Advertising for Small Business Free

Small businesses advertising online for free is a growing trend as the internet is a fast and global method of information sharing. If you are looking to open a new business or already have a developed one, it might be a good idea to advertise online for free via websites with easy advertising rules provided by Google Adwords or Bing advertisements.

Small businesses have always faced the hurdle of competing with giant corporations whose advertising dollars alone are triple what they make in a year. The goal of advertising is the same no matter how much money you spend on it; to get noticed, get customers and keep growing. 

There is a way to outsmart this system rather than outspend your competitors to achieve the same goal. Free or low-budget advertising ideas do exist and are readily available for small businesses to take advantage of if they put the effort in. We asked 10 small business professionals what they have found to be the best free advertising tactic to get customers. Save your money and get to work! 

professionals-who-contributed-to-this-article

Email

Email is a great way to market, it’s highly effective and free to get started if you chose a platform like Mailchimp. Use your own social media profile to start driving signups, then start sending a regular email to your audience. Make it personal, so you start to build rapport with your subscribers.
-Doug Dennison, MailNinja

User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content is the new word of mouth, and yes you can get it for free. When your audience interacts with your product or service via a picture on Instagram or a review posted to YouTube, you now have an even stronger, authentic voice added to your brand. I’ve seen brands have highly successful marketing campaigns and drastically improved click-throughs purely because they’ve stitched together just such content from their audiences. These creators quickly become cheerleaders for your brand because secretly, everyone wants their content reshared.
-Hana Ruzsa Alanis, Graphic Designer & Marketing Specialist

Give Away Something For Free

The best source for free advertising is giving away something for free. For our denture clinics, we provide patients with a free denture cleaning kit ($49 value) when they schedule a complimentary no-obligation consultation. Offering a free product or service can inspire a prospective patient to take the extra step of calling or sending an online request.
-Henry Babichenko, DD, European Denture Center

Become a Thought Leader

Many small businesses spend their time chasing marketing opportunities that are reserved for thought leaders. But, by becoming a thought leader, those marketing opportunities find their way to you so that you spend less time chasing the opportunities. So, how do you become a thought leader? For me, the answer was writing and publishing a best-selling book. By sharing quality content in a book format, I’ve found that people want to receive more content from me in the form of podcast appearances, speeches, and content contributions. 
-Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

Embrace The Power of Social Media

Oftentimes when small business owners think of social media, they believe it is an oversaturated market that only produces likes and not leads – but this is not the case! Social media is an excellent and free way to advertise your small business because there are zero barriers to entry and your reach is unlimited. To be successful, you simply have to be authentic and take the time to interact with your followers. With some of the biggest brands like Airbnb, Gymshark, and Glossier crediting their success to social media, I think this opportunity is one you can’t pass up.
-Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors

Noncompetitive Partners

My best source for free advertising involves working with non-competitive partners. For example, I partnered with a professional organization that provides project management education. By promoting my business to the organization’s members, I grew my email list and used that list to sell my products.
-Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant

Networking

Networking is a powerful tool when used the right way and can be a great channel for free advertising. I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made over the years that have led to referrals and a steady stream of clients. Some so many people still show up to networking events (when we actually could “show up” to them) and you see and feel the desperation in them that they need business. Connect authentically, not everyone is a good customer for you, get to know others who you admire and share your values and they’ll be your best referral sources. They are also willing to share your social media posts to increase engagement and new views which doesn’t cost a thing… well maybe a glass of wine on occasion.
-Leeanne Gardner, Unbridle IT

Local Media

Kill them with creativity. I’m a huge fan of local media! They are always hungry for feel-good stories that are tied to the local community. You just need to give them a reason to cover you. Get creative, maybe linked to a community event or social cause. Join with others in the community so the story is bigger, thus more likely to get covered.
-Brian Cairns, ProStrategix Consulting

