don't include internet marketing in the domain name. Pick a good domain name that reflects what your business is about, but don't obsess over it. A good domain name can help you with branding, but it just isn't as important to search engine optimization as many people think. If you don't have any ideas, and you don't want more than one site, choose your name. You can always buy other domains later. Buying your name is especially important if you are a writer, musician, or someone who needs to brand yourself. Keywords – Keywords are much more important to properly optimizing your website. You need to carefully select the right keywords, or your website won't be found. 10 As you continue to build your website, you'll find yourself being found for keywords you didn't know you were optimized for. Don't sweat it. This is just another opportunity for others to find you, and this will actually help you. To select the right keywords for your site, you will need to use a keyword tool. You have several options, like Web CEO, or Good Keywords. Select the tool that works best for you. (To download this program, see the bonus section at the end of this book). Understand that different tools work different ways. Web CEO uses several search engines worldwide, and so the results you will get will be different. If you are translating your site into other languages, then I would recommend using Web CEO. Words that highly competitive in English may not be so competitive in other languages. For this example, I'll show you how to use Good Keywords. This tool bases its results on Yahoo Search Marketing, formerly known as Overture. Once you have downloaded and installed the program on your computer, you'll need to open it. Click on the button titled “Keyword Suggestions”. Start with your topic. This could be gardening, writing, business, or some other general topic. This will help you find the most searches, and you can drill down deeper to find keywords that best suit your site. For this example, I'll use gardening. If possible, avoid using one or two word keyword phrases because they're too general. You only want to use one word phrases to help you find the most number of keywords to get you started. 11 Here are some words I found with the amount of searches: gardening 137,943 organic gardening 14,088 gardening tip 11,284 gardening tool 11,115 container gardening 8,908 gardening supply 8,012 The best site to help you find sites is MSN. That's because MSN is updated the most frequently, people who use MSN are more likely to buy, and MSN is very selective about what sites it adds. If you do a search for gardening here, you'll find there are 14,059,861 sites on gardening. You will need to apply the following formula to find out if this is a good keyword: Results (number of searches for the word) divided by Searches (the number of sites for the keyword) equals Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) R / S = KEI 137,943 / 14,059,861 = 0.0098111211768025302668354971645879 This is actually a ratio. The closer to 1 the number is, the better a choice it is for optimizing your site. If we use organic gardening, (you should put the search term in quotes to get more accurate results: “organic gardening”), you get the following result: 12 14,088 / 444,263 = 0.031710945993701928812437677681914 As you can see, although this term has fewer searches, this is a better keyword search term to optimize for. Web CEO also has a keyword search tool you can use. This search tool is different in that it tells you the KEI based on worldwide searches of top search engines. If your pages are translated into different languages, this can dramatically affect the number of searches your site is available for. Translating your site into different languages is actually a “White Hat” technique you can use to get traffic from foreign language sites. Since most search terms are less competitive in these markets, you can get a lot more traffic from these sites. You'll find complete instructions in the documentation to explain your keyword results. Once you have chosen your keywords for your site, you need to optimize your pages. Optimizing your pages is a simple process if you use a tool like Web CEO. All you have to do is open your page in the editor and run the program. It will tell you what you need to change to make your page more optimized, i.e., what to bold, italicize, link, etc. Once you've optimized your pages, you need to upload them to your web host. Optimizing your pages for the search engines is only the beginning. 13 Although there are some SEO experts who would disagree with me, I believe you should manually submit your site to the major search engines for indexing. The reason why is that even if your site is online and live, it doesn't mean it will be indexed by the search engines. The search engines have to find it. You can submit your site to the following major search engines: Google - http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl Yahoo - http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html MSN - http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx Alexa - http://www.alexa.com/site/help/webmasters Exactseek - http://new.exactseek.com/add.html Add Me – http://www.addme.com/ – Although this site isn't a search engine per se, it does have a lot of great tools to help you with search engine optimization, as well as other promotion. Definitely worth a bookmark. Some tips for getting your sites indexed quickly: 1. Create a sitemap for Google. You will need a Gmail account to do this, but it's free. Google offers plenty of sitemap creation tools, and submitting your sitemap is very easy. (The best tool for creating your sitemap is Sitemaps Pal: http://www.sitemapspal.com/. Generate the sitemap, copy and paste the results in a text file, and save it as sitemap.xml. 14 Upload it to the root directory of your website and then submit.) Once you submit, Google will start crawling your site within hours. When you update your content, make sure you update your sitemap. This will get all of your pages indexed. 2. If you own a blog, use the “Add to Google”, “Add to Yahoo” buttons on your site to add your blog to your news page on that site. This requires you to have either a Gmail account, or a Yahoo account, but it's free. This will help you get listed quickly. 3. To get your blog listed in MSN, submit to Moreover, http://www.moreover.com. 4. If you find creating a sitemap to be too complicated, try ROR. ROR technology is similar to sitemaps, and it's easy to use. You can get an ROR generator from RORWeb, http://www.rorweb.com/. This technology is free and easy to use. All you have to do is generate your ROR sitemap, add athe text to the header of your main page, and then submit your feed. You can even use this feed for your sitemap at Google. 