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My evaluation on advertising methods

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Posted 16th November 2008 at 10:11 PM by ryansjones

I have been in the affiliate marketing business since towards the end of July, and I have done several different routes of promoting my websites (have 3 currently: www.ryansjones.com, www.snohomishpromotionnichemarketing.com, and www.snohomishaffiliatemarketing.com), plus several squeeze pages (i.e., yourbizwebsites, the spiderweb system several traffic exchanges I am a part of, global domains international, and others), and here is what I have seen so far based on what I have used.

Method 1- Pay per click advertising
With pay per click advertising, I used Google Adwords and Yahoo Site Search. If you are not familiar with pay per click, it is a popular method of advertising where you submit your website info to google, yahoo (or whatever service you use), choose key words you want to bid on that describe your website, and sit back and let the service you are using to do all of the work for you, while you literally pay for visitors that come to your page.

Pros:
- you are guaranteed visitors to your site
- never have to worry about spam policies and other stuff that make it difficult to advertise
- can be good if you have the extra money to spend
- can be especially nice whenever you can't actively promote a website (i.e., weekends, at night, when on vacation, etc)

Cons:
- I don't really recommend this route for newbies unless if you have the extra spending power
- while you are guaranteed visitors using this method, you are not guaranteed leads or sales, and can get expensive if you don't get any sales.
- can get expensive after a while
- some niches are going to be more expensive to promote than others

Method 2: Search engine marketing
This is where you submit your websites to search engines and directories.

Pros- your site(s) is indexed by search engines (google, msn, yahoo, and dmoz tend to be the most popular search engines to submit to), and there are services that allow you to submit to many lesser engines, such as www.submitnet.net and directory maximizer.
- if you use the right key words and make your site easy to find, you could almost sit back and let traffic come in this route.
- most websites do get indexed by search engines sooner or later.

Cons:
- it is not always easy to come up with the right key words when it comes to submitting to search engines. For example, one of my web pages is on dog training (go to www.ryansjones.com and click on the link to dog training), you just can't use dogs or "dog training" as your key words, since there are countless other websites that use those words, and so you really have to do your research to see what words yields the highest traffic, and least competition, and some niches are harder to find than others on more competitive fields.
- you would have to make sure yor websites meet all of the guidelines search engines have to be indexed, and some can be trickier than others to meet.
- also there are many ways to gain or lose rankings with search engines, which can make it so you have to revise your websites several times to make sure they have maximum points.

Method 3- Email marketing
This is where you send emails and follow up emails to people to boost sales and awareness.

Pros- you have a more personable audience to market to than you would otherwise (particularly if you are emailing friends or people that have entered their email information on an email capture page).
- You have a chance to market yourself via email to people
- easier to tell what is going right and what needs to be improved in sales.
- Tends to be especially useful when marketing Multilevel Marketing firms. For example, if you are a member at global domains international, every time someone visits your referral link (which is usually www.website.ws/[yourname], where your name is your user name), enters their name and email, and view the flash presentation, global domains international sends you an email alert saying that so and so is a prospective member (or lead), and you are usually expected to follow up with person at least once or twice, and you also get an email message whenever someone joins your downline (as I found out last week, when i got my first 2 new downline members).

Cons
- can be awkward at times, especially when emailing people you don't know
- you usually have to capture email addresses or email friends that you think are interested in what they have to offer, otherwise it is usually considered spam.
- coming up with the right sales letter can be tricky (such as sending follow up emails to people that entice them to get what you have to offer).
- newsletter services usally cost money to use.

Method 4- Writing classfied ads on craigslist
This is where you write a classified advertisement on classified advertisement services, like craigslist, usfreeads, etc.

Pros-
- you can share what you have to offer with people in your area
- one way to get links to your website
- can be a way to get email addresses and leads
- can be a good way to post small business opportunities and ideas.
- can be used for posting announcements

Cons:
- can be a tough route to go if you are in the affiliate marketing business, since one of the content prohibitations that craigslist has is that your ad can't "contain or constitute to affiliate marketing, etc", and so you would have to make ads that don't look like you are promoting affiliate marketing.
- people may spam you if you post a classified ads offering services, extra venues for advertising, etc.
- If your ads are too catchy or are posted where they shouldn't, there are many flaggers that are quick to having your advertising deletted.

Method 5- Blogs
You write web blogs to help promote your business. Currently, I have 2 blog accounts on blogspot and a blog on word press.
Pros-
-tends to be a popular method of promotion
- you can attract an audience this way
- good blogging abilities can help boost your website as you get extra links to your site.
- talk about what you offer
- write articles, advice, commentaries, etc.
Cons
- you can't make your blog look like blatant advertisements, since that is usually considered spam (and some blogging services like myspace, prohibit any form of commercial use or advertising, which can make it difficult to adequately promote your website this way).
- like having a website, you have to be able to get traffic to your blog, which is not always easy
- if you are not careful on what you post, it can anger people and attract flamers and trolls.

Method 6 - Myspace marketing (could also apply to facebook, hi5 and other networks)
As the name implies, you use social networks like Myspace and Facebook to market your website and services. There are plenty of ways you can do so, as well, including using applications like Business 2.0 and Moneymakers, posting links on your website, using forums, making videos, and joining groups that relate to what you are promoting or selling.

Pros-
- lots of people you can connect with and market to (especially on myspace)
- The more active you are, the more visitors you get
- you can connect with friends, family, etc this way.
- I find groups a good way to market stuff, since they function as support groups, and you can share links, advice, knowlege, etc with group members.
- There are also plenty of forums you can join and contribute to to attract extra visitors (and you can include your website address in the signature file on myspace).

