Cost-Effective Marketing: How to Promote Your Business for Free


If you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t have a large marketing budget. You may not be ready to pour funds into paid advertising spots or to compete on AdWords. And although this may put you at a slight disadvantage, there are ways to overcome this challenge. The broad online (and offline) marketing landscape makes it possible to find dozens of cost-effective marketing methods you can use to promote your business—for free.

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics

It’s easy to get caught up in the glamour and success claims of paid advertising. But the fact is that running a paid ad campaign isn’t the only way—and isn’t always the most effective way—to promote what your business has to offer. As a small business owner, you should aim to…

Diversifying your marketing methods is not just affordable; it’s also so strategic that big brands are branching out to free marketing methods. A widespread marketing approach reaches a broader audience and helps prevent advertising fatigue. In addition to being more affordable than targeted paid advertising, cost-effective marketing alternatives allow you to build a foundation of authority and a more stable brand presence.

Further, they allow you to achieve results without competing directly with the big fish fighting over paid keywords and the best banner spots.

11 Ways to Promote Your Business for Free

Now you understand how a lack of funds to put toward paid advertising doesn’t mean you can’t still spread the word about your offerings. Instead, you can use other cost-effective marketing tactics to your advantage. But you may be wondering what, specifically, you should be doing. 

Here are just some of the ways you can promote your business for free…

1) Create Videos or Podcasts (and Be a Guest)

For starters, you can make your own videos and produce a new line of content. All you need is a camera, a chair, and a nice backdrop. Or you can make quick animations if this suits your team better. Although video marketing brings its share of challenges, it can be incredibly rewarding once you get the hang of it. 

Podcasts can also be compelling and bring in an eager audio audience for interesting industry tips, advice, or stories. Further, you can generate interest by sending brand-representing expert guests to other podcasts.

As with most of the ideas on this list, videos and podcasts should be used to provide value to potential customers. When you do that, you can bring more people in, get them familiar with your business, and eventually promote your offerings.

2) Start a Blog or Build an Information Center

If your business doesn’t already have a blog, now is the time to create one. This cost-effective marketing method is free to create, maintain, and populate. Once you have a blog of interesting and useful business-relevant articles, Google will start showing your articles in search results based on the quality of your SEO efforts.

If you already have a blog, build it into an information center with better categories, navigation, and a more complete approach to informative articles.

3) Create Interesting and Relevant Guest Posts

Another way to promote your business for free is to write guest posts that will appear on other relevant blogs. The idea is to look for sites related to your industry but not in direct competition with you. 

For example, a real estate lawyer might reach out to a home contractor and share a guest article about building permit approval. 

As far as cost-effective marketing tactics go, this is one worth trying out if you have a lot of expertise you’re eager to share. In doing so, you can tap into other audiences, establish your authority, and provide highly useful information that Google may promote for its uniquely well-targeted and expert-sourced content.

4) Get Listed in Professional and Local Directories

Another cost-effective marketing method is to get listed in directories. There are directories for doctors, architects, tax lawyers, contractors—you name it. Towns often also have a directory of local businesses that you can choose to join to gain a listing. These are usually also free and will allow you to draw in leads looking for your specific offerings. 

5) Claim Your Business on Google & Review Sites

Likewise, make sure you claim your business anywhere you accumulate online reviews. For instance, claim your Google Business Profile so that your business can be found easily in search. In addition to being free and relatively easy to set up, this method offers many opportunities to make your listing stand out, such as adding a video to your Google Business Profile.  

Yelp and Angie (previously Angie’s list) are also popular review sites for local businesses and worth claiming for the views and leads you’ll win there.

6) Send Out Press Releases

The occasional press release can be a really great source of free advertising—and not just with your local reporting network. Any time your business does something significantly newsworthy, publish a press release and submit it to sites that distribute this type of content. 

Here are just a few options:

Note that many distribution sites offer both paid and free options. However, the latter typically has fewer features (e.g., hyperlinks, social share buttons).

7) Feature Customer Feedback on Social Media

When you get customer feedback, feature and thank them on social media. This is not just another social media post—it’s a feedback loop. If you know the customer’s social handle, tag them, and let them know you appreciate their kind words.

One of the best ways to share reviews is to create eye-catching, branded graphics that feature positive customer feedback. Show pride in your work quality and gratitude for positive words from your audience. This is also a great way to get more reviews.

8) Attend Industry and Networking Events

Another way to promote your business for free is to simply get out there. Make your business seen by attending events geared toward business owners in your industry or area. Even informal meet and greets are a great way to generate word of mouth and build connections. Take it a step further by wearing branded apparel so that your logo stands out.  

9) Connect with Industry Peers on LinkedIn

Building your network through LinkedIn is a highly recommended, cost-effective marketing method. After all, LinkedIn is free to join, and its whole purpose is to give members the chance to grow and engage their professional networks. 

Join professional groups where both your peers and potential clients can find professionals in your sector. Let the industry know what you have to offer. This can win you clients and even referrals from complementary local businesses—for example, an event planner who recommends caterers and florists from their LinkedIn professional groups.

10) Publish Original Data and Infographics

Group of business professionals discussing different data for their cost-effective marketing strategy.

Another cost-effective marketing tactic worth implementing is publishing original data. 


Brands are constantly hungry for new statistics related to their business or product—especially highly specific statistics that are better than your average global survey. Becoming the source of valuable original data means backlinks for days if you hit the right demand niche.

So, take surveys, collect widespread data, and publish your studies and statistics. Better yet, format your findings as a compelling infographic using a tool like Canva (free plan available).  

11) Develop a Newsletter with Simple Sign-up

Many brands bring back previous customers and maintain better long-term engagement by releasing a newsletter. In fact, you can even invite leads to join the newsletter before their first conversion—if your newsletter has unique, interesting information such as the following:

Make your newsletter something special so that each one is worth opening.

Once you design your newsletter, make it easy to sign up. Invite your blog readers, social media audience, current customers, and website visitors to subscribe. Add a newsletter teaser and sign-up form to your side banners, home page, and blog footers. 


Spreading the word about your business is the only way to bring in customers and achieve success, but you don’t have to invest heavily in paid advertising to do it. There are plenty of cost-effective marketing tactics out there. By implementing them the right way, you can promote your business for free—effectively and with great satisfaction.

Looking for additional ways to promote your business and put your brand out there? Download The Business Owner's Guide to Increasing Brand Awareness.


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Filed Under: Business Tips, Social Media