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How to Get Free Advertising For Your Home Business

DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
edited March 2008 in Home-Based Businesses
I have a client who`s a computer trainer. She didn`t have a lot of money to spend on advertising, and she desperately needed clients. After consulting with her, I realized that she had a unique aspect to her business. Unlike other computer trainers in the area, she would actually come into your home and train you at your convenience - 7 days a week. No one else in the surrounding areas was making housecalls. That was her "unique selling proposition." That was her advantage. I made a telephone call to the local newspaper, and voila...instant interview!
Because of that newspaper interview, my client`s business increased to the point that she is now considering hiring other computer trainers to help her with the additional business that she has received.
By the way, this method of free advertising not only works with newspapers, it works with the electronic media as well, including television, radio and the internet. How do I know? Because I`ve used this method to acquire free advertising for several of my clients. Technically, it`s called "free publicity," but it`s all the same thing.
Is there something unique or interesting about your home business? You may be able to use that to your advantage to get free advertising. It`s worth a shot isn`t it? After all, it`s only going to cost you a phone call.
Dale King
DKing3/2/2008 8:45 AM


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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
    Thanks, Doug! My client works out of the Worcester, MA area which has a population of approximately 175,000 people - a relatively small market compared to Phoenix Metro.
    Dale King
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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
    I came across a website that offered a boatload of invaluable information at extremely reasonable prices.
    I recommend these products all the time to colleagues who want to do-it-themselves. I am an affiliate of this program.
    I can do better than that. People can go to my website and get the exact same information for free:


    Dale King
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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
    It`s about providing useful information to those who need it.
    Then why didn`t you just provide the links without your affiliate information? Your sig file is supposed to be your advertisement.
    Dale King
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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
    What`s your beef with affiliate programs, Dale?
    Mia, I don`t have a beef with affiliate programs. In fact,  I`m an affiliate myself for several products that I promote vigorously in my sig file and on my website. However, I think it`s disingenuous to post resources in the forum under the pretense of helping people, when in fact your intentions are to profit from those resources. I think it damages your credibility, and hurts the forum. It also raises the question, are you posting the resources to actually help people, or to make money? If you`re posting the resources to actually help people, then you shouldn`t attempt to profit from those resources. To do otherwise is a definite conflict of interest.
    Look, I don`t begrudge anyone trying to make a buck. After all, we live in a free enterprise society. But there`s a time and place for everything. If you want to promote your affiliate products, I think you should do so  in your sig file, in the marketplace or on your own website. Why do I care? Because if members start using their affiliate links when they recommend a resource, how can we possibly trust in the sanctity of those recommendations? I think it calls into question the credibility of the entiire forum. And once a forum loses its credibility, it starts losing its members. And no forum can afford that.
    It`s nothing personal against you, Mia. I would speak out against anyone who posted a resource that included their affiliate link.  I don`t do it, and members who have been here longer than I have don`t do it either. I just think it sets a bad precedent.
    Dale King 
    DKing3/11/2008 4:41 PM
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    tell2momstell2moms subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Dale,
    I have read similar advice in several different places.  When I launched my business, www.chatterboxgames.com, I was excited to try this method of free publicity.  I have a unique product that is presented in a unique way. 
    While the people who see the product love it and buy it, I can`t seem to get press interested.  I even had a prfessional write press releases.
    Any suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong?
    Kim Maksymuik


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    jbmalik4jbmalik4 subscriber Posts: 0
    Free advertising - anyone use Craigslist? Probably not ideal if you have an internet-based business (like the aforementioned Internet affiliates), but if you have a service or local retail operation, Craigslist is great. My wife has her own housecleaning business, and about 80% (previously 100%) of her clients came from Craigslist. (The reason that it`s 80% now is because I also use ingenio and google adwords to get her clients - they are both not free, but still cheap).ALSO. Microsoft Live lets you reserve your own domain (i.e. www.YourCompanyName.com) and you can build a website with its online tools pretty easily. I created her web site that way - it was 100% free and probably took 3-4 hours to build. Check it out at http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/Good Luck!J.B. Malikjbmalik@small-business-phone.comSmall-Business-phone.com
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    daleyfla99daleyfla99 subscriber Posts: 1
    Great thread even if getting off topic.  Putting my 2 cents worth in, any free GOOD publicity is a great thing.  I subscribed to Joan`s newsletter and she has had some terrific information in it.  Highly recommended.
    As far as publicity goes, think outside the box and think from your customer`s point of view. They do not care that you have the greatest widget since sliced bread, they care about how they can use it to make thier life easier, cheaper, smarter, whatever.  Do a story angled on that and you will usually get published.
    Also do charitable work in your community and do a press release to publicize your business as a drop off location for toys for tots for instance.  Or better yet, hold a fundraiser with your business as a sponsor.  Unless you are a gentlemen`s club, the charity will be tremendously grateful for your help.  Win, Win for everyone.  I am President of Boca Raton`s Promise and we are always looking for funds and ways to raise them to support our programs.  Find one that resonates with you and do something generous for them.  Amazing what happens.  And do it soon!
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    patchpatch subscriber Posts: 0
    Congratulations on hitting on a topic that interests every small business owner.
    What I have not seen from any of your correspondents is a strategy for getting that free advetising/publicity/puff par in the media.
    As a retired newspaper editor, I know it is not easy, because I have spiked thousands of attempts to get a firm`s name a favorable mention in the papers I worked for.
    The first advice I would give you is aim at a small market. You are more likely to hit paydirt if you target a small newspaper than a large one. Just imagine: How many people try to get a hit on the New York Times? How many make it? Unless someone has a product or service that is really sensational, they`ll never get past the office mail clerk.
    Then see how many make it in the small suburban or exurban weekly. Small newspapers are eager to give publicity to their neighbors because (a) it helps build prosperity in the area and that helps build up the newspaper`s circulation and (b) the business is a potential advertiser -- if it prospers. Where will its advertising dollar go? To the media outlet that helped it prosper.
    Something you should avoid doing: Whining or cajoling. No newspaper, radio or television station owes you free publicity. It has to be justified by the "newsworthiness" of your pitch. Be straight up, businesslike and, above all, HONEST with anyone who shows interest in your business or product.
    If you don`t succeed the first time, don`t give up. Keep trying, using new methods, new ideas, new approaches, new news outlets, until you succeed. But don`t become a pest. If you do, the storyline you worked so hard to develop will be spiked before it is ever read. 
    Phil Thatcher
    Write With God Editorial Services