Cons about myspace:
- myspace does have a very strict anti advertising policy that aims to fine people caught advertising without permission, which can make it difficult to adequately promote your site(s) there. I mainly just posted the link to my sites and left it at that.
- If you are a mlmer (whether it is global domains international, carbon copy pro, xocai, etc), there is a strong anti-mlm sentiment there, and so it can be extra difficult to recruit downline members there.

Method 7- writing articles and press releases
you use article submission services and press release submission services aiming to promote your site.

Pros- you can build an audience that way
- tends to be popular among internet marketers
- at press release services, you can make announcements about your site, such as joining a noteworthy affiliate program, your site completes a milestone, you get your first sign up, etc.
- the more readers you get, the more potential traffic you get to your sites.
- you can easily become an expert in a field that is not really explored.

Cons:
- most press release services cost money to use (currently, the only truly free service I am aware of is www.free-press-release.com).
- self promotion is restricted or not allowed on many of these services, which can make it difficult to share the link to your website and services (newsvine, for example is a network where you can share press release articles with others, but if you post your link on an article, rather than just on your profile, that is usually considered self prootion).
- if you don't have a lot to say, this route may not be for you
- some article submission services are pickier about what kinds of articles you submit. Currently, I use 2 services: www.amazines.com and www.ezinearticles.com. At amazines, the service is free, and it most articles you submit are easily approvable. At ezine articles, on the other hand, you can only submit 10 free articles, and based on my experience, the editors can be extra picky about what you can submit there. If you review a product, for example, and the editors percieve that you are promoting it instead, they may reject the article. If you post more than 2 self serving links or more than 4 links in the reource box, editors will usually reject it (and so you would need to be selective on what links to share). Also, if your article is too long, it may be rejected as well (such as articles that people have to "click through").
- like blogs, article profiles are similar to websites, and have to be careful on what kinds of key words you use to describe your article.

method 8 - traffic exchanges, list builders, downline builders, paid to... programs
Currently this is my method of choice to building traffic to my websites. They tend to be a cheaper alternative to paid advertising, since you can earn page views simply by browsing other peoples' advertisements (or surfing), some pay you to browse ads or to complete offers (such as pay to clck programs), and many of them pay you to refer new members (usually if they upgrade your membership). List builders and safelists are organizations where you can send email to fellow members at least once or twice a week, advertising services and the like.

pros:
- cheaper to use than pay per click services
- visitors (or credits) can be earned either by purchasing credits, surfing other peoples' ads, or by getting an "upgraded" membershi and getting x number of credits to start with per month.
- you can share ads, squeeze pages, referral links, and websites with other members
- guaranteed sign up programs to make it easier to get leads and sign ups than using other methods
- PTC programs pay you (though usually very little) to surf ads, giving you a little extra money each week, depending on how many ads you browse, pay structure, etc.
- you can usually promote traffic exchanges on other exchanges
- rotators can be handy on participating traffic exchanges, since they usually allow you to enter multiple websites and links into one rotating url and you can submit them to participating exchanges (not all of them allow it), saving you extra time manually entering each sites you submit
- downline builders can be helpful for mlmers (for example, both the spiderweb marketing system and hits2u have a nice downline builder system for global domains internaional members). Also, some traffic exchanges have downline builders aimed at helping people to promote other ones as well.

Cons-
- some traffic exchanges are pickier than others what ads you can share
- it appears that many of them are incompatible with google adsense (unless if you don't post google ads on your main page).
- one downside to guaranteed sign up programs is that there are many posers that pretend to sign up, but never officially complete an offer for you (or at least it never shows up on your record), killing your chances of getting a lead or sale.
- surfing ads can take a while when building up credits.
- because there are many you can join, it is easy to sign up for to many of those things and it can be easy to go inactive on some.
- list builders are not always useful, especially when everybody is sending email to each other

Method 9- forum signatures
Yes, many people in forums submit urls in their signatures, so that people interested in their links visit the url in the signature.
Pros
- makes you get active in forums
- you can share advice with others and get suggestions
- you can share links with people looking for them
- some forums allow you to trade referral links (usually through pming members that want it)
- you can interact with other internet marketers and business people

cons-
- some forums can be quite picky when it comes to what goes in a signature, how you can promote stuff, etc0
- some communities disallow self promotion, which can make it tough to share links with others
- if you don't have a lot to say, then it can be difficult to get involved and attract an audience

Method 10- making a squidoo lens
Squidoo is a popular social networks where you can make several blog-like websites, where you can show off a website, advertise stuff, make commentaries, and the like. Also, unlike many social networks, squidoo has a very loose anti-spam policy, which makes it easier to make lenses that help promote your business.

Pros-
- more marketing friendly than Myspace and Facebook
- the squidoo staff actually pay you to help them promote their stuff (such as www.amazon.com products, ebay products, etc that are hosted on facebook).
- if you are active, you can build up an audience
- twitter and utterli are good ways to share lenses with others
- typically, the more involved you are on squidoo, the more traffic you get to your lens and thus more potential visitors to your website(s).

Cons-
- getting traffic to a le
ns is not always easy
- your lens needs high ranking for maximum exposure, which can be tricky for newbies

Final method: youtube
I actually haven't used this method yet, but I do have a youtube account, and can be a good way to make promotional videos, make commentaries, etc.

These are my takes on these marketing venues, and feel free to comment on them.
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