138 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
For over 10 years I have developed hundreds of websites, gotten them ranked well on Google, and have made my clients a great deal of money. But like any experienced web marketer, I'm always looking for fresh ideas for my clients and for myself.
Free Marketing is a good primer if you're new to promoting yourself on the web. Where the author succeeds are the chapters on what he is most experienced with, which is email marketing. Web newbies are provided with useful tips on newsletters, mass mailouts, and automating your marketing emails.
The book also offers useful ideas related to blogging, marketing through the use of original content, and the benefits of promoting your business through Youtube videos.
Having purchased at least 50 sales, marketing and web promotion books through Amazon, I was surprised that the author was probably the first to print an extremely important technique related to Youtube promotion. Google owns Youtube, and tends to mix videos into many of its search engine results. That being the case, a business owner can find their videos on the first page of Google for a search of their target keywords. It's an effective strategy that I've been surprised more web marketing authors haven't emphasized.
Having said all this, the book is unfortunately light on the type of marketing tips that could help most. The author admits that he isn't particularly savvy when it comes to social network marketing (Facebook, Twitter), so the chapters on how to capitalize on using them are lacking. Other books dedicated solely to social networks provide case studies that prove just how powerful promoting yourself through those websites can be with respect to free marketing.
The author's lack of knowledge on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) also hurts how comprehensive a book on free marketing could have been. While the book does provide a simple breakdown of how Google ranks websites, the author paints a grim picture of maintaining a positive ranking.
But the truth is that I have clients that were first on Google eight years ago that are still first on Google today, simply because they meet Google's largely unchanging criteria for ranking well. There is no "Google Code" (as he puts it) to crack, it really boils down to proper on-site optimization, original content, and scoring quality backlinks from other sites. Despite the author's dislike of informational websites, my clients have generated millions in revenue thanks to having deep sites with interior pages that also ranked well for highly-specific keyword searches (long tail keywords).
The author's misfires on SEO are most obvious when he suggests leaving comments on blogs with links back to your site to improve your ranking. Most experienced web marketers, however, know that almost all blogs include "nofollow" attributes to links that appear in the comments area. A nofollow tag instructs search engines to not place any value on the link, making it worthless unless someone actually clicks on it. Long story short, blog comment links won't help you at all with respect to Google ranking, nofollow was created to discourage spammers from trying to game search engines. [update on author's response at end of my review].
Overall, this is a good primer when it comes to web marketing, but it's definitely not a comprehensive book. Having a focus on SEO and social network marketing would multiply the results you get from this book's techniques. If you're new to web marketing, buy it, but also supplement it with other books such as:
SEO: The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide, Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies
Content Marketing: Content Rules, Get Content Get Customers
Sales Copy & Psychology: Ca$hvertising, Words that Sell, The Copywriting Sourcebook, The Copywriter's Handbook
Social Network Promotion: Likeable Social Media
I hope that you found this review helpful, feel free to comment if you have any questions you want answered with regards to SEO and web marketing.
[2/11/13 Update. The author of this book commented on my review that he made no reference to using blog comments to improve search engine ranking. So in response, I have included in the review comments the chapter, page and paragraph of where he suggests this technique. It is literally the first suggestion of Chapter 16 "Get Found on Search Engines."]
[3/27/13 Update. The author has since deleted parts of his earlier reply, and offered a hasty explanation. But here are the facts: 1. His book was published late 2011, 2. Nofollow was introduced in 2005, 3. Blogs like Wordpress from version 1.5 (released 2005) and onward used nofollow for comment links. This wasn't something that occurred a year or two before his book came out, his suggestion had been outdated six whole years before publishing.]
76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2011
I am an ebay Titanium($100k+ per Month in Sales)Top-Rated Seller who owns several ecommerce websites and several brick and mortar business. I've read virtually every book there is about making money online, entrepreneurship and low-cost marketing methods. It was one of those books that I first ran across the name "Jim Cockrum." The book itself was awful and a complete waste of money EXCEPT for the special "Tips," section in it which kept featuring this guy named Jim Cockrum. I decided to google him and let me just say it was one of the best internet searches I have ever conducted. It led me to his membership websites where I quickly became a member and devoured much of the information at his sites. In this book Jim lays it all out. This book is packed full of some of the best advice from Jim's membership sites. It also spells out how Jim has become one of the most-influential marketers in the world of online marketing. There is a reason most of us who belong to his sites and have read his books hang on his every word.....TRUST! I have studied many an internet-marketing guru and read them all. All the guys who parachute out of planes or shoot videos of themselves riding around in jeeps in california peddling their "Get-rich-quick," internet courses for $1497 and I can find better information and information that actually works on Jim's sites and in his books. Simply put, Jim Cockrum is the only Internet-Marketer/Guru who has actually helped me put money into my pocket year after year. And he is an all around wonderful guy who responds to everyone of his customers. I seriously don't know where the guy finds the time somedays because he interacts with all of us! If you are one of the millions of people in this country who is unemployed or has been negatively affected by this economy then this book is exactly what you need as well. If you own a business that has hit a plateau or is failing then you better order this book right away! If you have books like Guerilla Marketing, Good to Great, Think and Grow Rich or How to Win Friends and Influence People, then you need this book sitting alongside those in your library as this will become a business classic. If you don't want to make money and improve your life then don't buy this book. Bottom line!
