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Jim Daniels by Jim Daniels

Like many small business owners, I work with a small marketing budget. Okay, truth be told, I hate to spend money on advertising! Especially if I can get better exposure at a very low cost, sometimes even FREE!
During the past three years online, I've learned some great ways to do just that. I wrote this article to share them with you. Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to spend days and days at free classified sites or newsgroups. The methods I'll be sharing with you are much more powerful. So how does the cost-conscious marketer get the best free and low-cost exposure?

Simple. By utilizing various forms of the best free marketing tool ever invented... Email!

There are many ways to utilize email marketing. For the most part, email marketing can be broken down into two distinct categories... Targeted and Untargeted. Let me first touch on untargeted email, just to show you why it is a waste of time.

Untargeted Email Marketing
Untargeted email marketing on the internet usually takes on the form of "Unsolicited Bulk Email". Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring one of the thousands of email blasting companies online, it makes no difference. Bulk email is NOT a smart way to market. Let me explain exactly why...

"Spamming", or sending mass email to "unqualified" email addresses is considered bad "netiquette". If you send unsolicited email to addresses that do not want commercial email, not only do you risk the reputation of your business, you can get into more trouble than you would expect.

What kind of trouble?
Well, since many ISP's do not allow this activity, they will discontinue your account as soon as the inevitable complaints start to trickle in. If you want better results without the risk, consider using methods from the "other" category of email marketing...

Targeted Email Marketing
Targeted email marketing works. Truly targeted email means getting your email to recipients that HAVE approved of it. Not only do your get better results, you won't have to worry about ISP cancellation and more importantly, the reputation of your business. Here are the best targeted email marketing methods I've used during the past three years. They really work. I've listed them from most expensive to least expensive.

- Opt In" email list rental
- Ezine advertising
- Ezine publishing
- Email Discussion group participation

Here are details on how I utilize each...

Here are details on how I utilize each
"Opt In" email list rental
Did you know that you can actually rent email lists of people who have approved email about certain topics? (Just about any topic imaginable!)
This method is not the cheapest form of targeted email marketing, but it works! On average, you'll have to spend about ten to fifteen cents per address. The companies that rent the addresses even do the mailing for you. You just sit back and wait for the orders!

When I released my book, "Insider Internet Marketing" I used this method and sold a few thousand dollars worth of books in a two day span. The company I used is called PostMaster- Direct . Here are three more companies that offer direct "opt-in" email marketing...

Ezine Advertising
I'm a big fan of ezine advertising and regularly utilize this low budget technique. I'm not just saying that to drum up advertisers for my own newsletter, actually I have a waiting list of about a month just to get an ad in mine. Why? Quite simply, email advertising works!

Take a look at the advertising section of your favorite email ezine. The reason there are so many ads there is because the advertisers get results. Not only do you reach your target audience, you reach them by the thousands. Of all the online marketing methods available, ezine advertising could be the most effective.

Many larger companies are just starting to realize this and are entering into this exciting new advertising medium. Compared with the high costs of web site banner advertising, ezine advertising is a real bargain.

Ezine Publishing
One step better than "advertising" in ezines, is actually publishing your own. If you are not already publishing your own e-newsletter, I highly recommend you do so. It is much easier than you might imagine. Your customers and prospects will constantly be "in touch" and your ezine can keep them abreast of new products and services as you make them available. You can also generate income offering classified or sponsorship advertising if you wish.

Unlike traditional newsletters, there are no printing or postage costs. Since your own cost is zero, you can offer free subscriptions, thus insuring a steady flow of new prospects. To get started publishing your own ezine, you do not need to pay for list management. You can manage and deliver your ezine yourself with a good email program like Qualcomm's Eudora or Pegasus Mail by David Harrris.

Once you have your email program installed, practice mailing to a few people at once by using the BCC (blind carbon copy) feature. It's important to use the BCC field when mailing to a list. This insures that everyone on the list does not see the other email addresses on your list. No one wants their email address publicized all over the net. After you've perfected your emailing skills, you'll need to drum up some subscribers. That's easy too! Simply post a message announcing your newsletter to the "NewList Announcement List".

Email discussion group participation
An email discussion group is delivered via email like an email newsletter. But a discussion list is different in one major way -- you are allowed to voice your own opinions, usually through a moderator.

Discussion lists also allow you to ask for help from others with similar interests. What's more, you can assist people in need while your sig file (the footer you include at the end of every email message you send) invites readers to your site. Discussion group marketing works because the posts are delivered directly "TO" a targeted audience. Like all the other forms of email marketing above, discussion lists are a perfect example of push marketing at it's finest!

In addition to 'posting' to discussion groups you can 'pay' for exposure. Many discussion lists offer "sponsorship" advertising, and since readership is usually high on these lists, advertising results can be excellent. No matter what you are marketing online, participating in discussion lists makes sense. Not only will you learn some valuable information, it's is a great way to soft-sell some of your wares. To find some discussion groups on your particular area of interest, visit http://www.e-groups.com. While you're there you can even start a group of your own!

Now that you are armed with the facts about low-cost email marketing, go out and start your email marketing campaign today!

Article by Jim Daniels founder of JDD Publishing. Jim's site has helped 1000's of regular folks profit online. Check out their FREE "how-to" cybermarketing assistance, software, books, web services & more at Bizweb. No time for the web? Subscribe to their FREE, weekly BizWeb E-Gazette

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