Newsgroup Advertising: One Approach to Success

Use newsgroup marketing to grow your business effectively and profitably with free advertising.

Editor's Note:I present this knowing it will be controversial. Jeffrey's "in-your-face" marketing style is pretty much the opposite of the approach recommended by many respected and successful Internet marketers. Yet it seems to work for him. I personally wonder whether he'd have more success with the traditional model of monitoring a few newsgroups and answering questions. And I would personally be a lot more excited by his daily newsletter were it easier to extract the useful tidbits that were not a pure plug for his own goods and services. Yet, undeniably, there's a certain segment that finds his style appealing and responds to it--or else it wouldn't be producing results.

Jeffrey's article also fails to distinguish among distinct kinds of newsgroups out there, with different protocols. There are those that are already overrun with blatant commercials. Post away on these to your heart's content--but just like free classifieds on AOL or on the hundreds of Web sites that offer them, don't stand around waiting for the readers to flock to you. You'll get a trickle, more likely. Use the best subject lines you can, and a good strong signature.

Then there are many explicitly sexual newsgroups. I wouldn't bother unless you have a sexual product.

Finally, many newsgroups still focus on providing useful discussion and exchanging information. With these, posting ads will backfire. You want to post good, relevant, noncommercial content. And use the strongest signature possible--I recommend six lines maximum, unlike Jeffrey--to bring visitors to your site. Using this approach on mailing lists (similar to newsgroups in content, but technologically different) has been enormously profitable for me. If you post blatant commercials n content-oriented newsgroups, nasty things will happen. If the newsgroup is moderated, your message simply won't go through. Otherwise, problems will range from having your message erased by special software to people lodging complaints against you with your Internet Service Provider. In other words, you may endanger your ability to use the Internet. For these newsgroups, substitute "publicity" every time Jeffrey uses the word "ad". My recommendation: read a week's worth of posts before you ever put a word up--and when you do, start with an introduction that says who you are, what you do, and--in non-commercial tones--how you can help meet a need or solve a problem.

Also, you can shortcut a lot of the work in Jeffrey's strategy. If you're going to use newsgroups and/or mailing lists in your marketing--and you should!--you don't need to sort through 15,000 newsgroups or 87,000 mailing lists on your own. Visit the Web sites that will do it for you: http://www.reference.com, http://www.dejanews.com, http://www.liszt.com.

And with those words of caution, on to Jeffrey's article.End Editor's Note

We all like getting free stuff. It's the American way. But how would you like it if I told you that every single day of your life you could get UNLIMITED FREE ADS? You'd think I was pulling your leg, right? Wrong! It's true. It's available now. You can do start within minutes of completing this report... and you can benefit every single day hereafter.

What is this miracle? Posting to Internet Newsgroups. It's something I do every day to boost the traffic at Worldprofit (now over 200,000 visitors a month); traffic volume has been growing very fast as a result of this kind of promotion (in tandem with everything else we do)... and you can benefit from it, too.

Here's how it works.

Finding The Newsgroups

The first thing you've got to do is find the newsgroups. You do this by logging onto the Internet with either the Netscape or Microsoft browser (current version 3.0 is best). First you select "windows" from your Main Menu. Then "newsgroups." These commands automatically bring up the available newsgroups that your service provider has connected to their news server. How many can you expect? Ten? A thousand? Five thousand? Try at least 15,000 groups!

Once you've selected the commands above, the newsgroup window will come up and usually load all the available newsgroups. This takes about 20 minutes depending on the speed of your connection.

Note: If you are not yet configured for the newsgroup window in your browser, you need to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for instructions on configuring your browser software.

Once your newsgroups are loaded, here's the situation. You're not just looking at 15,000 newsgroups... you're looking at the equivalent of 15,000 publications where you can post UNLIMITED ads from now on out. It really does boggle the mind. Let the games begin!

Getting Started: Selecting The Places You Want Your Ads To Run

Maybe the reason more people don't post their free ads to newsgroups is because of what you've got to do now. You've got to read through all 15,000 newsgroups and choose just the groups you want to go to and post in. This is both time-consuming and laborious. It's also crucial.

Before you start, however, you've got to remember that you're not going there to browse the news... you're going there to get prospects and new business. This means thinking how you can position your offer for each newsgroup. Say, for instance, that you sell books, as I do. As you browse the newsgroups you need to consider

  • every title you produce
  • its relevance for the group you're looking at
  • whether you've got benefits for that group
  • your ability to write a short ad directed just at the interests of that group.

    In other words, you've got to be client-centered.

    This all takes time and trouble. In a way you should be glad. Humans being what we are, sloth and procrastination creep in at this point. All too many entrepreneurs would rather become couch potatoes, curling up in front of the latest "Seinfeld" instead of going through the frankly dull task of reviewing 15,000 newsgroups and thinking about just which ones are appropriate for what you're selling. Boring though it is, perhaps we eager beavers should be grateful, since this task itself deters many from doing the work which is so lucrative for those properly doing it and using the results.

