Directories, Communities and Forums Utilizing your Free Resources

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What better way to market your company then for free? You're probably saying, "Yeah right! You can market for free." Well today I'm here to tell you how you can. Now don't get too excited, this is not groundbreaking information. It's actually an extremely simple idea but it truly works.

The method of marketing that I'm referring to is to utilize free online directories, communities and forums to help increase the exposure of your company. There are probably literally thousands of directories, communities and forums that relate to your business. Some are free and some are paid sites. The key is to research the Internet and locate five to ten quality communities or forums that you could post to on a daily or weekly basis. Depending on the type of directory, forum or community, you may have to register and become a member. However, other types may not require you to register and are completely free of charge.

So what types of directories, communities and forums are out there? That's a great question and I'm glad you asked. To help clarify here's a definition of each:

Directory
A topical lists of Internet resources, arranged hierarchically. Directories are meant to be browsed, but they can also be searched. Directories differ from search engines in one major way - the human element involved in collecting and updating the information. Click here for an example of directory.

Community
A group sharing common interests on the Internet... aka Virtual Communities. Communities exist in the form of discussion groups, chat rooms and newsgroups. Click here for an example of a community.

Forum
An online message board where users can post questions, answers or comments to other member's posts. Click here for an example of a forum.

So depending on your needs, you may want to find a directory, such as Craigslist.org, where you do not have to interact with other members. You can simply locate the category that best suits your business and make a post without registration. However, if you'd rather post questions and interact with other users, then you're best bet is to locate a community or forum, such as No.1 Artist, that relates to your industry. Some communities and forums even provide an area in the forum called Shameless Website Promotion so you can post a description of your company with a link to your website.

Through my experiences I have found all three means to be beneficial. Directories offer you a simple way to advertise your company, with minimal time needed, but it lacks the whole human interaction piece to the puzzle. On the other side of the fence, communities and forums take a bit more of your time to post and interact with the other members. However, the great part about communities and forums is the fact that you can communicate with these people and build solid relationships that could bring you new business.

To get started, go to Google and search for directories, communities and forums relating to your industry. Remember, some may require a membership registration and some may require a membership fee. At first, try to find ones that are free. This way you can see if this form of marketing is right for you and fits into your schedule.

Best of luck!

Daryl H. Bryant is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Horizons, helps his clients achieve online success through search engine marketing and customized website solutions.

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