13 Creative Ways to Advertise Your Business for Free

By on February 19, 2013

Did you know that 80 percent of businesses fail within the first 3-5 years?

It's simply because they don't bring in enough revenue in order to stay afloat. This catastrophic problem many businesses face is often attributed to poor management, lack of planning, and insufficient marketing efforts.

13 Creative Ways to Advertise Your Business for Free While the first two factors are easy to fix, the last one - insufficient marketing efforts - takes a bit of time and energy to rectify.

It goes without saying that you have to keep the cash register ringing if you want to sustain your business. Instead of fretting over the books, focus on getting more customers through the door. That means marketing till you drop!

What if you can't afford to film a commercial, put out a billboard, or buy Google AdWords? Don't worry; it's not the end of your business! There are so many different ways for you to market your business without spending a cent. You just have to spend some time and energy to get the word out about your fantastic venture!

Got a local business?

If you own a brick-and-mortar business, chances are you rely on the very community in which you operate to be successful. If you want to make your business known around town, you should involve yourself locally and become a prominent figure in the community.

Win awards.

Many people don't realize this, but winning awards can bring free exposure to your business. Every time you win an award, your business will be mentioned in every news article covering the topic. Winning awards also gives you bragging rights. You can showcase your awards in your establishment. Such recognition can earn you brownie points with your customers! Look for awards you believe you can win, and then apply for each one. Take the process seriously. If you win, make the most out of the publicity!

Attend town hall meetings.

If you participate in town hall meetings by offering insightful comments and sensible solutions to the problems plaguing your community, you will earn the respect of the people, especially leaders and other prominent figures, in your community. This is also a great opportunity to network with others. Gather contact information from all the people you talk to and invite them to your establishment.

Put your business on the map.

Did you know that a whooping 97% of people search for local businesses online? Keep up with the times and put your business on the map! Register your business at Google Maps and Yahoo! Local. It doesn't cost a cent!

Get your business into the Yellow Pages.

What about the remaining 3% of people who don't search for local businesses online? They use the Yellow Pages. You might think that it's a waste of your time and energy to try to bring such a low percentage of people to your business, but it doesn't even take up that much time! All you have to do is to update your business's contact information and URL on yellowpages.com. It's free as long as you don't let yourself get suckered into spending money on an upgraded listing.

Write letters to local newspapers.

If you offer your unique business knowledge to the community, they will take you seriously and begin to associate you with your business. If you find an article in a previous publication you want to discuss, write a polite, interesting, and newsworthy letter to the editor. Don't forget to include your business's website address and contact information!

Give back to the community.

If you want to be part of your community, offer service-based assistance to those who need it. For example, round up your staff and volunteer at the Special Olympics. If you have some extra space at your establishment, host a senior dance night. Or you can simply host a charity raffle event. You want to encourage charitable organizations to promote your business's involvement.

Yelp often!

If you haven't already, sign up on Yelp and start Yelpin'! Not only will it allow you to respond to your customers' reviews faster, it also gives you a chance to chat with members of your community in the message boards. Soon enough other Yelpers will know you as "the guy who owns that awesome 50s diner downtown". You just need to remember to be courteous and helpful. That means no fighting with anyone, because that could really taint your business's reputation.

Got an online business?

If your business is based online, then the above 7 tips (except for winning awards) might not be of much use to you. However, the following 6 tips will benefit your online business.

Put your URL on everything.

Don't be shy; make sure everyone knows your business's website address! Add it to your email signature, print it on your company's letterhead, put it on your business cards, and definitely don't forget to include it in any print advertising you do.

Join online communities.

If you want people to take your business seriously, you need to show your expertise in the field. Find relevant discussion groups online and contribute with your knowledge. Make sure you mention your business and include your URL in your forum signature. Always be nice, polite, and helpful!


The blogging community is huge. If you start a blog with useful, interesting, and well-written content, fellow bloggers will notice and start subscribing to your articles. Just be sure not to blatantly advertise in your blog posts. Instead, include your URL in your author box, which will appear at the end of each article.

Put your website on the radar.

Here's a secret: online directories are a lesser-known - but just as valuable - marketing tool. The good news is that the Internet is chock full of online directories and resource lists! Register your business with as many relevant online directories or resource lists you can find. For starters, find an industry association that will allow you to list your URL on their website.

Beef up your social media profiles.

Not only will your social media profiles net you a bunch of likes, followers, or connects, they will also provide you with extremely high Google page rankings. Create a Facebook business page, a Twitter account, a Google+ business page, and anything else you can think of. If you're not a big social media user, that's okay. You don't have to constantly update all those pages. Just make sure they contain current and relevant information. It can't hurt to log in once in a while to touch base with your followers and to answer questions, if any.

Host contests and giveaways.

Who doesn't love free stuff? If you use Facebook to host a trivia contest once a month (with a prize of 20% off at your online store!) you'll be bound to gain more fans. You can also use Twitter (coupon for the first person to retweet your message), Pinterest (free samples for the first 5 people to repin one of your pins), or any other social media platform. Be creative!

Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

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