5. One of the easiest ways to get your site in the search engines is if you have a blog. You can either build your own or sign up for an account on a site like Blogger. Google spiders Blogger blogs quickly because Google now owns Blogger. I have a Blogger blog for my articles. My main blog is built using Wordpress because it's the most popular, and in my 15 opinion, the easiest and most feature rich of all the blogging platforms. This software allows me to automatically generate a sitemap making it easy to get indexed. 6. If you don't know about RSS, learn everything you can because RSS is the latest technology for helping you get high rankings for your websites. What RSS is a type of code that's search engine friendly. It allows you to display headlines and provide constantly updated content on your websites. This can increase your search engine rankings. It also allows you to syndicate your sites if you offer RSS feeds. Whether you offer a blog, an ezine, or type of communication for your readers, this is another way for you to get subscribers. More subscribers means more readers and more readers will eventually equal more sales. 7. As time dictates, try to submit your site to as many lesser known search engines as possible. This helps you build your backlinks. The more backlinks you have pointing to your website, the better your search engine rankings will be. Linking is actually one of the most important search engine factors because having someone link to your site is like an endorsement of your site. Search engines look at these endorsements favorably and consider them important in your overall rankings. In my opinion, linking is one of the most effective strategies for promoting your website, especially if you hate to write. In fact, this 16 technique is so effective, you could make it the primary means of promoting your website. Keep in mind though, linking is a long term strategy and takes time. It's worth the effort though, and there are a few quick ways for you to do it, like writing articles. Another way to conduct an effective linking campaign is to simply submit your site to directories. To do this, you will need to have a website already, and a links page because some sites will require you to have a link back to their sites. Create your link page first and then add your sites as you submit. There are two important things you need to remember about linking: 1. Only link to sites that complement yours. If you own a gardening site, then link to sites about gardening. Don't link to sites about internet marketing, or business, or any other topic. If you do, the search engines may see this as a link farm and lower your rankings, or worse, ban your site. You should also only include no more than 50 links per page. More, and your site could be seen as a link farm. 2. When you submit your site, make sure you include your most important keywords in the title of your submission. This title will become your anchor text for your link and is vitally important. (Your anchor text is the text between the a href tag and the /a tag). Write an effective, but short description of what you offer, and create a text document of all this information. Then all you have to do is copy and paste this information into your form. You'll speed up your submissions this way. 17 There are several types of directories you should be aware of: General Directories – These directories contain sites on just about everything. You should start here first. Once you've submitted to as many general directories as possible, search for directories on your topic. Link Exchanges – These sites can help you speed up your linking by finding other sites that complement yours. Just be careful when choosing sites to link to. Before accepting a link exchange, make sure your site is actually on the other site. You also want to make sure your site isn't buried on the other site. If there's no link to the main page to the directory, then skip it. Users shouldn't have to click more than three times to get to your listing. In fact, the fewer times they have to click to get to your link, the better. One site you may consider using is Link Metro, http://www.linkmetro.com. This site is owned by Brad Callen, a respected SEO professional and is ranked very high on the internet. You'll find plenty of link partners in this directory, and this site is very easy to use. The next three types of directories will only help you if you have a free ebook or ezine to give away, or you offer an affiliate program. You can find these types of directories by searching for them. With these types of directories, you'll want to create a text file with all of your information first. Some of these sites will require a link back, and you should post your link on the appropriate page. 18 For example, if you submit your free ebook to the ebook directories, add the appropriate link to the page your ebook giveaway is on. Most directories check, and if your link isn't there, your submission will be deleted. Here is a short list of places where you can submit your links for your ebooks, ezines, and affiliate program. Ebook Directories Ebooks 'N Bytes - http://www.ebooksnbytes.com/cgi- bin/search/hyperseek.cgi Ebook Palace - http://www.ebookpalace.com/cgi- bin/search/hyperseek.cgi Ebook Heaven - http://www.ebookheaven.co.uk/cgi- bin/suite/directory/directory.cgi Jogena – http://www.jogena.com – Ebooks and ezines Published - http://www.published.com/ -Directory of Writers and Artists. You can add ebooks and other listings here. Ezine Directories Ezine Depot - http://www.ezinedepot.net/index.php3 Ezine Hub - http://www.ezinehub.com/ Ezine Links - http://ezinelinks.com/indexu/index.php Ezine Search - http://www.ezinesearch.com/search-it/ezine/ 19 Newlist - http://new-list.com/ Affiliate Program Directories Affiliate First - http://www.affiliatefirst.com/cgi- bin/page.cgi?p=submit_home Affiliate Tip - http://www.affiliatetip.com/ Affiliate Wiz - http://www.affiliatewiz.com/Affiliate- Marketing-Resources/affiliate-program-directories.asp – List of affiliate program directories Associate Programs – http://www.associateprograms.com Webmaster Affiliates - http://www.webmaster- affiliates.net/affiliate_programs.php 20 Blogging A blog is a web diary. A blog is also a way for you to organize your information, as well as build a relationship with your customers. Blogs have been around on the internet for a long time, but only in the last few years have they become popular as an internet marketing tool. One of the biggest advantages of using a blog is that blogs are search engine friendly. Blogger, a blog site now owned by Google, can guarantee you get indexed by the search engines. Blogs also rank higher in the search engines because they're search engine friendly. If you use a blogging platform like Wordpress, you can use the sitemap module to automatically generate a sitemap for your site. With a blog, you can get personal with your readers, adding your thoughts, writing about the latest trends in your industry, or talk about your products and services. There's really no limit to what you can do with a blog, and you can write about just about anything. If you are a writer, blogs are an especially good way to build a following for your writing. You can write about your writing, whether it's books, poetry, copywriting, or whatever type of writing you do. You have two audiences: your readers, who are interested in what you write, and your writers, those who may write in the same genre you write. 