Can You Get Free Advertising for a Small Business? 50 Top Ways

Small businesses often struggle with advertising due to limited budgets. However, there are many completely free ways to promote your business online and increase brand awareness. In this article, we will explore the best free small business advertising ideas that can help small businesses grow their customer base without breaking the bank. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is free advertising?

Free advertising refers to promoting a product or service without spending any money on advertising costs. Instead, businesses can utilize various methods such as social media channels, word-of-mouth marketing, community events, and Google search engine optimization to reach their target audience.

Free advertising is an effective way for small businesses to promote their brand and increase visibility without incurring high advertising expenses.

Best Ways to Get Free Advertising for Small Business

Small businesses are always looking for cost-effective ways to promote their brand and reach new customers. Here’s a small business advertising guide that focuses specifically on free ideas for your small business.

1. Online Directories

Submit your business to online directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages for free exposure.

2. Social Media

Create a social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach a wider audience.

3. Content Marketing

Craft valuable content that informs or entertains your target audience via blog posts, videos, infographics, and more.

4. Networking Events

Attend networking events or join networking groups to meet potential customers and collaborators.

5. Referral Programs

Encourage satisfied customers to refer friends and family in exchange for discounts or other incentives.

Can you really get free advertising for a small business? Here are 50 ways to get attention for your products and services without spending any money.

6. Guest Blogging

Write guest blog posts for other websites to showcase your expertise and attract their readers to your business.

7. Email Marketing

Build an email list and send regular newsletters or promotional emails to keep customers engaged. Make sure you read our email marketing for small business guide for more detailed advice.

8. Community Involvement

Participate in local events or sponsor community initiatives to build brand recognition and goodwill.

9. Cross-Promotion

Partner with complementary businesses to promote each other’s products or services to both of your audiences.

10. Public Relations

Pitch your business story or expertise to media outlets, such as newspapers or podcasts, for free publicity.

11. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Optimize your website for search engines to improve your chances of appearing at the top of search results.

12. Online Forums

Participate in online forums or groups related to your industry to establish yourself as an expert and promote your business.

13. Free Samples or Trials

Offer free samples or trials of your product/service to attract potential customers and generate word-of-mouth buzz.

There are tons of ways to advertise a small business. And they don't all have to cost money.

14. Video Marketing

Create engaging videos about your business or products and share them on social media, YouTube, or other video platforms.

15. Influencer Marketing

Partner with influencers in your industry to reach their audiences and gain exposure through sponsored posts or collaborations.

16. Webinars

Host webinars to educate your audience on topics related to your business and showcase your expertise.

17. Affiliate Marketing

Partner with affiliates who promote your products or services in exchange for a commission on sales.

18. Business Directories

List your business pages in online business directories like Dun & Bradstreet to improve visibility and attract new customers.

19. Mobile Marketing

Use SMS marketing, push notifications, or mobile apps to reach customers on their mobile devices.

20. Podcasts

Create a podcast related to your industry or niche and share it on various podcast platforms to attract listeners and promote your business.

21. Online Reviews

Encourage customers to leave positive online reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook business page to boost your online reputation.

22. Word of Mouth

Leverage your network and encourage customers to spread the word about your business to their friends and family.

23. Local SEO

Optimize your website and online presence for local search terms to attract customers in your geographic area to your local business.

24. Business Partnerships

Partner with other businesses to offer joint promotions or packages that benefit both of your customer bases.

25. Guerilla Marketing

Get creative and use unconventional tactics like street art or flash mobs to grab people’s attention and generate buzz.

26. Press Releases

Write and distribute press releases to announce new products, services, or company milestones to journalists and media outlets.

27. Online Contests and Giveaways

Host contests or giveaways on social media or your website to attract new followers and engage your current audience.

27. Google Maps

Ensure your business is listed and accurate on Google Maps to improve visibility and attract local customers.

29. Business Blogging

Create a blog on your website to share company news, industry insights, or helpful tips with your audience.

30. Web Directories

Submit your website to an online directory like Best of the Web to improve your website’s SEO and increase visibility.

31. Flyers and Brochures

Create eye-catching flyers and brochures and distribute them in high-traffic areas like shopping malls or community centers.

32. Trade Shows

Participate in trade shows and events related to your industry to showcase your products or services to potential customers.

33. Business Cards

Design professional-looking business cards and always keep them on hand to give out to potential customers or collaborators.

34. Local Sponsorship

Sponsor a local event or sports team to increase brand awareness and show support for your community.

35. Online Q&A

Participate in online question-and-answer forums like Quora or Reddit to establish your authority in your industry and promote your business.