    Note: there is a search program built into the browser that should help you find some groups that may be of interest to you. By all means use this feature, but don't rely on it. In this case, there is just no substitution for the laborious work of manual selection and review.

    What You'll Find

    As you proceed through the long list of 15,000+ newsgroups, you'll find groups with attachments like alt (for alternative) and misc (for miscellaneous). What tech nerd thought these names up, I'll probably never know, but if I find out I'll give him (or her) a piece of my mind. You'll see groups like

  • misc.entrepreneurs
  • alt.business multi-level
  • alt.business insurance
  • alt.connecticut

    Groups are directed at specific interests... specific tastes (some grotesquely bizarre)... specific geographic locations... you name it. Your task at this point is to pick every single one that relates to what you're selling. Do you sell to entrepreneurs? To people in multi-level marketing? To people in insurance? To prospects in Connecticut? Why, then, you want to select these groups for future reference.

    How do you do that? Easy. When you find a group you like, just hit the subscribe key. That group is now tagged for future reference... its browsers ready to hear from you, old sport.

    Now Start Your Newsgroup Review

    I've got news for you. It's going to take time for you to read through 15,000 entries. Don't do it all at once. Take your time. Just make it a part of every day. Don't go to bed until you have reviewed your quota for the day. Maybe do one letter of the alphabet daily... or 1000 entries. Either way, set your objective and get started. Remember, as you add more and more entries to your newsgroup "subscribed" list, what you're really doing is giving yourself more and more free ads. If that doesn't provide an entrepreneur with motivating incentive, I can't imagine what would!

    Getting Ready To Post: Brainstorming Your Ads

    Before you post you should do two things:

    1) visit the group to see what's being posted, length, etc. Just click on the group you want to visit from your subscribed list, then hit the "go to" command. You're now looking at -- your competitors for the time and attention of browers! What you're going to discover first of all is that certain smart people have already figured out what I'm telling you... namely that getting free ads in the newsgroups is worth their time and attention. Read their postings since they're veterans. At the very least, you'll know who you're competing against for space; besides, they may give you some ideas. (I know I've gotten a few this way.)

    2) then start brainstorming your own ads. Advice: don't just write one or two ads when you're in the mood. Write 20. Say you're selling chocolate chip cookies, you'd brainstorm ad headings like this

  • delicious chocolate chip cookies. (your URL address)
  • chocolate chip cookies sent to you daily (ditto)
  • a new batch of chocolate chip cookies made every 20 minutes.
  • our chocolate chip cookies are great for after-school snacks
  • Show your love for that special someone w/ our chocolate chip cookies.

    Get the message?

    You want to brainstorm as many of these ads as possible.... and you want the lead sentence (the heading that posts to the newsgroup) to be brief and contain as many client-centered benefits as the short space allows.

    Slanting The Message To The Group

    The Internet, remember, is about addressing specific interest groups and showing them that you've got something just for them. Newsgroups, as you already know, are founded on distinct particularities. Cater to them. Thus in the alt.business multi-level grou,p your ad might read "You'll recruit more people while enjoying our chocolate chip cookies." Or in alt.connecticut you might say, "People in West Haven love our chocolate chip cookies. See for yourself." Get the drift? Talk to the people in the newsgroup; make them feel your posting is just for them. Note: all too many mass-posters don't bother about this. They just dump their messages hither and yon. Not smart. You be different.

    The Actual Ad

    A posting to a newsgroup is composed of three parts: heading, message, and signature file. You know your headings need to be short (they have to fit on one line of the screen). Your message, of course, can be longer.

    In my view, short messages are best. Moreover, the message should direct people back to your home page where you can really lay on the details. Personally, I might run a heading as short as "FREE business newsletter."

    The message that follows goes like this: "To get your free subscription to our twice monthly WORLDGRAM Newsletter, packed with business development and marketing information, e-mail webmaster@worldprofit.com." The message, in short, is short.

    Similarly, you could direct your prospect back to your Web site by saying something like, "Find out how good our chocolate chip cookies are and how to get some fast. Go to (your URL)."

    Remember, postings are intended to

    1) snag the attention of relevant prospects (your heading)
    2) give them necessary information about where they can get the complete low-down on what you're selling, and
    3) provide a much more detailed, frankly commercial signature file.

    What Is The Signature File?

    As you probably know, there are still any number of cave-dwelling netderthals on the Web who think that commerce is something dirty. (Of course, they don't mind at all sex postings for deeds which, even at age 50, I had no knowledge existed or were even physically possible). In due course, time will solve this problem, but, for now, we need to be (at least minimally) aware of it. Thus, it's a good idea to keep your posting short and somewhat muted in its commercial dimension. You see above, for instance, that I'm offering a free business newsletter subscription and merely saying how prospects can get it. Brief, client-centered, action-oriented, and definitely civic spirited!