21 The blog platform you use to write your book depends a lot on how much work you want to do to set it up, and how much customization you want to do. If you're writing a very tightly niched blog, then Blogger may be your answer. You simply choose your template, make a few changes to your settings and then start posting. I personally keep a Blogger blog for my articles so that my articles get indexed in the search engines. My primary blogging platform though is Wordpress. Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform in the world and for good reason. It offers a lot of customization, as well as tons of templates and plugins. You can customize your templates and plugins to do exactly what you want it to do. Although this takes time, it's definitely worth it because once you set it up, you can basically forget about it and just blog. If you are using Blogger, you have no control over your permalinks. Permalinks are the links to the individual pages on your blog. With Wordpress, you have a choice as to how Wordpress creates your permalinks. If you want higher rankings, be sure to include your keyword rich category, as well as the title of the post in the permalink. You can add a small amount of code to the permalink page to create the links for you automatically. The blogging platform you choose to use is really a matter of personal preference. Once you set it up and customize it, all you have 22 to do is concentrate on posting content to it regularly, usually at least two to three times a week to keep it fresh. Once you have at least five to 10 posts on it, it's a good idea to submit it to the blog directories. You can do a search for RSS directories, and you'll find Robin Good's site. It contains 55 RSS directories you can submit to. There are also software tools available you can use to speed up your submissions. A note about RSS: RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a form of search engine friendly code. You can use this code to create RSS feeds so that readers can subscribe to your site using an RSS reader. RSS feeds on blogs update themselves, so every time you post to your blog, your feed will automatically update and your readers will know your blog has been updated. You can also search for blog directories on your topic. This is where you really want to submit your blogs because these directories are more targeted than general blog directories. Another way to promote your blog is to give away a free RSS reader. At least 30 percent of readers on the internet have never heard of RSS, or blogging, so you want to make informing your readers about RSS and blogging part of your marketing campaign. I offer an RSS reader on my website for free, as well as RSS feeds for all of the most popular online RSS readers so my readers can use whichever RSS reader they prefer to subcribe with. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible to subscribe to your blog. You can download a copy of it for free and try it out: 23 http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com/freeware/RealSimpleSyndica torBranded.zip. Syndication is another important part of creating a blog. By offering an RSS feed, you allow other webmasters to offer constantly updating content on their websites. There are scripts you can integrate into your website to offer constantly updating content on your own blog. However, don't forget the importance of offering email subscriptions on your blog. Email is still far more popular than RSS. Because of it, if you don't offer a way to subscribe through email, you could be losing readers. You can create free subscription box for your site at either Feed Blitz – http://www.feedblitz.com/ - or Feed Burner – http://www.feedburner.com/. Feedburner also allows you to dress up your feeds so they can be read in any feed reader. After posting to your blog, you should ping your blog. Ping allows you to notify the blog and RSS directories that you've updated your blog. There are several services you can use to do this like Ping The Empire, Pingomatic, and Pingoat. These services are free. When using these services, you should never ping your site more than every 30 minutes. This will keep you from getting banned by the site. You should choose the service you like best and use it on a regular basis. If you have a Wordpress blog, Wordpress offers a plugin that allows you to ping the ping services automatically every time you post. 24 Pinging your blog regularly will not only help you rank well on the blog directories, but it will also help you rank well in the search engines. A relatively new feature you may want to consider for your blog is social bookmarking. You can add links to the social bookmarking sites so readers can bookmark posts you've written. By adding this information, you make it easy for your readers to bookmark you. This is also an easy way to build backlinks to your website. Another way you can make it easy to exchange links with other sites is to enable Pingback. Pingback is simply creating a link where the writer can copy and paste it into the appropriate field on his/her blog. Once the writer posts, your blog is notified that you are being “talked about”. Pingbacks aren't as important as backlinks, but they can still help your blog. You can use the following services to ping your site: Pingoat – http://www.pingoat.com/ Ping The Empire – http://www.pingtheempire.com/ Pingomatic – http://www.pingomatic.com/ One important note about Pingoat: use it responsibly. Although there are plenty of sites now that have RSS feeds for their sites, Pingoat only accepts pings for blog. Load any other RSS feed into this site, and you can get banned. You can get one way links back to your blogs several ways. Writing articles, posting on others' blogs, and writing press releases. 