36. Podcast Advertising

Advertise your business on relevant podcasts to reach its listeners and promote your products or services.

37. Public Speaking

Offer to speak at local events or conferences related to your industry to showcase your expertise and promote your business.

38. User-Generated Content

Encourage customers to create and share content related to your products or services, such as photos or reviews, on social media accounts.

39. Online Business Reviews

Respond promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews on websites like Google or Yelp to show your commitment to customer satisfaction.

40. Charity Events

Participate in charity events or donate a portion of your profits to a relevant cause to build goodwill and attract socially-conscious customers.

41. Utilize Google Analytics

Implement Google Analytics to gain insights into your audience’s behavior and tailor your marketing strategies effectively. It’s a free tool that can help you understand what attracts visitors to your website and what keeps them engaged.

42. Start a Podcast

Establish a podcast related to your industry. This can be an excellent way to reach a new audience and share your expertise, and it requires minimal equipment to start.

43. Use Hashtags on Social Media

Use relevant and popular hashtags on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. This strategy can significantly increase the visibility of your posts.

44. Create Instructional Videos

Develop ‘How-to’ videos related to your products or services. Share these videos on YouTube or other video platforms to attract and educate your audience.

45. Participate in LinkedIn Groups

Actively participate in LinkedIn groups related to your industry. This can help you network with peers and potential customers.

46. Write an eBook

Share your industry knowledge by writing an eBook. Offer it for free on your website as a lead magnet to gather email addresses.

47. Host a Free Workshop or Webinar

Organize free webinars or workshops to educate your audience about topics related to your business, showcasing your expertise.

48. Utilize Facebook Live

Use Facebook Live to engage with your audience in real-time. Host Q&A sessions, product demos, or provide a behind-the-scenes look at your business operations.

49. Engage in Online Community Boards

Get involved in online community boards like Nextdoor to connect with and promote your services to local customers.

50. Create Infographics

Design infographics that are informative and visually appealing. They are highly shareable and can be created using free tools like Canva.

Evaluating Free Advertising Options for Your Business

When considering free advertising strategies, it’s crucial to evaluate them based on certain key factors. We’ve listed these factors along with their importance on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is less critical and 5 is most critical. Here are the factors we weighed most heavily when creating our list.

  • Reach: Assess the potential audience size that the advertising method can impact. Higher reach often translates to more visibility.
    • Importance Scale: 5/5
  • Relevance to Audience: Ensure the advertising method aligns with the interests and behaviors of your target audience for maximum effectiveness.
    • Importance Scale: 5/5
  • Engagement Potential: Consider how likely it is for your audience to engage with the advertising. Higher engagement can lead to better conversion rates.
    • Importance Scale: 4/5
  • Brand Alignment: The advertising method should reflect and complement your brand’s values and image.
    • Importance Scale: 4/5
  • Ease of Implementation: Evaluate how easy or difficult it is to implement the advertising strategy, especially considering your available resources.
    • Importance Scale: 3/5
  • Scalability: Consider whether the advertising method can grow and evolve as your business expands.
    • Importance Scale: 3/5
  • Measurability: The ability to track and measure the effectiveness of the advertising method is crucial for understanding its impact and ROI.
    • Importance Scale: 4/5
  • Sustainability: Assess whether the advertising method can be sustained over a long period without incurring costs or losing effectiveness.
    • Importance Scale: 3/5
  • Innovation and Creativity: Innovative and creative advertising methods can help you stand out and make a lasting impression.
    • Importance Scale: 3/5
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: Ensure that the advertising method is compliant with legal standards and ethical practices.
    • Importance Scale: 5/5


Advertising can be part of a larger marketing strategy for a business. Though many advertising methods cost money, there are some free options.

How Your Business Can Benefit from Free Advertising

Free advertising can be a game-changer for small businesses looking to increase brand awareness and attract new customers. By utilizing free advertising methods, your business can benefit in the following ways:

  • Cost-effective: Free advertising is an inexpensive way to promote your business without spending money on traditional advertising methods.
  • Increased visibility: Promoting your business through various channels increases its visibility and can help you reach a wider audience.
  • Builds credibility: Positive word-of-mouth marketing and online reviews can enhance your business’s reputation and build trust with potential customers.
  • Boosts customer engagement: Engaging with customers through social media and community events can help build strong relationships and foster loyalty.
  • Drives traffic to your company website: Implementing SEO strategies can improve your website’s search engine ranking, leading to increased traffic and potentially more sales.

Looking for free advertising methods for your small business? Check out our list of 50 options.

