Advertising Your Small Business Free of Charge

With the rising cost of doing business, it’s helpful to find effective ways to advertise your business for free. However, this doesn’t mean throwing your energy every web site or link exchange. Remember your time is valuable, too. Here are some of the most effective free, or low-cost, advertising means for small businesses.

Online Forums vs. Social Media
I’m not a fan of the social media sites as advertising venues. Few businesses get much out of a Facebook page or similar social site. Go ahead and put one up: it’s Free! But don’t expect much. However, targeted forums are a goldmine. Join several forums that relate to your business, and regularly post your views or even your promotions. Include a link to your own site in the signature line. This works well as free advertising for most business owners.

Craigslist
Still around after decades, this websites plods along with no style or grace, but it does have an audience. Businesses don’t get free advertising listings, but the cost is minimal. It’s very local, so it’s best suited for locally oriented businesses.

Free School Packets
Most colleges and universities have a packet of freebies to give to their new students on orientation day. Ask them about including some of your company’s coupons and promo items in the packet. If you’re a pizza place, throw in some coupons. If you’re a realtor, create an apartment guide that has your name and phone number on every page – a giant business card. Be creative and include something unique; but most important: be included.

Sponsor a Charity Event
This won’t be free, but the cost will be minimal, and the rewards will be huge. Not only will you be reaching a wide audience, you’re marrying your name to a charity. This puts your business in the positive spotlight. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown sponsorship of the event. If you’re a coffee shop, just provide free coffee and orange juice for the local blood drives and such. A cinema can offer to screen special movies for schools, etc.

Targeted Video Channels
Make instructional videos for one of the online video channels. It’s free to upload your video, complete with your logo and advertising information. Youtube used to be the site for this, but now it’s better to find a targeted video site. I found a financial-only video site to showcase my forex and stock predictions, thus advertising my currency trading website.

Expert Speaker
Offer to speak at a local school or organization as an expert in your field. If you run a dental practice, speak at schools about dental health. If you’re a stock broker, speak to local organizations about setting up 401K or other plans. Offer your time and advice for free, advertising your business along the way.

More from this contributor:

Developing a Brand for your Small Business

Small Business Hiring Basics

Building a Solid Customer Base for Your Small Business