20+ Free Business Advertising Ideas That Work
If you don’t have the money to spend on a comprehensive marketing campaign—maybe you’re just getting started or making room in the budget for another expense—you still have advertising options. And they’re all free. There’s nothing better, right?
Of course, these options still require your time and attention, but those can be easier to budget for than money sometimes. So, to make the most of that time and attention, make sure you have a plan and come prepared. These are the items and info you’ll need to have ready to go before you start setting up new accounts or sending out inquiries:
- Your business’s name, address and phone number
- A brief (paragraph or two) description of your business
- A few really good photos of your business and/or your work
- A high-quality image of your logo
Once you’ve got that info on hand, you’re all set to start setting up and using these free marketing and advertising tools. Here’s where to go:
Go where the people are! More than 1 in 3 internet users search social media for more information about brands and products they’re considering purchasing. Maintaining an active presence on various forms of social media ensures you’re putting your business in front of a wide audience of potential customers. Over time, as you post relevant content, engage with your followers and keep your profiles updated with the latest information about your business, you'll build invaluable brand recognition and credibility.
What's the trick? Make yourself as visible as possible by using the social channels best suited to your business from the list below. Do you take tons of pictures? Facebook and Instagram are the platforms for you. Do you mostly network with other businesses? Try LinkedIn. Film videos or create other forms of media? YouTube and Pinterest! Just want to get the word out about your latest endeavors or promotions? Twitter's the place for you. Take a look:
Business Listings and Review Sites
There are dozens—even hundreds—of these sites, but here are a few of the most popular that you should be focusing on. According to Forbes, Google My Business is a MUST and is 100% worth the effort for local SEO. Ultimately, that’s going to help your potential customers find you online.
Create accounts on the following sites to respond to customer reviews and stay on top of your business's online reputation. These platforms also serve as great ways to spread more information about your business. Post pictures, write descriptions and details, update your new hours and more. Above all, make sure that your business's name, address and phone number are correct and consistent across all of these sites! That will build your credibility with Google and ensure your customers can find you.
Writing about what you do is a great way to engage your audience and establish your business’s tone and personality. Don’t have the time or resources to manage your own blog? No sweat—talk to other bloggers in your industry and ask about writing a guest post. Pro tip: Draft your post BEFORE you suggest teaming up. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Write for your own blog
- Write guest blogs for others in your industry
You’ll probably have to start small with this, but it’s something! Make sure your email signature looks professional and links out to your business’s website. If you want to go the extra mile, link out to a review site, such as your Google My Business Listing, as well.
If you want to run email marketing campaigns, you’re going to need email addresses. Start with what you've got and grow your email list slowly. Your past or existing customers are a great resource for this. Here's your checklist:
- Update your email signature
- Send promotions to your existing customers and prospects
- Ask your current customers for referrals
The people in your community are going to be your biggest advocates and biggest customers, so reach them where they live. Ask other local business owners about the marketing and advertising resources they’re using, and check out your local groups and events for advertising opportunities. Just hop on Google and see what you find when you search your city and the following terms:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Community/Enthusiast Meetups
- Community Events
This will require a little Googling and investigation on your part, but search for organizations and associations related to your industry. Many of them will have resources to connect members with potential customers. You might already be a member of a few of these organizations. Here are a few examples to get the wheels turning:
- InterNACHI for home inspectors
- ABA GPSOLO and AAPDA for lawyers and attorneys
- ISA for arborists
- NCCA for North Carolina chiropractors
If you’re a dealer for certain products, you should also inquire about being listed as a dealer or provider on the supplier’s website!
You’re All Set!
Traditional marketing and digital marketing go hand in hand, but if you don’t currently have it in your budget to invest in a professional campaign, you still have options! Try the online platforms and local resources listed above to start getting your business’s name seen by your potential customers.
When you’re ready to team up with a marketing specialist and learn more about the marketing and advertising options available to you—such as search engine optimization, review monitoring, pay-per-click advertising and search engine marketing—reach out to us! We’ll help you assemble a personalized digital marketing package that fits your budget and your business’s unique needs.