25 (I'll tell you more about writing press releases and articles later in the book, but you do need to know about backlinks.) Backlinks are one way links pointing to your site. Although this is time consuming to do, it's a valuable and easy way to build links back to your site. Start by searching Alexa for blogs on your topic. In my case, it would be internet marketing blogs. To limit your search, put your search term in quotes. You can check the rankings of the blogs you find. Look for blogs that allow comments and post your comments. Include a link back to your site. Make sure your comments are valuable. Don't post what I call “ditto comments” or “me too” comments. Add something of value to that blogger's blog. What's important is to stick to blogs on your topic. Although posting comments on any blog may seem valuable, it's not. Just as linking to sites that complement your site is important and works, it's important to link only to blogs that complement yours. You can also exchange links with other blogs. These links are called blog rolls. You can easily create a blog roll on your Wordpress blog by adding a little piece of code to your template. Whenever you find a new blog to link to, and you've exchanged links with the webmaster, add the new blog to your blog roll through the control panel of your blog With Blogger, you'll need to add the links manually, which means you need to know how to write a little HTML. You'll find 26 plenty of information on Blogger to show you how to customize your templates. Ultimately, the most important thing you can do with your blog is to update it regularly. Try to post at least two to three times a week, more if you have time. Create as much original content as possible. By writing only one post per day, which should only take about 15 to 30 minutes, you can have a website with over 300 pages. You'll have a content rich website that's sticky. A note about getting ideas for your blog: Regardless of whether you are a writer or not, getting ideas for posts for your blog is always a problem. As a blogger, there are times when I'm out of ideas to write about. There are several easy ways to get ideas, and you can write about what you read. The first place I look for ideas is my email. Someone is always offering a new product or service. You can write product reviews about new products, or reviews and updates about new trends in your industry. News. I subscribe to Google News on my topic, (internet marketing, as well as writing), to help me keep track of the latest trends in my industry. Amazon. You can always search Amazon for new products and books on your topic. If you can't afford to buy the book, go to your local library and see if there's a copy of the book you're interested in and read it. Write a review. 27 You want to provide your readers with the best, and most valuable, resources available. I personally don't write about any product I didn't like. If it shows up on my blog, then I think it's a good product. However, I do try to give my readers as much information as possible, as well as answer as many of their questions as possible. Publish the articles of others. If you are branding yourself as an expert in your field, then you should only do this occasionally. If you aren't, then your goal is to simply provide your readers the absolute best information you can find. Providing this information works especially well if you are selling affiliate programs or MLM because you don't need to be an expert. You only need to be different. Video and audio. Sites like You Tube, Google, and others now offer video and audio. You can blog these items to your blog. Usually it involves simply copying and pasting a piece of code to your blog page. You can write a short commentary to go with it, and you're done. Ideas for your blog are everywhere. You simply need to pay attention to trends, and the internet has plenty of information on just about any topic you can imagine. 28 Article Writing and Promotion Of all the techniques I recommend you use for marketing your business online, the most effective is article writing. Unlike some marketing techniques, like joint ventures, where you have to depend on others to help you, with article writing, you are in control. All you have to do is write good articles. For those of you who hate writing, this probably sounds like an enormous challenge. However, if you really want to succeed online, this is an easy way to do it. Your first step should be to decide what you want to write about. If you optimized your site for the search engines, you already have a list of keywords you can use in your articles. Start there. If you need help getting ideas, then sign up for several lists on your topic. See what other people are saying. Sign up with Google News to receive notifications on your topic. You'll find a wealth of information here, including new products, articles, press releases, and other information about your industry. You can also study article directories like Ezine Articles, http://www.ezinearticles.com, Go Articles, http://www.goarticles.com, or a topic specific topicle article directory. Just go to your favorite search engine and do a search. 29 For example, if you're looking for articles on gardening, do a search for the term, “gardening articles”, or “gardening article directories”. Read several articles on your topic. This isn't about copying someone else's work. This is about helping you find ideas for your own articles. You can also use the information to help you create products. Maybe the articles you read don't answer the readers' questions. You can use your articles to answer your readers' questions. This will get you read. Now, once you have several ideas for articles, your next step should be to write a good headline. You can use a tool like Headline Search, http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com/freeware/headlinesearch.zip, to help you write good titles. Your title, like a headline, will help readers determine whether or not to read your article. In fact, like a good classified ad, where you should spend 80 percent of your time writing your headline, you should spend a lot of time constructing a good title for your article. Make sure you include your main keywords in your title as this will also affect the ranking of your article. There are several formats you can use: How To – This is one of the easiest ones to write, and it's also one of the most effective. You are showing others how to do something. 