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"Newsgroup Marketing" 
  04/01/2002

Getting the message out about the products or services your business provides can be a very difficult and expensive process. While marketing in the standard avenues is definitely a good idea, there might be a complete market that you have overlooked: the USENET. Depending on the source, more than 15 million people frequently read newsgroups making it an ideal way to market your products or services. One of the most important things to consider is how to market your business or web site and avoid spamming and violating netiquette at the same time.

The first thing you need to do is make a list of the newsgroups that might be of interest to your target customers. You can do this quickly by visiting newsgroup directories and reading current postings. Next, you should read the FAQ's (if available) for the specific newsgroups. They may contain guidelines as to what is appropriate to post.

Now that you have a list of newsgroups, the next step is to provide valuable information to the users of the group. Instead of just posting information to advertise your business, answer questions that others may have. For instance, if you are a freelance programmer, you might begin by helping other members to figure out their problems. This will allow you to gain their trust and advertise your abilities at the same time. Every message you post should include a "signature" line that includes links to your web site(s). Avoid catchy slogans or other materials and just stick to a simple link.

There are a few more items you should pay attention to. First, make sure that when you post a message that it is a valuable addition to the newsgroup. You may actually harm your position if you post meaningless informaiton. Make sure that you always stick to the topics related to the specific groups and avoid posting commercials or advertisments.

Marketing your product or service on the USENET can be a great way to increase your business. With millions of individuals reading these groups, you can be succesful with very little effort and money.

 - by Clayton Crooks

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