Online ventures with no budget restrictions spend a lot of money on advertising. While paid advertising works if done the right way, you could also try out free advertising. Online classifieds are one of the best and time-proven strategies to gain free traffic. In this article, we present a step-by-step to go about free online classified advertising.
Steps for Free Advertising with Classified Sites
Here you go:
- Create a free email account.
Your first step will be to create a free email account with Gmail or Yahoo. This account is necessary because most of the classified sites will send confirmation emails and ad links. If the business email is used, the inbox will be full of hundreds of unnecessary email. Therefore, use the free account for classified submissions and confirmations only.
- Prepare the ad copy.
Select the ad title, ad copy content and an image (optional). You can also choose few keywords and keep the landing page URL handy. The best way to go about this is to create a Word Document. In the file, make Ad Copy 1, Ad Copy 2, Ad Copy 3 categories with full details, as mentioned previously. When you have all the ad copies ready, it will be easier to manually submit the ads. Further, if you’re promoting the same product on the same classified site multiple times, prepare variations of the same ad copy to make them unique.
Remember the free advertising on classified sites has a low shelf life. Like you, many others are using classified sites for free advertising. Your ads will remain on the front page maybe for a day, unless you purchase their paid model. Therefore, you need to keep a lot of ad copies ready to submit them on the same classified sites at regular intervals.
- Hire an outsourcer.
When you have to run a company, you cannot spend time on posting classified ads. Unless you have an internal team to handle this, outsource the task via marketplaces like Freelancer.com and WorkNHire.com. The person will float the ads on classified networks and keep it going as long as you want.
- Manual submission or automated submission
Even if you outsource the task or give it to your internal team, you need to decide between manual submission and automated submission. There is software like Ad Blaster that will float your ad to thousands of free classified site but the response is not that forthcoming. Most of these sites don’t get much traffic and they are not optimized for your product sales.
Personally, we would recommend manual submission. Yes, it will take more time but the results are positively better than automated submission.
- Finding classified sites
There are no custom-made available lists anywhere. If you Google ‘list of classified websites’, you will get a lot of generic website links but nothing custom-made. Therefore, you have to spend some time in finding classified websites that will suit the purpose of promoting your business on these classifieds for free advertising.
For instance, if you are a Texas based company offering goods and shipping only in USA, there is no point in listing the ads on European or Asian classified networks, right?
Find niche or product relevant classified sites and prepare a list. You can use cloud networks like Dropbox or Google Drive to share the list, ad copies with other team members or outsourcing agent and login details.
- Duration of ad posting
The major disadvantage of classified sites is that the classified posting is easily overshadowed by new postings. This disadvantage compounds when you are posting on sites like OLX and Quickr because there are very high traffic websites. Your ad might be on top now but in the next 24 hours, it will be pushed back to accommodate newer ads. Unless, you are going for paid featured classified posting, the classified postings need to be done frequently to keep free advertising traffic coming in consistently.
When you post for the first time, track which sites are giving maximum traffic. Narrow down to those ad classifieds. Next time onward, post on the shortlisted sites first and keep on posting every week or so. For the other sites, you can post every 2 weeks.
- Tracking results
Most of the content management systems like WordPress have in-built tracking codes. If you sync WordPress with Jetpack, it will show you an almost real-time traffic statistics. Similar functionalities are available in other content management systems. You can ask the website designer to look into this aspect and design accordingly. You can also use URL shortening sites bit.ly to track traffic coming from classified sites.
Once the results start pouring in, it will be easier to locate URL’s drawing maximum traffic. The results will also show which ad copies are performing better than the rest. Analyze these results and optimize.
Classified sites are an immense source of free advertising traffic. While manual submissions do take time, the effort is worth the result. Once you get a hang of how free classified submissions are working, you can move on to feature classified listings if it’s affordable.