Back in 2012 when I began exploring online marketing I signed up for an MLM – a multi-level marketing business — on a blog platform. All the members had identical websites — “replicated sites” — except for the parts where they were supposed to write their own blog posts. You could write about whatever you liked. Money was supposed to be made by getting other people interested enough to join. My sponsor suggested I joined a free group called IBOtoolbox so I did. She never explained anything about either group. I gave it a deadline of a month. Making no money and tired of the nagging upsells I quit both groups.
IBO stands for Independent Business Owner. After some research and thinking I decided to return to IBOtoolbox but chose a different sponsor. I’ve remained a member ever since then and have learned so much. It’s mostly free and and is a great introduction for people wanting to learn about online marketing. It’s also a source of free advertising for marketers of every experience level.
There is actually a family of related IBO platforms, again, most are free. IBOtoolbox is similar to the “back office” of the business blog platforms. You set up your profile, upload a photo, list your businesses or products as well as all the social media you use for promotion. As an example, you can check out my profile here. As a viewer, you are accessing IBOsocial which is available to search engines and the public.
Instead of writing blog posts, you write articles called Press Releases (PRs). These can be on any topic as long as you are not using profanity or plagiarizing or writing something negative about any member or their business,. When your PR is submitted it goes up on “the wall” giving other members a chance to read and comment (negativity not allowed). It is also possible to comment from Facebook. Each comment sends the PR up the wall again so other people (both members and the public) can see it and choose to read and comment. Reading other members’ PRs will introduce you to many different kinds of online businesses.
All of this reading and commenting activity makes IBO an “authority site”. Search engines like google like all the activity and will list authority sites among the first sites that come up during a keyword search. In addition, as soon as you publish your PR, notifications of it are sent to all the main search engines. What this means is that your PR will get lots of readers (traffic) from people searching for your topic and keywords via search engines.
So your business and/or products can get lots of exposure by writing about them on IBO. Some people will write about their day, or their thoughts or something non-commercial and then put a note at the end telling about their products.
When you write a PR you earn credits. Reading, commenting, referring people are other ways to earn credits. Or you may purchase them if you prefer. Then you may submit advertisements of your business or products on other IBO pages and “pay” for them with these credits. For example, people reading the newsletter may see your ad there without even going to see your profile.
Other parts of the IBO “family” include IBOtube (like youtube), IBObanners where you can make your own banners (display ads) for your products and IBOclassifieds to name just a few. To see a more complete list check out the IBO newsletter.
This may all sound a bit overwhelming but IBO also offers webinars to teach you how to use the different parts of IBO. In addition, there is Market with Chris which offers many free webinars on topics like using Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin email marketing to support your business efforts.
If you are wondering if online marketing is for you, IBOtoolbox and associated sites can give you the chance to try it out as well as learn from other members. If you are an experienced marketer, IBO can supply you with another advertising venue.