30 Question – Although question titles, like question headlines, are tricky, they are very effective. Just make sure the answer to your question is yes. If it isn't, readers will think your article isn't for them and click away. Tips/Lists – This is an easy to write title. You can offer the “Top 7” on a topic, or write it as X Tips For.... This is where you add your topic. When writing your topic though, be specific. Gardening, internet marketing, or any other topic is pretty broad. Narrow your focus here. There are others. You won't have any trouble identifying good titles by searching for good headlines. Keep a swipe file of titles you have found. (A swipe file is simply a text file or any type of file you use to keep headlines, snippets of text or anything else. You can organize your information any way you like). Once you have chosen your title, you need to make a list of tips. This will help you further define your article and make it easy for you to write your article. Writing you list of tips will also help keep you on target for writing your article. Once you have your list of tips, you need to flesh out your article. Write two to three sentences about your tip to further explain. The more tips you have, the less you have to write. Also, you will have less explanatory material, so you need to keep your list of tips between three and seven, but always less than 10. A note about including resources in your articles: If you are using resources in your articles, you need to be very careful about 31 what you include. Despite what a lot of marketers may say, it's very difficult to include affiliate links in your articles, especially if you use your affiliate links. The only way around this is to buy a brand new domain and point toward the resource. Even if you do this, article directories like Ezine Articles may not accept your article. Article directories are getting strict about what they will accept because too many article writers are more interested in promoting their products than providing good information to attract readers. If you include links, make sure you include links that are valuable to the reader and reinforce your message. Try not to include too many links either. The more time the editor has to spend checking your links to see what they really are, the less likely your article will get accepted. The most important link in your article will appear in your resource box anyway. This is where you want to send your readers to get more information. Someone once said that when writing a sales letter, you need to tell your readers what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you've told them. Articles are much the same way. You should include a summary at the beginning of your article to give readers a taste of what's to come. Since this summary may be the only things readers see in ezines (they may have to click through to read the complete article), make sure you write an effective summary, and it should include your keywords. 32 Don't go crazy with your keywords either. Three to five times throughout the article is plenty. Once you've written your beginning and conclusion, you need to write your resource box. More article writers fail this step than any other because they don't have any focus. One of the reasons I took my article directory down before is because I got so sick of getting the same resource box under different names. No one cares how old you are, how many children you have, or that you like cats. (This is just an example). Your resource box is there to provide more information, offer a reason to visit your website, and ultimately get you the sale because you've built a relationship with your readers. Give your readers a reason to want to visit your site. Offer more information, a free report, ezine, tutorial, software, or whatever. Just make it something valuable readers can use. Convince your readers to visit your site. When readers get to your site, make it easy for them to subscribe to your list. You should have your list subscription box on every page of your site. If you don't, readers may never visit your site again, and you've lost that traffic. Recycle it. Study resource boxes of other article writers and use what you learn in your own article resource box. Below are several tips for assembling your articles: 33 1. Use a text editor to write your article. Too many people use Microsoft Word or some other word processor to write their articles. When they copy and paste their articles, weird characters will show up. If you use a text editor, everything is in plain text, and what you have written will display correctly. You can always reformat if you need to. A really good tool I've found for writing articles, emails, and just about anything you can imagine, is X Mail Write - http://xmailwrite.com/ -. This tool will provide you with word counts, as well as tell you which words will set off the spam filters and keep your email or article from landing in your reader's inbox. 2. Have the following in your text document: title, article summary, article body, resource box, word count, and keywords. In this order. You may not need to use all of this information with every site, but you'll have the information where it's easily accessible. 3. Post the article to your own site. Optimize it for the search engines. Your version of your article may not show up at the top of the search engines. Don't sweat it. It will show up. 4. Submit your article to as many sites as possible. Forget what these self proclaimed gurus are saying about duplicate content. A lot of this information is wrong. Provide your readers with value. The more places you put your article, the more likely it will get read. Period. 5. Don't format your article 65 characters wide, or use hard breaks except at the end of the paragraphs. I see this all the time with 34 articles, and they never display right. You should only format your article this way if you are emailing it to an editor, and the editor requires you to format it this way. Read the article guidelines on sites. This will help you get your articles accepted more often. Now you're ready. It's time to submit your article to article directories. Here is a short list of places to submit your articles: Ezine Articles – http://www.ezinearticles.com/ Go Articles – http://www.goarticles.com Idea Marketers – http://www.ideamarketers.com Article 99 - http://www.article99.com/ Article City – http://www.articlecity.com/ Article Dashboard – http://www.articledashboard.com/ Article Trader - http://www.articletrader.com/ Article Empire - http://www.articlempire.com/pages/Article-Directories – You'll find a large list of places to submit your articles here. If you want to speed up your article submissions, there are two resources I recommend to do it: Article Marketer – http://www.jingerjarrett.com/recommends/articlemarketer.html – You can use this resource free to submit your articles to the top article directories. (This is one click, one