Leverate Connections You Already Have

One of the best ways small businesses can market themselves for free is to leverage the connections you already have. Ask satisfied customers to refer you to others or leave a positive review online. Reach out to partners to see about joint promotions to dip into each other’s customer bases. If you’re part of a local chamber or industry association, see if they will share what’s new at your company to their social media audience and email lists. Offer to reciprocate sharing their promotions as well to create a mutually beneficial long-term relationship that you can draw on again in the future.
-Colton De Vos, Resolute TS

Ways To Advertise Your Business For Free On The Internet 

 1. Google My Business

It would be sort of ridiculous to not include Google My Business as the first place you should have your business advertised for free. After all, you have just spent a ton of time, effort, and cash to make certain that your website was search engine optimized for Google. With Google business, you have the potential of being found within the nearly 8 billion searches that occur every day. With Google My Business your physical location and phone number can be linked to Smartphone app users so they can easily navigate to your door. Link up your other social media channels too.

Here’s how: Register your business at Google My Business to take advantage of the power of this top-ranked directory and to get you some free business advertising love!

2. MapQuest/Yext

You might remember MapQuest. Well, MapQuest has partnered with Yext to facilitate locating your business, business address, and phone number. It is also worth noting that MapQuest’s mobile app still shows up with Google Maps, so it is still a great way to help people find you.

Here’s how: Add your business and unleash the power of MapQuest w/Yext to build recognition of your brand.

3. Citysearch

Restaurants, bars, hotels, spas, and several other types of businesses can benefit from Citysearch. Citysearch partners with such platforms as Urbanspoon, Expedia, and MerchantCircle. Listings are accessed through the Citysearch mobile app. Businesses that are preferred by users are listed in “best of” lists which fall under 20 categories.

Here’s how: To get promoted on Citysearch you will want to register your business and location.

4. Manta

Dedicated to the interests of small businesses, you can hardly find a better directory than manta for getting your name out there. This site gets millions of unique visitors every month and this listing platform has one of the most comprehensive databases with geographic-specific, individual businesses, and industry segments listings.

Here’s how: Registration with Manta is quick and easy and you have plenty of optimizing packages to choose from as well.

5. YellowBot

You get a basic listing similar to those archaic Yellow Pages with YellowBot, but it also includes customer reviews and some additional options for those who upgrade to a premium package. YellowBot has quick sign-up and sign-in connected to Google, Facebook, Windows Live, Twitter, and Yahoo, making it easy and convenient.

Here’s how: Register your business with YellowBot to get your listing started.

6. Yellowbook

Easily searchable business listings that include your business information, a website link, product descriptions, map features, as well as options for display and video ads are all a possibility with Yellowbook. Besides being included in their business listing, you are linked with Google, Bing, and Yahoo partner sites and there is an affiliate program to take advantage of as well.

Here’s how: Put Yellowbook to work for you by subscribing to your business.

7. Superpages

One of the easiest business listings for users to navigate, Superpages also makes it easy to list and manage your business listing. Along with business listings, this service also includes weather and lottery listing. It also includes a quick sign-in option through Facebook.

Here’s how: Get started setting up your Superpages listing and watch your popularity grow.

8. Yellow Pages

The same old Yellow Pages your parents and grandparents used to flip through to find what they needed is still around and has a very well-organized online version. Besides your typical free listing, there are also a wide variety of premium options available when you are ready to expand. This listing draws 70 million+ visitors across its associated listings annually.

Here’s how: Get your Yellow Pages ad started online with a simple registration process.

9. Whitepages

This companion to the Yellow Pages lists about 30 million companies nationwide and offers additional options for premium services whenever you are ready to upgrade. Those services include a text message service for clients and a larger ad listing with expanded information.

Here’s how: Add and edit your business listing on Whitepages to get started.

10. MerchantCircle

Another free network targeted toward small businesses which are seeking to connect with local customers and other local small businesses is MerchantCircle. Boost your listings, post business blogs, and utilize a broad number of free marketing tools designed to help build your business.

Here’s how: Sign-up with MerchantCircle and become actively involved in what’s going on there to begin seeing the best results.

