7 Ways to Advertise Your Small Business When You Don’t Have Much Money

Save your business budget by adopting creative marketing strategies. 

Key points

  • The biggest bang for your buck may be free online word-of-mouth.
  • Whether you spend money or not, advertising will require focus and energy.
  • Cross-promotion is one way to collaborate with other business owners and spread the word about your enterprise.

According to real estate guru Barbara Corcoran, there’s no reason to empty your business checking account to pay for advertising. There are low-cost and free ways to get the word out. Here, we highlight seven examples.   

Dive into Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites. It’s free to join, and you can create a page specifically for your business. Don’t just advertise on that page, but gain follower interest. For example, you may ask a trivia question daily or share a remarkable and unusual fact. 

The idea is to familiarize anyone who follows your business page with what you have to offer. 

2. Come up with an easy-to-understand name 

Let’s say you own a dog walking service, and your last name is Westwood. While calling your business Westwood Services is nice and succinct, it offers no idea of what your company does. Instead, try something like Westwood Dog Walking Services. You want it to be easy for people to find you when they’re specifically looking for someone to walk their dog. 

3. Collaborate online

All business owners need to start somewhere. Find other entrepreneurs with businesses similar to yours. You don’t want them to be precisely the same because that makes them a competitor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brick-and-mortar or online business. What you’re looking for is a professional, engaging company that dovetails well with yours. 

Once you find a business you’d like to team up with, let them know who you are and what your company is about. Ask if they’re willing to collaborate. It may sound like this: “You market my products on your site, and I’ll give you 20% of the profit for any sales I make through your efforts.”

If the business owner wants you to market their products, you do the same for them. Make it a point to write the details of your deal out before any cross-promotions begin. Let’s say the person you’re collaborating with inspires someone to buy your product, but that new customer returns monthly to purchase the same thing. Make sure the other business owner understands that you’re offering 20% of the first sale only.  

4. Create a website

It’s tough to look professional without a website. Fortunately, sites like Wix, GoDaddy, and Squarespace make it easy for beginners to create their own sites using premade templates. While there’s a cost involved with purchasing a domain and paying for website hosting, it’s considered a business expense and can typically be deducted at tax time. 

5. Start a blog

A blog is one of the first places you can offer something of value to potential customers. For example, if you’re opening a bakery, you can use your blog to tell funny anecdotes and share simple recipes. 

Starting a blog is also a great way to introduce customers to your unique personality and make them feel comfortable working with you. 

6. Get added to directories

If there’s a business directory online, you want to be added. Get the name of your business out there. Here are some of the directories you want to target:

  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • LinkedIn Company Directory
  • Yelp
  • Bing
  • Google My Business
  • HubSpot
  • Super Pages
  • MapQuest
  • Thumbtack
  • YellowBook.com

7. Request reviews

Admittedly, getting people to slow down long enough to review your business can be challenging, but it’s crucial to future growth. Ask valued customers to offer their opinions online. Positive reviews go a long way toward drawing in new customers. 

An estimated 5 million small businesses were started in 2022. Set yourself up for success by making your business stand out. The best way to do that is to get the name of your enterprise into a public space as often as possible. Fortunately, when it comes to advertising, dogged determination may be more important than the size of your budget. 

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