submission.) There's no limit on 35 how many articles you can submit. Upgrade, and you can submit your articles to over 200 directories with the click of a button. My Article Submitter – http://www.jingerjarrett.com/recommends/myfreegiveaway.html – Forget about costly article submission software. You can use this software free. You can customize it by adding your own article directories. Add, delete, and include as many articles as you want. This is semi automatic submission. Once you get everything set up though, it should only take you a couple of hours per week to use it. Write one to two articles a week; this is all it takes, and write regularly. Keep submitting. Articles get very viral very easily. Finally, if you need actual article writing software, I've created a free software you can use. It will help you quickly write your articles. Article Creator – http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com/freeware/articlecreator.zip This software is written for PCs, and you will need a zip manager to open it. You can get one for free here: ICEOWS, http://www.iceows.com. Article Distributor - http://www.after5webdesign.com/software.html - This free software will help you submit your articles to hundreds of Article Dashboard sites. I also recommend you use it to complete the profiles on all of the sites because this will give you additional one way backlinks. 36 Someone once told me there are are no real secrets in life, just sound principles. If you want marketing success with your articles, just write good articles, submit regularly, and build a following. Get your name out there. Being the best isn't what will help you succeed. Taking consistent action and telling everyone who you are is what will build your reputation. Keep doing it, and you will succeed. 37 Press Releases A press release is news about your business. It answers the who, what, when, where, why, and how about your business the same way a newspaper article tells news. Writing a press release is a lot easier than you think; using press releases to market your business can really improve your bottom line. The reason is that press releases are seen as more valuable than advertising. Readers on the internet are looking for information. You can provide information about your business by writing a good press release. Your first step in writing your press release is to decide what your news is. Companies use press releases all the time to announce new products and services, as well as events. You can choose any of these, or think of something else. For example, if you're doing a joint venture, you can announce your joint venture as well as the release of the product you are offering. Make your release interesting by writing about those who are involved in your product release. News about people is always more interesting than news about companies. Once you've decided what news you want to write about, you need to write your headline. The best way to write a good headline is 38 to visit press release sites, like PR Web, http://www.prweb.com, and study the headlines on the site. Use what you learn to not only create a swipe file of good headlines but also to help you write your headline. When studying press releases, as well as press release headlines, pay particular attention to whether or not you find the press release interesting. Here's why: I wrote a press release for one of my products and sent it out to all of the press release sites. PRWeb rejected it, so I decided to rewrite the release and resubmit. I studied the releases of a big name internet marketer and before I rewrote mine. Truthfully, there was really nothing compelling about the releases he wrote. It certainly wouldn't make me want to buy the product. However, because this marketer is a “friend” of PR Web, his releases get almost immediately accepted, and they rank really high on PR Web because of his financial contribution. Needless to say, I won't make the same mistake again. Don't make the same mistake I did. If you are studying the press releases at press release sites to help you write a better press release, then choose press releases you find compelling to help you write yours. Don't minimize the importance of a good headline. Whether you're writing copy for your site, a press release, article, or anything else, the title, or headline, is what will draw your reader in. Make it a good one. In fact, you should probably spend most of your writing time crafting your headlines and titles. 39 Once you've written your headline, it's time to write your press release. Depending on where you decide to submit your release, you need to keep it short, usually no more than 400 words. It's been my experience that writing sales letters and long copy is easier because you have more words to use. With ads and press releases, you have to be very succinct. Your first paragraph should include the who, what, when, where, why, and how. This is called the “inverted pyramid style of writing”. You include the most important information in your press release first. The rest of your release is about elaborating on your first paragraph. You can include quotes here, as well as other information you consider relevant. Give your readers a taste. With online press releases, you'll want to make sure you include a resource box. Your resource box will be included in your word count, so you want to also make sure your resource box is well pruned and only includes relevant information. Include the link to your site and send your potential visitors to the site that is relevant to your press release. Like articles, press releases should give readers a taste of your business and make them want to visit your site. I have included two different tools here you can use to help you build press releases. These two tools will make it easier for you to write your press releases, as well as distribute them. 40 Press Release O Matic - http://www.bmyers.com/public/539.cfm?sd=30 PRX Builder - http://www.prxbuilder.com/x2/ - This tool allows you to write a social media press release. It also takes advantage of the latest technologies in RSS so you can embed your press releases in your RSS feeds. You need an account to use this tool, but it's free, and you can also buy a distribution package to here to get your press release on thousands of sites, as well as have your release displayed on your site. If you have a Gmail account already, you can use this account information to log in here. (This tool is amazing. You need to see it for yourself.) A Few More Tips The tools I listed above can help you format your press release so that not only can you submit it online, but you can also submit it offline. Just because your hometown newspaper