What Is the Best Way to Advertise a Small Business?

Booking a 10-second TV commercial slot may not be the right way to advertise your small business, especially when the budget is tight and you’re competing against big brands that spend millions on advertising. As a small business owner, you need to look beyond the traditional forms of advertising, such as print ads and television and radio commercials.

Paid Search Marketing

Google AdWords and Bing Ads can bring in traffic to the website and help your business feature prominently when people search for relevant phrases. The key is to focus on long-tail keywords that are industry-specific. This will get your campaign the highest possible click-through rate and conversions.

The best part about PPC campaigns is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get traffic. Instead, a targeted campaign with a budget of $20 to $30 a day can generate traffic and qualified leads for your business.

Social Media Advertising

Advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to target specific demographics and pinpoints you to the people you’ve not reached out to. This eliminates the extemporaneous clicks from consumers browsing or searching for information.

With a small budget, you can target specific customers by their age, gender, education, and interests similar to your product/service categories.

Even when people don’t make an immediate purchase, they may end up liking and sharing your business. This helps in building a database of potential customers.

Local Listings

List information about your businesses on Google My Business and Yahoo listing for free. By adding the name of your business, website, images and hours you can take advantage of people searching for businesses on Google in your area.

Most of these online directories are free, but some may offer paid options to increase visibility.


A custom-designed website with accurate information, and attractive pictures can serve as an information source for your customers and a lead generation tool.

If you can’t afford to hire someone to design your website, you can use the templates and tools provided by WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace to create a basic website. Just note that platforms like Wix and Squarespace have issues when it comes to SEO; so if SEO is a concern, you’re better off using WordPress.

Referral Promotion

Customers who are loyal to your brand will tell their friends about you. However, with referral promotions such as a points system or sign-up bonus, you provide the brand advocate with an incentive to make more than one referral. This, in turn, leads to more chances of landing new customers.

Rewarding customers with points, coupons, and discounts are great for small businesses with a limited budget.

Flyers and Brochures

Flyers and brochures are a simple, inexpensive, and great way to create a buzz about your business. By offering incentives or discounts to people who bring in your flyer, you can not only generate business but also informally track how many people are coming in just because they saw your flyer.

Email Marketing

An email newsletter is a cost-effective marketing tool to engage with your current customers and tap into a market of potential customers regularly.

Use your newsletter to provide your customers with valuable and relevant information. This makes your business the one they remember when they’re ready to buy. Once in a while, you can send a promotion, say an online coupon that they can use to get a discount.

How Do I Market My Small Business Locally?

When it comes to your small business advertising, you don’t have to think big. Concentrating your marketing efforts locally can help you gain customers.

Optimize for Local Search

Optimize your business website in order to get found by local search users. A large percentage of Google queries are location-based. This gives your business much more visibility and adds more depth to local search results.

To optimize for local search, you should:

  • Get a physical address
  • Create Google My Business profile with a clear business description, business hours, modes of payment, etc.
  • Get listed on business directories such as Yelp, Citysearch, etc.
  • Focus on attracting positive reviews and responding to negative comments
  • Add schema markup to your website code

Get Involved in Local Community Events

Small businesses should focus on getting involved in local events You can contribute money toward local charities or an in-kind product donation. Not only will it help you get in front of your prospective customers but also give you the satisfaction of supporting worthy, local initiatives.

You can also host events or giveaways to collect customer information and follow up with customers for repeat businesses and referrals

Partner with Other Small Businesses

Reach out to other small business owners who are marketing goods and services that complement yours. Look for opportunities to create a cross-promotional deal with them so that you can tap each other’s client bases and advertise for free.

Join Business Organizations

Join professional groups and business organizations in your area. Most of these groups host meetings, industry events, and seminars that provide a great opportunity to network with other business owners and fellow professionals.

You can also volunteer to speak at various upcoming networking events and trade association conventions to exhibit your expertise and increase awareness of your business.

Submit Press Releases

Create and send press releases to local news outlets to market your business for free. To be effective, however, the press releases should be interesting to potential customers and the news outlet you are sending them to. Apart from magazines and newspapers, you can also take advantage of online press release services such as Business Wire and PRWeb.

Use Direct Mail

Direct mail is still an effective way of reaching local customers who aren’t online. It also helps you stay connected with current customers and let them know about business updates and offers.

How Can I Promote My Business With No Money?

If you don’t have the financial capital to fund a marketing push and operational expansion, here are a few ways to promote your business with little or no money.

  • Build a strong social media presence by posting engaging content regularly and building an online community
  • Provide high-quality blog content and soft-pitch your product in a way that benefits the users
  • Show your expertise by commenting on blogs and answering questions on sites like Quora
  • Post an ad on internet classifieds

The best advertising plans for small businesses draw on a multitude of strategies. The more you advertise, the more exposure your business receives. So, take some time out to think about which of the low-cost advertising methods can help you reach your target demographic and then start implementing them.


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