Larry Brauner

I’ve written about the problem of spam both offline and online at social networking sites in How Do You Like Your SPAM? and Why Do People SPAM?

With this article, I’m delivering on the promise I made last week to discuss marketing channels you can use to promote yourself or your business — without ever resorting to spam.

Legitimate promotion alternatives fall primarily into these basic categories:

  1. Advertising - Expect to pay — unless you prefer getting marginal results, running around town, lurking in parking lots and posing for security cameras, all while schlepping around stacks of flyers and carefully avoiding people you know. Online, free advertising attracts people without money and spammers, although you may get good results with Craigslist. Offline advertising includes newspapers, magazines, direct mail, radio, television, offline directory listings and billboards. Online advertising includes Pay Per Click, e-zines and online directory listings. I do not recommend using banner ads. Advertising ROI will depend on the net lifetime value of each acquisition or conversion and the cost of each acquisition.
  2. Press Releases - If your business is newsworthy, or if you can create a newsworthy event, then you may be able to get some free exposure. Your press release needs to be well written in a suitable format and distributed either offline, online or both.
  3. Speaking and Contributing Articles - It is an accepted practice to establish your reputation and generate leads by speaking at meetings or contributing articles to journals. Don’t expect to get paid anything until you become a recognized expert in your field.
  4. Strategic Alliances and Joint Ventures - A business or list owner promotes your offer to his or her clients or e-mail list based on an agreement through which you both stand to gain. It’s not uncommon to give a joint venture partner all the profit from an initial product offering in exchange for helping you to add new contacts to your list.
  5. E-Mailing Your List - You can send relevant commercial messages to subscribers who previously opted into your database. Try to avoid using purchased lists. If you must, be sure you know with certainty that the subscribers agreed to receive offers from third parties. Be genuinely helpful and careful not to abuse your list.
  6. Search Engine Optimization - You’ll need a web site, and unless you’re an SEO maven, you’ll have to pay for SEO services. There’s more to doing effective search engine optimization than most people realize. However, SEO will be worth the trouble if it gets you ranked high up in the free organic search engine results that most searchers look at and care about.
  7. Social Media - Social marketing is similar in philosophy to speaking and article contribution mentioned above. You share online videos and articles to educate, inform and entertain people, and to build a relationship with them. If they want your product or service, they’ll be inclined to buy it from you, since they know you, and you’ve earned their respect. Your blog on a social networking site, a blogging community such as Blogger.com, or you own hosting, are good places to share your content. For ideal results, create and post new original content on a regular basis. If your content is geared toward your target market, then you’ll attract qualified customers to you and your site.
  8. Business and Social Networking - Networking is meeting new people and developing relationships with them. You can network at your local Small Business Association, Chamber of Commerce or BNI. I can go to Network Plus, a group in my area founded by Ted Fattoross. Online social networking is more convenient. You network from your computer at any of thousands of social networking sites. My favorites are Ning and Facebook. You build relationships by asking questions and getting to know people. Keep in mind that spamming doesn’t work at all, and exchanging business cards is no more than a cordial first step in starting a relationship.

I like the web marketing channels: my e-mail list, search engine optimization, social marketing and business networking. I coordinate them to benefit from the synergies between them.

Now it’s your turn.

Which methods do you use? Which ones are you hoping to use in the future? What challenges do you foresee?

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13 Responses to “8 Great Choices for SPAM Free Promotion”

  1. Jackie Houston on July 13th, 2009 10:25 am

    Thank you for that information. As I organize my marketing strategies it will help me to look carefully at areas to avoid and those that are most useful.

  2. Luc Despres on July 13th, 2009 10:57 am

    Larry,

    Yet another great post!

    I use a lot of social networking and am currently building a community of people dedicated to sharing generic information.

    This will be a hard task considering how much people LOVE to pitch people on their deals, but I know that through setting the example I will be able to accomplish it.