has a small readership doesn't mean you shouldn't submit your release there. Give your release a local hook. Rewrite the headline to appeal to local readers. You can include more personal information here. Make your story more people oriented. The smaller the newspaper staff, the more likely they are to include press releases. It's been estimated that as much as 90 percent of what you read in newspapers comes from press releases because journalists and newspaper staffs simply don't have time to write all of the material for a newspaper. Study your local 41 paper. Read the local releases in your hometown paper. You'll be surprised at how many are actually included. Don't forget to submit your press release to article directories because some article directories do include them. By submitting your press releases to article directories, you're expanding your reach, so don't neglect them. You should also look for article directories on your topic and then see if they accept press releases. If they do, then submit. Go Articles, one of the top article directories on the internet, accepts press releases. With article directories, as well as many of the press release directories, you'll be able to get your release into Google, Yahoo, and MSN news. This is important because there is less competition for your keywords in these respective news sites than in their search engines. To make sure your press release is added to these news sites, you can get the RSS feed from a press release or article directory site that contains your press release and add it to your news page at these sites. This will get your press release indexed in these sites, as well as included in their news directories. It doesn't cost anything to do this, and it can help you get a lot more mileage out of your press release. Finally, don't forget to optimize your press release for the search engines. Don't go crazy though. Just make sure you include your main keywords in your title, as well as in the body of your release. Don't repeat yourself too often. You simply want to make sure you include the most relevant keywords in your release. 42 When you've finished writing your press release, include it on your website. You can do further search engine optimization for your press release using Web CEO so that your release is unique to your site. The best help I have found for writing a good press release is Joan Stewart. She runs Publicity Hound. She offers an 89 part ecourse for free on writing press releases. Unlike a lot of other ecourses on the internet that are simply thinly disguised sales letters, Joan's course has lots of practical tips to help you get more from your press releases. You can get your copy here: http://www.publicityhound.com Below are several sites where you can submit your press releases. PR Web - http://www.prweb.com/ PR News Wire - http://www.prnewswire.com/ - This site will send you a free copy, by mail, of their publication, Broadcast and Beyond - A Guide to Broadcast and Web-based Public Relations. PR Leap - http://www.prleap.com/ Press Release Monkey - http://www.pressreleasemonkey.com/ Press Base - http://www.press-base.com/ 43 Forums Forums can do several things to help you build traffic to your website. First, you can use them to build backlinks. Next, you can use them to brand yourself as an expert on your topic. You can ask questions, answer questions, and learn more about your topic. You are an authority on your topic, and this will help you build brand. You can also use them to build relationships with others. This is very important online because the Internet is so impersonal. I believe this technique works best if you are selling your own products and services. If you are selling affiliate programs, and you can successfully sell them on forums, ultimately you are branding someone else. You are branding someone else's product. Your goal is to brand you and your product. Your first step in marketing on forums is to choose the right forums. Although internet marketing forums are quite popular, most of the products and services promoted there relate to internet marketing. Although you will want to find one or two internet marketing forums to help you keep your knowledge updated on internet marketing, unless you are marketing internet marketing products, don't spend a lot of time on these forums. To find the right forums to market on, you need to do a search. Although I recommend using Alexa because it will give you more 44 information about the forums you are looking for, you can use any search engine. Start by defining the keyword search terms you are searching for. You can use a tool like Good Keywords to help you find the right terms for your topic. For example, if you are marketing website building tools, or hosting, you will want to search for webmaster forums. If you do your search at Alexa, you'll get rankings for each of the sites. This will tell you something about the traffic a site receives, but it doesn't tell the whole story. There are several other things you want to consider. First, how much traffic does the site really receive, i.e. How active is it? If the forum hasn't been posted on in months, it's probably not a good place to start a discussion. The fact is, most forums don't generate a lot of traffic, so it's important to keep looking until you find active forums. Second, how many members does the forum have? The more members, the more people you have to market to. The “secret” here is to first find the right forums, then check their membership, as well as activity. Smaller forums with lots of activity are better than large forums where few posts are submitted. 45 This doesn't mean you shouldn't submit to these forums if they don't meet both criteria. What it means is that you want to find the most active forums on your topic, with the most members. I recommend you stick with two to three good forums. If you really enjoy promoting on forums, then you may want to use more. However, let me caution you here: the more time you spend on forums, the less time you have for things like product creation, other marketing techniques, and running your business. Forums should only become one aspect of your marketing plan, not the entire marketing plan. To give you an example of how to find forums, we'll choose a topic. Again, we'll use the topic gardening. I use Alexa because it gives me lots of statistics about a forum. Another aspect of Alexa is that you can find out who is linking to a particular site. You might want to check out these sites to see if there are any opportunities for linking, as well as places where you can find joint venture partners and affiliate programs to promote. I put my search term, “gardening forums”, in