Insights for Maximizing Free Advertising Opportunities

  • Consistency is Key: Regardless of the platform, maintaining a consistent posting schedule helps keep your audience engaged and aware of your brand.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on creating high-quality content that adds value to your audience, rather than just trying to increase your quantity of posts.
  • Engage with Your Audience: Actively engage with comments and messages to build a community around your brand.
  • Track Your Results: Use free tools to track the performance of your marketing efforts. This will help you understand what works best for your audience.
  • Optimize for SEO: Make sure your website and blog are optimized for search engines to increase your visibility online.
  • Leverage User-Generated Content: Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand, which acts as a form of social proof.
  • Collaborate with Other Businesses: Partner with non-competitive businesses in your community or industry for mutual promotion.
  • Stay Current with Trends: Keep up with current trends in your industry and incorporate them into your marketing strategies where relevant.
  • Be Authentic: Authenticity resonates with audiences, so ensure your free advertising efforts reflect your brand’s true values and message.
  • Adapt and Evolve: Be ready to adapt your strategies based on what your tracking tells you and be open to trying new methods to find what best suits your business.

Free Advertising Tips to Attract Potential Customers

As a small business owner, it’s important to attract potential customers without spending too much money. Fortunately, there are several ways to get free advertising for your business. Here are five tips to help you get started:

  • Leverage social media: Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote your business and engage with potential customers.
  • Collaborate with other businesses: Partnering with complementary businesses can help you reach new audiences and gain exposure.
  • Utilize email marketing: Build an email list and use it to send newsletters, promotions, and updates about your business.
  • Get listed on directories: Register your business on online directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and YellowPages to increase visibility in search results.
  • Create valuable content: Publish blog posts, videos, or infographics that provide value to your target audience and showcase your expertise.
Leverage Social MediaUtilize platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote and engage potential customers.
Collaborate with BusinessesPartner with complementary businesses to expand your reach and gain exposure.
Utilize Email MarketingBuild an email list for newsletters, promotions, and updates about your business.
Get Listed on DirectoriesRegister on online directories (e.g., Google My Business, Yelp) for increased visibility.
Create Valuable ContentPublish blog posts, videos, or infographics to provide value to your target audience and showcase expertise.

Free Advertising: Expanding Your Reach Without the Cost

Free advertising offers a wealth of opportunities for small businesses to expand their reach and grow their customer base without the need for a large budget. By leveraging a combination of online tools, social media platforms, community engagement, and creative content, businesses can effectively increase their visibility and connect with a larger audience.

Implementing these strategies requires time, effort, and consistency, but the potential rewards make them worthwhile. From enhancing online presence through SEO and Google Analytics to engaging directly with customers via social media and community events, the possibilities for free advertising are vast and varied.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying agile and adapting your strategies to the changing environment will help keep your business ahead. By embracing innovation and maintaining a customer-focused approach, your business can harness the power of free advertising to achieve sustainable growth and success.

Can local businesses advertise on Google for free?

Yes, local businesses can advertise on Google for free by registering their business on Google My Business. This allows them to appear in Google Maps and local search results. Businesses should optimize their GMB-free business listings with accurate information and photos to increase visibility and attract potential customers.

Are there ways to advertise a small business for free on mobile? See our list for tips.

How do you advertise for free on Facebook Messenger?

To advertise for free on Facebook Messenger, businesses can create a chatbot using the Facebook Messenger API. Chatbots can be programmed to offer customer support, provide product recommendations, and even complete transactions directly within the Messenger app. Leveraging this technology allows businesses to reach customers where they are already spending time.

Are there risks associated with free advertising sites?

It really depends on the specific site and how it operates. While some free advertising sites are legitimate and helpful for businesses, others may pose risks such as scams, fraudulent activity, or low-quality leads. It’s important to thoroughly research any free or paid advertising site before advertising on it.

What are some of the best free sites to post classified ads?

Free classified ad sites are a great way to promote your products and services and are often considered the cheapest way to advertise. Some of the best free ad sites include Craigslist, Gumtree, Kijiji, and Backpage. These free classified ads platforms have large audiences and are easy to use.

How can small business owners get free advertising on PennySaver?

Small business owners can post a classified ad for free on PennySaver. They can create an account and choose their preferred category, then write a short description of their product or service. The ad will be posted online, reaching a wide audience in a simple and cost-effective way.

What is the best source of free local advertising?

The most effective source of free local advertising is word-of-mouth marketing. It relies on satisfied customers recommending your business to friends and family and spreading the word about your products or services through personal interactions. It takes time to cultivate, but advertising statistics frequently point to this as the best way to build a strong and satisfied customer base. Social media platforms also provide excellent opportunities for free advertising locally.

Image: Envato Elements

Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.