    My community building was inspired by you. Thank you for being you :)

    Luc Despres

  3. Market Segmentation on July 13th, 2009 12:50 pm

    Hi Larry,

    I like article marketing, social networking, and email lists best for marketing my blog.

    Thanks for this article.

    Warmly,

    Linda

  4. Dave Hale on July 13th, 2009 5:58 pm

    Social networking is a key “ingredient” to a business. Although it just recently become popular from the past 5 years or so, it has definitely changed the way business run things now.

    Keep the good info coming.

    Chris Moniz
    VP Marketing, Internet Marketing Professor

  5. Debbie Morgan on July 14th, 2009 11:38 am

    Hi Larry,

    I mainly use SEO and social marketing for my safety and security web site. You’re absolutely right, SEO is hard to do yourself, even with lots of tips and information with which to work. Like social marketing, it takes time to work effectively.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Deb

  6. Jeffrey D. on July 15th, 2009 12:50 am

    Article Marketing, by far, is the quickest way to get traffic to your “website” or “blog”, unless of course you are very experienced with PPC.

    And yes, SEO is very difficult to master unless you first understand how to do “keyword research”. When you put the techniques together in the correct “form”, it can be very achievable to get to Google Page 1 for “low competition keywords”. Very broad keywords, on the other hand, are much harder to get ranked for.

    I use both Article Marketing and different SEO techniques to drive traffic to my Affiliate offers. But nothing is better than utilizing social media like Facebook, Blogs, Ning and Twitter to form “real relationships” for your MLM or Internet Marketing business.

  7. Website Advertising on July 17th, 2009 2:52 pm

    Hi Larry…great post!!

    It’s funny, when I first started out, I really didn’t know that some of the activities I was undertaking were considered spam. Oh how quickly online communities teach you the lessons of life!!

    We constantly evaluate and refine our Internet marketing activities. We want to make sure we are operating at the highest standards, not just for our good name, but our clients’.

    Thanks for the post…very valuable reminder!!

  8. Darren Scott Monroe on July 21st, 2009 12:22 am

    But Larry! You mean I can’t @reply to you 27 times a day and send you messages on Twitter through DM? You mean I can’t post a major billboard on your Facebook profile? You mean to tell me that sending emails without a email service like Aweber is a no-no? Especially if I just cc everyone with out at least blind carbon copying (bcc)?

    Nooo Larry that can’t be! How else will I get people to add 19,000 followers to their Twitter profiles while I have only 12?! LOL!

    What is the world coming to?!

    Sarcasm brought you by the makers of Darren Scott Monroe :)

    Great post as always sir.

  9. Larry Brauner on July 21st, 2009 12:30 am

    Darren,

    You reminded me of something funny. I saw a teenager with a tee shirt that read, “Sarcasm is just one of the free services I offer.”

    Thank you for commenting.

  10. Dan_N on July 25th, 2009 4:20 pm

    I utilize social media marketing more and more now. You don’t have to do much other than build relationships and friendships — without even having to promote your service. That will take care of itself naturally when you build a trust with your new friends.

  11. Denise Landers on July 28th, 2009 8:17 pm

    When I started out in this field over 10 years ago, I used the speaking suggestion you have. I was the guest speaker at numerous networking events–breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It didn’t cost me anything to receive business cards from those who were interested in further info from me, and I even got the meals free! This is how I first built up my database. Those contacts continue receiving my monthly articles today.

  12. Larry Brauner on July 28th, 2009 8:59 pm

    For those business people who can speak it events, it’s a marvelous opportunity to make new connections.

    It seems like almost everything offline has its virtual counterpart today. Consider webinars, tele-seminars, videos, podcasts, Internet radio, etc.

    Thank you for your comment Denise.

  13. Steve on August 2nd, 2009 6:32 pm

    Larry, great article. I think you have exemplified well the value that we need to give to our readers before introducing them to other products we have to offer. Value, value, value: it all comes down to how much we can give.

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