quotes and hit search. The first site I find is Reference.com - http://www.reference.com/Dir/Home/Gardening/Forums_and_Onl ine_Communities. This site is ranked 179 on the internet, which means it gets a lot of traffic. This gives me a large list of forums where I can post. This would be a good place to start because you can get descriptions of all of the forums listed here. Don't forget to niche. Gardening is a broad topic, and you may specialize in a 46 specific form of gardening, so make sure you take this into consideration. (You may also want to consider searching this site for other topics or trying to get listed here). The next forum I find is called Backyard Gardener, http://www.backyardgardener.com/forums/index.php. This forum is ranked around 79,000, so it gets a lot of traffic, and it's ranked very high on the internet as a whole. I still want to check the membership, as well as the post activity to make sure this is an active forum. Although this site is ranked high, only the general gardening forum gets a lot of activity. The number of members isn't displayed, so I may have to sign up for it to find out. Choose several forums and ask the questions I've recommended here until you find the answers you are looking for. Select the best two or three forums. Your next step should be to study the forums before posting. Find out what the posting guidelines are BEFORE posting. You don't want to irritate the site owner and get banned. The one thing that will get you in more trouble than anything else on forums is posting advertising. Post advertising in a forum that doesn't accept advertising, and I can almost guarantee you will get banned. The purpose of using forums to begin with is to generate TARGETED traffic to your website. Even if your website is getting 1,000,000 hits a month, if that traffic isn't targeted, it's a waste of time. 47 Targeted traffic will improve your website conversion. If you want targeted traffic to your site, go where your visitors and potential customers will be. Don't waste your time posting anywhere and everywhere simply because that site offers you a chance to advertise. The point is, before posting to forums, you should understand how the forum works. Once you understand how it works, start asking questions, answering questions, and really make an effort to contribute. This will help you drive targeted traffic to your site. Before posting through, complete your forum profile. Write a good signature that will be added to your posts. Give your potential customers a reason to want to visit your site. Your site profile also gives you an opportunity to add links to other sites you own, as well as a link to your blog if you own one. You should also check to see if forums on your topic accept advertising or articles. If they do, make sure you post your advertising and articles on these sites. Even if the site forum isn't too active, this gives you a chance to show up in the search engines and build valuable backlinks. One package you can use to help you manage the forums you market to is Bot Surfer. This free program will help you track up to 15 forums. You can download it here: http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com/freeware/forums.zip. One alternative you may want to consider instead of forums is lists. The most popular lists groups on the internet are Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, and MSN Groups. 48 What makes this technique so much easier to manage is that there are so many different types of lists you can market on. You can use these lists to market topically, as well as for different types of promotions: ezines, ads, articles, etc. The easiest way to get started is to visit the list site you want to use. I recommend Yahoo groups because they tend to be the most active. Search for your topic, as well as the type of content you want to submit. For example, if you are interested in submitting ads for your ezines, search for “ezine ads”. Read through the lists to find the appropriate lists for your topics. Again, the same rules apply here that apply for forums: make sure list is active, has a lot of members, and is targeted. Once you've found the lists you want to market on, you need to subscribe. You will have to use a valid email address because you will need to confirm each. Yahoo has a limit of 50 lists per day, so keep this in mind. Next, you need to organize your lists. The easiest way to do this is to use a program like Group Mail - http://www.infacta.com/. (This program allows you to have up to 100 email addresses on each list, more than enough for your marketing campaigns. You can use the free version for this). You will want to have a separate list for each type of submission and how often you can submit. When you are ready to submit to your lists, enter the message and send using SMTP. This way Yahoo sees these messages as individual messages and won't junk them. 49 Again, let me stress that you need to organize your lists and follow the guidelines carefully. If the list only allows you to submit once a week, only submit once a week and submit the right content. Keep a folder on your desktop or in your documents folder with all of your marketing materials. You will want to write these before submitting to your lists so that when you are ready to submit, you can simply copy and paste your message into the software. Finally, I want to talk about the most important community on the internet: My Space – http://www.myspace.com/. If you really want to multiply your traffic exponentially, and get your sales message out there, this is the best site on the internet to help you do it. The first thing you want to do is sign up for an account. Use a valid email address as you will need to confirm your account. Once you have confirmed your account, you need to set it up. This includes writing a complete profile, as well as creating your blog. Once you've set up your account, post your ads, post to the forums, and add content to your blog. You will also want to find new members to network with. Then you can post comments on their pages. This will help you spread your message. You can also get templates to customize your My Space site, as well as add a subscription box to your profile. Again, remember to target your message. One of the biggest mistakes I see on My Space is that others want to be added just so they 50 can market on your profile and post their comments about their products. Never mind that their topic isn't related to what you do. The real secret to internet marketing, and website conversion, is to provide real value to others. Don't just send them something because you want to sell. Send t
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