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Copyright © 1998 Claire Belilos
CHIC Hospitality Consulting Services

Terms: For reading only. Not to be sold, reprinted,re-written, distributed, re-broadcast,
uploaded, or used to conduct training by others without written agreement

It is a proven fact that the most effective way to market yourself, your business, product and service is to offer something of value to your web site visitor, in the form of helpful articles or resources related to your business and the particular interests of potential clients, visitors and peers.

This should go hand-in-hand with active participation at different online forums, newsgroups and mail lists. You can begin with those related to your particular field though it is recommended that you do so on other interest venues related to business, marketing, management, and professional- related sites and communication tools. Your role should be more of "the giver" than "the taker". Give advice, help and guidance on these forums. Establish your identity and credentials. Reveal a positive personality. Do not fail to mention your company's name, location and URL. If people like what you say and think you have substance, they will visit your web page to learn more about you and your company. They will also look for additional insights and knowledge you may carry on your site.

Your messages, participation in forums and newsgroups, as well as your web page should never consist of blatant advertising. This leads nowhere. There is an avalanche of crude advertising and spam on the web and people avoid it like a disease. Before people trash or skip messages containing such spam or advertising, they take a mental "negative" note of the originator, and this is a negative image you will find very hard to eliminate. If, on the other hand, you "give" something of value and do so actively, enhancing people's knowledge and lives, a very positive image is impressed upon their mind and connected to your name. You can never know what type and category of people reads your messages or visits your web page.

There are many silent viewers and visitors, otherwise called "lurkers". Some of them quite often prove to be the type of clients, associates or friends you want. They will reveal themselves to you only if they see quality, decency, integrity. The contacts, usually by e-mail, come unexpectedly. Sometimes it is to establish a business or friendly relationship; sometimes it is a first step towards discussing a business transaction or project. It is worthwhile bearing this in mind when answering inquiries, planning a web site or writing an article. This does not mean one shouldn't promote one's business; it should be done in a subtle manner. No-one will mind your description of what you do if your positive contribution outweighs this subtle form of publicity. Very often, peers of like mind will contact you. The right peer contacts, which are the people you want as web friends, usually open gates of opportunity for you, offering guidance and even revealing sources of business you never thought of. The net being what it is, these opportunities and friendships happen not only globally but sometimes right round the corner, in your own neighbourhood.

Needless to say that what you give should be of unique character and value and originally yours. Copycatting here won't help. Ideally, offer something related to your field of occupation or professional role: manager, marketer, writer, trainer, or whatever best describes you. The nature of this article does not reflect my primary occupation as Management Consultant specializing in Human Resources, Training and Customer Service, so I hope you do not mind my mentioning this at this stage. It does, however, reflect my personality and belief in sharing, since I share with you my experience on web marketing and results achieved. Indeed, it does take a lot of time and active effort to establish a positive web presence but the results you reap justify the effort involved.

This past week I had four great opportunities that fell right in my lap from unexpected sources. These were found to be people who had come across my web site and articles or saw my postings on different forums. These approaches and proposals not only represent great business and marketing opportunities, but add to my company's image locally. Positive contributions have a snowball effect. It all began when I offered articles to the Canadian Government's online Library. Industry Canada's web site is at and their small business services, Contact! is at

On both sites you can access all what you need regarding Canada and trade with Canada. They also offer Canadians free web pages to help them promote their business and mine is at which also lists and has links to all my articles. There is no way of knowing who and how many people access these sites since Industry Canada did a very good job of listing them just about anywhere, including a direct link from the NAFTA site.