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
Over the years, Jim Cockrum has taught me several methods to grow my online business that you are about to learn in his Free Marketing book.
In fact, when I first started my online business, I took just ONE of Jim's ideas and I generated a recurring monthly income of $500 in 24 hours... and in his new book, he shares 101 ideas that are low and no cost!!
Just from reading the first few pages of Jim's new book - Free Marketing, I gained five new ideas that I can implement tomorrow to further grow my business online.
I'm still plowing through the book myself - and as expected, the wheels are turning from the ideas I'm reading about... BEWARE! Buy this book and you won't be able to sleep tonight... you will be too busy coming up with ways to implement Jim's creative marketing ideas!
49 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
I noticed that most of the reviews posted before mine either were short and vague OR were written by people who were already fans of the author OR admitted not reading the whole book OR some combination of these. I've worked in marketing roles for 8 years, had never heard of the author before, and read the whole book, so now it's time for a real review. The book earns two stars because it covers several marketing topics and it's written in an easy-to-understand, conversational language. However, the book has too many faults for me to recommend it, such as:
* Doesn't help you choose the right tactics or judge quality--Organizations come in many different shapes and sizes and have different marketing needs. Where this book really fails is that it does a poor job of helping the reader decide which ideas to implement and which are sustainable. Also, I've seen many examples of clumsy, bad marketing and this book does little to help the reader gauge what makes for quality marketing and how to create it.
* Way too long and poorly organized--Despite having a chapter on brevity, the book goes on for more than 300 pages. And there aren't actually 101 distinct marketing concepts discussed, as the title states. Many of the chapters simply rehash material that has already been written, and there are endless references to other parts of the book. One third the way through the book and the repetition gets annoying; two thirds through and it's painful. The organization is just sloppy; it probably should have been an 80 page book with 30 ideas and a robust table of contents.
* Way too self-promotional, slick, and salesy--The author makes frequent mentions of his online properties and services, even when they're not at all relevant to the subject matter.
* Vague and unverifiable information--There are no endnotes in the book and the author simply says there are "studies" or "industry statistics" to imply that readers can expect, for example, a 50:1 ROI. That's not good enough and it's flat out irresponsible. On one page he even states: "To this day I'm pretty sure I have the best selling book about how to succeed on eBay." Well, do you or not? Other claims are similarly wishy-washy or impossible to verify.
* Unimpressive results--The author cites case studies from his client base, but in many cases I would not consider them very strong results (10% conversion rate; a few thousand units sold; a few thousand e-mail list members). Much better results can be achieved.
* Ignores $ and opportunity costs--The book often notes when things are free, but conveniently ignores the fact that some tactics mentioned can be fantastically expensive, like using certain video tools, using press release services, outsourcing (quality) work, self-publishing a book(!), or holding a webinar. Just as bad, this book almost completely ignores the opportunity costs of marketing, particularly the tremendous amount of time some of these ideas will take to implement. People need to know that they can't just become a marketing whiz during commercial breaks.
* Has some terrible advice--Some ideas I don't really agree with, but ultimately come down to a judgment call. Other things are just bad advice, like automating e-mails far in advance to send out old/stale content, claiming a web event is "live" when it isn't, never doing html e-mails (the rest of the world does it just fine, thanks very much), and implying that it's OK to ignore good writing technique when blogging.
Bottom line: Experienced online marketers will likely find little new material here, and marketing newbies will be introduced to a lot of new concepts, but would be better off searching for another book or articles online that are more targeted and less confusing.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2011
I am Nancy Alexander, and have been a student of Jim Cockrum for MANY years (about 7 or 8 now). I have read all his books, and am a member of his Membership Sites. I have also received coaching from Jim on several occassions.
I have to say that I thought I knew some of the topics which would be covered in Jim's new book. But, he has done it again, and I AM TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY!
Jim is ready to change directions at a moment's notice to do what is required to stay on top of the fast-paced Internet Marketing World. His students and followers always expect the NEWEST, and the BEST advice and practices which keep them on the cutting edge from this "humble, honest, and trustworthy man."
I received a pre-release copy of "Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off". I have been so excited as I read all of Jim's newest ideas which I WILL put into practice in my business immediately!
Jim Cockrum is THE REASON that my business is where it is today! I am so blessed to have an amazing business which has grown by leaps and bounds.
So, my recommendations for you...who might be thinking of purchasing this book...PLEASE DON'T WAIT, PURCHASE IT NOW!! I can promise that you will NEVER regret this purchase, and it WILL change your life and your business just as it has mine!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2011
The word that came to mind most often when I was reading Jim's book was "ethical". He presents a vast array of ideas and practical solutions to successfully doing business online, in a way that I have never seen. There is no high-pressure "go get-em" sales techiques. Just lots and lots of very do-able methods, all at low or no cost, that simply work. And, unlike some other techniques that are promoted online, you won't feel like you are doing something a little bit naughty.
