In the world of Internet marketing, the use of free classified advertising is akin to eating junk food.  They’re both cheap, quick and easy to obtain but not very good for you.

I beg to differ… on free classified ads, not junk food.

Free classified ads (FCAs) are a great way to advertise if you have little or no startup money. Sites such as USFreeAds, Kijii and CraigsList are great places in which you can promote your business for free.

The only downside to using these sites for FCA’s is that your posts will disappear quickly, usually within seven to 30 days, so expect to spend a few hours a week placing the same ads in the same categories on the same website. This is well worth it since FCAs are so cost-effective; remember, it only takes one sale to make this form of advertising financially worthwhile.

How FCAs Got a Bad Name
Not every type of product or service lends itself to free classified advertising.  In fact, one of the main reasons FCAs have such a bad reputation is that most Internet marketers don’t understand that this type of advertising should not be used to directly sell anything; rather, it should be used to entice readers to check out your website for more information.  Let your website do the selling.

“Don’t try and sell your product in the ad. There simply isn’t enough space to do that, says Cartess Ross, Jr. president and CEO of Hippo Marketing. “(Your goal should be to) get their name, mailing address, email address and phone number. (Send them) a package outlining your product or service. That package (should then be) designed to sell them on your product”.

Advertising to Your Own
Another successful way to use FCAs is to only sell something of interest to other advertisers.  My own personal experience has shown me that for the most part posting FCAs is a waste of time –unless you’re targeting other advertisers– because an overwhelming majority of people who visit free classified ad sites are other entrepreneurs like you who are trying to promote their own business.

Use this piece of “inside information” to strategically target your fellow free-classified-advertiser because many of them look at other ads while searching for their ads to make sure they are being displayed.  Its that simple.

Not Again With the ‘Search Engine Marketing
But there’s an even better reason to use FCAs and that’s because they can rank well in the search engines.  I’ve seen FCAs for very competitive key words rank as high #3. The problem is that listings containing FCAs almost always last only until the next search engine update.  Therefore, if you’re going to use FCA’s as backdoor into the search engines, make sure repeat your posting to the same free classified ads page at least once a week.  Also, remember to write your ads with search engines in mind by using your keyword(s) in both the headlines and body text of your postings.

It’s outside the scope of this article to instruct you on composing classified ads (either free or paid), so if you’re interested in an online tutorial on the subject I recommend you check out Writing An Effective Classified Ad.

Forewarned is Forarmed
Strategies to effectively use free classified advertising do exist, they just aren’t what the average home business owner thinks of when they think of Internet marketing. Hopefully knowing this will give the home business entrepreneur who uses this marketing technique a slight advantage over their competitors.