    But with the signature file, in the Alice-in-Wonderland Web world allowable things change. Here you can be -- and should be -- as blatantly commercial as you like. Lots of nonsense has been written about the signature file. There are those who still say you should include in it nothing more than your name and maybe the name of your business. Well, they're crazy. My signature file is 10 lines long of unabashedly commercial text. And no one has even muttered a peep about it. (Now that I've said that, of course, some creep is sure to turn me in to Marketing Dragnet.)

    Your signature file should contain what mine does:

  • descriptive information on what you're selling
  • its special benefits
  • relevant deadlines (if you're selling something in limited supply or with a specific calendar like my quarterly Sales & Marketing Success Card Deck)
  • anything you give away free (like a catalog)
  • prices
  • order information
  • every bit of follow-up information you can think of, including e-mail, URL (Web site) address, phone, fax, physical street address, etc.

    In other words it ought to be blatant, blatant, blatant. Thus, your complete posting will consist of a short, client-centered heading, a brief equally client-centered message, and a signature file of 6-12 lines that brings home the bacon with additional benefits and everything a prospect needs to take action now.

    Is it hard to write and, as necessary, change your signature file? No way! For your newsgroup signature file simply

    . call up your browser . click on mail . click on read news . check connected in the lower right hand corner . click on news at the top of the page on your main menu . click on options . select signature . change the text in the window . then hit okay.

    It may look complicated the first time you do it, but don't worry. It'll become second-nature to you as you get better and better at writing client-centered signature files that push the envelope!

    Now Get Started

    Okay, you've now selected your groups, brainstormed your ads and headings, written a dynamite signature file. It's time to get started. Click on "new message." Tab to the subject area. Enter your one-line heading. Then tab and enter your main ad message.

    . Start by making a single posting. As the Chinese proverb says, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Your first posting is that step.

    . Don't expect too much from just one posting. Just like you, my first nervous day in the newsgroups, I made just a single posting. The world didn't rush to my door to buy a better mousetrap. Undaunted, the next day I posted another one in newsgroup 1 and a first one in newsgroup 2. And so on for a week. Now I had about 7 postings in about 30 newsgroups. At that point I started to get e-mail messages and phone calls from ecstatic advertisers in the Worldprofit Mall Complex saying, "What are you doing? My traffic's up, up, up!" It was as if the dam had burst, the faucet pouring out eager browsers whom I had been directing to Worldprofit. I was a very happy camper; advertisers purred.

    The key here is to set up a system. One ad in one group won't make you a millionaire. Seven ads in 7 groups will definitely boost your traffic. 200 ads over 7 days in 7 groups means an avalanche of new prospects. The message? Just keep chipping away, the way I do. I now post in the early morning and at the end of my day... at least twice a day. Why? Because I know it works... and I'm prepared to put in the time to boost the Worldprofit Mall traffic and my own product/service sales.

    Will you? Or will you just "manana" it?

    Personally, I think newsgroups are the best thing since sliced bread. And I've taken to them like a duck to water. Don't be surprised, therefore, if when you're doing your postings you find a lot of mine. And don't be surprised, if you're a Worldprofit advertiser, to find as you do your posting that you've already got an ad or two up in various groups. You see, as a certified nice guy, I often post the headings of your Worldprofit Web sites and InternetConnect card ads and direct the prospects right to your traffic. No big deal. I do it when I can and for the same reason I do my own postings: so that Worldprofit becomes what it is clearly destined to be: THE LARGEST MALL IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! Do your helpful bit, please, in this direction: in both your newsgroup heading, message and signature file always include your Worldprofit URL!

    Get started today building your traffic through newsgroup postings. A day without a posting is a day wasted. Remember, all postings are free--and as you develop a newsgroup presence with regular daily postings, your Web site traffic--and with it, your sales--will increase. And as your traffic goes up, let me know. E-mail drjlant@worldprofit.com. I like to know!

    Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the internationally known marketer who is co-founder of the 10 Worldprofit Malls at http://www.worldprofit.com now getting over 6 MILLION visits a year. To put your web site in or link the Worldprofit Malls to your existing web site, visit http://www.worldprofit.com, use 24 hour a day fax on demand (403)59-2829 document #1, or call (403) 459-4746. To get your own listserver from Worldprofit and use it to send UNLIMITED non-spam e-mail transmissions, visit http://www.worldprofit.com. You can also get your own domain for as low as $25.00 a month. Visit http://www.worldprofit.com. To visit Dr. Lant's Sure-Fire Business Success Catalog, go to http://www.worldprofit.com or call (617) 547-6372 for a free subscription. Finally, get a free subscription to his daily Marketing Hot Tips newsletter.


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