'FREE' - The Business Owner's Secret Weapon Do you know what the most frequently used word is that people type in a search box on the internet? Knowing what this word is and using it to it's fullest extent can literally EXPLODE your sales if you run an online business. Let me explain. The all important word is FREE!!! The word that is used in searches on the internet more than any other is FREE. Everyone loves something for nothing. No one wants to pay for something if they can get it for free. Think about all the times you have searched for something on the internet. Weather it was for information, a service, a product, in fact anything. Did you just type in the description, a keyword or phrase, or did you put "free" before it? If you obmitted the word free, when the search engines generated the results, I gaurentee it gave you a list of "related searches" containing the keywords you used with 'free' in front of them. The benefit of giving something for free. As an online business, if you offer a product, service or some information for free, it can have great returns. First of all it boosts your search engine rankings. As the word is typed into a search more than any other, having it optimized on your website will have amazing dividends. Once a customer has found you in their search results, further use of the word free will draw them in even more. Giving them something for nothing if they visit your site is a big attraction. In fact it is such a huge attraction that I can't emphasize how important it is. How giving something for free can make you money. When someone visits your site to claim their freebie, several things can happen. In order to get their free product, they have to give you their name and email address. This is the #1 reason for offering it to them in the first place. It is highly unlikely that someone will buy something on their first visit to a website. And unless there is an excellent reason for them to return, they may never visit again. By having their email address, you can contact them and remind them to revisit your site. You can offer them 'special offers' and affiliate sales through your correspondence emails. It is a well known fact that there needs to be an average of 7 contacts (sales pitches, remind revisits, offers ect...) with a customer before they will actually buy something. The reasons for this are quite lengthy and are a whole other article, so let's stick to the matter at hand. By being able to have the important contact with your customers, your chances of them making a purchase have increased significantly. They learn to "trust you," you become familiar to them and that is what often clinches the deal. You gain these things from your customers and then they buy. So, that's how you make money from giving away something for free. The quality of free. The item that you offer, weather it be a subscription to an ezine, an ebook, report or software, MUST be of good quality. If the customer receives their freebie and the quality is poor, they will not come back to your website and buy anything. Even if you are the best website in your niche, offering the best deals, they will never find out, because they just won't come back. On the other hand, if they are impressed by their free gift, they are more than likely to visit you website again and again. High quality, useful products are an essential if you want the "free offer" to work for you. How you can drive traffic to your website using "free." Classified ads are a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website. The headline and description should be centered around the infamous "what's in it for me." That is offering them a freebie. This will intice them to click the link and visit your website. You can post classifieds for free. Just type 'free classifieds' into the search box and choose from the 1000's of results that the search engines produce. Submit your ads often and the traffic will keep coming. Other ways to drive traffic using 'free'. Simply use it anywhere your ads appear. If you publish articles, reports or ebooks, put your offer in your resource box. If you use pay-per-click, use the offer as your ad copy. Advertising in ezines, weather its your own, an affiliates or bought advertising, again use the free offer in your resource box. Choose carefully. When deciding on what it is that you will give way, there is one piece of advice that is vital. Make the free item appropriate to you audience. Whatever niche you operate it, stick with the theme. If you offer an ebook on "how to knit fancy tea cosies" and your business sells musical instuments, you will be heading for a problem. The customer will visit your website to get their ebook. They will download it and probably be very pleased if it contained high quality information on "how to knit fancy tea cosies." When you contact them via email with for example a "special offer on violin strings," unless by some highly unlikely, random chance that they play the violin, they will not visit your website again. No matter how many emails you send them, their interest was tea cosies, not musical instuments. Why should they visit your site again? The fact is they won't. So be mindful of what your own niche actually wants and give it to them. In conclusion, the more you offer freebies, the more money you will make. It is one of the best traffic drivers and is a straight forward concept. Now that you have this little golden nugget of valuable information, get to work. Plan what you could offer, to whom, when and where. Decide on a product that you can legally give away. Make it something that is usefull to your own niche market. Adcertise it everywhere you can and your opt-in-list will grow very quickly. After all "the money is in the list" but again, that's another article.