How to Advertise Your Business for Free

Three Methods:Marketing OnlineUsing Local MediaNetworking

Most marketing experts recommend that businesses spend anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of their gross sales on advertising[1]. But if you're still growing your business, you might not have the budget for large ad campaigns, or you might be focusing your capital on other areas. You too can take advantage of free ways to reach potential customers and advertise your business.[2]

Method 1
Marketing Online

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    Start a web presence. Harness the power of the Internet to draw attention to your business. The web is full of free outlets that can potentially reach hundreds of thousands of consumers .
    • You can Make a Free Website to provide information about your business and market your products and services.
    • A business email address is important. You can Make an Email Address for Free. On every email you send out for your business, have a small 3-4 line signature at the bottom (add this in Settings). Include links to your business' website, Facebook page, Twitter account or whatever other online presence you have.
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    Use Twitter. Setting up a Twitter account is free, and it allows you to interact with customers on an immediate and personal level. See Twitter for Business for more information.[3]
    • Choose a handle or username that's as close to your business' name as possible and tether your business email to the account.
    • Use your logo as your avatar. Seeing your business logo with every tweet you publish can help strengthen your brand.
    • Follow current customers, family members, friends and other businesses you admire or whose products your business uses.
    • Promote your business in your tweets, but keep it fun, too - host giveaways or give shout outs to loyal customers. Give people a reason to follow your business.
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    Create a Facebook page. Setting up a business page on Facebook is free, and allows you to interact with your customers and other businesses. See Facebook for Business for more information.[4]
    • Host giveaways limited to people who "like" your profile or share one of your posts, and offer special Facebook-only deals via messages to customers who follow your activity.
    • Many businesses forgo creating their own website and simply list their Facebook pages as their business sites. Consider if this might be the right course of action for your business.
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    Get on Yelp. Yelp is a website where consumers can review and recommend businesses. Learn more at Yelp for Business Owners.[5]
    • You can use your Yelp page to post information and special offers, as well as to gauge how well you're serving your customers.
    • Some business owners respond to bad reviews on Yelp by contacting the Yelp user directly or posting a reply offering to remedy the situation. This allows you to let potential customers know you take their concerns seriously.
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    Build your Google Places listing. List your business on Google Places so that it will pop up on Google Maps searches, and so people can share reviews and rate your business. Make sure you have a Gmail account specific to your business, then start here. Yahoo! Local hosts a similar service.[6][7]
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    Create an account with a free online directory. Most online directories allow you to upload unlimited products, businesses and services with a detailed information about such product and also automatically provides a contact form for individual product where prospective customers can contact product owner one-on-one. [8]
    • Create your listings. Listings are the products, business or services you or your company offers. A good online directory allows you to upload as many as possible listings so as to boost your target market reach.
    • Your products will be stored in the database and will be displayed on their front page. All products uploaded are also search engine optimized after 24 hours.
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    Join appropriate online communities. Many industries, especially those with special niches, have online communities where people discuss and share information. Joining and contributing to these online communities can be a valuable marketing tool.[9]
    • It is important to be active in these online communities to build rapport with other members. If you only participate only intermittently, you may lose more customers than you gain.
    • You also should not just blatantly advertise for your business in these communities. Make sure your contributions are valuable to the other members, but always put your business name, logo, and links to other web presences in your signature.

Method 2
Using Local Media

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    Write press releases. Did you just open your business? Are you supporting a charity drive around the holiday season? Did you just wrap up a special project? Pitch your story to your local media outlets and see if they're interested in covering you. [10]
    • Try newspapers, broadcast news and radio shows. By using multiple media sources, you can reach more potential customers.
    • You can write press releases for almost any event in your business. However, if you send too many press releases that are of little interest, the media may lose interest.
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    Contact columnists. It is good to build relationships with as many columnists as possible. Sometimes, they may be looking for stories and may actually reach out to you.
    • Some newspapers have columnist who specializes in writing about good deals and new businesses. Try them as a first point of contact.
    • Look for columnists who reach your niche audience - for example, if you run a fishing tackle shop, get in touch with your local newspaper's outdoors columnist.
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    Work for charity. Many newspapers will print special coverage of charity endeavors, particularly during holiday seasons. These charity events are often covered in the local media.
    • You could host a small charity drive during which you accept canned food or used-good donations to give to your local shelters or assistance organizations.
    • Be sure to contact the newspaper and other media outlets regarding the event and mention that your business is sponsoring it.
    • Display your business logo as prominently as possible without overshadowing the event. You can have signs, banners, or even articles of clothing with your company name and logo.
    • For even better publicity, offer a discount to customers who bring in an item to donate. This will increase revenue for both the charity and your business.

Method 3

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    Implement a referral program. Word of mouth can be an excellent way to grow your business, and you can increase word of mouth by seeking referrals from existing customers.
    • Offer a discount or a freebie to current customers who send you referrals. You could hand out specialized referral cards for them to give to new customers.
    • Be sure to advertise your referral program, so that existing customers know about the program and what they can gain from providing you with referrals.
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    Build partnerships and alliances. Team up with other businesses that offer complementary services and refer customers to one another. For instance, if you sell greenhouses, network with fertilizer suppliers and floral shops.[11]
    • Be sure to negotiate a deal that is beneficial to both organizations. This will increase buy-in for all involved, increasing success of the alliance.
    • You will need to formalize your partnerships and alliances with contractual agreements. Seek legal advice as necessary.
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    Join community organizations. Chambers of commerce, service organizations, and other groups are a great way to network with other business owners and potential customers.
    • It is important to be an active member of the organizations you join. Just being a member will not be as effective as being a participating member. Attend meetings and events of these organizations, and speak with as many people as possible.
    • Be sure to seek out mutually beneficial relationships. People are more likely to send customers your way, if you are returning the favor.
    • Make sure you are not blatantly advertising for your business. You should contribute value to these organizations while sharing information about your business and your expertise when appropriate.
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    Host seminars, workshops and other educational events. If you own a space that can accommodate several people at once, consider hosting an event to help familiarize people with your product. For instance, wine shops can host tastings and craft stores can host workshops on any number of crafting techniques.


  • Offering good information and advice through social media, print or seminars, without constantly promoting your brand, is a great way to build trust with your client base. For instance, if you sell flowers, offer to help people decode the symbolic meanings of certain flowers for free around a holiday like Valentine's Day.
  • For the USA: Contact your State's Statewide Classified Network (every state in the USA has one). Place an ad with them. They will run your ads for you in some or all of your State's newspapers for no cost.
  • Choose a memorable phone number. Even if you don't have an 800 line, you can choose a simple local 7-digit number or one that spells a word related to your business.

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Categories: Marketing