By Jason McDonald
Senior SEO Instructor - JM Internet Group
Posted: October 14, 2011
Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business (Two Stars / Not Recommended)
Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off is, not surprisingly, a book of lists. It’s an idea book – a good, quick, basic Kindle read with some great and some not-so-great ideas about how to market your book for free, largely online.
Some Great Free Marketing Ideas
Cockrum gives us some great ideas, and clearly knows his stuff (except SEO, more on that later). With 25 five star reviews, I can see he has followers. But… But the book could really have been fact-checked and edited, drastically.
First, let’s be positive. What are some of the great ideas in the book? One great one – make it easy, very easy for customers to try – for free – before buying, and afterwards to easily get their money back if not satisfied. Too often, we go for the money first when we should go for the relationship. And we don’t want a lot of negative reviews, so allowing unhappy campers to back out – is good policy in this age of never-ending reviews on the Internet.
Second, email lists. Cockrum is a master of email, and this is one of the few books that reminds us of just how important a good email list is. We are all a-Twitter, a-Facebook, and Cockrum reminds us the the direct one-on-one aspects of email are massively important. The fact that he understands that straight text email outperforms HTML email; and that customizing each message is critical – those confirmed to me that he does know what he is talking about. His email tips are the best in the book.
Another great idea – draw your customer. Literally. Draw a picture of who your customer(s) are and create a sales funnel. He understands the basic funnels of marketing, and encourages us to do the same.
So the book has some great ideas, and it’s cheap. So buy it if you are very new and need to get your marketing juices flowing. But nothing is revolutionary in these ideas; so I would not recommend this book if you are at all advanced in your marketing plan.
Some Problems on SEO / Search Engine Optimization
Worse than that, on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the book is flat out wrong. I teach SEO, and do lots of SEO consulting – so this is a subject I can speak to, directly. Cockrum says, “Google, as a company, is collectively far smarter than anyone who is trying to manipulate their system.” Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t rules of the game, and that we can’t understand those rules and impact which pages get to the top of Google. (Google – Social Media Classes, Social Media Classes Houston, Social Media Classes Austin, Social Media Classes Dallas – and you’ll see what I mean – jm-seo.org is on page 1 for all). Cockrum implies that a) Google is so mysterious no one can dominate SEO, and b) that the algorithms change so rapidly that it’s not worth it.
On Search Engine Optimization, he is just flat wrong. It’s an important game, and one you can win. One recommendation – just Google the Google SEO Guide and read Google’s official SEO guide. It’s a starting point with more accurate information than Cockrum’s book.
But, ignoring the SEO errors, the book is a good basic read if you are just beginning your Internet marketing journey. If not, this book isn’t really worth buying.