Too often I have found that people simply expect to be conned. For example, I have my own schedule available online, and I block out times for "my time off". I once actually had someone complain about this, because they considered it was not the "right" thing to do to say that I was taking time off. They said instead that I should have said I was in training or in a conference or something.
But that type of honesty is exactly what Jim is encouraging us to have. He tells us to be open and honest with our potential customers. He tells us to be generous with our time and our knowledge. He shows us how important it is to have an amazing reputation for being an expert, and a nice person too, and he tells us exactly how to go about achieving that.
I have "known" Jim through Facebook for a while now, and so I know he is a family man, and a Christian. While I am not going to say that it is important to be religious to succeed in online business, I will say that Jim has obviously listened very carefully to his mentors, and to his own conscience. This book is full of lessons not only for selling online, but for doing business ethically in general.
He starts the book with an excellent checklist of action steps, then goes into great detail of exactly how to achieve each one. I certainly will be referring back to that list often, to see whether my own sites, and those I build for clients, tick lots of those boxes.
In short, Jim's book is definitely recommended reading for anyone who wants to succeed in business online, and wants to protect their own business and personal reputation as they do so. It is great to see that it is possible to succeed in online business, and not have any sort of guilty feeling that you are doing something you shouldn't.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2011
I have been an ardent 'apprentice' of Jim Cockrum for several years now, so I had already learned about 1/3 of the strategies mentioned in the book. Before I struck out on my own, I attempted implementing these strategies at my previous employers' companies, trying to grow their businesses. More often than not, I got FIRED because of it! Why? It's simple, and it falls right in line with the book's content. The 'old guard' in marketing is dead and 6-feet under. While 99% of marketing executives (like my previous employers) spend millions of dollars on lame-brain marketing tactics that sound sexy but just don't work (again, again and again), entrepreneurs like Jim and I (and thousands of others who have followed his advice) are building 6-digit revenue streams - real, wholesome businesses, mind you - using proven no- or low-cost tactics, and then 'rinsing and repeating', and reaping the rewards. Thank you Jim - the Eddie Van Halen of Marketing (innovative, fearless, and always emulated but never imitated).
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2011
So... I've been following Jim of and on for the past 2 years or so. Several months ago, however, I really started to seriously follow his blogs, his newsletter, OfflineBiz.com, and a number of great programs he recommended.
If you're on the fence because you've been following his teachings for years, just buy it. I promise you - once you read the table of contents (which should be a chapter in itself!) and you see all the content he will include in the book, you will NOT want to put it down. I've been looking forward to reading it each night before I go to bed. However, the downside is that it's so good, instead of getting sleepy, I end up getting energized and have to force myself to put it down!
The first chapter alone is chock full o' info! Don't even skip over the intro. To be honest, I haven't even made a dent in the book and yet I have no idea how one person could be crazy enough (no offense Jim...) to put all of this info on ONE book, for less than 20 bucks. This should be considered an encyclopedia of business ideas. It's not "just" a book of theories. It's the real deal! Heck, if Dave Ramsey recommends it, why are you even on the fence? Seriously...
If you choose not to invest $10 (Kindle edition) or less than $15 - or heck $20 for the hard copy - for ideas on tons of FREE ways to market your business then, um... maybe you should invest that money into getting your brain examined....I'm just sayin'. LOL
Think about it: theoretically, if you successfully apply just ONE strategy - shucks, 1/10th of a strategy and made a sale as a result of it, you probably will recoup your investment. So, uh... yeah... Get the book! You know you wanna... Knowing Jim, if you absolutely hate it, he'll give you your money back anyway. Don't believe me? Read his book. He says it there. :-)
Honestly, I rarely write reviews on Amazon, but dangit, this one is worth it! I can't wait to update you all when I get more than a quarter of the way through LOL. And if my brain can handle it, I'll let you know how it is when I get to the end!
Happy Reading! And more importantly, Happy Implementing!!! Let's not just read it, but let's apply his teachings and report back with results!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
I bought a hard copy of this book while attending a conference that Jim had in 2013. I believe that he gives excellent tips that can be used to grow any business and specifically there are tips about video, online marketing, forming powerful partnerships, social media marketing, email marketing and monitoring your online reputation. This is the best book out there about marketing and plus 101 of the tips are absolutely free! In addition to that 100% of the proceeds are donated to the mission of Hope Village in Detroit.You can't go wrong with this book!
Montina "Sparkwisdom" Portis
Author of YouTube Video Marketing Secrets Revealed: The Beginners Guide to Online Video Marketing
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2011
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. I teach online marketing at the JM Internet Group (just click on my profile or Google Jason McDonald to find me), and I am always on the look out for new ideas.
SOME GREAT 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 NOT SO GREAT IDEAS / ERRORS
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.
GOOD IF YOU ARE JUST BEGINNING / NOT WORTH IT IF YOU ARE JUST A LITTLE ADVANCED
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.