Free Advertising Ideas For a Small Business
In this post, you’ll find hundreds of ideas to get your creativity flowing for ways to advertise your business.
I’ll go over four tips related to free advertising. Following that, you’ll find the resource section filled with tips created by a variety of authors who share their knowledge and experience.
Nothing Is Free
One thing I want to stress is nothing is free. When you see the term free advertising, it refers to not paying for promotions. For example, say you’re distributing flyers. You’re spending money on printing the flyers; you’re spending time designing the flyer, spending time distributing the flyers, and probably using a vehicle to get from one point to another. So, you did spend money and time, you just didn’t spend any money on the ad.
1. Use Your Car
Have you ever considered using your car as a means of free advertising? Every time you’re out and about, you’re advertising your business. You’ll want to use something tasteful and easy to read because many people will see your message when your vehicle is in motion. Whether you’re promoting a phone number, web address, or a branding message, make sure people can read it!
2. Not The Information Highway But a Real Highway
If you’re in a heavily populated area, you may be able to create a message on the building or barn where people will see it. For example, you could offer to paint the building in exchange for your message painted on the side. Another idea is to place a large sign on the owner’s land, like a mini-billboard.
You may need to sweeten the deal by offering something the owner wants, something you provide in your business. For example, if you own an automotive repair shop, you could offer free labor on a repair.
With this idea, you need to check with the local municipality for any bylaws that exist that would prohibit placing advertising near the highway.
3. Monitor The Local News
If you monitor the local news, you can develop a system that ties your business with the news. Here’s a simple example. A winter storm is coming to the area. You can contact the local radio station, by sending out a press release and offer tips for the locals to equip their vehicles before the storm hits.
The radio station may contact you for an interview. During the interview, you offer tips like checking your vehicle’s battery, wipers, washer fluid, and tires to help you get through the storm. You may think the station won’t be interested, but because all day, all they are talking about is the storm and would love to report on it using a different angle, especially if it adds value for the listeners.
You have an opportunity to take it a step further that can flood your shop with people. (be sure you have the staff to take care of the rush of people,) you can offer listeners a free ten-minute checkup, they can drop by the shop and mention they are a listener of the station, and we’ll check everything out for you and even top off your washer fluid for free. If it gets busy, you can do these checks in the parking lot, no need to bring the vehicle in.
The courtesy your offering will be appreciated, which can get a lot of people familiar with your service and add new long-time customers, plus word of mouth advertising can spread because of this event.
The radio time didn’t cost you anything in advertising, all you’re out is the cost of the washer fluid and the time you spent with customers. This technique can also bring in a surge of cash because of the sale of the defective tires, wipers, and battery sales you make during the checks.
4. Local Events
Local events are a great way to reach your customers in the community. There are hundreds of ideas to interact during these events that offer something valuable to bring attention to your business. Participating in community events while bringing awareness to your business is a win, win situation.
Let’s say there is a biker charity event to raise the money. We have an event like this yearly in southern Ontario called Hogs for Hospice. For simplicity, allow me to use the repair shop example.
The shop owner contacts local event planners and offers free, tire, wiper, battery, lights, an oil check, and a free top-off of your windshield washer fluid, for all the out-of-town visitors. He asks for a stand to place a banner to hand out cards for the free checkup. He also requests the free services to be announced during major events like concerts, etc.
In this example, the business owner has shown kindness to strangers while promoting his business to locals.
The ideas are endless for ways to get low cost and free advertising. In the resources to follow you’ll come across hundreds of ideas including;
- Search Engine Traffic
- Creating a blog to bring in customers
- Creating an email newsletter
- Create articles on Social Platforms such as Hub Pages, Medium, LinkedIn, etc.
- Participating in Forums, and groups like Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, etc.
- Listing your business in directories
- Add your business profile to sites like Yelp, Google Business, Google Maps, etc.
Have a look at the collection of resources below. You may want to bookmark this page for future use because there are so many ideas to go through; it’s difficult to go through them all in one sitting.
A Collection of Resources Related to Small Business Free Advertising Ideas
Free Advertising Ideas
Free Local Advertising Ideas
Low-Cost Advertising Ideas
In this section, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date on the latest related to free advertising including videos, news, the latest Google search results, what people are tweeting, and more.