Although there are many ways to market your business online whether your business online or offline, many of them I don’t use. The reason is that quite frankly, I’m skeptical. A lot of these techniques either don’t work, or they have been so overused that they have been rendered completely useless. Email marketing is an excellent example. Although it still works, it doesn’t work as well as it used to.

The following are the most effective online marketing techniques I have found, and they continue to work. You may need to change the way you do them, but they will work for you. The best part is that most of these techniques will become passive traffic machines. The goal is to put your passive traffic machines in the right places. Make sure you target your audience. This is crucial for your success.

1. Article Marketing

This is definitely one of my favorite techniques because I love to write. There are tons of article directories available, both general and niche directories. Write unique articles and submit them to the top directories. Then look for sites that allow you to submit articles on your topic. These directories may actually help you more.

2. Search Engine Optimization

There are two main sites you want to focus on here: Google and Bing. These two search engines will account for about 80 percent of your search engine traffic. Yahoo even uses Bing for its results now, so you’ll have solid coverage of the top search engines. Use smaller search engines to help you pick up any extra traffic. You will find these to be less competitive, so it’s worth it to submit.

3. Free Classifieds

Although you may not think that free classifieds are an effective way to promote your business, these sites actually get a lot of traffic. In fact, one of the top 50 most visited websites in the world is a free classifieds site (Craigslist). There are two more that are ranked in the top 600, so it’s worth it to take a look at these sites. Write a good ad and follow the rules as they are picky about what they allow you to post.

4. Joint Ventures

This is a more advanced way to market, so I really wouldn’t recommend it to those who are new to internet marketing. A joint venture is an excellent way to build cash quickly to your business once you build a network of partners to market your products for you. Build relationships here, and you’ll have an opportunity to market your business in places you may not have considered. Remember, this is different from having an affiliate program. You will have to offer more, and affiliates are more likely to come and go than good joint venture partners.

5. Blogging

Blogging is a great way to build a website and market your business at the same time. You may use blog and RSS directories, as well as ping sites to help you get your content indexed and ranked well in the search engines. It’s also a public relations vehicle for your business and allows you to connect with those who are interested in your topic. I would recommend you start here and then add one of the other techniques to help you get started building an effective marketing plan.

6. Video Marketing

Videos are popular. Millions of people watch them every month, and so it’s a great way to get your content in front of your potential visitors in a different way. You’ll find plenty of free software to help you create your videos, and you may even want to consider using your cell phone camera to create video. It really is that simple.

7. Social Media Marketing

Of all the techniques on this list, I think this one is probably the most difficult to do, but if you stick with it, you can see incredible results. Social marketing is like forum marketing on steroids. It allows you to distribute your content, as well as connect with your audience and get involved with your potential visitors. If you want to get involved in the conversation and find out what people are talking about, this technique will put your fingers on the pulse of what your market wants.

8. Affiliate Program Management

If you sell your own products and services, then an affiliate program allows you to increase your reach in your market by allowing others to sell your products and then split amount of the sales. The key here is to create a great affiliate program and offer training and marketing materials to market your products. Build a relationship with your affiliates for better results.

9. Free Ebooks, Reports, And Document Sites

Digital downloads are the ultimate in passive traffic machines, and unlike articles, readers find them to be far more valuable. You also have far more opportunities to promote your business than article directories because there are far more sites that accept this type of content. You may also offer your content in different forms, including slide shows, presentations, PDFS and more.