When you offer or agree to publish your articles on other sites as well you have a much bigger audience, increasing your chance at publicity and for attracting the people you want. The same happens with Newsletters. If you have the time to create and manage a quality newsletter, you will establish your expertise among your subscribers and in the field you deal with. Please avoid producing a newsletter which advertises only your products or services. People subscribe to tons of newsletters. Unless you offer new, original information and tips you will be "dropped". Whether you have your own newsletter or not, it definitely broadens your market when you contribute to other people's newsletters. If you have published articles and you did a good job of listing your site, managers and owners of newsletters and web sites will contact you and ask permission to carry these on their own pages. It is a win/win situation. Actually, a major Management Consulting company in Canada wrote asking my permission to publish my Networking on the Net article: Ethics, Courtesy and Professionalism on the Net ( in a CD ROM they are distributing to businesses across North America. This is an unexpected promotional bonus which may lead to very interesting business. A group of academics wrote asking my permission to use my article Understanding Employee Drives and Motivation ( for discussion in a course they themselves are taking. This adds both prestige and testimonial. Other articles and activities led to an invitation to offer Seminars on Customer Service in Asia. The opportunities abound. Sometimes it takes time and patience, but with persistence, the rewards happen in a most unexpected manner.

Jim Wilson of always welcomes an original article or other input, for which he will also reciprocate by advertising you in the Gazette and in his newsletter which goes to more than 30,000 subscribers. This gives a glance at what can be achieved on the web in the way of widespread global free publicity. All it requires is a positive, helpful attitude, some mental effort, time to produce something that will interest others and help them succeed. Of course, you can also pay for advertising in e-zines. Select the e-zine that reaches your audience and the cost is quite low for the tens of thousands of potential clients you reach. Jim told me that this is all what Virtual Promote is about - helping people promote their business successfully through the web. What more could we ask for?

This is also the intent of Industry Canada with the Strategis and Contact web sites. There are many professional sites that do the same, as well as women's sites, e.g. and DJC Enterprises, a marketing company, decided to make its newsletter interactive among subscribers. See They offer an incentive: submit to them a helpful and resourceful URL and they will carry a free advertising of your company in their newsletter. I am certain there are many more sites which I did not yet discover but the very good friends I made on the web keep on copying me on good opportunities. I do the same for them. The internet looks like an indefinite unfathomable well. Three sites worth visiting to see quality information and articles are: (California) (New York, please read "food for thought"), and (New Jersey, also full of information and guidance). (Australia, a resourceful site on human resources)

If you have time to open and manage your own forum or bulletin board, by all means do so. It will take a lot of time and effort to promote and keep it active. Depending on the nature of their business, some people are at it all day long. You can accomplish almost as much and even more by participating in different forums that have specialized interest groups.

If people continue advertising themselves blindly at every internet opportunity, they will turn their web world into a Tower of Babel with each one speaking a different language and no-one listening to the other or understanding each other. What good will this ever do? There are many sites dedicated to free advertising or low-cost advertising in e-zines. You should limit advertising to these venues.

Plan to carry valuable information on your web page. Besides registering and listing yourself with search engines, remember to do so at the different entrepreneurial, business, management, marketing or professional sites your service or products relate to. Remember to enter not only the keywords that describe your business but the keywords that would describe your target market, e.g. : hotels, restaurants, ships, cruises, boats, shopping malls, retail stores, food and beverage, or whatever best describes your target market.

While you are here pay a visit to my web friend, Raphael Aguilo, at where you receive a free course on internet marketing, including many useful downloads.

I hope that sharing the above with you and the free online information provided on our site will prove helpful and valuable. Please come and join our discussions on Customer Service at ..... (forum is being moved at present;  list yourself to be advised of its new venue at

Subscribe to our free monthly Easytraining News at

Read excerpts from our Easytraining Insights Digital e-zine at

Thank you.

Copyright © 1998 Claire Belilos

This article is not to be uploaded, sold or distributed in any form or manner without the author's written permission

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Claire Belilos, CHIC Hospitality Consulting Services, Home Page:, specializes in Hospitality, human resources strategies, organizational training and development, Customer Service and problem-solving. She offers "on site", online and distance consulting and coaching.  She creates job, training and evaluation tools, and custom-tailored solutions to people management problems.  

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