11. Yelp

The most popular online source for candid consumer reviews is Yelp. Being listed on Yelp can make or break you, but those who provide great service and good solid reviews will see a great deal of growth by using this listing. The demographics of Yelp users make it much too valuable to pass up.

Here’s how: Be sure to get your business in perfect operation and then sign up with Yelp.

12. Bing Places for Business

Second, only to Google, this free business advertising platform by Microsoft, allows you to add multiple business locations, videos, photos, and a whole lot more. It has a quick and easy registration process and you can even optimize your ads for various viewing platforms through Bing Places for Business.

Here’s how: Give your business a running start toward the top by signing up for Bing Places for Business.

13. Yahoo Local

Still hanging in there toward the top of the business listing ranks is Yahoo Local. Running third behind Google and Bing, you can still get a free basic listing and are allowed some very affordable premium listing options when you are ready to expand your reach or have the budget to handle it. Though not a search engine giant like it used to be, Yahoo Local is still a sold listing directory.

Here’s how: Establish your online business presence by signing up with Yahoo Local.

14. Enroll Business

This directory offers a free business listing profile to get you started and then helps your business be found by popular search engines. There are also plenty of free and premium services to help expand your presence and better market your goods and services once your budget can handle an added expense of advertising.

Here’s how: Good your profile up on Enroll Business and start building toward the future.

15. Kudzu

Kudzu is a free database that claims to help over 20 million homeowners with renovation options every year. Profiles can include marketing descriptions, photographs or videos of in progress or completed work, coupons, professional affiliations, and accreditations, as well as user-generated reviews and ratings to help give your business a leg up.

Here’s how: Get your Kudzu listing started and start taking advantage of what this site can offer your business.

16. Hotfrog

Hotfrog is an online directory designed to help boost your business among Google search results. Besides having a pretty significant list of over 1.6 million active users, there are a lot of options, like coupons and promotions, to help draw customers to your unique listing as well.

Here’s how: Register your business with Hotfrog to get started using its benefits.

17. Angie’s List

Nearly every one is acquainted with Angie’s list. It is one of the most respected review sites with completely objective reviews on the web. It boasts more than 3 million members who research, hire, rate, and review local service providers. This is a major listing that you can ill afford to overlook if you are serious about growing your business.

Here’s how: Join Angie’s List and get your business listed for review.

18. The Business Journals

Available in most major U.S. cities, this listing generates 8 million monthly searches. There are four levels of listings beginning with a free profile that gets you started and plenty of affordable options and resources to allow your business to grow and expand.

Here’s how: Set up your free profile and then discover how The Business Journals can expand your business to new levels.

19. Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels for brand awareness. You can share photos and videos with followers. Instagram is ideal for a “visual” company: food, fashion, furniture. Instagram is not great for driving traffic to a website. Typically you can only include one link in the profile field. But we have seen businesses link to an index page on their website established just for the products they highlight on Instagram.

20. Twitter

Twitter is one of those social media platforms ideals for establishing someone as a thought leader. It is especially good for consultants, freelance journalists, and subject matter experts.

21. YouTube

Around half of all searches on YouTube start with “how to”. Build a sales funnel by setting up a YouTube channel. Then create how-to videos on topics related to your products and services. Add your website or email address in each show description so interested parties can contact you.

22. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best social media channels for B2B (i.e., any business that sells to other businesses). People and companies should both have profiles on LinkedIn for brand recognition. Flesh out profiles with content to get better found in LinkedIn search results. Tip: If you are a freelance professional, try LinkedIn Profinder. Set up a no-cost profile to get leads from companies looking to hire an independent contractor. Also, Slideshare, another LinkedIn property, can be used to share PowerPoint.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to grow your physical or online business and increase your presence or perhaps just make some money online, you will need to make use of some sort of advertising to accomplish your objective. Even if you don’t have a large advertising budget, or any cash available for advertising, you can still make your presence felt on the web by making use of free advertising and listings.

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