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    UrbanMeltUrbanMelt subscriber Posts: 2
    Dear Community,
    Please note that some of these websites or ideas may not work for the home-based business.  They are tools I have stumbled on during my own research.  They may help with advertising or networking to find more ideas. 

    Disclaimer: I am not a representative of any of these companies.  So, please read their terms of use and other policies before making any commitments.


    www.localna8ion.com  Tutorials and advice about FREE or inexpensive internet marketing tools. 

    Social Networks:

    www.myspace.com  Social network and classified listings.

    www.facebook.com  You can network for yourself and create a basic free page for your business.

    www.linkedin.com  Professional social network(basic features are free).

    www.meetup.com  Social network that encourages interaction offline.


    www.merchantcircle.com  Basic listing is free.

    www.showmelocal.com  Have not used this, but appears to be completely free.

    www.listings.local.yahoo.com  Basic listing is free.

    www.google.com/local/add  Free listing on Google Maps.

    www.atlist.org  Basic listing is free with link back to @list.
    These are just some of the great tools I have found.  There are plenty others out there.  Keep checking back with the StartUpNation community and do your own research on the web. 

    Emil Wisch



    UrbanMelt3/11/2008 1:59 PM
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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141

    Hi Dale, I have read similar advice in several different places.  When I launched my business, www.chatterboxgames.com, I was excited to try this method of free publicity.  I have a unique product that is presented in a unique way.   While the people who see the product love it and buy it, I can`t seem to get press interested.  I even had a prfessional write press releases. Any suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong?    Hello Kim: Have you sent the media free samples of your product? If you haven`t, that might do the trick. Dale King
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    tell2momstell2moms subscriber Posts: 0
    Hello everyone,
    I appreciate your responses.  I have sent samples to newspaper, magazines and web media.  Quite a few magazines have contacted me but no newspapers.  I think I will take the advice here and try local, community newspapers.
    I had never heard of www.myplace2sell.com so I will take a look!  I thought of You Tube but didn`t want to get lost in the crowd. 
    We tend to sell out at trade shows but I was looking for more online sales.
    I appreciate everyone`s input and will keep you posted.
    Kim Maksymuik
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    randylewiskemprandylewiskemp subscriber Posts: 1
    I would highly recommend "Six Steps to Free Publicity" by Marcia Yudkin, which is available at www.amazon.com.
    Randy Kemp

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    staged4morestaged4more subscriber Posts: 0
    I think this is a great idea. Is there a specific script that you use when you to make the call? I am interested in finding out what I should say and who I should ask for for an interview. Any tips would be appreciated it!
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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
    I think this is a great idea. Is there a specific script that you use when you to make the call? I am interested in finding out what I should say and who I should ask for for an interview. Any tips would be appreciated it!
    I personally don`t use a script. I prefer to wing it. I was a salesman for many years, so I naturally know how to communicate with people. That being said, if you`re not completely comfortable with your communication skills, you should develop some type of script to help guide you through the process. The important thing to remember is reporters and editors are usually extremely busy, so respect their time and get right to the point. Here`s the 7 step process that I use:
    1. Introduce yourself
    2.  Explain why you`re calling
    3. Confirm that you`re talking to the right individual in the right department
    4.  Explain why your product is newsworthy
    5. Explain any unique and interesting qualities of your product
    6. Offer to send a free sample of your product
    7. If you don`t get a immediate committment for an interview, follow-up weekly. Remember, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil." Good luck!
    Dale King
    DKing3/11/2008 10:11 PM
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    Badger82Badger82 subscriber Posts: 0
    Great advise. One caution though. I`d hate to think of this as "free". True, it may cost the business owner no money, but the best way to get papers or other media to pay attention to your business is to develop a relationship with them first. Email the business writers for your local paper or news station; comment on an article or story they did; provide useful information they may not have thought of or, even better, because of your expertise, you know a bit more about than they do. Create a relationship such that you are now a potential source for them. With these types of relationships built, stories or PR about you, your employees or your company will come much more readily and you`ll be quoted or used as a reference much more than with a single shot story about your business.
    So, doing it this way doesn`t cost money necessarily, but it does take some effort.
    Thanks for the tips, Dale!
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