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Maximize your advertising results!

If you are like most of us doing business on the Internet today you are very familiar with what I call the "Free Advertising Shuffle". What, you ask, is the "Free Advertising Shuffle"? It is the attempt, usually unsuccessful, to advertise your Internet business for free.

First you tried the free classified ads. What was the net results from this? Your mailbox filled with spam so fast that if any real customers tried to order your product, they received "Mailbox Full" messages.

Abandoning the free classifieds, you tried your hand at the banner exchange programs. From this you received a trickle of click throughs and nearly zero sales.

Moving on, you set your sights on the search engines. You fine tuned and tweaked your site until it was perfect. You submit your site to the search engines and received a top twenty placement. Now the traffic really rolls in. Three days later, the traffic stops. Concerned you rush over to the search engines, only to find your site is now ranked two hundred forty fourth for your keywords.

Round and round the dance proceeds, until in frustration, you contemplate throwing in the towel. It's obvious, no one can really succeed with an Internet business. There just is no cost effective way to advertise on the Internet.

Before you actually pack it all in, have you considered ezine advertising? Reputable ezines are a great way to reach a receptive, willing audience that is interested in hearing about your product. This is because a reputable ezine uses an "opt-in" mailing list. Opt-in mail list are lists that allow the readers to self-select themselves into interest groups that allow you to focus your advertising on your target market.

With tens of thousands of ezines being published, it is a fairly easy matter to find some that reach your potential customers. Ezine advertising is inexpensive as well. On average ezine ads cost between .06 and .5 cents per subscriber. Compare this to one to two dollars per piece for direct postal mailings and the value becomes apparent. Most importantly, ezine ads produce results.

Now that you know the facts, how do you maximize your ezine advertising dollars? Below I have compiled a short list of suggestions to help you get started.

  • Locate appropriate publications
    The real power of ezine advertising is targeting. Your ads will produce better results if the readers are interested in you product. Find ezines that cover topics related or complementary to your product. Advertising car parts in a pet lovers ezine will not produce many sales. Some good resources to get you started:


  • Size may not matter
    Ezines with smaller circulation may be more tightly focused on a market that the ezines with many thousands of subscribers. If you product is one that has appeal only to a small highly focused market, you may find better success with the smaller ezines.

  • Subscribe to the ezines you have identified
    Receive the ezine for a couple of months. Review its content and advertising. See if your advertising is a good fit and that you have really found an ezine aimed at your target market. Make note of the number of ads per edition. Large numbers of ads, especially all run together at the bottom of the ezine, virtually ensures that you ad won't get noticed.

  • Refine your advertising copy
    Make sure your advertising is compelling. If you are unsure how to do this, seek the assistance of a marketing or copy writing professional. Be sure to include clear contact information such as URL, email address or phone number right in your ad.

  • Don't expect miracles from a single ad
    Some studies indicate that ads are only effective if they are seen repeatedly. Some research claims ads must be seen as much as ten times before they have a serious impact. Plan your budget to include running ads in multiple issues for maximum results. Paying for multiple ads all at one time may also allow you to negotiate a lower rate when compared to single ad pricing.

  • Track your advertising
    This is the single most important item in the list. If you don't know which ads or ezines are producing the results, how can you expect to maximize your return on investment? There are 3 basic ways to track you advertising:

    - Email subject coding
    Example: yourbiz@domain.com?subject=ezinename

    - URL coding
    NOTE: Be sure your site statistics program supports this method before relying on it. Example: http://www.domain.com?ezinename

    - Custom URLs
    This requires creating a copy of your order page named ezinename.html and tracking hits via your site statistics program. Example: http://www.domain.com/ezinename.html

These tips alone will not guarantee your Internet business' success. Much of that is still dependent on basics such as quality, desirability and price of the product or services you are offering. However, assuming you are offering a good product at a fair price, implementing the strategies outlined above should produce the type of results you have been seeking. They should also help reduce the amount of time you spend doing the "Free Advertising Shuffle".

About the author
Copyright 1998, 2003 Tony L. Callahan All Rights Reserved
Tony L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Links-subscribe@topica.com. For an online archive of Tony's articles available for reprint, visit: http://www.link-promote.com/articles

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